Are you looking for the warmest places to visit in Florida in December to escape the winter chills of the North? This article will show you 17 of the must-visit places.
As winter descends upon most parts of North America, the Sunshine State still basks in balmy weather.
Thanks to temperatures that hover around mid- 70s sometimes even reaching the 80s, Florida has become the perfect destination for those seeking warmth and sunshine during the holiday season.
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However, the entire state doesn’t stay warm during winter! So if you want to exchange your winter boots for flips and shorts, this post will guide you through the warmest places to visit in Florida in December.
From the palm-fringed beaches of Miami to the cultural hotspots of St. Petersburg, the state is replete with vibrant cities and quaint towns perfect for winter getaways.
warmest places to visit in Florida in December
While places like Destin in the Panhandle and most of Northern Florida start to get chilly, the places below are considered the warmest cities in Florida in December for those chasing the sun.
1. Key West
Being the southernmost city in the United States, Key West is a true tropical paradise even in December.
The average high temperature remains around 77°F, allowing you to enjoy its sandy beaches like Smathers Beach and crystal clear waters comfortably.
The water is also still warm so you can go snorkeling and take in the beauty of the coral reefs it’s famous for.
If you’re more of a shopper, Duval Street, the island’s main street stays alive with shops, bars (it’s the perfect place for bar hopping), and restaurants that are perfect for holiday shopping and an upscale dining experience.
Don’t forget to also visit the iconic Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum and catch a sunset at Mallory Square.
The laid-back vibe and warm weather of Key West truly make it one of the warmest places to visit in Florida in December.
One of the warmest places to visit in Florida in December is no doubt the cosmopolitan city of Miami whose temperatures oscillate around 75°F.
Famed for its sun-soaked beaches, the city offers ample opportunities for beach-side relaxation and water sports, especially at popular spots like South Beach, South Pointe Park, Lummus Park, and more.
But it’s not just the beaches that make Miami famous! It has beautiful neighborhoods like Wynwood and its impressive street art, Little Havana which showcases a vibrant Cuban influence, and more.
Nestled on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Naples enjoys a warm winter climate, making it an ideal choice for a December getaway.
With high temperatures averaging in the mid-70s, the weather is perfect for beachgoers, outdoor enthusiasts, and those just seeking a break from the winter chill.
Naples is known for its stunning white-sand beaches, such as those found in Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park. These pristine sandy stretches offer ample opportunity to soak up the Florida sun, enjoy a leisurely swim, or engage in activities like shelling and bird watching.
In addition to the natural beauty, Naples is home to luxury shopping districts like Fifth Avenue and Third Street South which are adorned with twinkling holiday lights in December.
And let’s not forget the culinary scene where you’ll find everything from seafood shacks to high-end dining.
Naples also serves as a gateway to the Everglades, offering unique opportunities for nature tours and wildlife spotting.
4. Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale in December is such a treat. With daytime temperatures sitting comfortably around 78°F, it’s the warmest place in Florida in December.
The city’s stunning coastline, especially Fort Lauderdale Beach is a sight for sore eyes but it gets better in December with the Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade — the longest boat parade in the Sunshine State.
But that’s not all. If you’re into arts and culture, you’ll love the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District. From acclaimed venues like the Broward Center for the Performing Arts to inspiring exhibitions at the NSU Art Museum, there’s something for every art lover.
If you’re a fan of shopping, Las Olas Boulevard is a must-visit with its fascinating shops, art galleries, and boutiques.
Also, don’t miss out on a gondola ride through the city’s canals! They don’t call it the “Venice of America” for nothing!
5. West Palm Beach
Are you looking for the warmest place in Florida in December? Then consider going to West Palm Beach.
In December, the temperatures generally stay around a pleasant 78°F, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to soak up the sun.
You can visit the city’s sun-kissed beaches for some relaxation or take a leisurely stroll through Rosemary Square which is filled with delightful shopping and dining venues.
The Norton Museum of Art and the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts await art lovers, while Palm Beach Zoo is perfect for a family day out.
Nature lovers will enjoy exploring the Mounts Botanical Garden, a 14-acre living plant museum with tropical and subtropical plants from around the world.
So if a warm, fun-filled December is on your agenda, West Palm Beach is just the place to go!
6. Boca Raton
In December, Boca Raton offers pleasant temperatures averaging around 76°F.
The city is a delight for those who enjoy beach and water activities, like snorkeling at Red Reef Park or strolling around the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center which is home to sea turtles, tropical fish, and other marine life.
