4 Florida Destinations to Escape the Winter Blues
The Sunshine State is home to some of the best places to escape winter in the USA, with destinations ranging from untouched coastal preserves to thriving city streets. As summer temperatures wane and the autumn chill turns to frost, snowbirds, winter vacationers and campers from all over the country flock to the state for its warmth, amenities and lively communities.
What to Expect During Winter Vacations in Florida
Many of Florida's top beach towns and cities welcome annual snowbirds in November, and they typically stay through early March and leave before the spring break crowds arrive. During this handful of months, snowbirds become temporary residents of their locales, enjoying amenities and sometimes taking up work or hobbies to stay busy.
Here is what to expect during Florida winters:
- Mild to warm temperatures: The highlight of Florida winter vacations is enjoying warm temperatures and beach days and escaping northern ice and snow. Humidity starts leaving in November, and December and January bring cool — but rarely cold — days. January is the coolest month of the year, with the southern part of the state seeing the warmest highs and the northern part seeing the lowest lows.
- Dry weather: Once the hurricane season ends in November, Florida enters its dry season until spring. That means very few days of rain and very few chances of snowfall. Expect some mild to moderate fog as you approach the end of the season, and never leave without a jacket or layers in case it gets windy.
- Holiday events: If you plan to celebrate the holidays or welcome the New Year in Florida, you will have no problem finding a festival or parade to get in the spirit. Florida does the holidays in true coastal fashion, with decorated palm trees, holiday boat parades, beachside bashes and so much more.
- Fewer crowds: Between spring breakers and families visiting while their children are on school break, spring and summer are most of the state's busiest seasons. Winter offers a slower pace, with fewer tourists and crowds. Most destinations are made of mostly locals and snowbirds, so you have a better chance of enjoying amenities without long lines and surrounding yourself with those who share similar interests.
While snowbirds are no doubt the state's most frequent winter guests, the winter months are the ideal time for families and vacationers to plan fun getaways for lower costs than during the on-season summer months.
Best Places to Visit in Florida During Winter
The Sunshine State has everything you need to escape the winter blues whether you fly in for the week or park your RV for the season. Pack your sandals and grab your sunglasses because these are some of the best places to visit in Florida during the winter.
1. St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg is known as the Sunshine City for its abundance of sunny days and top-rated beaches. Locals and visitors alike can't get enough of its relaxing atmosphere and picturesque white sands. Clearwater Beach is another favorite.
Here is what to do in St. Petersburg in winter if you want a memorable trip:
- Visit the Florida Botanical Gardens, Sunken Gardens or Weedon Island Preserve to experience nature at its finest.
- See Salvador Dali's best work at The Dali Museum.
- Attend a First Friday street festival or Saturday morning market to meet others in the area.
- Get on the water for surfing, kayaking and paddleboarding or hang out at Gulf Pier for dolphin watching.
- Hike, bike or walk along local nature trails.
- Enjoy quality time with your four-legged friend, thanks to the city's pet-friendly atmosphere.
- Dine at farm-to-table restaurants or meet new friends at local pubs and craft beer spots.
When you reserve a stay at Kampgrounds of America, you are only minutes away from these attractions and more — and since St. Petersburg is also popular for its easy public transportation, snowbirds and vacationers can get around the city easily via bus or trolley route, or they can rent a bike for more active sightseeing.
2. St. Augustine
St. Augustine's powdery white sand — which you can drive and park on — makes it a favorite beach destination in Florida. As the site of the oldest continuously occupied European settlement on the continent, the St. Augustine region is rich in Spanish history, evidenced by many restaurants serving Spanish cuisine.
Other things to do include:
- Visiting Castillo de san Marcos, a Spanish fort and famous landmark.
- Celebrate the holidays during Nights of Light, a month-long light extravaganza downtown.
- Dine and mingle at October's Greek Festival.
- Visit the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park to see more of St. Augustine's history.
- Shop, dine or browse art on St. George Street, the city's pedestrian-only historic district.
- Explore the World Golf Hall of Fame and take in a round at a local course.
3. Key West
If your idea of the perfect winter day is less about snow and more about sun, Key West is calling. Key West strikes a balance between a small paradise getaway and a hotspot of activity, thanks to the island's cruise ship stop, airport and easy access from the mainland.
It is also one of the best places to visit in January for food and wine enthusiasts when it hosts the Florida Keys Seafood Festival in Key West and the Key West Food and Wine Festival.
These activities and more are a quick journey from KOA:
- Take advantage of the key's most popular attraction — its colorful coral reefs, perfect for snorkeling and diving.
- Dine, shop, listen to live music and take in the atmosphere along popular Duval Street.
- Spend the afternoon sunning and swimming at Smather's beach.
- Celebrate the New Year at the Conch Shell Drop or one of the key's many light tours or boat parades.
- Stock up on local goods at Truman Waterfront Market, Half Shell Fish Market or Key West Artisan Market.
- Get up close to wildlife and enjoy the outdoors at Zachary Taylor Historic State Park and the Dolphin Research Center.
Orlando's many theme parks give the city a faster pace than others, and it is a great winter spot for those who have no plans to slow down for the season. Take your pick of any of the area's popular attractions from your site at Orlando Southwest KOA Holiday or Orlando / Kissimmee KOA Holiday:
- Immerse yourself into the city's thriving golf culture at one of its many courses.
- Spend the afternoon exploring the Orlando Science Center exhibits, events and productions.
- Visit Lake Eola Park for a day by the water or take in a show at the Walt Disney Amphitheater.
- Enjoy the waves at your pick of nearby beaches, including the ever-popular Daytona, Cocoa and Smyrna shores.
- Go fishing and birding at Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area near Kissimmee.
- Pass the time in Winter Garden's downtown district for beautiful architecture, indulgent dining options, Plant Street Market and the Garden Theatre.
- Hike or bike your way across the West Orange Trail to stay active and enjoy the mild, comfortable temperatures.
Have Your Best Winter Yet at Kampgrounds of America
With nearly two dozen KOA Campgrounds across the state, your winter getaway to Florida is only a quick reservation away. Explore KOA's amenities, lodging and convenient proximity to all of your must-see destinations, and reserve your stay today!