The 10 Best Places in Florida to Visit During Winter
One of the perks of visiting the sunshine state is that even when the winter months come and the temperature dips, it’s still comfortable enough to get outdoors and explore. Take advantage of our warm winters and go on an adventure minus the crowds during the tourism off-season. Our snow-white sand beaches are as close as we get to a white winter, so keep reading to discover our favorite Florida spots that prove the best time of year to visit is anytime.
South Walton Beach
One of Florida’s best kept secrets, South Walton beach is the perfect winter getaway on 30A. As with much of the panhandle of the sunshine state, there are plentiful small coastal communities that call this stretch of beach home, including Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Alys Beach, Grayton Beach and countless more. Reserve a stay on the Emerald Coast and take advantage of the unbeatable backdrop to your next best family vacation.
Get some much-needed Vitamin D at the beach that holds true to its name. Clearwater Beach, often named as one of the top beaches in the country, is famous for its gorgeous waters that are perfect for paddling, swimming or just floating the day away. Make sure you check out Caladesi Island, located at the North end of the beach and a local hotspot known for its large expanse of unspoiled beaches.
Merrit Island Wildlife Refuge
Home to all people and animals flying south for the winter, you’re not going to want to miss seeing the natural beauty of the Merrit Island Wildlife Refuge. On lands bought by NASA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service signed an agreement to establish a wildlife refuge on the areas not used for the John F. Kennedy Space center adjacent to Cape Canaveral. Now, you can spot countless rare and endangered birds migrating to these lands every winter and over 1,500 species of plants and wildlife that make up the unique ecosystem.
Neighboring the bustling metropolitan of Tampa is St. Petersburg, an up-and-coming city deemed as the “New Portland” for its thriving art, culture and food scene — minus the constant rain. In fact, St. Pete has an impressive average of 361 days of sun per year, so you make sure you bring your sunscreen even during the holiday season. If you take a stroll downtown, you’ll see unique murals spanning across the backs of buildings, the creativity of the city on full display.
This city is also known for its gorgeous beaches, and the cooler weather doesn’t stop this beach town from maintaining its coastal beauty all year long. Pro tip: if the weather does get a little too cold in the mornings, consider stopping by the Dali Museum, home to the largest collection of Salvador Dali work outside Europe.
Looking for a lesser known but equally stunning vacation spot? Look no further than Mount Dora, a small vacation town outside of Orlando that’s known for its small-town charm and lakeside beauty. Depending on what week you visit this hidden gem, you may spot one of their famous holiday celebrations, including their Christmas parade, Christmas walk, Christmas boat parade, and, if you can believe it, much more.
Dry Tortugas National Park
It’s time to shake up you winter routine and visit the famous Florida Keys. If you’re trying to find a cure for the winter blues, we prescribe sitting on the beach and letting your worries melt away in the 70-degree weather. Catch sight of the natural wonders of Dry Tortugas National Park including crystal clear waters and exotic wildlife or go on an adventure and explore Fort Jefferson to see the historic structure that has stood the test of time since The Civil War.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
The first of its kind, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park was the original undersea state park established in 1963 off the coast of Key Largo. With over 70 nautical square miles of waters to explore, visitors are sure to be thrilled by the coral reefs and magical marine life that lies beneath the surface. You can put on a snorkel and explore the deep blue up close and personal or take a more leisurely approach and examine the beauty of the undersea park on a glass-bottom boat tour. No matter which experience you choose, you’re guaranteed to remember this winter time water wonderland for years to come.
Steeped in historical significance and natural and architectural wonders, St. Augustine is truly a one-of-a-kind treasure nestled on the Northeast coast of Florida. Often recognized as the oldest city in the U.S., it’s no wonder explorers were enamored by this unique area. Between the idyllic Crescent Beach and the popular Anastasia State Park, you’ll be wondering why everyone doesn’t come to Florida over winter break.
A vacation spot that needs no introduction, Miami Beach is one of the hottest spots in all of Florida for year-round tourism. During the winter months, you can enjoy warm temps without having to navigate the unrelenting summer crowds. Not only will you get prime real estate on the sands of the world-famous beach, but you’ll also get to experience the diverse culture and unbeatable night life that has put the city on the map.
Everglades National Park
It’s hard to talk about Florida’s natural wonders without mentioning the Everglades National Park, the largest subtropical wilderness in the U.S. This unparalleled landscape is more than stunning, it plays a critical role in supporting many rare and endangered animals and plant species. Visitors get the rare opportunity to spot some of our favorite Florida residents, including both alligators and crocodiles as this is the only place in the world the two animals can coexist. If you keep your eyes peeled on one of the park’s iconic airboat tours, you may even catch a glimpse of the elusive Florida Panther. For all our thrill seekers and wildlife enthusiasts, this international treasure is a must do.
Whether you make your way to the southernmost point of the sunshine state or go paddling in the panhandle, we’re confident you’ll find that Florida is the go-to spot for memorable getaways all year long.