Why Spend the Winter in Florida?
If you have a native Floridan in your life, you may know the general saying is that Florida has four seasons — summer, summer, summer and summer. Winter is the perfect time to visit Florida because you can beat the extreme heat while still enjoying the tropical island experience it has to offer.
If you're ready to put down your boots and mittens and pack up your flip-flops and swimsuit, consider flying down south to revel in a Florida winter. In this post, we'll discuss the many things to do in Florida, such as activities, experiences and the best spots for you to bask in the sun and be glad you're not scraping ice off your car.
Temperatures in Florida
Because the state of Florida is long, this means the temperatures vary widely from city to city. Not to mention, there's plenty of humidity in this state, which can make the overall temperature feel warmer than it actually is. Wintertime offers a break from this heat with less humidity.
Let's look at the average high and low temperatures in various cities in Florida:
- Daytona Beach: High of 70 degrees, low of 47 degrees
- Jacksonville: High of 64 degrees, low of 42 degrees
- Miami: High of 73 degrees, low of 50 degrees
- Key West: High of 75 degrees, low of 65 degrees
- Orlando: High of 72 degrees, low of 50 degrees
- West Palm Beach: High of 75 degrees, low of 57 degrees
- Tampa: High of 70 degrees, low of 52 degrees
- Tallahassee: High of 64 degrees, low of 40 degrees
If you plan on going swimming or boating, keep in mind the water temperature will also vary from coast to coast. Typically, southern beaches found in Key West and Miami tend to be the warmest, with the water reaching up to 85 degrees, while the Gulf coast sits at approximately 50-60 degrees during the winter.
In general, locations in southern Florida, such as Marco Island and Cape Coral, will provide the warmest temperatures if you want to vacation in a true Floridian winter. Some central and northern cities, like Gainesville, Saint Augustine and Tallahassee, will reach much colder temperatures.
If your travel plans are relying on which month will be the best for temperature, review the average temperatures of the winter season below:
- December: During the Holiday season in Florida, you should expect to experience an average range of the mid-40s to low 70s.
- January: Often the coldest month in Florida, January has average temperatures ranging from 40-60 degrees.
- February: The warmest of the winter months, February will bring a mix of cold and warm days, usually ranging from the 50s to the mid-70s.
Activities and Experiences
There are plenty of things to do in Florida, even during the wintertime! Below are some of the top activities tourists and residents enjoy in this state.
Boating and Fine Dining
Florida's coastal cities are particularly known as tourist attractions for water sports, activities and fine dining. If you like to fish, swim or cruise, the warm waters in Florida during the wintertime are the perfect excuse to take your boat out. Additionally, there are plenty of unique and top-rated restaurants scattered all along the coast, such as:
- The Rusty Pelican in Miami
- Azurea in Atlantic Beach
- Mastro's Ocean Club in Fort Lauderdale
There are endless places to experience waterfront dining and boating, particularly along the Fort Lauderdale intercoastal, Miami beach, West Palm Beach and St. Petersburg. With thousands of boating ramps and dozens of state parks, you can likely find yourself on the nearest sandbar within the hour. You and your loved ones may also enjoy activities such as kayaking, jet skiing, parasailing or snorkeling along the coral reefs.
Whether you want to cruise along in your boat or charter a yacht for your friends and family, you'll certainly appreciate the sights and enjoyable Florida winter weather. You can also enjoy smaller, quaint restaurants along the northern coast, such as along the historic St. Johns River, which is the longest river in the state.
If you and your family love to golf, it can certainly be disappointing when the winter comes and brings snow to cover your favorite lush golf courses. Luckily, in Florida, you can golf year-round and experience all your favorite sports activities even during the holiday season.
Thanks to the plenty of sunshine and blue skies in the state, you can enjoy a full day of golf in nearly any popular city. Bring your friends and unwind with cocktails at the clubhouse after putting around and playing all day. Whether you plan to visit Naples, Panama City, Balm Peach or Jacksonville, there are more than enough beautiful green golf courses and country clubs for you to enjoy during your winter stay.
Seeing the Daytona 500
If you're a fan of the races, especially NASCAR, then you'll thoroughly enjoy the Daytona 500 sporting event in Florida. Located at the Daytona International Speedway near the beach, this event hosts some of the most prestigious and important races, which occur over a period of five days.
Between the races, there are many exciting and fun activities, such as visiting the Champion's Hall of Fame, listening to live music from top bands and winning prizes. You can experience this event in mid to late February, which can be the perfect last stop on your winter vacation before heading back home.
Swimming With Manatees
One of the best spots for vacationers visiting Florida during winter is the natural springs in Crystal River, located about an hour outside of Tampa. This is one of the best spots to escape the cold winter air and get to see Florida's endangered, gentle aquatic giants. The natural springs in Crystal River — named for its crystal clear waters — sit at a constant 72 degrees Fahrenheit, as manatees need warmer water in the wintertime, and you can actually swim with them.
If you prefer not to get up close and personal with the manatees, you can rent a canoe or kayak and see them from above the surface. Whether you choose to dip in the waters and surround yourself with lush nature or simply view the manatees from the boardwalk, this spot will certainly provide you with a unique winter experience.
Picking Fresh Florida Oranges
One of Florida's nicknames is the Orange State, affectionately given due to the popular fruit that grows there. Florida has particularly abundant citrus crops, amongst other agriculture, which you and your family can take advantage of during your trip.
Due to the state's sub-tropical temperatures, abundant sunshine, plenty of rainfall and sandy soil, the oranges tend to be more flavorful, fragrant and juicy compared to other oranges. Plus, you've never really tasted an orange until you've plucked it straight from the tree.
