The original economic engine

It’s the peak of snowbird season, which means more cars on the roads and shoppers in the aisles; it’s harder to make a dinner reservation or tee-time; and everywhere you look there are simply more people around. 

Despite all that, the influx of visitors and seasonal-residents in South Florida keeps the economy flourishing – with some businesses making the bulk of their annual income in the few short months – and is a major force behind the entertainment, festivals and art events that populate the region’s calendar in the winter. This year, the tri-county area is expecting an estimated one million snowbirds to visit, injecting the local economy with billions of additional dollars. 

Here, young snowbirds pose on the beach at Miami Beach’s legendary Surf Club, circa 1945, enjoying the winter warmth and fresh air that has been attracting visitors – and their wallets – to South Florida for generations. ?

Information for this feature is courtesy of the HistoryMiami Archives & Research Center, which is open to the public and contains more than 1.1 million images of southeast Florida, the entire state, and the Caribbean from 1883 to the present. For more information or to visit HistoryMiami, visit (This is Image X-1360-1 from the collection.)

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