24 Wonderful Things to Do in Florida in the Winter: Special Events, Seasonal Fun & Snow!

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If you’re tired of bundling up against the bitter cold up north, come experience all the wonderful things to do in Florida in the winter!

Leave the snow shovel behind and instead enjoy some of the most beautiful sun-kissed beaches.

With comfortable temperatures, winter is also the best time to get outdoors and enjoy the Florida state parks system.

Winter is also when the manatees are congregating in Florida’s springs, so you can go to one of the viewing areas to witness this marvel!

The Sunshine State is also a perfect place to celebrate the holidays; Christmas and New Year’s Eve offer ample excuse to enjoy sparkling lights and palm trees decorated for festivities.

Whether you want to get your toes in the sand or enjoy seasonal celebrations without a frostbitten nose, Florida in the winter promises unforgettable moments.

You might also like our guide to Florida in the fall if you’re local and looking for some fun festivities.

Try our Florida bucket list to see how many activities and attractions you’ve already seen!

The Best of Florida in Winter

Our guide starts off with fun activities and attractions to check out during the winter in Florida, and then we offer some specific tips for Christmas and NYE in Florida so you can plan some fun, festive celebrations.

We also have a section dedicated to outdoor spaces we love all across the state.

Winter is the perfect time to get outdoors in FL; you won’t be sweating in the high heat of summer and you’ll likely be avoiding the biggest crowds that tend to stay around the main attractions and events.

Our final section covers the weather in Florida in the winter months so you know what to expect.

Pensacola Winterfest

Pensacola Winterfest (221 Palafox Pl, Pensacola) offers many ways to celebrate the holidays here on the Gulf Coast!

On select dates in November and December, there are various tours on trolleys that guests can take, such as a Polar Express and Grinch tour, where these timeless Christmas stories come to life in performances.

Winterfest has tours with ASL interpretation, and the Polar Express tour also has a lift for mobility devices for guests who may need it.

It’s no wonder why Winterfest is such a favored event among locals and visitors, since the merry atmosphere and community spirit this event creates is unlike anything else!

Check out our other suggestions for things to do in Pensacola all year round.

WinterFEST at Adventure Landing

Attending WinterFEST at Adventure Landing (1944 Beach Blvd, Jacksonville) promises a wonderful and fun-filled time!

Adventure Landing is the largest family entertainment center in northeast Florida, with go-karts, mini golf, an arcade, and laser tag.

During the winter, the park transforms into a holiday wonderland, with plenty of Christmas lights, ice skating, snow flurries, Santa meetups, and joyful music.

Cozy up with some hot cocoa and treats after enjoying the various attractions at this memorable event in the winter in Jacksonville.

Jacksonville skyline and blue water fountain, Florida

Nights of Lights St. Augustine

Nights of Lights (170 St. George St, St. Augustine) is an annual event that transforms the historic city of St. Augustine into a sparkling winter wonderland.

This Florida winter activity has been named one of the best light displays in the entire world — and for great reason!

As the sun goes down, millions of white lights come alive along the city’s buildings, streets, and trees, creating a magical atmosphere.

This is a free event that occurs nightly from mid-November through January, and it’s said that two of the top spots for views and snapping selfies are at The Plaza de la Constitución and The Bridge of Lions.

Nights of Lights is a great way to explore the nation’s oldest city while receiving spectacular views that you can only get during winter.

Night of Lights Revolution Plaza Christmas tree St Augustine Florida

Luminary Night

Luminary Night (100 Red Cox Dr, St. Augustine) is a lovely tradition where the grounds of the St. Augustine Lighthouse light up in a magnificent way.

This is a free event where over 2,000 luminaries are displayed throughout this historic landmark, and visitors can even climb to the top of the lighthouse for views like none other.

Wander through the pathways, enjoying the illuminated scenery of the Keeper’s House, museum, and other historic buildings.

Luminary Night is a brilliant winter activity here in Florida that makes for a perfect date night or holiday pastime with the family.

Check out our guide to St. Augustine at Christmas for more festive ideas.

St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum up close St Augustine Florida

Snowcat Ridge

Snowcat Ridge (27839 St. Joe Rd, Dade City) is a unique and snow-filled adventure here in the Sunshine State.

This is the state’s very first snow park, and it has exciting activities like tubing, an igloo where you can play in the snow, ice skating, and an alpine village.

