Top 5 Reasons To Visit Florida In The Winter
Florida has been one of the most popular spring break destinations since way before MTV ever thought of hosting its two-week-long advertising campaign party. And if you haven’t experienced a family vacation to a summer sun-baked Destin or Orlando, you know someone who has. Why Florida is such a hotspot (zing!) during the warmer months is no big mystery; it’s as close as we can get to a tropical paradise without making sure our passports are up to date or buying a plane ticket to an overpriced island.
What you might not have considered is taking a trip to the panhandle when the party-goers are still hibernating. I’m not knocking Florida in the summer. If it wasn’t fun, it wouldn’t be so popular. But next time you’re looking for something to do in the cooler months, think about taking a trip south. Here are five reasons to check out Florida in the fall and winter:
1.It’s way less crowded. Obviously, if winter and fall are the off-season for tourists, you’d expect there to be fewer tourists. Of course, lots of people live in Florida, but if you’re staying in the tourist spots, you’re likely to have a good size stretch of beach almost to yourself.
That also means no crowds in the shopping centers, no wait at the restaurants, no traffic jams, and no awkward conversations at the hotel pool with some guy who likes the European idea of a swimsuit. Seriously, dude, buy some trunks.
2.It’s cheaper. Remember the law of supply and demand from Econ 101? When a tourist spot has no tourists, things are less expensive. That’s good news for you, winter adventurer.
Unless you have an awesome van or an aunt who doesn’t use her condo in January, you’re going to need a place to sleep. Hotels are notorious for raising their prices during peak visitor seasons, and dropping them when the rooms are empty. Compared to spring break prices, you could pay half for a hotel room in the off-season. Even the fancy condos with a full kitchen and heated pool tend to be cheaper. Take a look around online and find privately-owned condos, and you might be able to talk the owner down. After all, a cheap renter still pays more than no renter.
Many of the popular restaurants in Florida’s tourist cities are closed during the winter months. This may seem like a negative at first, but keep in mind that these are restaurants that only get enough business to stay open when tourists are in town—tourists who don’t know the best places to eat and are expecting to spend more money on food than they do at home. Patrons to these restaurants are generally paying for atmosphere rather than food. With these over-priced traps out of the picture, you can find a place that attracts enough locals to stay open year-round. Not only will you spend less on food, your cuisine will be slightly better than the thawed whitefish your tie-dye-wearing waitress would have brought you in July.
3.It’s romantic. There’s a reason “long walks on the beach” has become a cliché. The beach, for some reason, turns us into a cartoon with hearts for eyes. It’s exotic, it’s pretty, and it’s fun. Imagine how much more romantic it could be when you have to huddle under a blanket to keep warm in the cool breeze coming off the ocean. The sun might keep things hot in the summer, but your significant other will be looking to you for warmth when there’s a bit of a chill. Taking a night-time stroll is much more fun when you don’t have to worry about your sweaty pits ruining the mood.
4.It’s a sure thing. Summer might be a time for fun in Florida, but it’s also the season for something else that can seriously ruin your trip—hurricanes. There might not be another Katrina, but even a tropical depression off the coast can bring in weather to drown your cook-out plans.
Of course, rain falls all year in Florida, but at least the weather won’t be ruining your winter plans. Let’s face it; you probably weren’t planning on spending much time in the ocean anyway. The heated indoor pool will still be there, and you can wrap up with some popcorn and a movie. Trust me, a winter rain in Florida beats the wet-blanket version you get in the summer. Rain might be a bummer if it comes, but at least the vacation won’t be wasted.
5.It might not be so bad. I’ve been to Florida in January for several years in a row now. Sometimes, it’s been cold enough to wear long socks and pull my hood up. Other years, I’ve had to pull out my trunks and sun block. If you get lucky, you could have an early spring break experience without all the annoying parts (like waiting in an endless bathroom line). Just because it’s winter doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to freeze. Plus, if you go father south (like Miami), it could be downright toasty. Of course, you should check what it’s going to be like before you head down, and pack for every scenario.
Maybe to you, winter is the season for snowboarding and cocoa. But if you’re looking to try something a little out of the ordinary, Florida could be the answer. You might just find your own personal paradise.