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When the holidays come around, many people desperately seek out a relaxing getaway. Luckily, Florida is home to many of the best and warmest beaches in the country during December.
With temperatures ranging from cool to mild during this month, you can bask in the sunshine and enjoy all that these beautiful beaches have to offer.
From Panama City Beach to Key West and beyond, each beach offers something unique. For instance, Panama City Beach is known for its white sand and emerald waters. With its tranquil atmosphere and stunning sunsets, it is the perfect place to get away from it all.
Key West, on the other hand, is known for its vibrant nightlife and excellent seafood restaurants. These beaches, and the others in this post, are great spots to spend a day of relaxation or an evening of fun.
Whether you’re looking for white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, or simply a place to relax and unwind, here are some of the best and warmest beaches in Florida during December!
9 Best (And Warmest) Florida Beaches In December
1. South Beach- Miami
Miami is such a colorful city and its vibrancy is in no way dimmed by mid-winter. The arts district is an absolute must-see, especially the Wynwood Walls, the downtown spot full of abstract murals. Just make sure to get there early to get photos without crowds.
When in Miami, the beach is an absolute must-do, as it’s one of the best and warmest beaches in Florida. South Beach is the most famous of them all but there are plenty of other beaches in and around Miami that are just as beautiful, all you need to do is walk or drive up or down the coast a bit.
Finally, you can’t go to Miami without experiencing the Cuban culture. Miami is incredibly diverse but the Cuban culture is one of the biggest drawcards for visitors.
The best way is to go exploring in Little Havana, find a cafe, and order the first thing on the menu.
Similar to West Coast beach destinations like Los Angeles, winters in Miami are mild with average temperatures around 71 degrees but the humidity levels are still very high.
There is definitely no snow in Miami and even rain is somewhat rare as it rains an average of 7 days. If you’re interested in outdoor activities, December is definitely the most pleasant time of year.
Some of the top events in Miami in December include the Orange Bowl, Winterfest Boat Parade, and of course all sorts of Christmas parades and New Year’s Eve parties.
Recommended by Kate from Kate Abroad
2. Cocoa Beach Pier- Cocoa Beach
Cocoa Beach is one of the best beaches in Florida to visit in December thanks to the holiday events, perfect weather, and the best surfing of the year.
Cocoa Beach may not be what you think of when you think of a winter wonderland, but you can still get into the holiday spirit.
Over the years, there have been several unique holiday events including the skydiving Santas at Cocoa Beach Pier some years.
You can still find “snow” in Cocoa Beach at holiday events like the one hosted by the Brevard Cultural Alliance each year.
Enjoy the perfect weather for walking on the beach (or even swimming if the water isn’t too cold for you) as well as watching rocket launches.
You can see the launches from anywhere in Cocoa Beach, but most people head to the beach near the Cocoa Beach Pier.
The Cocoa Beach Pier is also where you can find some of the best dining in Cocoa Beach, and there is a free shuttle if you are staying at Westgate Cocoa Beach for the ultimate Cocoa Beach vacation.
From more casual options including the tiki bar at the end of the pier to a nicer indoor restaurant in the middle of the pier, you can find something for everyone at the pier.
December is also the month of the year when you are less likely to get hurricanes but more likely to get clean waves to surf.
Cocoa Beach, the home of surfing legend Kelly Slater, is a great place to learn to surf with waves that are much less intimidating than in other parts of the world.
Recommended by Christine from Live Love Run Travel
3. Anna Maria Beach- Anna Maria Island
If you are looking for a perfect beach in Florida to visit in December, and have a memorable holiday vacation, you should add Anna Maria Island to your bucket list.
Considered one of Florida’s best-kept secrets, Anna Maria Island offers a laid-back vibe, stunning pristine white beaches with crystal-clear waters, and amazing restaurants.
There are plenty of things to do on Anna Maria Island in December to please the whole family.
When it comes to beautiful beaches, you’ll be spoilt for choice if visit Anna Maria Island, such as Anna Maria Beach with amazing amenities such as cafes, showers, and a volleyball area.
After enjoying a day of fun and sun at the beach, you can head on a stroll to watch the sunset at the City Pier, built in 1900 and today is one of the landmarks on the island.
You can also explore Historic Bridge Street, rent bicycles for the day, or even head out on a wildlife-watching boat trip.
One of the best things to visit Anna Maria Island in December is besides skipping the crowds from the summer months, the temperatures are mild and very pleasant.
