Location: 26811 South Tamiami Trail | Bonita Springs, FL 34134
Southwest Florida’s weather is undoubtedly the envy of much of the country when temperatures begin to drop. With mild temperatures and low humidity, it’s no surprise that millions of visitors flock to beautiful Southwest Florida each winter. While the winters are celebrated, summers have undeservingly gotten a bad reputation.
Southwest Florida’s weather is particularly seasonal – mild, dry winters and hot, wet summers. Understanding the differences and planning your activities and vacations according to the seasons will help you enjoy Southwest Florida throughout the year.
The State of Florida as a whole sees its hottest month in July. Southwest Florida takes a little longer for its temperatures to max out, doing so in August. There are four months in Southwest Florida with average highs above the mid-80s:
We’re not going to lie; the mid-day summer heat can be uncomfortable. But don’t let it keep you from booking a memorable summer vacation in Southwest Florida. There are plenty of great indoor activities for families to do during the day. Here are some of the more unique offerings:
Florida’s rainy season is generally considered May to October, with slight regional adjustments. The National Weather Service (NWS) defines the rainy season in Southwest Florida as running from May 15 through October 15. About three-quarters of Southwest Florida’s annual rainfall (45”) occurs during this period. The rainy season has three distinct phases with different weather patterns:
It is important to note that Florida’s rainy season falls within the Atlantic Hurricane Season, which runs from June through November. Though the defined hurricane season spans six months, nearly 90% of hurricanes occur in just three months – August, September, and October. If you intend to visit Florida during hurricane season, plan accordingly. And we highly recommend booking through a vacation rental company that offers travel insurance that covers cancellations.
Most people think of Florida as a subtropical climate. And they’re right, as most of the state falls under this category. But Köppen classification divides Florida into two climate groups:
This climate zone encompasses most of the state, except for most of South Florida. A Humid Subtropical Climate is characterized by hot and humid summers and cool winters.
Limited to only South Florida, a Tropical Climate has a mean temperature of at least 64.4 degrees every month of the year with substantial rainfall. It only has two seasons – wet season and dry season. South Florida has areas in all three subcategories within the Tropical Climate group:
“It’s not the heat; it’s the humidity.” It’s a phrase you have no doubt heard a hundred times before. It is accurate, but probably not in the way you would expect. When people speak of the humidity, they’re typically referring to the relative humidity. But relative humidity isn’t an accurate indicator of comfort.
Why? Because warm air holds more moisture than cold air. Relative humidity measures the moisture in the air as a percentage of what it can physically hold at its specific temperature. Because of this, a lower temperature with higher humidity could feel more comfortable than lower humidity at a higher temperature.
So is there an accurate measure of how comfortable the air will be? Yes, and it’s called the dew point. The dew point is the temperature at which the air would reach 100% relative humidity. This measure is accurate and easy to understand – the lower the dew point, the drier and more comfortable the air is.
Dew Point Temperatures and Perceived Comfort:
During the summer, the dew point averages around 70 degrees throughout Florida. So you’ll experience comparable humidity virtually anywhere you go. During the winter, location matters as the dew points vary drastically across the different regions of the state. Dew point temperature ranges from the 30s in the panhandle to the 60s in the Florida Keys.
The winters in Fort Myers, Florida are about as lovely as they come. The temperatures are very mild, humidity is low, and there is very little precipitation. The coldest month of the year is January, with an average high of 75 and a low of 54. Fort Myers rarely reaches the freezing point, doing so only one day every year or two. In fact, there are only a handful of days a year when the temperatures get as low as 40 degrees!
So a winter visit to Fort Myers often won’t require more than a light jacket – even while you’re enjoying the many great outdoor activities available. You might even be able to wear your flip-flops!
What can we say about Florida’s weather in December? It is about the finest in the United States. With its mild temperatures, lower humidity, and little precipitation, December is one of the best times to go on a Florida vacation.
The State of Florida spans 450 miles from north to south and has four U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plant hardiness zones (8-11). There can be a vast range in temperatures between the north and the south, as you can imagine. However, this variability is only seen during the winter months. During the summer months, temperatures and humidity levels are relatively similar statewide.
So if you’re planning a summer vacation, there isn’t a bad option when it comes to the weather. However, during the winter, it’s more important that you look at your planned activities before deciding where to go. Are you planning on going to the beach, golfing, or doing other outdoor activities? If so, the southern half of the state could be your best option, as it has more mild weather and warmer waters.
Florida’s winter is called the “Cool Season.” It lasts about three months, running from December through February. Compared to summer, when average temperatures across the state are reasonably consistent, there is high variability in winter temperatures. During the winter, the average high temperature ranges from 61 degrees in north Florida to 78 degrees in the south – a 17-degree difference. But at night, the average lows span a whopping 28 degrees – from 38 in the north to 66 in the south.
In South Florida, where the high temperatures average near 80 degrees in December, you would probably not think twice about heading out for a nice beach day. But with water temperatures in the low 70s in both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, you may have to stick to just enjoying the sun and sand. Some people find temperatures that low a little too cold for comfort.
Just as with air temperatures, there is a wide disparity between the water temperatures of northern and southern Florida during the winter months. While temperatures in the south are in the 70s, in northern Florida, temperatures can be as low as the upper 50s. Temperatures this low are not only highly uncomfortable but are also considered life-threatening without thermal protection.
So can you swim in Florida in December? Indeed – in a cozy vacation rental with a heated swimming pool! There’s nothing quite like enjoying the beautiful Florida winter while still being able to take that refreshing dip in the water. Where else but Florida can you do that?
With incredible beaches, attractions, and entertainment, making a trip to Florida should be a top priority. No matter what month you decide to visit, you’re certainly going to have a fantastic time.
The winter months bring beautiful, dry weather perfect for enjoying the outdoors. It also brings a lot of visitors. If you don’t mind the heat, the rewards can be significant. The summer months are generally less busy, traffic is lighter, there’s excellent fishing, and there are some fantastic deals on vacation rentals.
No matter the right time to visit, don‘t leave your vacation to chance – always use a trusted name in vacation rentals. In Southwest Florida and Ocala, that name is Royal Shell. Book Direct with Royal Shell and save on luxury vacation homes. We offer Flexcation™ options so that you can book with confidence. If you’d prefer to speak to a person, call our experienced team of Vacation Advisors at (866) 202-0723. They’ll use their local knowledge to help customize your perfect stay. Allow Royal Shell Vacations to exceed your expectations.