There's a reason why Florida
is referred to as the “Sunshine State” of the US. The sun shines brightly all year long, even in winter. While other parts of the country get covered with blankets of snow, Florida remains as hot and heavy as ever. It's why so many people love it here, from retired citizens to young adults looking to party. It's one of the go-to American destinations for a winter holiday, thanks in large part to its exciting cities. Spending winter in Florida is all about partying in Miami, going on an adventure in Jacksonville, visiting Disney World in Orlando, and so much more!
There's always a lot of fun to be had in Miami
, even when it's winter. For one thing (and ironically enough), winter is the season of festivals in the city. At around January and February, Miami hosts all sorts of festivals to delight both locals and tourists alike. Foodies will love both the International Chocolate Festival and the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. The LGBTQ+ community also has Wigwood Miami to look forward to. And for the sporty types out there, what's stopping you from joining the Miami Half Marathon? Nothing, right? So go for it!
Since the holiday season is in winter, it's the best time to bond with family, friends, and loved ones. And what better way to do that than to go to a theme park? The mild winter weather in Florida makes it perfect for everyone to visit Orlando, widely regarded as the theme park capital of the world. This city has Disney World
, Universal Studios, Legoland, Aquatica Park, and more. You and your family can spend an entire season going on thrilling rides, playing fun games, meeting characters from your favorite Disney films
, and more. What's not to love?
Admittedly, Key West isn't among the most popular Florida cities. Floridians may know about it, but outsiders are more familiar with the likes of Miami, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and more than Key West. And you know what? That's not necessarily a bad thing! On the contrary, the city's relatively underrated reputation may prove to be the best thing about spending winter here. With fewer tourists than the aforementioned cities, the beaches and bars are less crowded. Not to mention Key West's key (pardon the pun!) tourist attractions like Ernst Hemingway's house from the 1930s and the bar-filled Duval Street.
Typically, St. Augustine is a go-to destination for spending summer in Florida
. But what about winter? Does the city still captivate around this time of the year? You bet it does! Many would even argue that it's better to see the city in winter since the heat isn't as intense as it would be around summertime. This makes the temperature just right for exploring the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, for example, which is always a must-see in St. Augustine. As is Anastasia State Park and the beautiful birds that flock to this side of the world in winter.
Delray Beach is the kind of coastal city you'd expect in Florida. It's not a sprawling metropolis like Miami, but that's a huge part of its charm. Even with its popular downtown area filled with a lot of hustle and bustle, Delray Beach evokes a more small-town appeal, as if you're in the countryside. That's also thanks in large part to the largely undeveloped seaside land by the state's East Coast. There's nothing but long stretches of sand and sea on the coast of Delray Beach, perfect for getting some sun on your winter holiday in Florida!
As one of the biggest cities in Florida, Jacksonville needs to be part of your winter holiday. The city offers the best of both worlds. On one hand, you can explore the urban areas and absorb all the cosmopolitan magic. And on the other, there are nature-centric spots in Jacksonville
, too! Go on the wildlife trail in the Theodore Roosevelt Area, where there's a good chance you'll stumble upon a cute critter or two. Check out the Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary and bask in the glory of its fine felines, be they the majestic tigers or the languid leopards. And of course, there's the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, which is always a great place for some family fun!
Can't get enough of Florida's cute critters? Then perhaps you'll enjoy going to Crystal River too. Why? Because winter is the season when manatees pop up in the waters near this Florida city. From the city's state parks to its largely untouched coasts, manatees flock to this part of the world around November and stay here until March. That's practically the whole duration of winter! During this time, you can see them up close by snorkeling, going on a boat ride, or joining a wildlife reserve tour. Sounds exciting, doesn't it?
A winter holiday is mostly about taking some time for yourself, perhaps a bit of relaxation after the eventful holidays. Sure, many of the Florida cities are known for their exciting attractions, but there's spring and summer for those kinds of vacations. If your ideal winter in Florida has you enjoying some peace and quiet, then look no further than Mount Dora! Though a largely unknown town outside of the Sunshine State, its serenity is its biggest draw. This charming lakeside town is where you can just take a walk, enjoy some sun at the beach or in a park, and maybe eat out at night.
Off the Gulf of Mexico in Southwest Florida, you'll find Marco Island. True to its name, the city is on a barrier island, making it a good distance away from the rest of the Florida cities on this list and in the state. In a way, it's the perfect escape from the busier American metropolises, which tend to get just as busy around this time of year. Like Mount Dora, Marco Island is also a great destination for a more relaxed winter holiday. You can go to the state parks and be one with nature, enjoy a day at the beach, and more!
Looking for some excitement this winter? Then travel to these amazing Florida cities. Be it in the theme parks in Orlando or the party city that is Miami, the Sunshine State has a lot to offer even in the coldest time of the year!