Visitors can experience a winter wonderland, complete with snowball fights and snowmen, and then bask in the sunshine at the beach the very next day.

Slide, skate, and cool off at this amusing Florida winter attraction where you’ll get the rare opportunity to have a snow day in Florida.

Florida Strawberry Festival

The Florida Strawberry Festival is a beloved event that occurs every year from February through early March to celebrate the Sunshine State’s abundant strawberry harvest.

Located in Plant City, the festival began in 1930 and offers a blend of agriculture, entertainment, games, rides, and delicious strawberry treats.

This festival is a pillar of the community and provides a great late-winter activity and fun for the whole family.

Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park

Winter in Tampa is extra magical when you partake in your favorite holiday pastimes at the Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park (600 N Ashley Dr, Tampa).

The centerpiece of this event is without a doubt the large outdoor ice skating rink, which is surrounded by festive decorations and sparkly lights.

Visitors can also enjoy local boutique vendors, games of curling, a trolley trip complete with milk and cookies through Downtown Tampa, and visits from Santa.

The park’s lovely setting next to the Hillsborough River and the abundance of holiday entertainment make this a delightful place to cherish the winter spirit with loved ones.

Catch a Tampa Bay Lightning Game

Bring your excitement and team spirit as you cheer on the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena (401 Channelside Dr, Tampa), one of Florida’s premier hockey teams.

With the hockey season starting in October and typically running through April, this is a fantastic way to have fun during winter in Florida.

There’s no question that Lightning fans are dedicated, so you’ll have a blast as the arena comes alive with roaring crowds, flashing lights, and simulated thunder and lightning whenever the home team scores a goal.

Feel the excitement of the fast-paced action of this sport during a memorable outing during winter in Tampa!

Amalie Arena entrance in Tampa Florida

LEGOLAND Florida

For an abundance of family fun during winter, plan a trip to LEGOLAND Florida (1 LEGOLAND Way, Winter Haven)!

The cool yet sunny Florida winter weather makes exploring the park’s attractions and rides even more enjoyable.

If you visit during the holiday season, you’ll have the chance to enjoy seasonal festivities, colorful decorations, and themed entertainment.

The shops, restaurants, venues, and most of the rides throughout the park are ADA-accessible, as well.

From extraordinary Lego displays to exciting attractions, LEGOLAND offers a winter adventure filled with fun and creativity for visitors of all ages.

Check out our guides to Lakeland and Kissimmee for more fun suggestions in the area.

There’s Snow Place Like Jupiter

There are plenty of South Florida winter events, but There’s Snow Place Like Jupiter (1501 Frederick Small Rd, Jupiter) is one that provides a fantastic and free way to engage with the community.

Enjoy a classic tree lighting, a movie night on the lawn, a meet and greet with Santa and Mrs. Claus, music, and plenty of food.

There’s Snow Place Like Jupiter offers a night full of family-friendly fun in a remarkably quaint seaside town.

Fairchild Botanical Gardens NightGarden

If you’re looking for a blend of extraordinary art and mystical garden exhibits while in South Florida during the winter season, check out the Fairchild Botanical Gardens NightGarden (10901 Old Cutler Rd, Coral Gables).

This 23-acre botanical garden becomes illuminated with ambient lighting, creating an atmosphere that is truly otherworldly.

Visitors can wander through immersive displays, join in on a Fairy Quest, indulge in delicious food and drinks, and interact with the wise tree.

The NightGarden provides a one-of-a-kind way to appreciate the beauty of nature and artistry during a Miami winter.

In anticipation of the NightGarden event, you can stroll the Miracle Mile to enjoy the festive lights on display there first!

Check out all of our other ideas for celebrating Christmas in Miami.

Miracle Mile lights Coral Gables Miami Florida

Key West Schooner Wharf Lighted Boat Parade

Life in the Florida Keys, especially during the winter months, is simply unlike anything else!

The Key West Schooner Wharf Lighted Boat Parade (202 William St, Key West) is a whimsical maritime spectacle that happens every year in December.

Spectators line the waterfront as boats ornamented with shimmering lights and funky decorations sail through the harbor.

This is Key West, after all, so the celebrations begin hours before the parade and continue into the night!

This enchanting event combines with the charm of Key West to make for an unforgettable experience for all who attend.

You might also like our guide to the most romantic things to do in Key West.

Boat Key West Florida

Christmas and NYE in Florida

There are so many fun events to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Florida!

