Welcome, weary wanderers seeking solace from the winter hustle! Florida, the land of sunshine, has great options for a getaway, including the 3 Florida Winter Vacations below.
As we continue to move through winter, you may be thinking about heading due south of Orlando for a break. Trust me. I get it. That’s why I live here after many years in Cleveland winters.
The air is warm, the sandy beaches are inviting, and the crowds are, but a distant memory for the beach towns listed below. If you like a more peaceful, relaxed vacation, you will not go wrong with any of the 3 options.
Florida’s Winter Retreats: Serene Spots South of Orlando for Tranquil Escapes
The 3 beaches/towns listed below are south of Orlando. The reason I picked these three, is that they are not only quieter than nearby destinations, they are warm most of the year.
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Before someone tags me again, “warm” meaning better than where it snows as well as the more northern and Panhandle beaches.
How do I know? Because I live in Florida and have been to these 3 and many others during the winter months.
I have also listed the nearest airport as well as a few things to do in each location to help you with your planning.
You may have read one of my previous posts, including Vero Beach. This was actually one of the first beaches I visited many years ago after moving to Florida.
Really pretty down. Winds may kick up during winter, but don’t let that stop you from going.
Temperature: In February, expect balmy days hovering around the mid-70s (°F) and pleasant evenings in the low 60s.
Nearest Airport: Orlando Melbourne International Airport (MLB)
Top 3 things to do:
Beachside Bliss: Enjoy relaxing on Vero Beach’s pristine shores, indulge in shell-seeking strolls, and witness breathtaking sunrises that paint the sky.
Environmental Exploration: Visit the Environmental Learning Center for nature trails, kayak tours, and an up-close look at Florida’s coastal ecosystems.
Botanical Beauty: Wander through the McKee Botanical Garden, a lush oasis boasting tropical landscapes, vibrant flora, and serene ponds.
This pretty island is also on the Atlantic Coastline and near Blowing Rocks Preserve you may remember me mentioning. One of the most beautiful places I have visited in that area.
Temperature: February sees warm days around the mid-70s (°F) and cooler evenings dipping to the upper 50s.
Nearest Airport: Palm Beach International Airport (PBI)
Blowing Rocks Preserve: Explore the rocky coastline and witness the awe-inspiring blowholes where seawater shoots skyward through natural formations.
Tip: Check the tide charts. You will want to time your visit to high tide to see the waves as they roll into the rocks.
Nature’s Abode: Discover Jonathan Dickinson State Park for kayaking, hiking, and encountering Florida’s diverse wildlife amidst serene landscapes.
Conservation: Visit the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge and learn about the area’s conservation efforts while appreciating local art at the nearby galleries.
Can’t leave out the beautiful Gulf of Mexico side of the state. Sanibel and Captiva Islands are breathtakingly beautiful and absolutely at the top of my must-visit list each year.
This area did get hit with a hurricane but is recovering quite nicely. People will tell you not to vacation in this area.
The facts are that those small businesses rely on tourism dollars to survive. I say simply do your research.
Early last year, Sanibel Island reported being open, however, many attractions do remain closed. These will reopen as they are rehabbed.
There are many hotels and other businesses open and ready for your visit. I recommend checking the Sanibel-Captiva Chamber website for additional updates.
Temperature: Sanibel Island experiences warm days around the mid-70s (°F) and comfortable nights in the low 60s during February.
Nearest Airport: Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW)
Seashell Heaven: Engage in the ‘Sanibel Stoop’ or the Elbows & A@@ walk while shelling along the island’s renowned beaches, hailed as one of the best shelling spots worldwide.
J.N. ‘Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge: Embark on a wildlife drive or kayak adventure, encountering diverse bird species and serene mangrove ecosystems. Be sure to check first and make sure this refuge is open. I did check while writing this and today it is open.
Lighthouse Landmark: After the hurricane, many thought this historical lighthouse had washed away. It did not. Almost 140 years old, this lighthouse again stood the test of time against a hurricane.
It did lose one leg, but the lighthouse was relit 5 months after Hurricane Ian. You may not be able to enter the Sanibel Island Lighthouse at this time, but don’t let that stop you from visiting this historical landmark.
When you are ready to escape the winter cold, you will find the perfect places to relax in one of these Florida hideaways.
Ready? Pack your flip-flops, embrace the warmth, and uncover the blissful calm these southern coastal havens offer amidst the winter months. The links below will help you plan your trip:
Disclosure: I earn a commission if you make a purchase through my links at no additional cost to you! I would never recommend anything I don’t personally use, and the income goes to keeping this site updated and free for everyone!