For shopping enthusiasts, Mizner Park offers a mix of high-end retailers and smaller boutiques, alongside a range of dining options, and as for golfers, you will be happy to know that there are several premier golf courses to take a swing at.
7. St. Petersburg
Often referred to as “Sunshine City,” St. Petersburg is located on Florida’s Gulf coast and holds the Guinness World record for the city with the most consecutive days of sunshine — a streak that lasted 768 days from 1967 to 1969, so it’s no surprise that we’re including it on our list of the warmest places in Florida in December!
In December, you can expect temperatures around 74°F, making it an inviting destination for those looking to escape colder climates.
Besides receiving 361 days of sunshine a year, St. Petersburg is famed for its vibrant arts scene with the Dali Museum and the Morean Arts Center showcasing impressive collections, but that’s not all there is to this city.
It’s also home to beautiful beaches like Fort De Soto Park where you can bask in the warm sun and if you want to go shopping, the downtown area has an array of shops, restaurants, and bars that are perfect for winter nights.
A stone’s throw from St. Petersburg, Clearwater is another one of the warmest Florida cities in December.
Known for its idyllic white sand beaches and clear, shallow water of Clearwater Beach, this place gets an average high of 70°F in December.
The city is popular with those who enjoy water sports, thanks to its calm waters that offer opportunities for jet-skiing, paddleboarding, and parasailing.
Be sure to visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where you can learn about local marine life and the importance of conservation, and in the evening, head to Pier 60 for the daily sunset festival which features local artisans, performers, and of course, stunning views of the sun setting over the Gulf of Mexico.
Nestled on the Gulf Coast of Southwest Florida, Sarasota boasts an average December high of 72°F.
This city is a cultural hub known for its thriving art scene, historical sites, and excellent food.
One of its prime attractions is The Ringling which includes an art museum, a historic mansion, a circus museum, and a theater.
If you’re a nature lover, you won’t want to miss the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens with its extensive collection of orchids and bromeliads.
Of course, a visit to Sarasota wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Siesta Key Beach and Lido Beach which are some of the best beaches in southwest Florida thanks to their powdery white sand and tranquil waters.
Dubbed the “Theme Park Capital of the World,” and home to Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld, all of which embrace the holiday spirit with festive decorations, shows, and events, Orlando is no doubt one of the hottest places in Florida in December with high temperatures averaging around 73°F.
But there’s more to Orlando than theme parks. The city boasts a vibrant dining scene, diverse shopping options, and abundant golf courses.
Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy warm-weather activities such as airboat tours and wildlife spotting at the Everglades.
Other attractions that make Orlando one of the best places in Florida to visit in December include; Discovery Cove, Harry P Leu Gardens, Orlando Science Center, Lake Eola, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (in just an hour’s drive), and so much more!
11. Marco Island
Marco Island is a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico off Southwest Florida, offering temperatures that average 75°F in December.
Known for its high-quality resorts, beautiful beaches, and peaceful ambiance, Marco Island provides an excellent winter getaway for those seeking relaxation.
Its white-sand beaches, such as Tigertail Beach which is considered one of the warmest beaches in Florida are perfect for sunbathing and shelling while the calm and warm waters are ideal for paddleboarding and kayaking.
You can also explore the island’s tropical wilderness by visiting the nearby Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge or enjoy a sunset cruise or charter a fishing boat to take advantage of the abundant sea life.
If you’re more of a golfer, you’ll be happy to know that Marco Island is home to a number of golf courses.
12. Daytona Beach
Daytona Beach, located on Florida’s Atlantic Coast is an excellent destination for those seeking warm temperatures in December, with averages hovering around the high-60s°F.
This destination is well-known for its iconic hard-packed sandy beach where driving is permitted in designated areas.
You can enjoy sunbathing, building sandcastles, or collecting shells while enjoying the sunshine.
But Daytona Beach isn’t just about the beach; it’s also famous for the Daytona International Speedway which hosts the prestigious Daytona 500 NASCAR race in February.
Additionally, the area offers numerous outdoor activities, golf courses, cultural attractions, and shopping opportunities.
13. Fort Myers
With its beautiful beaches, abundant outdoor activities, and pleasant temperatures with an average high of 75°F, Fort Myers located on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River in southwest Florida is indeed one of the warm places to visit in December in Florida.
The city is particularly well-known for its fishing and boating, with numerous marinas and fishing charters available, so if you’re into fishing and boating, this is one place not to miss.
The historic downtown also offers a charming atmosphere with quaint shops, art galleries, and eateries, while the Edison and Ford Winter Estates showcase the homes and laboratories of two of America’s most influential inventors.
