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Does FLorida have swimmable beaches in December?
November 7, 2011 8:27 AM   Subscribe

It turns out I'll be in The Villages, Florida for Christmas. My birthday is two days after Christmas, and I want to spend it at the beach. Is there a beach on either coast that far up Florida that'll be swimmable in late December?
posted by COBRA! to Travel & Transportation around Florida (8 answers total)
 
You could do as the manatees do and find a beach near a power plant. I have been to Apollo Beach near Tampa and the water is warm there year round. I didn't swim but some do. They even have a manatee viewing center open during the winter.
posted by halseyaa at 8:31 AM on November 7, 2011


The water is too cold for a Floridian like me. I live on the east coast of Central Florida and will not swim in the Atlantic in December. I won't swim in it now. It's too cold. I have been to the Keys in December and the Atlantic, and bay side, is still too cold for me and most.

It seems that most every Christmas is warm in my neck of the woods. I have lived in Central Florida my entire life and most Christmases most of my family members are wearing shorts. The weather will probably be nice but the water is too cold. I have seen many of Canadian frolicking in the water in December so you may find it fine since you are from Minnesota.

Check out the beaches in the city of Daytona Beach Shores, Wilbur by the Sea, Ponce Inlet, or New Smyrna Beach.

My two favorite spots (pristine, beautiful, paradise!): Winter Haven Park in Ponce Inlet, Florida. Also, the walking trails and the lighthouse are something to see at Lighthouse Point Park.
posted by Fairchild at 9:09 AM on November 7, 2011


Another Floridian here. I wouldn't do it. Too cold to be pleasant and you couldn't stay out there too long anyway. You're looking at about 65 degree water on either coast near you. You'll see surfers out there in their wetsuits but not casual swimmers. You really want the water high 70s to 80. There was a triathalon near me about a month ago when it was mid to upper 70s. Bet there won't be any more until May. You'd only have a chance down by Miami and even that would be not so comfy.
posted by Askr at 10:10 AM on November 7, 2011


D'oh. Thanks, all.
posted by COBRA! at 10:40 AM on November 7, 2011


I used to live in St. Pete and have been swimming in late December at Fort DeSoto Park, which consistently wins awards as an awesome beach.

If you're from the north like I am the water temperature may feel fine.
posted by mareli at 10:41 AM on November 7, 2011


Fort DeSoto link.
posted by mareli at 10:43 AM on November 7, 2011


There are some 'swim with the manatees' places around Homosassa Springs State Park that would be warmer than normal because of the hot springs, but they're not really beaches. Plus swimming with wild animals is kind of, you know, harassment.

But the state park itself is absolutely amazing in the old fashioned cheesy Florida way. We went there just before Christmas last year and there were tacky lights up everywhere (i.e. neon flamingos) and all the animals were great. Most of them are rehab-ed Florida species but they have a hippo left from when it was a safari theme park, and you can ride up to the main part in a boat past Monkey Island. Plus the manatees and salt-water fish are amazing to watch from the underwater viewing room.
posted by hydrobatidae at 1:19 PM on November 7, 2011


Just seconding Mareli. Late December weather in the Tampa/St Pete area can be anywhere from high 30's/low 40's (occasional frost at night) to high 60's. Depends on what kind of weather patterns are happening. I have had Christmases there that needed a heavy winter coat, and I've also had Christmases with beach-friendly weather in the upper 60's. Ft. DeSoto is indeed a wonderful beach and park, and would be fun even wading in long pants if the weather is cool.

Because the Gulf is more shallow (compared to the Atlantic), it is also warmer. It's also calmer and less windy, so it can be quite comfortable even when the weather is in the 60's. If there's going to be anywhere you can do beach comfortably, I think it's more likely to be the gulf side of the state. Also, the further south you go, the more likely warmer temperatures are. Though if you're staying near Ocala, you may not want to go further south than St. Pete.

If you can be flexible on your plans, I'd just wait and see what the weather is like the week you come, and then figure out what to do. There's always plenty of Canadians and Germans on St. Pete beach that time of year. I see from your profile that you're from Minneapolis, so you may have a similar tolerance for cooler beach weather. If nothing else, the sun always feels great.
posted by amusebuche at 4:20 PM on November 8, 2011


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