If you’re planning a holiday vacation to the Sunshine State in December, you might be wondering what the warmest beaches are so that you can fully enjoy your time here. Having lived in Florida for many years, I’ll give you the best Florida beaches to visit during one of the coldest months of the year. Stick around for all the details on how to discover the warmest Florida beaches for a December getaway!
Key Takeaway: It’s best to stay at the beautiful beaches in South Florida in December, as northern and central Florida beaches experience colder temperatures.Some of the warmest beaches in December are Key West, Miami Beach, and Sanibel Island.
Here’s Where You Find The Warmest FL Beaches in December
It’s no secret that Florida attracts beach-goers from all over the world, all year long. While some states experience blistering cold weather and snowfall, Florida’s December is known to be mild and comfortable. This is what makes Florida a popular destination, even during the winter months!
Florida is one of the best places for winter visitors, with some even choosing to live in the state for the whole season. The average temperature in Florida in December is 64 to 76°F (18 to 24°C), providing warm water temperatures for swimming and water sports!
With hundreds of miles of coastline, you’ll have no issue finding a place to sink your feet in the sand and avoid the winter blues on a beach vacation. Florida is known for its tropical weather all year long, making it the perfect December destination.
Although all the Florida beaches are spectacular, if you want the warmest beaches during the winter months, it is best to avoid north Florida beaches. This includes places like Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach, St. Augustine Beach, and even Cocoa Beach, as these spots tend to get chilly during this time, making the ocean temperature too low for swimming comfortably.
Take a look at the table below to see a breakdown of the warmest beaches in Florida during the month of December.
Table of Warmest December Beaches in Florida
|Florida Beach||Average Temperature in December|
|Key West||70°F to 77°F|
|Key Largo||70°F to 76°F|
|Miami Beach||65°F to 76°F|
|Fort Lauderdale Beach||64°F to 78°F|
|Bowman’s Beach, Sanibel Island||57°F to 77°F|
|Palm Beach||61°F to 77°F|
|Tigertail Beach, Marco Island||56°F to 78°F|
|Delnor Wiggins State Park Beach||56°F to 78°F|
|Siesta Key Beach, Siesta Key||53°F to 74°F|
|Clearwater Beach||53° to 73°|
List of the Top 10 Best Florida Beaches to Visit in December
These warm, pristine beaches are loved not only for their gorgeous December weather, but also for fun activities such as water activities, museums, delicious local cuisine, and gorgeous state parks!
Below, I’ve given you a full rundown of these coastal beach towns during the best time of year from a Florida resident’s perspective!
1. Key West
Key West is a beautiful island located in southern Florida. In fact, it is the southernmost point of the United States. In December, temperatures in Key West average around 75°F (24°C), making it a great place to enjoy the beach and the many outdoor activities the island has to offer.
Snorkeling is one of the most popular activities, with Dry Tortugas National Park just a short ferry ride away.
Other exciting activities attractions that allow visitors to explore the rich history of Key West include:
- the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
- the Harry S. Truman Little White House
- the Key West Lighthouse
If you want nightlife, Key West has plenty of bars and live music venues to enjoy. Some of my favorites for a great time out are Captain Tony’s Saloon and Sloppy Joe’s.
Average sea temperature in December: 74.60°F (23.70°C)
2. Key Largo
Key Largo, also located within the Florida Keys, is a beautiful place to spend December. With temperatures averaging around 75°F (24°C) and sunshine plentiful, it creates the perfect backdrop to outdoor activities.
Far Beach on Key Largo is a great public beach to visit and offers a perfect time of swimming in warm waters.
Key Largo is one of my favorite places for diving and snorkeling!
The best attraction is the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, which is one of the most interesting places I’ve ever been. This state park is the world’s only underwater park! Offering coral reefs, sea turtles, and other wildlife to explore.
Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge, which is usually closed to the public, offers special events during the winter months that allow you to get behind the scenes to view unique native species in their natural habitat.
Average sea temperature in December: 75°F (23.90°C)
3. Miami Beach
Located in the heart of Miami, Miami Beach is a popular tourist attraction with plenty of action. The year-round sunny days and warm weather makes this beach one of the best places for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports like jet skiing and parasailing.
Miami Beach is broken into three sections:
- North Beach
- Mid Beach
- South Beach
If you’re looking for activities beyond the beach, Miami has tons of cultural attractions such as art galleries, museums, and theaters. My favorite is Wynwood, which is known for its Instagram-worthy murals.
One of the biggest reasons people visit Miami is because it is home to some of the best restaurants and nightclubs in the country! If you want to truly experience Miami, book a reservation for Papi Steak which combines the high-end luxury of a delicious meal with a DJ-bumpin party that lasts all night.
Average sea temperature in December: 76.50°F (24.70°C)
4. Fort Lauderdale Beach
If you want the vibrant culture of Miami without the intense, all-night partying, Fort Lauderdale Beach is your spot. Don’t worry, Fort Lauderdale still has a great adult scene, but it is much more laid-back.
Think jazz lounges and cocktail bars nestled between a luxury shopping district and you’ve just described The Galleria!
Some of my favorite spots are Blue Martini and The Parrot Lounge, which has been around since 1970!
Located just an hour north of Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale Beach offers visitors enjoyable weather, Atlantic ocean beaches with turquoise waters and palm trees, intriguing art galleries, and world-class restaurants.
There are also a ton of opportunities to enjoy the natural beauty of Florida at parks and museums such as Bonnet House Museum & Gardens and Marti’s Meditation Garden.