In December the high temperatures stay in the low 70s, while lows can dip into the 50s.
Among the best places to have dinner in Anna Maria, the Beach House Restaurant is one of the best options.
Located in a beautiful location, the food is outstanding and it is a perfect place to have a happy hour with the best view.
One of the best accommodations is the Compass Hotel by Margaritaville Anna Maria Sound with outstanding views, and a restaurant and a bar at the gorgeous pool.
Anna Maria Island is located on the Central Gulf Coast, t the island is just a 15-minute drive from Bradenton as it’s connected via a bridge, so there’s no need to catch a boat there.
Recommended by Paula from Paula Pins The Planet
4. Higgs Memorial Beach Park- Key West
Talking about Things to do in Key West, there is every reason to believe that you can never be short of ideas in Higgs Memorial Beach Park.
This is because it remains one of the best spots for a perfect and memorable vacation in Florida. For instance, it isn’t just meant for adults as there are lots of fun activities your kids can take part in.
It has got a playground for children to explore. Also, there are facilities for adults such as pickleball, tennis, volleyball, sunbathing, snorkeling, and many others.
That is not all as Higgs Memorial Beach Park has always been known for its crystal-clear water. Its tropical vegetation and sandy beaches are just too good to be ignored.
Also, it isn’t crowded as compared to many other beaches in Florida. Please note that this depends on the time you are visiting.
Furthermore, this is the best beach park to explore if you have a low budget. This is because it is a free public beach.
You will have to rent umbrellas, kayaks, paddleboards, and chairs though. This is the perfect budget-friendly beach for the ultimate experience. Again, your safety is assured since its water is shallow.
Recommended by Phil from Journication Travel Blog
5. Dog Beach- Panama City Beach
One of the best beach destinations on the Florida Panhandle is Panama City Beach. It is made up of 27 miles of pristine white beaches, but the main stretch opposite Pier Park is one of the best, especially the aptly named Dog Beach!
December is a great time to visit as there will be few crowds and the temperature averages 65 degrees Fahrenheit, with only a 20% chance of rain, so you can still enjoy all the outdoor activities that this area is famous for.
Some of the most popular things to do in Panama City Beach include dolphin watching on Shell Island, hiking in Camp Helen State Park, and kayaking in St Andrews State Park.
If the weather takes a turn, you can always head to Pier Park, located just opposite Dog beach, where you can enjoy the rides, shopping, and arcade games.
There are plenty of great places to eat in Panama City Beach, but brunch at Andy’s Flour Power, donuts at the beachfront Thomas Donut & Snack Shop, enchiladas at Diego’s Burrito Factory, and seafood at The Grand Marlin are all must do’s.
If you want a convenient place to stay, choose Calypso Resort & Towers, it is located next to Pier Park, but still has its own private beach, swimming pool, a gym and is within walking distance to plenty of bars and restaurants.
Recommended by Roshni from The Wanderlust Within
6. Honeymoon Island- Dunedin
Located nearby Clearwater Beach and St. Pete Beach, Hog Island, aka Honeymoon Island, is one of the most romantic beaches in Florida for couples.
More than a million people come to this place annually, most of whom are honeymoon couples. Honeymoon Island is best in December.
The morning mist makes this place green, and love is in the air. It is highly recommended to visit this beach in December to get the best of it and explore the pine forest with loved ones.
People come to this place for its pristine sea beaches, pine forests, seashells, gopher tortoises, bald eagles, tarpon, and other wildlife.
As the sky remains clear and sunny and the sea beaches remain clean people come here to enjoy their holidays during this time.
You can do plenty of things on this beautiful island with your friends and families. Enjoy the shallow tides on the white sand beach and lie down when you want to absorb the sunshine with your beloved. You can even play sports like handball, volleyball, and other games.
Collecting shells is something the new couple enjoys most on beaches. You guys can also visit the northernmost part of the beach to collect beautiful shells.
Osprey trails are great for nature-loving couples. You will find here green pine forests, mangroves, owls, and osprey.
Hiking and seeing nature up close with your partner will strengthen your relationship.
A Beach vacation is incomplete without good food. Black Pearl Restaurant has many delicacies like American and Mexican dishes, and you will get vegetarian food too.
You can stay at Pier House 60 Clearwater Beach Marina Hotel if you want to stay near Honeymoon Island State Park.
The hotel offers all the basic amenities including a heated outdoor pool and free WiFi.
