Heading to the beach in the middle of winter is an extremely appealing prospect. When the snow is falling and the nights are closing in, a bit of a break from the cold can be exactly what you need.
While it might seem a little counterintuitive to plan a beach vacation at the coldest time of the year, if your destination is Florida then you are in luck! Florida boasts year-round sun, a delightful climate even during the winter months. It isn’t called the Sunshine State for nothing, you know!
Florida is famous for its beaches, from Clearwater Beach, Tampa to Miami Beach on the east coast. There are amazing stretches of sand to be found the length and breadth of the state. As the southernmost state in the US, it is warmer longer than anywhere else in the country, and you can find beach weather even in the middle of December.
In fact, December is probably the best time of year for a Florida vacation! Peak season really begins to hit in mid-January, so a December beach getaway will be relatively uncrowded, allowing you to enjoy the natural beauty of Florida’s beaches undisturbed by hordes of tourists.
While there are beautiful beaches all across Florida, in December it is best to head south, to get the warmest weather and the most sun possible. Here are seven of the warmest beaches in Florida for a December vacation.
Delnor Wiggins State Park Beach, Naples
Naples is one of the most popular and beloved beach towns on Florida’s Gulf Coast, and offers a delightful combination of pristine white-sand beaches, world-class resorts, and the Everglades on hand if you need a break from the beach. Delnor Wiggins State Park Beach is one of the loveliest beaches in Naples, and is perfect for a mid-winter break. Temperatures in December average around 77°F, which makes it absolutely ideal for sun-worshippers searching for winter warmth.
Crescent Beach, Fort Myers
A touch further north on the Gulf of Mexico, Fort Myers offers a livelier, more vibrant scene than Naples, with a buzzing nightlife and loads of activities to keep you and the family occupied. Crescent Beach is a long, wide expanse of hard-packed sand, great for bikes and even four-wheelers, which also makes an excellent setting for volleyball and other beach games. The real winner here is the temperature, with an average water temperature of around 80°F during December and an air temperature of 86°F! This means a Christmas Day swim is not only possible but genuinely enjoyable, and makes Crescent Beach one of the warmest in Florida in December.
Tigertail Beach Park, Marco Island
Marco Island is one of the best spots in Florida for fun, exciting experiences, and truly wonderful beaches. It is the biggest of Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands, and is one of the most naturally beautiful destinations in the state. Tigertail Beach Park is hands-down the best beach on the island, a huge nature reserve full of wonderful birdlife and a genuinely stunning beach. One of the best features of Tigertail Beach are the sandbar beaches that form out in the lagoon with the tide, meaning that if you are lucky you can get your very own private micro beach island! Best of all, daily temperatures usually reach around 79°F, banishing the winter chills with ease.
Smathers Beach and Fort Zachary Taylor Beach, Key West
The Florida Keys are one of Florida’s most sought-after destinations, a gorgeous string of islets flung out into the Gulf of Mexico towards Cuba from the southernmost tip of the state. As far south as you can get in both Florida and the US, the Keys are understandably one of the best places to get winter sun in the country. Key West boasts two of the best beaches in the Keys, which are Smathers Beach and Fort Zachary Taylor Beach.
Smathers Beach is the largest public beach in the Keys, half a mile of gorgeous golden sand facing the Atlantic Ocean, with watersports and jet ski rentals for anyone looking for excitement during their beach trip. Fort Zachary Taylor Beach is the best beach in Key West, with the magnificent backdrop for Fort Zachary Taylor, and wonderful opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving. Key West gets high temperatures in December of 80°F, although it can get chilly at night, so enjoy the beach during the day but wrap up warm when the sun falls!
Bowman’s Beach, Sanibel Island
Sanibel Island is a haven of peace and tranquility, floating serenely in the Gulf off the coast of south Florida, just south of Fort Myers. The island is renowned for its ivory-white, sugar-soft beaches, and Bowman’s Beach is one of the finest on all of Sanibel. The island is perfect for gentle strolls along deserted beaches or lush nature trails, or just sitting on the sand with a picnic or a barbeque. It is also one of the best places in Florida to go shelling. Temperature-wise, expect winter highs of over 80°F, although as in Key West, the nights can get chilly, fast, so do bring a few layers if you are planning to watch the sunset!
South Beach, Miami
One of the most famous beaches in the world, South Beach in Miami has a global reputation as a huge party spot, particularly during Spring Break when it feels like everyone on the planet is dancing on this beach! During the winter, however, it is a far calmer prospect, and December offers a wonderful opportunity to appreciate what a stunning beach it actually is. One of the warmest spots in the state during the winter, you can soak up the sun, swim in the glittering turquoise water, or stroll along the beachfront and admire the charming Art Deco architecture. And if you do feel like dancing, South Beach has plenty of lively spots to enjoy, even in the depth of winter!