Florida in Winter: Where to Go When the Temperature Drops

Searching for a winter escape with warm and sunny vibes? Look no further than Florida! Experience mild temperatures, breathtaking beaches, and an abundance of attractions that make Florida the ultimate destination for a winter getaway.

With so many options to choose from, deciding where to go can be overwhelming. But fret not, we’ve got you covered! Check out these top-rated destinations in Florida to visit during the winter months. You won’t be disappointed!

Why Should You Visit Florida in Winter?

Experience the wonders of the “Sunshine State” – Florida! With its mild temperatures and abundant sunshine, even in winter, it’s the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Picture yourself enjoying outdoor activities, without the scorching heat of summer, as temperatures range from the comfortable mid-60s to low 80s.North Florida Destinations in Winter

Escape the harsh winter weather elsewhere and embrace Florida’s tropical climate. Say goodbye to shoveling snow and layers of clothing, and instead, immerse yourself in days of beachside relaxation and exploration of the state’s captivating outdoor attractions.

Average Winter Temperatures in Florida

Florida boasts pleasant temperatures throughout the year, making it an ideal destination for winter travelers. During the winter months (December-February), cities in North and Central Florida typically range from 60°F-70°F during the day and 40°F-50°F at night.

As you head further south to destinations like Miami and Key West, expect warmer temperatures ranging from mid-70°F to low 80s. In fact, Miami has an average of 24 sunny days during the winter months!

Best Places to Visit in Florida During Winter

1. St. Augustine

As the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the United States, St. Augustine immerses you in a captivating tapestry of history and culture. Immerse yourself in the must-see historic district, where cobblestone streets, cozy cafes, and one-of-a-kind shops await. Trust me, you won’t want to miss it!

One of the most popular times to visit St. Augustine is during the Night of Lights, which runs from mid-November through the end of January. During this time, the city is illuminated with millions of twinkling lights, creating a magical atmosphere that’s perfect for a winter getaway.

While you’re in the historic district, be sure to check out some of the city’s top historic sites. The Castillo de San Marcos is one of the most impressive, with its towering walls and stunning views of the waterfront. The Oldest Wooden School House is also worth a visit, as is the Lightner Museum, which is housed in a former grand hotel and features a wide range of art and artifacts.

If you’re interested in learning more about the city’s history, consider taking a guided tour. The Old Town Trolley Tour is a great option, as it takes you to all the top sights and provides informative commentary along the way.

2. Orlando

This city is home to some of the world’s most famous theme parks and attractions, making it the perfect place to escape the cold and have some fun in the sun.

During the winter months, Walt Disney World is transformed into a winter wonderland, with special holiday-themed events and decorations throughout the park.

One of the highlights of the winter season at Disney World is the Very Merriest After Hours event, where you can enjoy exclusive access to the park after dark and experience all of your favorite rides and attractions with shorter wait times.

Another must-visit destination in Orlando is the Universal Orlando Resort. This theme park is home to some of the most thrilling rides and attractions in the world, including the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the Incredible Hulk Coaster.

3. Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach is a must-visit destination on the Gulf Coast. Known for its soft, white sand and calm waters, it’s the perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing, and beach volleyball. During the winter months, the crowds are smaller and the water is still warm enough for a dip.

After a day at the beach, head to Pier 60 for an evening of entertainment. Every night, you can enjoy live music, street performers, and a beautiful sunset celebration. You can also browse local vendors selling handmade crafts and delicious food.

During winter, you can still enjoy the beach without worrying about crowds or intense heat. Clearwater Beach is home to several holiday-themed events and activities, including a nightly sunset celebration with live music and street performers.

4. Space Coast & Cocoa Beach

Kennedy Space Center

If you’re a fan of space exploration, the Space Coast is a must-visit destination. Here, you can visit the Kennedy Space Center and witness firsthand the history and future of space travel.

Just south of the Space Coast is Cocoa Beach, known for its laid-back vibe and great surf. It’s also home to the iconic Ron Jon Surf Shop, where you can stock up on all your beach gear and souvenirs.

Cocoa Beach is another must-visit destination on the Atlantic Coast. Home to the famous Ron Jon Surf Shop, it’s a great spot for surfing and beachcombing.

5. Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island, a gem on Florida’s Gulf Coast, offers a serene winter getaway with its sparkling turquoise water and sugar-white sandy beaches. The sheer tranquility of this seven-mile-long island will make you forget about the winter chills.

Here, the winter temperatures hover around a comfortable 70°F, perfect for exploring the island’s three quaint towns – Anna Maria, Holmes Beach, and Bradenton Beach. Each of these towns has a unique charm that’s deeply rooted in the Old Florida culture.

Stroll through their historic piers or enjoy a beachside picnic as you watch the sunset paint the sky in hues of orange and purple.

For bird enthusiasts, Anna Maria Island is a paradise. In winter, the Island becomes a haven for several species of migratory birds, creating an incredible bird-watching experience.

Seafood lovers will rejoice at the fresh local fare served here – the grouper sandwich is a must-try!

6. West Palm Beach

If you’re looking for a more upscale beach experience, head to West Palm Beach. With its luxurious resorts and high-end shops, it’s a great destination for those looking for a sophisticated beach getaway.

West Palm Beach in winter is a sun-soaked paradise where you can exchange snowy landscapes for sandy beaches and palm trees. As I strolled along the downtown streets adorned with twinkling holiday lights, I felt a sense of warmth and festivity despite the absence of traditional winter chill. 

