Florida vacation weather can be unpredictable at times, and packing for your vacation
can mean anything from bathing suits to warm coats. What to wear?
What to bring? What to leave home so you can buy a new one in Florida?
(I didn't put any thoughts in your mind now, did I?)
But look at it this way -- you're coming to visit paradise, so don't you want
to bring a little back with you? (Of course you do...)
So, what to pack for your Florida vacation? Let's check out what you may need to bring by the months.
Summer, Winter and In-Between
Florida is a pretty long state, and its climate varies quite a bit. How
about I go month by month (more or less) and give you a rundown of what you can
probably expect as far as weather goes. Temperatures are Fahrenheit
at the moment.
January: Brrr! January is probably the coldest month
for us here in the Sunshine State. We're in the dry season, so you
likely won't see any rain, but you may have cloudy days.
In the Panhandle and North Florida you might see snow flurries,
but most likely just some days in the 40's, nights in the low 30's to upper
20's. Chilly, but not unbearably so since the really cold snaps
usually don't last for more than a few days at a time. I'd pack
sweaters and sweatshirts, with jeans and/or other long pants. You
might consider a warm jacket if you plan to be out and about more than
inside.Central Florida and Spacecoast can get a little nippy too.
I lived in Orlando for many, many years and we could count on frosts and
freezes in the winter. Of course we also had Christmas Days where we
wore shorts - go figure. Plan on some sweaters/sweatshirts, long
pants/jeans, a medium jacket. Also pack a few warmer-weather clothes
as well, because you just never know. Some cotton shirts/blouses,
lightweight pants, light sweater or jacket. On the average, figure
days in the 50's and 60's's, nights in the 40's. Packing with the idea of
possibly dressing in layers is an excellent idea.The Gulf Coast is much the same as Central Florida, mostly quite
cool but with the possibility of some more temperate days thrown in,
especially Fort Meyers and points south.South Florida usually has pretty spectacular weather about this
time of year -- days in the low 70's, nights in the 50's and 60's.
Pack a few sweaters and/or sweatshirts, some long pants too -- we do have
days where the nights get down into the 30's! But think
about also including some cotton shirts and maybe some shorts (if you get
The Florida Keys is lovely. A sweater or sweatshirt would
be a good idea because with the breeze it can get chilly. But do pack
some lighter weight clothes if the Keys is your destination.
February: Can still be cold, but temperatures are moderating
somewhat. Still in the dry season, you probably won't see rain but
will probably have some cloudy days here and there.
In the Panhandle and North Florida you still want to have some
sweaters/sweatshirts, but you'll probably have a few days of more moderate
temperatures, so do pack some cotton shirts and lightweight pants, too.
Even if the days are nice, the nights can get chilly.Central Florida and Spacecoast are cool to moderate in
temperature. You'll need at least 1 sweater or medium jacket, but
otherwise pack an assortment of long and short sleeved shirts. Once
again, at least 1 pair of medium-weight pants and the rest lighter weight.Once again the Gulf Coast is much the same as Central Florida,
mostly cool but with some warmer days thrown in. I'd say that the
average is in upper 60's to about 70 for the day, 50's at night.South Florida still has that weather people come to Florida for.
Days in the 70's, nights in the mid 50's, blue skies and bright
sunshine are the norm. It is still winter though, so do include a nice
warm sweater/sweatshirt/jacket because we do sometimes get days in the 50's,
nights in the 40's.
The Florida Keys is gorgeous once again. You still want a
light sweater or jacket, mainly because of the ocean breezes.
March & April: Warming up, nice pretty much all over the state.
Still dry, but you may run into a shower here or there. If you do, it
likely won't last long.
In the Panhandle and North Florida you finally get to don those
shorts and if you are really brave, a bathing suit. Cotton shirts and
pants, some shorts....but don't forget a sweater/jacket. Weather can
be changeable.Central Florida and Spacecoast has some nice weather.