Average sea temperature in December: 76.30°F (24.60°C)
5. Bowman’s Beach, Sanibel Island
Sanibel Island is loved for its pristine white sand, crystal clear water, and secluded atmosphere. The average December temperature on Sanibel island is 73°F (23°C).
Bowman’s Beach is one of the beaches located on the island, and my personal favorite because of the amenities, including restrooms, picnic tables, and grills.
Another big reason I love Bowman Beach is because of the seclusion and preservation that makes it home to an abundance of wildlife. Bowman Beach happens to be a popular destination for birdwatchers and nature lovers, with numerous species of birds and other wildlife such as pelicans, rabbits, stingrays, and dolphins.
In fact, you can find J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge right across the street from Bowman Beach if you want to visit even more native species.
Average sea temperature in December: 67.0°F (19.44°C)
6. Palm Beach
Palm Beach is the true height of luxury in Florida. It is known to be the richest city in Florida, with an estimated 30 billionaires calling this slice of paradise home. If you want to vacation like a billionaire lives, come on down to Palm Beach by driving over the bridge from West Palm Beach.
To dive into the history and beauty of the area, head to tourist spots like the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens, or the Mounts Botanical Garden.
Or, if you want to shop like a local, take your wallet to Worth Avenue, where the shopping is world-renowned. Palm Beach is also known for its championship golf courses including the Ocean Course at The Breakers, The Staple, Champion or Fazio at PGA National Resort & Spa, and Old Palm Golf Club.
Average sea temperature in December: 74.30°F (23.50°C)
7. Tigertail Beach, Marco Island
Tigertail Beach is a stunning destination located on Marco Island, Florida. The average temperature is around 75°F (24°C) in December, which makes it a great spot to enjoy white sand beaches and crystal clear Gulf of Mexico waters.
Tigertail Beach is a great mixture of modern development and untouched nature. The developed portion of the beach has changing rooms, beach rentals, a snack bar, a playground, and a bird-watching tower.
But, if you cross the lagoon, you will find a preserved area home to abundant wildlife. The best of both worlds!
One of the most popular activities on Tigertail Beach is shelling. Visitors travel from all over to collect unique finds such as olive shells, scallops, and sand dollars.
Average sea temperature in December: 71.40°F (21.90°C)
8. Delnor Wiggins Pass State Park Beach
This Florida state park is located on a barrier island on the southwest Florida coast near Naples, just south of the Cocohatchee River.
Delnor Wiggins Pass State Park boasts some of the most pristine shoreline in all of Florida, offering a secluded and serene feeling. The sugar sand beaches and warm water that line Florida’s Gulf Coast are a beauty you just can’t beat.
During December, this area averages temperatures between 70°F and 75°F (21 to 24°C).
One of the best things about this state park is the amenities, the concessionaire has food/beverages and rentals that include paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, umbrellas and beach chairs, so all you have to bring is yourself! This is also a popular spot for trophy fishers, with the boat launch located at Turkey Bay which leads to the river and the Gulf of Mexico.
Average sea temperature in December: 71.20°F (21.80°C)
9. Siesta Key Beach, Siesta Key
Siesta Key offers beachgoers a unique experience, which is why so many people love it. Most beaches have sand that is made of pulverized coral, but Siesta Key Beach’s sand is 99% quartz, which comes from the Appalachian Mountains and gives a cool and soft feeling between your toes as you sunbathe and take in the gorgeous views. In December, you can expect the average daily temperature in Siesta Key to be around 74°F (23°C).
Siesta Key is a typical beach town and the perfect place to try out a new watersport such as parasailing, kayaking, surfing, or paddleboarding. The Gulf of Mexico is also a great place to fish, so be sure to book a fishing charter or even a sunset cruise if you just want to go sightseeing.
Another plus to Siesta Key is that is a short drive to downtown Sarasota, which offers great nightlife, and museums.
Average sea temperature in December: 68.50°F (20.30°C)
10. Clearwater Beach
Clearwater Beach is easily one of the most popular beaches in Florida, for good reason. Located on the southwest coast of Florida just west of downtown Tampa, this highly ranked beach has a ton to offer locals and visitors. In December, the average temperature ranges from 53° at night to average highs in the mid 70°s.
The calm waters of Clearwater Beach make it a great spot for watersports, while the white sand beach is lined with sunbathers and those who enjoy long walks on the beach. If you want to get away from the beach, I’m a big fan of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and Alligator & Wildlife Discovery Center. Clearwater also offers great local seafood spots like Barefoot Beach House and Badfins Food & Brew. There’s even a craft beer trail if you need to wash it down with a few brews!
Average sea temperature in December: 68.50°F (20.30°C)
Summary to Warmest Beaches in Florida in December
Due to the average high temperature sitting at about 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the month of December, Florida has become an ideal location for those who want to escape the cold winter that other states are subjected to. In my opinion, the best way to spend a sunny day is on the beach!
Even though all of the beaches in Florida are a special sight to be seen, if you are visiting during the holiday season and want to enjoy the warmest beaches, it is best to avoid north and central Florida beaches. Some of the best beaches to visit in December are those in South Florida such as Key Largo, Miami Beach, and Tigertail Beach on Marco Island. These beaches give you the high temperatures for outdoor activities, fun activities, and plentiful amenities!
Looking for more southern Florida beaches? Check out 11 Sunny Gulf Coast Beaches in Southwest Florida!