There are dozens of orange groves in Florida where you can go and pick your own fruit — yes, even in the middle of winter, when Florida oranges actually thrive! Some of the most popular groves include:
- The Showcase of Citrus in Clermont, Florida
- Ridge Island Groves in Haines City Ridge, Florida
- Joshua Citrus Inc in Arcadia, Florida
- Florida Orange Groves Winery in South Pasadena, Florida
Crowds in Florida
If you're looking to avoid the harsh winter climate but don't want to travel somewhere with crowds, Florida can be one of the best places to visit, depending on when you want to go and which cities you want to visit. While many people flock to the sunshine state to escape the cold, there are plenty of places to go during the winter holidays in Florida, such as Saint Augustine, Sarasota or Fort Lauderdale.
We recommend planning your trip to Florida during winter any time outside of December. Because this is the busiest month of the year due to the Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year's holidays, you'll likely run into more crowds in late December than if you go in January or February, which are the two slowest months of the year. If your home state is experiencing an early winter, you may even like to visit during November.
However, even with the Holiday crowds and snowbird seasonal residents flocking to Florida, it may be worthwhile to visit the busier cities like Miami or Orlando to experience popular events like:
- Art Basel
- Miami Heat Games
- Annual Holiday festivals and decorations
Check online for their estimated crowd for the week you plan to visit based on reservations and hotel bookings. Any other time during winter tends to leave these places less crowded and much more enjoyable. You can also buy express or fast passes that allow you and your family to wait in much shorter lines or VIP tours that usually allow you to skip them altogether.
Overall, once the December holidays are over, the crowds begin to thin, which means it can be the perfect time for you to fly down.
Places to Visit
Whether you'll be traveling solo, with your significant other or with your entire family and group of friends, you'll certainly find locations in Florida that meet everyone's preferences.
If you're visiting Florida with family, theme parks can be a thrilling experience for everyone involved. Even if you're not a fan of rides or rollercoasters, Florida's theme parks have so much more to offer, including:
- Live music
- Live shows/entertainment
- Holiday-themed events
Whether you visit Disney World, Universal Studios, Busch Gardens or SeaWorld, there's something for everyone at Florida theme parks. Stop at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for some hot butterbeer, or take the monorail over to Magic Kingdom to view the fireworks and light show at Cinderella's castle. During the winter months, theme parks can be much more enjoyable due to the cooler weather and festive decorations that make it easy to spend an entire day at the park.
Simply put, when you think of Florida, you think of the beach! The sunshine state is home to some of the most beautiful white sandy beaches on the entire East Coast, including those located in:
- Miami Beach
- Marco Island
- Key West
On most days, the water will be warm enough to enjoy your normal beach activities, but many Florida hotels and resorts also offer heated pools and jacuzzis during the winter so you can warm up if needed.
Everglades National Park
If you're a wildlife lover, there's no better place to view hundreds of Florida's exotic creatures and animal species than in the Everglades. The Everglades National Park encompasses 1.5 million acres of land for you to explore. One of the most popular things to do in this location is taking an airboat tour throughout the preserve to spot various common and unique animals.
Though some of the wildlife, like alligators, prefer warmer weather, you can still visit the Everglades during the winter months and spot plenty of fish, birds, panthers, manatees, rabbits and reptiles. This swamp and wetland area can also be more enjoyable during the colder months due to a significant decrease in mosquitos and other insects.
Historic St. Augustine
Anyone who loves exploring a historic, exciting city will love downtown St. Augustine. Founded in 1565, St. Augustine is the oldest city in the United States. St. Augustine has plenty of waterfront views, restaurants, shopping, events and historical locations for you to visit, such as Fort Marion. You can also experience unique attractions, including:
St. Augustine is a perfect city for walking around and people-watching, and the reduced humidity and cooler weather make it all the more enjoyable. You can also take a train or trolley ride throughout the city to discover more fun activities or restaurants by the water. During the winter, this city presents a beautiful lights display to kick off the holidays and get everyone in the festive spirit.
Tourists can shop, enjoy cocktails downtown, walk through the farmer's markets or listen to carolers along the boardwalk. During the city's Night of Lights, you can see the entire district covered in over three million lights to create a glittering display that lights up the entire downtown area, in addition to a live orchestra and Christmas tree lighting.
This event occurs from late November through January 31 and can be the perfect spot to grab photos with a horse and carriage for your holiday cards.
The Florida Keys
If you really want to experience island living, the Florida Keys encompass about 120 miles of tropical islands filled with activities for all ages. Key West is one of the most popular islands in this area, attracting many visitors to its epicenter, the famous and historic Duvall Street.
This downtown area goes on for over a mile, filled with bars, pubs, outdoor cafes, shops, galleries, restaurants, and celebrated attractions for you to enjoy while basking in the warm weather and ocean views. There are many other things to do in the southernmost point of Florida, including visiting:
Islamorada, a village that encompasses six of the Florida Key islands, is a paradise you and your family can explore by both land and sea. Islamorada is the sportfishing capital of the world, so if you're someone who enjoys fishing year-round, the Florida Keys is definitely the spot for you this winter.
Request a Quote From GrandView Aviation
Whichever beautiful city in Florida you plan to escape to during the freezing months, make sure you travel in style and comfort. With GrandView Aviation, you can access on-demand private jet charters nationwide. It's our mission to provide our clients with luxury, safety and superior service.
We know how complicated it can be to find a commercial flight that can take you and your loved ones to your destination without having to wait for a specific day or time, not to mention waiting in long lines at busy airports. That's why we offer transparent and reliable service and equip our private jets with everything you need for a comfortable flight, including spacious cabins, plenty of baggage capacity, free WiFi and exceptional privacy.
Wherever you want to go this winter, let GrandView take you there. Request a quote to learn more about our prices or contact us today for more information about flying discretely and securely!