The Norton Museum of Art, renowned for its extensive collection and impressive exhibitions, provided a cultural respite from the outdoor pursuits. For shoppers, CityPlace is a delight, offering a great selection of high-end stores, boutiques, and restaurants that cater to every palate.

When you visit West Palm Beach in winter, you don’t just escape the cold—you step into an upscale retreat, offering a blend of natural beauty, refined luxury, and cultural richness.

7. Miami

Skyviews Miami Observation ferris wheel and downtown skyline along Biscayne Bay and Bayfront Park

Miami is known for its world-class shopping, and there’s no better time to indulge than during the winter months. Some of the best shopping destinations in the city include Lincoln Road Mall, Bal Harbour Shops, and the Design District.

Miami is a foodie’s paradise, with a wide range of dining options to suit every taste and budget.

Here are some of the best places eat in Miami:

  • Crazy About You: Experience the flavors of Spain, Italy, and America come together in a stylish waterside bistro with an eclectic and budget-friendly menu. The churrasco is delightful, and don’t forget to order some tostones and brushetta for appetizers!
  • Yardbird Table & Bar: This popular farm-to-table restaurant serves up delicious southern comfort food with a modern twist. The fried chicken and waffles are a must-try!
  • Joe’s Stone Crab: A Miami institution, this iconic seafood restaurant has been serving up the freshest stone crabs since 1913. Be sure to make a reservation in advance.
  • Versailles Cuban Restaurant: No visit to Miami is complete without trying some authentic Cuban food, and Versailles is the place to go. This iconic restaurant has been serving up traditional dishes since 1971.

8. Naples

Naples is another Gulf Coast gem. Its upscale shops and restaurants make it a great destination for those looking for a luxurious beach getaway. The beaches in Naples are also some of the most pristine in the state, with crystal-clear waters and soft, white sand.

Just a short drive from Naples, Everglades National Park offers you the unique opportunity to explore a diverse ecosystem unlike any other.

Spanning over 1.5 million acres, it’s a world-renowned natural spectacle that plays host to a vast array of wildlife, including rare and endangered species like the manatee, American crocodile, and the elusive Florida panther.

9. Tampa

As winter descends, Tampa transforms into a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and thrill-seekers alike. One of the crown jewels of Tampa’s recreational scene is Busch Gardens, a remarkable fusion of thrilling rides, live entertainment, and a world-class zoo.

If you’re looking for something a bit more tranquil, consider a leisurely stroll along the Tampa Riverwalk, a scenic trail that winds along the Hillsborough River and Garrison Channel. The Riverwalk, beautifully lit up and decorated during the holiday season, offers a perfect backdrop for a peaceful winter evening.

Weeki Wachee is a small town located north of Tampa, home to the Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. You can watch a mermaid show, take a riverboat tour, or go kayaking on the Weeki Wachee River. The park also has a water park and picnic areas.

10. St. Petersburg

scenic view of the skyline and boat harbor in St. Petersburg, Florida

St. Petersburg is a charming city with a vibrant arts and culture scene. It’s home to the world-renowned Salvador Dali Museum, as well as numerous other galleries and museums. The city also has a bustling downtown area with plenty of shopping, dining, and entertainment options.

If you’re looking for some outdoor fun during your visit, St. Petersburg has you covered. You can take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque St. Pete Beach, go dolphin-watching on a boat tour, or enjoy a round of golf on one of the many scenic courses.

St. Petersburg is also known for its lively festivals, especially during the winter months. The annual St. Pete Wine and Food Festival and the Mainsail Arts Festival are just some of the popular events that draw in visitors from all over.

11. Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale, fondly known as the “Venice of America,” is another Florida gem that shines brightest in winter. The city, with its extensive network of canals and waterways, offers an idyllic setting for boat tours, a unique way to explore the city’s beauty.

The city’s vibrant arts scene is a big draw, especially the Broward Center for the Performing Arts that often has a line-up of diverse shows during winter. Also, the NSU Art Museum is a treasure trove of over 6,000 works, with a significant collection dedicated to post-WWII art. 

Let’s not forget the beaches – Fort Lauderdale Beach and Las Olas Beach offer a quieter retreat compared to their counterparts in Miami, but with every bit of the charm. The warm winter sun, gentle ocean breeze, and golden sand created the perfect backdrop for my winter sunbathing sessions. 

Shopping enthusiasts will find heaven at the Las Olas Boulevard, housing a plethora of unique boutiques, art galleries, and an array of eateries serving everything from fresh seafood to international cuisine.

12. Florida Keys & Key West

Bahia Honda State Park is one of many places to stop along the drive through the Florida Keys!

For a truly tropical winter getaway, head to Key West. This southernmost city in the United States boasts warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine year-round.

You can take a sunset cruise, visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, or simply relax on one of the island’s many beautiful beaches. And don’t forget to try some of the local seafood while you’re there!

Here are a few activities to enjoy while you’re exploring the Florida Keys:

  • Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park: This gem of Key West is not just a place for history buffs, but also for those who love nature and beaches. During winter, the weather is just perfect for a picnic by the beach after an enlightening tour of the civil war fort. You can even trail a path for birdwatching or cast a line for fishing.
  • Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square: Key West is renowned for its mesmerizing sunsets. The daily festival at Mallory Square celebrates this natural spectacle with a party-like atmosphere that features street performers, local artisans, and food vendors.

Where do you plan on visiting Florida this winter? Let us know in the comments!

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