Florida Beaches: Fun in the Sun All Year Round
I grew up on South Florida’s Atlantic coast and it just seems wrong to me that there are people who have never been to the beach. But I understand that it might be difficult and expensive to wait for the perfect summer Florida vacation. So don’t; go whenever you have the chance and you can still have fun (because let’s face it there’s really no seasonally differences in Florida). Here are some tips on having fun whatever time of year it is.
Florida beaches are not really known for their waves, but if you want to attempt surfing the time to go is winter. This is when the Atlantic has its most consistent swells (the Gulf Coast is not as surfer friendly any time of the year), but nothing to massive for beginners. And since Florida loves and welcomes tourists there are plenty of places to get lessons up and down the coast. You can search the Internet for schools near your travel destinations; floridasurfing.com lists plenty of options. Don’t worry about the cold either, Southern Florida rarely gets below 50 degrees in the winter and the water’s not much colder. If it is a bit nippy wet suits are always available.
If you’re not used to heat and humidity, any time after March is the best time to do the traditional sunbathing and swimming. My favorite beach time pastimes include throwing a Frisbee, catching up on some reading, or building sand castles (don’t write it off as childish until you’ve tried it). With temperatures normally in the 70s or 80s you can lay out and relax with sweating your brains out after ten minutes. This, however, does not mean you can’t get sun burnt, so always were sunscreen, even on cloudy days.
I’m not going to lie, it’s gonna be hot. But at night, the beach is wonderful. There are stars forever, especially at beaches further away from city lights. May to November is also the season when sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs at night. It’s actually an amazing sight; female sea turtles return to the beaches where they were hatched to shuffle up the beach, dig a hole in the dunes, and lay their eggs. Because the nest and eggs are so fragile, there are night beach walks that look for and mark these nests to keep people from trampling all over them during the day.
Many of these turtle walks are open to the public so again look for who organizes them and when they are online or check with the towns local Chamber of Commerce. But if you plan on going, absolutely no lights are allowed; the turtles confuse it with moonlight, which is their navigational tool. Earlier in the season you can see the eggs being laid and later on, if you’re lucky, you can see the eggs hatch and watch hundreds of baby turtles scuttle towards the water.
I always loved taking autumn walks, but in Florida since there are no crinkling leaves to step through, try the sea-shelled shores. If you go as the tide is going out, thick ribbons of shells, smooth stones, driftwood, and the occasional piece of sea glass span the beaches. And if you’re searching for the illustrious sand dollar, definitely head to the West Coast where they are much more common. If you plan on collecting the shells bring a bag or pail because nothing is more disappointing then finding the most gorgeous shell and dropping it because your hands were full.
So pack your bags and head down to the Florida beaches. With as little as a 50 degree temperature difference year round, just make sure to bring your swim suit, sun screen, and maybe a light jacket. It’s all you need for salty fun all year round.
By Kristen Klempert