From nature preserves like the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve to the Shell Factory and Nature Park, Fort Myers offers numerous activities for both relaxation and adventure, making it an excellent choice for a warm December getaway in Florida.
14. Captiva Island
Located just off Florida’s Gulf Coast, Captiva Island which is part of the larger Sanibel-Captiva island chain offers a tropical retreat for travelers seeking warm weather in December.
Average high temperatures in December usually hover around the mid-70s°F, creating perfect conditions for a range of outdoor activities.
The island is famed for its stunning beaches which are some of the best spots in the world for shelling. You can spend hours walking along the white sandy beaches collecting unique shells, or perhaps take a dolphin-watching cruise in the surrounding waters.
There’s also the nearby Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, a treat for nature lovers with its diverse range of local bird species.
15. Sanibel island
Located just across a small waterway from its sibling island Captiva, Sanibel Island is another hot spot that continues to draw visitors even in December due to its warm climate.
Temperatures typically hover around 75°F making it one of the warmest places to visit in Florida in December.
Sanibel is world-renowned for its shelling beaches, and many visitors come to comb the beaches for unique and colorful shells that wash ashore.
Aside from shelling, you can also visit the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, a sprawling preserve that’s home to numerous species of birds, making it a haven for bird watchers.
To add more to your to-do list, there’s the Sanibel Lighthouse, an iconic landmark at the eastern end of the island that’s perfect for photo ops.
There are plenty of dining options as well, with local seafood being a highlight for foodies.
16. Bonita Springs
Bonita Springs, located in Southwest Florida offers pleasant temperatures in December, usually ranging from 75°F to 77°F.
Like most cities in SW Florida, it is also known for its beautiful beaches, particularly Bonita Beach Park and Barefoot Beach.
These sandy stretches offer calm and turquoise waters ideal for swimming and sunbathing. For shell lovers, the beaches also provide a wealth of seashells that get washed ashore.
But it’s not just about the beaches. Nature enthusiasts can explore the Everglades Wonder Gardens which is home to a variety of Florida’s native wildlife. The gardens feature a botanical jungle, a flamingo lagoon, and even an alligator pool.
So whether you fancy a quiet beach day or an outdoor adventure, Bonita Springs is one of the warmest places to visit in Florida in December.
17. Hollywood, FL
Located in Broward County between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Hollywood is another appealing choice for a warm December getaway.
With average highs around the mid-70s°F, this Florida city is a pleasing escape from the harsh winter cold.
Hollywood is home to a charming beach boardwalk that stretches about 2.5 miles along the Atlantic.
The Hollywood Beach Boardwalk which is recognized as one of the best in the U.S. is ideal for walking, biking, or rollerblading while soaking in the seaside views.
It’s dotted with restaurants, shops, and cafes, providing plenty of options for entertainment and dining.
If you prefer a quieter environment, head to the nearby Anne Kolb Nature Center. This 1,500-acre coastal mangrove wetland is home to a plethora of birds and aquatic life. There are also trails for hiking and biking and paddle trails for canoeing or kayaking.
For those interested in arts and culture, downtown Hollywood is a vibrant hub. It’s filled with galleries, murals, live music venues, and unique boutiques.
The Artspark at Young Circle, a 10-acre circle named after the city’s founder, hosts various events throughout the year and is a must-visit for art lovers.
FAQs About the Warmest Places in Florida in December
What is the warmest part of Florida in December?
The warmest part of Florida in December is typically the southernmost region, particularly Miami and the Florida Keys.
What is the warmest city in Florida in December?
Key West is usually the warmest city in Florida in December, with average highs around 75°F but cities like Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach are close seconds.
Is Florida warm enough in December?
Yes, Florida is warm enough in December, with temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to the high 70s in degrees Fahrenheit depending on the region.
Is it cold in Florida in December?
While “cold” is subjective, Florida’s temperatures in December are relatively mild, especially compared to Northern states. Basically, we wouldn’t call Florida cold even in December.
Final Thoughts on The Warmest Places in Florida in December
Florida is indeed a haven for those looking to escape the winter chill. With its temperate climate, beautiful beaches, diverse wildlife, and vibrant cities, it provides the perfect getaway in December.
Whether you’re enjoying the charms of Fort Lauderdale, taking in the artsy vibe of Miami, or relaxing on the serene beaches of Marco Island, there’s a Florida destination that caters to every type of traveler.
Remember, the spots we’ve mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg — Florida’s warmth and beauty go beyond these seventeen places. So which of these warm places in Florida in December will you be visiting first?
But before you go, consider sharing these warm cities in Florida in December if you found the article helpful!