Can You Swim in Florida in the Winter? A Guide from Someone Who’s Been There, Done That!

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As a former Florida local, I've spent more than my fair share of time soaking up that Florida sunshine - yes, even in winter!

You wouldn't believe the number of puzzled faces I've met when I tell folks that Florida's beaches are just as alluring in December as they are in June.

But the million-dollar question that gets asked every time is - "But can you actually swim in winter?"

Well, hold onto your swim caps because we're about to dive right into that topic!

Man entering the ocean in Florida

Back when we lived in our house near Orlando, and not too far from the stunning beaches of the Space Coast, I started my own personal investigation into Florida's winter swimming scene.

I've collected all sorts of interesting nuggets of information, from the average temps in hotspots like Miami and Orlando, to the difference a bit of Gulf of Mexico water can make to your beach experience.

Got your eye on some unique Florida experiences? Maybe you fancy a swim with the manatees or watching a rocket launch from the beach? I've got you covered there too.

And if you're more of a hotel pool kind of person, don't worry - I've checked out the situation for you.

So, whether you're a water baby ready to brave the winter waves, or you prefer your swim a little more heated, stick with me. Let's jump in and find out if you can really swim in Florida in the winter!

Where Is The Warmest Place In Florida In The Wintertime?

The warmest average temperature in Florida is going to be found in the Miami area. What's an average year-round temperature of about 74 degrees it is 1 comfortable place to be.

That's just the average temperature; it's usually up around 80 degrees. Orlando's generally about 10 degrees colder, which still isn't bad.

In the wintertime, the Everglades boasted a temperature of about 71 degrees. That's during the day.

No matter where you go in Florida, the wintertime picture won't be cold by most standards.

Across the board, the temperature spread in Florida is pretty close. No matter what time of year you're visiting, the morning and evening will be the chilliest times.

You can certainly swim in Florida in the wintertime. Florida boasts some of the best water temperatures in the continental United States, year-round.

But just because you can swim doesn't mean that the water temperature is going to be warm. If you're sensitive to the cold, you may want to consider a wetsuit for your Florida winter trip.

The best time of year to swim in Florida will be between April and October when the water will be the mildest.

Woman entering the ocean in Florida

The water temperature is usually going to be warmest the farther south you go in the state. If you're heading down towards Key West or Naples, you probably won't have an issue swimming.

Also, keep in mind that anything on the western coast of Florida is bound to be warmer because the Gulf of Mexico is actually warmer than the Atlantic.

Is It Warm Enough To Swim In Orlando In February?

Orlando is one of the top vacation destinations in the world. This is where the majority of the theme parks are. The question really boils down to are you talking about swimming in the ocean, or are you talking about swimming in the hotel pool?

And no, Orlando does not have ocean access within the city.

Fortunately, the ocean is not too far away. The closest beaches are those of the Space Coast, with Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach being crowd favorites.

The cool thing about these beaches? You can view the rocket launching pad in the distance!

Cocoa Beach, Florida
I took this picture in Cocoa Beach. It was summertime, but you can still see the launch pads in the distance

Time your visit right, and you could even view a launch while dipping your toes in the water.

My family's personal favorite location for viewing launches is Peacock Beach, Cape Canaveral. And yes, there are peacocks there, too!

But can you go in the water during winter time?

The water temperature during the wintertime in Florida is going to be between the mid-60s and low 70s. For some people, this is warm enough to swim in.

Or if this seems too cold, you might want to use a wetsuit. This will keep some of your body heat in and the chill of the water out.

Even if you don't swim in the ocean, a stroll along the beach is an exhilarating experience.

And if you're asking about swimming pools in Orlando, most hotel swimming pools are heated. So yes, you can definitely swim in them during the winter.

Can You Swim In Florida In March?

You can definitely swim in Florida in March. This is just before the peak swimming season starts in Florida.

Water temperatures are beginning to rise, and the weather patterns are usually lovely.

The water may still have a chill on it, especially in the morning and in the evening. Temperatures around Sunrise are generally around 53°.

Temperatures in the early evening are usually down in the low 70s. The locals might look at you slightly funny, but you can swim.

Is Florida Warm All Year Round?

In this case, warm is a relative term.

Compared to the desert, it's not going to be heated. Compared to the rest of the United States, it will be warm in the wintertime.

Spring is usually a very comfortable time in Florida.

The daytime temperatures are generally in the mid-80s with a gentle breeze. Summertime in Florida can be hot and muggy.

