Going to Florida in December? What to expect:
By Helen Wright
If you’re thinking of escaping the winter for a bit of Florida sun, I don’t blame you to be honest! With some very good flight deals (London to Tampa on Virgin Atlantic £439 anyone?), lots of festive events and a chance to unwind before Christmas, heading to Florida in December could be just the ticket.
Whether you are looking for theme park fun in Orlando or a beach getaway with time to chill, December in Florida is a good time to visit. Below, I have answered the most common questions I get asked about Florida in winter, so you can start planning your Christmas season trip.
Cover image: Steven Diaz/Disney. This post contains affiliate links
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FLORIDA IN DECEMBER
What is the temperature in Florida in December?
December is typically the coldest month in Florida, but before you log off, this doesn’t mean it’s actually cold. In fact, many Brits would still consider the temperature in Florida in December to be hot!
Florida in December is actually one of the best times to go. The temperature in Orlando is an average 22C (72F) or if you head to the East Coast, you might see highs of 28C (82F). Better still, humidity is low and there is a slim-to-zero chance of a hurricane blowing in. In fact, December typically has the lowest recorded rainfall in Florida for the whole year.
In basic terms, the weather for December in Florida is warm. Yes, you can get a sun tan and yes you could get sun burn too (so pack sun lotion)! Realistically, expect it to be sunny during the day, but that you might need a cardigan or a light jacket in the shade and in the evening after the sun sets.
As for swimming in the sea, most of Florida’s coast has water warm enough to swim in all year-round, getting cooler as you travel north towards Jacksonville.
My advice would be that if you’re thinking of Florida just because you want super-hot weather, perhaps somewhere hyper associated with winter sun and less variable weather might be better suited (Somewhere like Jamaica) perhaps?
There are lots of cute Christmas events during December in Orlando
As one of the most cheerful places in the USA, you would expect Orlando to go all-out for Christmas and you’re not wrong. The major theme parks, Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World Resort get a full festive makeover and there are special Christmas parades and shows, as well as extra events that happen outside the park hours. The on-site resort hotels also have spectacular Christmas trees and you can spend a whole day just exploring the resorts and checking out all the festive flair.
Elsewhere in Orlando, the joy of Christmas continues and almost everywhere you go has something twinkly going on.
If you want to step directly into a Hallmark Christmas movie, Winter Garden, which is a charming city just 20-minutes from Walt Disney World, has that feel year-round, but especially in December. The Florida sun doesn’t prevent the quant high street from transforming into a winter wonderland with Christmas lights, live music, childrens events and, of course, Santa.
Lots of other areas also put on a great Christmas show, including Icon Park (close to I-Drive), Celebration, the Harry P. Lau Gardens and Promedade at Sunset Walk, which is close to the Margaritaville Orlando Resort, where we recently stayed.
For a list of the most fun Christmas attractions in Orlando this December, see our post on Orlando’s Christmas lights
What is Florida in December like?
For me, the USA always has a cheerful and friendly vibe. In December that’s even more welcoming, as everyone is preparing for Christmas and the holiday season. Florida in December is one of the best places to be for advent, because Christmas joy is ringing and you can enjoy a bit of winter sun at the same time.
If you’re heading to other places in Florida in December, festive cheer can be found all across the state. From surfing santas at Cocoa Beach, a 12-mile Winterfest Boat parade in Fort Lauderdale and a Christmas tree made from sand in West Palm Beach, yuletide is celebrated in true Florida style – aka, with a cheeky twist.
There is even a town in Florida CALLED Christmas! This small town can be found around 22 miles from Orlando. There isn’t a whole lot to do (and they actually have a Christmas tree up all year), but if you send a postcard or Christmas card from here, it will arrive with a Christmas Florida stamp on it. Pretty cool!
You can get some great flight deals to Florida in December
Even though there is so much going on around Florida in December, you can actually get great flight deals to Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and Miami at the end of the year. In fact, if you fancy a last minute trip, we found return flights from London to Tampa on Virgin Atlantic for £439 flying on the 12th December this year.
We absolutely loved Tampa, but even if it you want to head to Walt Disney World, the resort is an easy 90-minute drive. This is a great money-saving tip for your next Disney holiday and if you want more ways to save and enjoy Florida, give us a follow on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok for more great tips!
Christmas shopping in Florida in December
The U.S. is sadly not as cheap as it used to be when it comes to shopping. However, if you happen to be in Florida in December, it’s a pretty good time to pick up some Christmas bits. Walmart and Target do a huge range of brilliant Christmas decorations and they tend to be far cheaper than in the UK (so save room in your case). This includes Disney Christmas decorations, which are more affordable than in the parks.
You can also shop for Christmas presents during December in Florida too. Unless you are shopping at the many outlet stores across Florida, there isn’t always a huge saving, but there will be items that are unavailable in the UK, that sell out quickly or are yet to be released. Take advantage and bag the must-have item on every Christmas list while you’re on holiday.
I would love to visit Florida in December every year. The weather is pleasant, as I don’t want it to be boiling hot, and I love getting into the Christmas spirit with all the fun and unique events. Happy Holidays (as the American’s say).
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