These are a few of our favorites to recommend, listed from north to south for your convenience.

Florida Santa decors Cramps Homosassa Florida

St. Augustine Christmas Parade

The St. Augustine Christmas Parade is a fun way to get in the holiday spirit and celebrate with some of the most beloved Christmas characters.

Decked-out floats, marching bands, and talented performers put on an incredible and festive show.

The parade begins at Mission Nombre de Dios (27 Ocean Ave, St. Augustine) and winds through the historic streets of St. Augustine, so arrive early and get a good spot to await the arrival of Santa Claus!

This uplifting parade is a special way to kick off the holiday season and see this Florida destination in a unique way.

San Sebastián Christmas tree St Augustine Florida

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

For the most cheerful of Christmas celebrations, you can’t skip Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom (1180 Seven Seas Dr, Lake Buena Vista).

Beyond the usual magical flair of Mickey and his pals, the special events in November and December bring festive decor and holiday-themed parades to the park.

This is one of our favorite ways to celebrate Christmas in Orlando!

Be sure to get your tickets in advance to avoid the lines.

Now Snowing in Celebration

If you’re in Florida during the winter, you have to visit the wonderful town of Celebration.

It’s right here in Celebration that you can enjoy a nightly snowfall on Market Street, every hour on the hour.

Do some holiday shopping along Market Street as the “flakes” fall — you’ll feel like you’ve been dropped into a Hallmark movie!

We have many more suggestions for spending Christmas in Celebration if you want to plan ahead.

Now Snowing Market Street Christmas night Celebration Florida

Surfing Santas Cocoa Beach

Surfing Santas (3 Minutemen Causeway, Cocoa Beach) is a hilarious, fun, and festive holiday tradition that’s been happening every year since 2009.

Each year on Christmas Eve, hundreds of surfers put together their very best Santa Claus outfits and hit the waves, creating a highly entertaining spectacle for everyone watching on the beach.

Surfing Santas isn’t just about fun, though, as it raises thousands of dollars for charities from donations and selling themed merchandise.

This unique event has Florida winter written all over it and adds a playful twist to other, more traditional holiday celebrations.

We love Cocoa Beach and hope you get there to enjoy this fantastic area!

Cocoa Beach view Florida

Key West New Year’s Eve Celebration

What better way is there to ring in the new year than by keeping warm and celebrating with the most vibrant community at the Key West New Year’s Eve Celebration (202 William St, Key West)?

During this festival, Duval Street transforms into a lively street party with music, drinks, costumes, and dancing.

When the clock strikes midnight, colorful fireworks light up the night sky before the party continues on.

If you’re wondering what to do in Florida in winter and can make a visit to Key West during New Year’s Eve, the exhilarating energy and joyful spirit that this event cultivates makes for a highly memorable start to the new year.

If you can’t stay for midnight, you can at least do a day trip to Key West with our itinerary.

Greetings from Key West Cuban coffee queen Florida

Outdoor Fun in Florida in Winter

Winter in Florida is the perfect time to get outside, explore, and bask in the beautiful weather.

Check out these suggestions to enjoy the comfortable temperatures and scenic beauty even in the depths of winter!

You might also like our favorite Florida state parks for a full list of excellent outdoor spaces to enjoy.

Pensacola Beach Eco Trail

The Pensacola Beach Eco Trail is one of the best things to do in the Florida Panhandle in winter.

Enjoy this 8.5-mile asphalt path that winds through dunes and coastal habitats, so you can walk or bike as you take in the breathtaking scenery.

With its powder white sand and the turquoise waters of the Gulf, Pensacola Beach is one of the best Florida beaches in winter.

Keep your eye out for seagulls, crabs, great blue herons, and bottlenose dolphins out in the water.

Let the soothing sound of waves and comfortable winter weather make your day exploring this trail one you’ll never forget.

Henderson Beach State Park

Another wonderful coastal environment up in the Florida Panhandle that’s great to explore during the winter months is Henderson Beach State Park (17000 Emerald Coast Parkway, Destin).

The park’s ecosystem consists of snow-white sand beaches and clear blue water as far as the eye can see.

Destin in winter typically has mild temperatures and lots of sunshine, making visits here the perfect time for picnicking, hiking, bicycling, fishing, and camping.

With rolling sand dunes that reach 30 feet in height and nature trails that invite exploration, this coastal destination allows visitors to connect with nature in a delightfully peaceful way.