This is also the rainy season. Sometimes you can tell whether the rain is falling down or up. With its subtropical climate, Florida is a beautiful destination, no matter what time of year.

The northern portion of the state is usually a little cooler than the southern part.

Your relative warmth will be directly related to your geographic location in Florida. The Panhandle is definitely a little chilly.

Keep in mind that the entire state is subject to cold snaps in the winter. Warmth is not a direct science, and you can't predict it. It does occasionally snow, even in Florida.

If you're traveling to Florida during wintertime, bring warm clothes too. Don't ask how I know lol.

Ok, if you insist, we happened to be in Florida during the cold spell of December 2022. We regretted not bringing more warm clothes and had to go to the store to get more sweatshirts.

Can You Swim In Florida In The Wintertime?
Sand, not snow!

Bring a swimming suit along

Having said that, no matter what time of year you're going, don't forget to bring your swimsuit to Florida and be prepared for anything.

If the weather is nice, you might just use it to take a dip in the hotel pool - or for a more adventurous outing to the beach or a local swimming hole.

Consider a wetsuit too

If you're bent on swimming in Florida during wintertime and don't like cold water, a wetsuit might actually be a good idea.

This is especially true if you plan on swimming with manatees. Manatees go further inland during wintertime, searching for warmer water, but that temperature may still be too low for comfort for most people.

The solution is to wear a wetsuit that helps insulate you from the cold.

Important tip -

If swimming with manatees is the focus of your trip, take the time and plan ahead. Many state parks and reserves don't allow swimming during winter to prevent people from bothering these delicate creatures. Y

our best bet may be to take an organized tour. Tour operators can get you to an area where swimming with manatees is legal. They also know the best spots to find the most manatees, which gives you the best chance for an encounter.

These operators often provide visitors with wetsuits when needed. That's where planning ahead comes in handy - you may not need to buy one of your own and bring it along.

Read more: This Florida Park Is Where You Can Swim With Manatees On a Budget

Is Miami Warmer Than Orlando?

That's another common question people have.

Miami is usually warmer than Orlando. The temperature difference is usually about 10 degrees. The average yearly temperature in Miami is around 74 degrees.

The average temperature in Orlando is approximately 64. The difference is often ties into the wind and humidity.

During the summer, Orlando will be less hot than Miami, but you won't notice the difference because of the moisture. In the evening, the wind can also be a factor.

Orlando is closer to the eastern coast of Florida, meaning all of its wind comes from the Atlantic. Miami is at the southern tip of Florida.

It gets the wind from the Atlantic, and the wind also crosses over from the Gulf of Mexico. The winds from the western side are going to be warmer.

Florida can be fun - all year around

As with every destination, you need some luck in getting the best possible weather, but in Florida, there's a good chance you'll get just that during wintertime.

Swimming is a definite option. With a swimsuit if you don't mind cool water, or with a wetsuit if you do.

Can You Swim In Florida In The Wintertime?

Can You Swim In Florida In the Wintertime?

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  1. I am in a Senior park 55+ in Zephyrhills,FL. We have a large enclosed pool. Part of the draw was the enclosure around pool. Many people need the pool for exercise. I just went down late this afternoon – outside temp 90. I expected a warm pool but it was cold. Apparently, when the temperature drops to 55, they shut off the pool heater. They claim it is too hard on the pool equipment. Consequently, the pool cools off and takes days to heat up. The pool is a amenity in the park and important to residents. I see no reason why a pool should be cold at 430pm and an outdoor temp of 90. We owned a pool in Indiana for 25yrs. We also traveled in RV for 10 yrs and worked at several resorts maintaining the pools.
    I have looked at several articles that show resorts hotels etc in Florida that show pool temp 80-84
    Degrees for the comfort of guests/residents.
    Can you give me some info re pool heating and temperature as well as shutting off heater with outdoor temps of 55. There is a pool exercise class everyday at 830am. I don’t know how they can do 45 min exercises in a pool that cold.
    I estimate the pool temp today was 75-78 based on my pool experience. They claim it is 80 degrees – I know that is not possible. The residents are really frustrated and pool attendance is really down. Can you help me with info??

  2. Orlando is not on the Atlantic coast. It is inland and about 40 miles from the nearest Atlantic coastal area. In summer, it can be much hotter in the daytime than coastal cities farther south…like Miami. It has only snowed in Miami once in recorded history. That was January 19th, 1977. I was there. It has never snowed south of Goulds. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Key West is 41 degrees.

    • Thanks for the additional information, George! We hope to be getting to Florida this summer, so this is helpful!

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