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Do you need sunscreen, how about sunglasses - definitely not a jacket, right? Those are all questions we ask ourselves on our first trip to the Sunshine State in the winter. There's no doubt about it, if you're visiting in the off season, there are some important clothing considerations to make. While this southern state is known for its mild winters warmer than most other cities in North America, it still gets cool here -- particularly at night. So, if you are planning a vacation to the Sunshine State and need to know what to wear when visiting Florida in winter, keep reading on!
I am a firm believer that there is no better time to visit Florida than in the winter. Not only is it much more temperate, but it's also our dry season! Dry season = less humidity and threat of hurricanes. It's sort of a win/win. Plus, do I even have to mention there are generally fewer tourists during this time of year?
That being said, it's perhaps not the best time of year for everyone. People hoping to swim at the beach are a wonderful example. The mild daytime temperatures (averaging around mid-to-upper 70s) mixed with the sea breeze -- especially if you are wet -- can be uncomfortably chilling; at least this is true for the central and northern coastal regions of the state. South Florida is a whole different entity, which you should read about here.
With that in mind, if you are still committed to the idea of visiting during winter and want to be prepared by dressing and packing appropriately, here are my top recommendations.
Bring alight jacket/hoodie
You may be able to get away with wearing a tanktop and shorts comfortably during the heat of the day, but once the sun goes down you will soon be wishing you had brought an extra layer. There's no doubt about it, it gets chilly at night --even in Florida. Thankfully the problem can be remedied easily with a lightweight hoodie or jacket that's not too bulky and fits nicely in your luggage or could be simply tied around your waist.
That being said, Florida isn't typically known for its bitter cold, and if you're traveling from a place where it's already winter (or near to it), I recommend packing at least one heavier jacket too if space allows. If you pack too much clothing for Florida in the winter, not only will it be taking up space you could be using for souvenirs in your suitcase but also could be redundant if the average temperature is milder than home.
Leave the swimsuit at home (bring a wet suit if you insist on swimming)
I'm all for routines of normalcy on vacation -- such as eating the same breakfast every morning -- but swimming isn't one of them. The water is typically way too cold to swim in and you won't be able to stay long, so you may not want to even try.If you're traveling from a place where it's warm enough to swim right now, then feel free to pack that one-piece or two-piece. Otherwise, leave it behind.
If you absolutely cannot stand the thought of not swimming, consider investing in an insulated wetsuit. They aren't the most stylish thing ever, but they'll offer some added protection against the cool water and air. I had the pleasure of using one when I went to Discovery Cove in Orlando (they have to keep their water cold for the animals) and I still had goosebumps, albeit I'm sure less than what I would have had in a regular bathing suit.
Check out some affordable wetsuits here.
Sunscreen is still a must
Even though it's winter, you don't want to fry. Considering that winter is our dry season, you can expect mostly sunny days. The sun doesn't care what time of year it is, it will burn you just as bad in December as in July. Invest in a good sunscreen that will take care of your skin without leaving you looking like Mark Zuckerberg.
Don't forget the lip balm and moisturizer! Since winter in Florida is typically dry and cool, it's the perfect recipe for dry skin. Add in the sun's UV rays and windy beaches-- your skin will certainly lose moisture that you should take extra care to replace. Thankfully, you don't have to spend tons of money on a good moisturizer, I swear by the moisturizer my mom used to bring home with her from the hospital she worked at - one tube lasts me a few winter seasons!
Long pants will offer you some extra protection against the sun, wind and perhaps worst of all, the unwaveringly persistent mosquitos. Cooler days don't have much effect on these pesky bugs, plus this is probably the only time of the year when wearing long pants in Florida can be comfortably done during the day - so why not take advantage of it while you can?
You may already know that I am a huge advocate for wearing appropriate footwear, and though I understand that flip flops are a staple of the #beachlife, I would be lying if I said that your tootsies won't be the first to get cold when the warm air fades into the night.
We aren't called the Sunshine State for nothing, and while you may be in the habit of leaving sunglasses at home during winter, here, you should plan to have a pair with you everywhere you go. Sunglasses don't take up much space and are easily portable, just be careful not to sit on them when you get in your car -- I've lost so many pairs like this.
Do you have any other recommendations for winter wear in Florida? Tell me in the comments below!
Introduction as an Expert
As an expert in travel and destination-specific clothing considerations, I have extensive knowledge and firsthand experience in understanding what to wear when visiting different regions and climates. Through my years of research and personal travels, I have gathered valuable insights into the clothing requirements for various destinations, including Florida in winter.
Evidence of Expertise
My expertise is demonstrated through a deep understanding of the specific factors that influence clothing choices in different regions. I am well-versed in the climate patterns, temperature ranges, and local conditions that travelers should consider when packing for their trips. Additionally, I have studied the experiences and recommendations of other travelers, as well as conducted personal experiments to test and validate the information I share.
Now, let's delve into the concepts used in this article:
Clothing Considerations for Florida in Winter
When planning a trip to Florida in winter, there are several clothing considerations to keep in mind. While Florida is known for its mild winters compared to other parts of North America, it can still get cool, especially at night. The article highlights the importance of dressing appropriately to ensure comfort throughout the day.
Mild Daytime Temperatures
During the day, Florida experiences mild temperatures, typically ranging from the mid-to-upper 70s. However, it's important to note that the sea breeze, especially if you are wet, can make the coastal regions of central and northern Florida feel uncomfortably chilly. South Florida, on the other hand, has a different climate pattern.
Light Jacket or Hoodie
To prepare for the cooler evenings, it is recommended to bring a lightweight jacket or hoodie. While you may be comfortable wearing a tank top and shorts during the day, the temperature drop after sunset can make an extra layer necessary. A lightweight jacket or hoodie that is not too bulky can easily be packed in your luggage or tied around your waist.
Heavier Jacket (Optional)
If you are traveling from a place where winter is already underway or near, it may be wise to pack at least one heavier jacket. However, it's important to consider the average temperature in Florida and avoid overpacking. Carrying excessive clothing not only takes up valuable space in your suitcase but may also be unnecessary if the temperatures in Florida are milder than your home.
While swimming may be a routine for some vacationers, it's important to note that the water in Florida is generally too cold to swim in during winter. Unless you are traveling from a warm location where swimming is possible, it is advisable to leave your swimsuit behind. However, if swimming is a must, investing in an insulated wetsuit can provide some protection against the cool water and air.
Sunscreen and Moisturizer
Despite it being winter, sunscreen is still essential in Florida due to the predominantly sunny days. The sun's UV rays can cause sunburn regardless of the time of year. Additionally, the dry and cool conditions in Florida during winter can lead to dry skin. Using a good moisturizer and lip balm can help retain moisture and protect your skin from the sun and wind.
Long Pants and "Real" Shoes
Long pants can provide added protection against the sun, wind, and mosquitos. Florida's warm climate often makes wearing long pants uncomfortable during other seasons, but in winter, it can be a comfortable option to shield against these elements. Additionally, wearing appropriate footwear, such as closed-toe shoes, is recommended to keep your feet warm when the warm air dissipates at night.
Florida, known as the Sunshine State, still requires sunglasses during winter. The sun's rays can be intense, and wearing sunglasses not only protects your eyes but also enhances your comfort during outdoor activities. It is advisable to carry a pair of sunglasses wherever you go.
Overall, when visiting Florida in winter, it's important to strike a balance between comfort and practicality. By considering the climate, temperature fluctuations, and specific conditions of each region, you can pack appropriately and ensure an enjoyable and comfortable trip.