There are lots of places to vacation on the beach, Aruba, Jamaica, the Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Hawaii, and California come to mind. However none of these places comes close to Florida when it comes to ease and cost of travel.
Florida is quite hot during the summer ranging from mid 90’s (35°c) during the day and 80’s (30°c) in the evening. If you are not from Florida or one of the other southern states with a similar climate, just keep in mind you will be hot and sweaty for most of the time you spend outdoors during the summer!
Despite the extreme temperatures you can still have a memorable, beautiful, perfect Florida Beach Vacation in the summer. However from about mid-June through the end of September, expect very hot and humid weather, so its best to plan accordingly and include little things like hats, sunscreen, shade and ice water.
Interesting Facts about Florida
▪ When planning a Florida vacation one factor you may want to consider is the Atlantic Hurricane Season, which technically runs from June 1st through November 30th. However, the active portion of hurricane season for Florida is usually Mid-August through Mid-October which are coincidentally some of the hottest months of the year, and also tend to be Florida’s rainy season, with daily afternoon thunderstorms a fairly regular occurrence as such Mid-October through Mid-June is the best time of year to plan a Florida Beach Vacation.
▪ Florida can get quite cold at any point from about Mid-November through Mid-February, with overnight temperatures sometimes nearing freezing, and daytime temperatures in the 50’s (12°c) and 60’s (18°c). However, it can also be in the 80’s (30°c) on any given day! That said, if you want to guarantee warm weather plan around this period as well.
▪ Along Florida’s Gulf Coast from Pensacola to Naples you will usually be able to find a gorgeous white-sand beach, composed of quartz from the Appalachian Mountains. The water of the Gulf of Mexico can range anywhere from ‘emerald green’ to ‘seaweed brown’, depending on the current and tidal conditions with the surf varying from flat calm to large choppy swells. The water clarity and surf conditions vary from day to day at any given location and are almost impossible to predict in advance.
▪ On the East Coast of Florida, from around Jacksonville all the way to Key West, you’ll find more of a dull-brown sand composed of ground up seashells, and the Atlantic Ocean at its best is a deep blue. On average, the surf is higher on the East Coast, but again this is impossible to predict for your vacation.
▪ Florida Beaches can generally be divided into seven regions (clockwise from top left): The Northwest Region, or Panhandle, the North Central Region or Nature Coast, the Northeast Region, the East Central Region, The Southeast Region, the Southwest Region, and the Tampa Bay Region (the South Central Region is not germane to Beach Vacations, unless you consider the shores of Lake Okeechobee a beach!).
▪ The Florida Panhandle stretches form the Florida/Alabama border in Escambia County, near Pensacola, to east of Apalachicola and south of Tallahassee. This region is home to the following popular beach resorts (from west to east): Pensacola Beach, Navarre Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Sandestin, Seaside, Panama City Beach, and a few less-populated beach destinations around Apalachicola.
▪ The Florida Panhandle has the added bonus of being easily accessible by car from most of the Southeastern United States, especially Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia, and is also easily accessible by air via four mid-sized regional airports (Pensacola Regional Airport, Okaloosa Regional Airport, Panama City-Bay County International Airport, and Tallahassee Regional Airport).
▪ The North Central Region, aptly named Florida’s Nature Coast is the place to vacation if you want to spend time in a natural setting, swim with the manatees, hunt, fish, hike, bike, etc. And contains several popular Nature Coast Beaches.
▪ The North Central Region is also home to the quaint and memorable fishing village of Cedar Key, as well as such popular tourist destinations as Silver Springs, Weeki-Wachee Springs and the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, and is one of the few places in Florida where you can take your horse on vacation.
▪ The Northeast region, anchored by the sprawling City of Jacksonville, is home to a multitude of beaches suitable for your Florida Beach Vacation. These include: Fernandina Beach, Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Palm Coast, and, Flagler Beach, among others.
▪ This Northeast region is also home to the historic City of St. Augustine, the oldest city in the United States, which lays claim to its own beach as well (though this area is governed by the separate city government of St. Augustine Beach – a common convention through the State of Florida).
▪ Florida’s East Central Region, anchored by the Cities of Orlando and Daytona Beach, is the gateway for the majority of visitors to the state, primarily due to it being the home of the world famous Walt Disney World theme parks.
▪ The Orlando area is also home to Universal Orlando (formerly known as Universal Studios), which has three theme parks of its own, as well as Sea World and literally hundreds of other smaller tourist attractions. The nearest beaches are about an hour east of Orlando, as are the world famous Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral.