Blue Springs State Park

Blue Springs State Park (2100 W French Ave, Orange City) is an amazing destination year-round, but especially if you’re looking for things to do in Florida in the winter.

When cooler weather finally arrives, hundreds of manatees make their way to the warmer waters of Blue Springs for refuge.

The park closes during this time for any water activities like swimming or kayaking, but visitors are welcome to stroll the boardwalk that offers perfect views of the peaceful manatees in the crystal-clear water.

With plenty of foliage, wildlife, hiking trails, and informational boards throughout the park to provide insight into your surroundings, this is a setting for top-notch relaxation and discovery.

Observing the many manatees in their natural habitat is a beyond special way to experience Florida in the wintertime.

Check out our experience on a manatee tour in Crystal River.

Note that you can only swim with manatees in Crystal River; elsewhere you can observe them.

Manatees swimming in a blue green water at Blue Spring State Park ,FL

St. Petersburg Sunset Cruise

Nestled on the West Coast of Florida, the incredibly picturesque St. Petersburg acts as a wonderful winter retreat.

Since the town is situated on the western side of the state, some of the most magnificent sunsets imaginable can be discovered here – especially during the winter months.

Don’t hesitate to book a sunset cruise while you’re visiting St. Pete; whether you’re on a romantic vacation with your special someone or want to make lasting memories with your family and friends, this is a fantastic way to do so.

There are many options to choose from when it comes to sunset cruises.

A budget-friendly option can be booked on Viator or GetYourGuide, or book a private outing for a truly special experience; check availability here or here.

The cooler temperatures, gentle sea breeze, glowing sunset, and possibly even dolphins surfacing in the distance during your cruise will make for an unforgettable Florida winter tour.

Anna Maria Island

There’s no question that the unbelievably picturesque Anna Maria Island is one of the best Florida beach towns in winter.

This island can be found on the Gulf Coast of the state, so you can expect to find pristine beaches with soft sand, calm water, and beautiful weather.

The winters are mild in this region of the state, so this is an ideal time for leisurely beach strolls and outdoor activities like biking or fishing.

This is a super quaint island that’s brimming with shops and local restaurants that serve up fresh seafood.

Anna Maria Island serves as an idyllic beach town getaway in the winter and its coastal charm is sure to win you over in no time.

Tigertail Beach

One of the most scenic and pleasant Florida winter vacation spots is Marco Island, specifically Tigertail Beach (480 Hernando Dr, Marco Island).

This is a serene beach in southwest Florida that’s known for its incredible birdwatching opportunities, warm waters, and radiant sunsets.

Mild winter temperatures make it an ideal time for taking nice walks along the white sand shores, beachcombing, wildlife observing, and picnicking.

Renowned for being an exceptional beach for families, Tigertail Beach invites visitors to discover the island’s unique ecosystems and enjoy the season’s plentiful beauty.

Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park (40001 SR-9336, Homestead) is the largest national park in Florida, and during winter it offers wonderful daytime activities.

The cooler temperatures make pastimes such as hiking, birdwatching, airboat riding, and wildlife spotting more enjoyable.

The Everglades has a unique ecosystem where migratory birds and other wildlife make their way here to thrive in the temperate environment.

Visitors can take a thrilling airboat tour through the sprawling sawgrass marshes and challenge themselves by seeing how many alligators they’re able to find.

Wildlife becomes a lot more active during the winter months in Florida, making a trip to the Everglades a prime time to discover this park’s endless natural wonders.

The Everglades made our list of the best East Coast National Parks to enjoy.

Boat on water Everglades Airboat Tours at Florida

Florida Winter Weather

While Florida in general does not get extraordinarily cold, temperatures can drop into the freezing range in certain areas of the state, mostly in the northern portion.  

South Florida and the Florida Keys winter weather tend to remain mild and comfortable throughout the winter (75-80 degrees F), but areas such as the Panhandle can get quite cold, especially between December and February.

For North Florida, the average temperature is about 50-70 degrees F, Central Florida stays around 60 degrees, and South Florida hangs around 70 degrees.

Winter is also the least rainy season in Florida, with the average rainfall being anywhere from 1.8 to 2.6 inches of rainfall a month between November and February.

Southern most point continental USA Key West at Florida

Final Words

Did this guide help you plan your time in Florida in winter? We hope so!

Share your favorite seasonal things to do in the comments below.

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