By Rebecca Fending
Whether you’re a snowbird or a permanent Florida resident, finding new things to do in Florida during cooler weather can be difficult. If you’re tired of Disney World, beach walks or other tourist-y things that are open year-round, here’s your sign to try something you haven’t yet from this guide for winter activities in the Sunshine State:
During the cooler season, these gentle aquatic giants migrate to the warmer fresh waters of Florida springs. Here, you can spot droves of these sea cows as they huddle for warmth in the 70-degree water. Although some locations (such as Citrus County) allow you to swim with the manatees, the general rule is to admire them from afar—look, don’t touch!
Winter is typically the time of year when the oppressively tropical temperatures and humidity of southern Florida finally become bearable. What better way to celebrate the season than traveling to locations that you wouldn’t dare visit in the summer, like Key West? With annual recorded temps that dance around 70 degrees, now is the ideal time to get a taste of the topics within your state. Visit one of the national parks or nature preserves in the area to satisfy your craving for the outdoors, or take a casual stroll among the shops while you wait for a famous Key West sunset.
Much like how Midwesterners treasure apple picking in the fall, Floridians have the opportunity to harvest the state’s citrusy claim-to-fame from October to April, whether it be oranges, limes or grapefruit. Take a tour of a packing plant like at Al’s Family Farms in Fort Pierce, or pick your own oranges at Showcase of Citrus in Clermont.
Big City Getaway
Florida natives can enjoy the bigger cities that attract the state’s tourists each year once the forecast cools. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway at one of Orlando’s resorts, or an upbeat vacay in Miami, late fall/winter is the perfect time due to the lower rates that many hotels and resorts implement as a way to attract more guests. Some hotels give discounts to Florida citizens and AAA members, so be sure to ask before booking your stay.
Speaking of romance, one way to treat you and your better half to a relaxing vacation is by traveling to one of Florida’s many romantic nearby islands. From Captiva Island to St. Augustine, these southwest gems keep their warm temps in the winter, making it a great escape.