Recommended by Trijit from Budget Travel Buff
7. Bahia Honda State Park- Big Pine Key
The funny thing about the Florida Keys is that although it is iconic for its tropical vibes, great, natural beaches are not as abundant as you may think.
However, one where the locals love to go to is Bahia Honda State Park. Located between Big Pine Key and the far end of the 7-mile bridge, it offers visitors three beautiful beaches as well as to enjoy.
Loggerhead Beach faces the Atlantic Ocean and has shallow water, a great choice for swimming and sunbathing.
Calusa Beach faces Florida Bay and is perfect for picnicking, with covered pavilions providing relief from the sun. Sandspur Beach is the largest and is home to the iconic railroad bridge. All have lovely soft sand with crystal-clean water.
Aside from sunbathing, Bahia Honda offers some of the best nearshore snorkeling areas in the Florida Keys. Just a few hundred feet from shore, you can encounter a variety of sea life with soft corals, tropical fish, queen conchs, and even the odd passing manatee.
Rental snorkeling equipment, kayaks, umbrellas, and beach chairs are available to hire, and clean bathroom facilities are always a bonus!
If you don’t fancy bringing your own picnic, there is a concessions kiosk that sells sandwiches and snacks (the frozen chocolate-covered key lime pie on a stick is a must try!), or if you fancy something a bit larger, there are a couple of restaurants on Big Pine Key, an area favorite being the No Name Pub.
Places to stay nearby include camping in the state park itself or if you really want to splash out, consider the nearby Little Palm Island Resort.
Alternatively, Key West is around 30 miles up the road with a wide range of accommodations to suit most budgets and a great nightlife.
With December temperatures averaging in the mid-70s and a comfortable year-round water temperature, if you are visiting the Florida Keys in December, be sure to add Bahia Honda to your itinerary.
Recommended by Matt from The Travel Blogs
8. Fort Zachary Taylor Beach- Key West
Fort Zachary Taylor Beach is the perfect choice for a warm December day in southern Florida.
Located on the very tip of Key West, it’s one of the most beautiful in the area and there is plenty to see and do nearby.
As the name suggests it’s located next to Fort Zachary Taylor which is a historical site that is well worth visiting.
Combine your beach trip with an educational experience and dive into the history of this part of Florida.
The water at the beach is shallow and perfect for swimming. You’ll love the warm water and sandy ocean floor which makes this spot ideal for families.
You absolutely need to pack a picnic so you can spend the entire day here if the weather is nice. There are some benches around and you can bring the car up to the little park area that surrounds the beach so you can even bring camping chairs and coolers.
Just make sure to arrive early as this beach can get crowded on weekends with many local families visiting.
There are restrooms, changing rooms, and even a small shop on site so you can purchase drinks and snacks if needed.
Recommended by Victoria from Guide Your Travel
9. Clearwater Beach
Clearwater Beach is one of the best beaches in Florida to visit in December!
With average temperatures ranging from 68-72 degrees, it is perfect for a beach vacation at any time of year.
The white sand and crystal clear waters on the Gulf of Mexico make Clearwater Beach an ideal spot for swimming, relaxing in the sun, fishing, and enjoying other beach activities. Clearwater Beach also has several fun options for sunset cruises and boat tours.
One of the best parts about this beach town is that it is close to many attractions, like Fort de Soto Park, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and Pier 60 for fishing.
John’s Pass is just a short drive away from Madeira Beach with a boardwalk, restaurants, and water activities.
Caladesi Island State Park is just north of Clearwater Beach and is popular for hiking and exploring, kayaking, swimming, and more.
There are plenty of bars and restaurants in Clearwater Beach, as well. Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill and Palm Pavillion are both located right on the beach and have great food, and there are several more nice spots for food and drinks along this famous strip.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach day or an exciting night out, Clearwater Beach has plenty of options for fun!
Thanks to its warm climate, this stunning beach is the perfect place for a sunny December holiday.
9 Best (And Warmest) Florida Beaches In December
Overall, whether you are looking for fun activities or just want to relax in the sun, there is no shortage of the best and warmest beaches in Florida during December.
From Clearwater Beach to Key West, there is something for everyone to enjoy. So grab your sunscreen, and a beach chair, and get ready for some fun in the sun!
Book Your Next Trip! For Accommodations and short-term rentals, I recommend Booking.com as they are the best in the business when it comes to rates and places to stay.
To Book Activities- For activities, I suggest booking with Viator, they have thousands of 5-star activities to choose from!
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