Winter on the Water in Florida

Spending winter by the water might initially sound like a strange idea, but you will be surprised just how refreshing and enjoyable it is in Florida. This is a clue that life is excellent here throughout the year, including the winter season. It’s no wonder why many retirees choose to make the Sunshine State their retirement destination – they do say that with age comes experience. For Floridians, winter doesn’t equal waking up every morning to shovel snow off the driveway, scrape ice off the windshield, or even be accompanied by their favorite scarves, unless it’s to pair with a nice afternoon drive. 


What is winter like in Florida?

Florida experiences one of the most forgiving winters in the USA. Days are typically filled with sunshine and warm temperatures. People generally don light clothing, including shorts and short sleeve shirts during the day, which is a paradise compared to other parts of the continent. The nights are usually a bit cooler, but nothing a sweater can’t fix.


Florida’s climate is generally considered subtropical, with some areas experiencing 86% humidity levels, creating summer-like weather even in winter. The amount of rainfall drops considerably during the winter season compared to summer, ensuring that you are rarely trapped indoors because of a heavy downpour. This makes Florida the perfect winter holiday destination, especially for those that love outdoor activities. 


Here’s a quick preview of the average weather conditions throughout the winter season:


  • As winter starts in December, temperatures average a high of 75˚F and a low of 58˚F. 
  • As the winter progresses into January, the temperatures drop slightly to an average high of 71˚F and a low of 53˚F. 
  • We hope that January’s cold front didn’t scare you away… February highs and lows rise slightly, back up to an average high of 74˚F with a low of 57˚F. 
  • As we start heading to spring in March, things start to warm up with temperatures averaging a high of 78˚Fand a low of 59˚F.


The reason why winters in Florida are warm is mainly because of the predominant tropical easterly winds. These winds blow through the southern and central parts of the state. This, in turn, keeps the temperatures mild. El Niño and La Niña are the dominant weather patterns,the former usually causes wetter and colder winters while the latter causes warmer and drier winters.


Some visitors might wonder if it ever gets icy in Florida. Occasionally, a cold front blows through the peninsula, causing subzero or near subzero temperatures, mainly during the night in the inland areas in central Florida. This shouldn’t be a concern though because it only happens every couple of years. It is so rare that snow, to the younger generation in this area, is unheard of.

Now that we know what weather conditions are like, let’s take a look at some fun ways people stay occupied during the winter months.


Fun activities to do in Florida during winter

People in Florida love their boats and spend a lot of time in them. By the simple fact that winters in Florida are so mild, it opens up a world of unique activities that you wouldn’t participate in anywhere else during this season.


Boat Fishing

The majority of fish usually love warmer waters to swim in. As different species migrate from colder areas, many flock to the warmer parts of Floridian waters. This might be a good chance to exploit their cold-blooded behavior and catch yourself some fresh fish for you and your family. 


To catch plenty of fish, you will have to make sure that the bait is right and you’re in the perfect spot for them to be lured to take the bait. If, by any chance, you are fishing on a lake, be sure to cast your net or rod in the deeper parts of the water as they often have warmer water where fish usually swim.


Swimming with Manatees

Sea animal lovers will really enjoy this! Crystal River, located on the west coast of Florida, is the only place where you can legally swim with these beautiful creatures. The waters in these areas are a constant 72˚F throughout the year, making it warm enough for swimming, even during winter. During the coldest seasons, about 400 manatees move away from the cold waters of South America and move north to Florida’s warm waters. Crystal River provides pleasant refuge for them.


Manatees are large aquatic animals that can weigh up to 1,000 pounds and measure around 10 feet in body length. They are slow movers which allows people to interact with them. Being mammals that cannot breathe underwater, they usually come to the surface every 30 seconds, which gives swimmers one of the most rewarding experiences of touching and swimming side-by-side with a water mammal.


Christmas on St. Johns River

What better way to cap off the year than with an experience that every boat lover and member of your family will enjoy! A holiday boat parade is a beautiful way of ushering out the year as the winter season starts to creep in. The first annual light boat parade usually happens at the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida. Close to 200,000 people every year flock and line up the river to witness this incredible light show. Plus, a fireworks display that makes the water glisten as the boats move by to cap it all off.


Are you a snowbird who retreats to Florida when the winter weather creeps in at home? Or a future Floridian doing research on the benefits of a move to the Sunshine State? Whatever your circumstances, if you’re on the water in Florida you most likely have a boat. And, well, what do you know – we’re in the business of boats! Give us a call for all your boat lift cover needs – (941) 505-0237. We can’t wait to hear from you.