Warmer than the Panhandle and North Florida, but still some cool days and
nights thrown in here and there.Once again the Gulf Coast is much the same as Central Florida,
and you can pack a bathing suit with a little more confidence. Don't
forget the now-infamous sweater or jacket!South Florida is starting to warm up and you will be wearing
lighter-weight clothes. Figure on days in the 70's, nights
in the 60's with 50's on occasion. Yes, bring the sweater/jacket along
for the ride because you never know.
The Florida Keys are getting some more picture-postcard days.
Still, one time I was in the Keys in April and I was scrambling to find a
sweater or sweatshirt somewhere, anywhere! So pack one because you
might not be able to find one.
May: Oh-oh, starting to get pretty warm now, and the humidity is
rising. The wet season is just around the corner so you just may want
to pack a folding umbrella or poncho. And I know you think you won't
need a sweater or jacket, but do pack a light one -- some establishments
really crank up the air conditioning and it can get chilly inside!
All over Florida, think cotton shirts, t-shirts, shorts,
June/July/August: H-O-T is the rule. W-E-T is another -- do
bring a travel umbrella or poncho because it's a pretty sure bet that you
will need one at some point. Yes, the light sweater/jacket rule still
applies, but maybe not quite as much -- the heat from the outside
counteracts it somewhat.
All over Florida, think cool fabrics like cotton and
seersucker. Bathing suits, shorts, sundress. Expect
temperatures in the upper 80's to upper 90's with humidity above 85%.
Thundershowers come and go, usually pretty quickly, but the ground can
quite literally steam afterwards on really hot days. Nights aren't
much better, with the temperatures in the mid to upper 70's and high
September & October: The weather starts varying across the state
somewhat now. It's usually still rather damp, but towards the end of
October it's drying out some. Pack a travel umbrella and/or poncho --
you'll probably need it at some point or another.
In the Panhandle and North Florida you are going to begin to
cool down. Nights start edging downwards to the 60's - ahhh!
Weather starts getting nice again as September ends and think about the
sweater/jacket again -- you just might end up needing one at night.Central Florida and Spacecoast is still pretty warm,
and it's not unusual for it to seem like full summer up into the middle
of October. The humidity starts dropping though and if your travel
plans call for a late October Florida visit, pack the sweater/jacket.Yes, the Gulf Coast is much the same as Central Florida.
Maybe a touch more humidity though.South Florida is still pretty warm, with days in the 80's and
the humidity still up there. You probably won't quite need that
sweater/jacket yet, but if you do, you'll probably be able to find one
in a store.
The Florida Keys are warm still, but the breezes help make it
November & December: The cold fronts start marching through the
state, and the humidity starts dropping. Yes, you will need that
sweater/jacket during some days and on many nights. You may run into
cloudy weather, but any showers will likely be brief.
In the Panhandle and North Florida the weather is pleasantly
chilly. The days have a nip to them, and some may be downright
cold, but the sun shines much of the time. Sweaters/jackets, long
pants -- and think layers, because you may need to peel off some during
the day.Central Florida and Spacecoast is getting cool, and
sometimes cold. I remember one Christmas while I was in Orlando
when the temperature went down into the teens. That's more the
exception, but you may get nights in the upper 30's. Days will
average out in the 60's.The Gulf Coast is much the same as Central Florida except in
the Nature Coast area, where it's more like the Florida Panhandle.South Florida is thankful because it is finally starting to
cool down! The humidity drops and the days feel nice once again.
Daytime temperatures can range from upper 50's to mid 70's, nights in
the 50's and 60's. Maybe with a few 40's thrown in here and there.
The Florida Keys are the Florida keys -- delightful. Do
pack that sweater/jacket though.
What Else Will You Need?
In the summertime bring or buy two very necessary items -- sunscreen and bug
spray. As we sometimes like to say, the mosquito is our state bird (it's
really not, but it sure seems that way at times). If you are camping,
bring heavy-duty bug repellant (I am not kidding -- although I hate to use it,
get something with DEET or you will be miserable).
What else? Yourself, of course! And if you forget something, you
can probably find it down here (except for maybe a sweatshirt in the Keys in
April). So keep a little extra room in the bag when you pack, so you can
bring something from the Sunshine State back with you.