▪ Daytona Beach is well known to auto racing enthusiasts as the home of Daytona International Speedway. Best known as the site of the annual Daytona 500, the track actually holds a variety of racing events throughout the year and also boasts the Daytona 500 Experience, an interactive motor-sports attraction adjacent to the track that is open to visitors year-round.
▪ As far as Beach Vacations go, this area has several good options. Ormond Beach, to the north of Daytona, is a suitable area for your Florida Beach Vacation, as are New Smyrna Beach and Cocoa Beach to the south. Port Canaveral, also in this area, is a popular cruise ship terminal, and Lighthouse Point Park near Daytona Beach was named the ninth best beach in America in 2007!
▪ Daytona Beach itself has the somewhat unique distinction of being one of the only beaches in Florida to allow cars to drive on the beach. This is in homage to its heritage as auto racingMecca (auto races were literally held on Daytona Beach from the 1930s until the construction of the speedway in the 1950s), and it is limited to certain areas of the beach and certain times of day.
▪ Florida’s Southeast Region is lined with several suitable beaches, including: Vero Beach, Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Jupiter, West Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Coral Springs, Fort Lauderdale, and Hollywood. However this area is best known for Miami Beach and the Florida Keys: two areas at opposite ends of the “laid back” spectrum.
▪ The hustle and bustle of the City of Miami and the nightlife of Miami Beach are unmatched in Florida. Miami is a large multi-cultural city with strong ties to South America, Puerto Rico, and Cuba, is a major cruise ship port, and can provide a lot of fun.
▪ You can’t get much more laid back than the Florida Keys, just a few miles away. Anywhere from Key Largo to Key West (about 100 miles on the Overseas Highway, which boasts 42 bridges and hundreds of stunning views along the way!) it is almost impossible to find a bad spot for a Florida Beach Vacation.
▪ But keep in mind, most of the night life and culture is centered around Key West . The Upper Keys, as we call them, are generally sleepy fishing, diving, and water-sports getaways (certainly not a bad thing, but also not for everyone).
▪ Key West was known as fishing, shipping, and salvage depot up until the Mid-1800s, and is closer to Cuba (94 miles to the south) than to the nearest major U.S. city, Miami (129 miles to the north). It retains much of this isolationist attitude, and even staged a mock succession from the United States in 1982. To this day, you can get a souvenir passport if you’re willing to declare your allegiance to The Conch Republic!
▪ The heart of Key West is Duval Street , in the city’s Old Town district. Lined with bars, restaurants, and shops, it is the center of tourist activity and a lively place at any time of day or night. Adjacent to Duval Street is Mallory Square. Beaches in Key West suitable for your Florida Beach Vacation include Smathers Beach , Higgs Beach , and Fort Zachary Taylor State Park.
▪ North and west of the infamous Florida Everglades and sits the Southwest Region of Florida, home to Naples and Fort Meyers. A little slower-paced than its neighboring Tampa Bay region to the north, this area is perfect for a Florida Beach Vacation.
▪ Marco Island, about 15 miles south of Naples, is the southernmost beach in this region suitable for a Florida Beach Vacation. From there, working your way north, you come across Naples, Fort Meyers Beach, Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Pine Island, Englewood-Cape Haze, Venice Beach, Siesta Key, Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach, and Anna Maria Island. All are gorgeous Florida beaches worthy of your consideration if you are planning a Florida Beach Vacation in this region. This region also boasts an impressive balance of both naturalist pleasures and upscale city attractions such as Myakka River State Park, Lake Manatee Recreation Area, The Gamble Plantation, the Ringling Museum, the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford Winter Estates, and the upscale shopping, dining, and entertainment district of St. Armand’s Circle.
▪ The Tampa Bay Region is situated around its namesake Tampa Bay Estuary, Tampa Bay and is yet another popular departure point for cruise ships. The Tampa Bay Region it is anchored by the Cities of Tampa, Saint Petersburg, and Clearwater, with literally dozens of smaller municipalities sprinkled in between.
▪ The Tampa Bay Region is a popular tourist destination for visitors from all over the United States , as well as the United Kingdom and Germany. And it happens to be my home, and the home of Simple Treasures: Portrait and Wedding Photography, Serving St Pete Beach and Tampa Bay.
▪ Tampa Bay is also the home of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, the Florida Aquarium, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Sunken Gardens, the Don Cesar Hotel, the Renaissance Vinoy Resort, The Pier, Baywalk, Channelside, the Salvador Dali Museum, and a wide array of additional activities and destinations.
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