Can You Wear Shorts in Florida in Winter? (November Through March)

Florida is always firmly in the top three most visited states across the US due to the largely pleasant weather all year round. However, the weather intricacies also mean that packing for the trip isn’t always straightforward. Can you wear shorts in Florida in the winter?

You can wear shorts in the winter in Florida. The winter months in the state are the mildest in the country. Most afternoons are warm enough for light dressing; the temperatures can reach 74°F (23°C). The low-temperature averages are around 65°F (18°C) in Key West to 41°F (5°C) in Tallahassee. 

The rest of the article will cover why you can wear shorts in Florida in the winter. You’ll also find other tips for dressing with the Florida weather in mind.

Wearing Shorts During a Florida Winter Is Normal

Florida is aptly named the Sunshine State because of the near all-year-round warm weather. The state has such diverse weather because it spans vertically so much land.

A good portion of the “winter birds” landing in the state aren’t just tourists making the trip to Disneyland but also neighbors fleeing the frostbite in other states like Illinois, New York, and Georgia.

When these visitors land, they often meet weather that’s far more welcoming than the winters they’re used to. In such weather, pulling out a pair of shorts is a sure way to stay comfortable.

If you’re packing for a Florida visit, you can pack a few shorts because you’re sure to get many days of warm outdoor weather.

January Is the Coldest Winter Month in Florida

Here’s a brief look at what the Florida weather looks like during the winter months:

  • November: The weather starts to drop from mid-November as average highs range from 69–80°F (20–26°C and average lows range from 50–68°F (10–20°C).
  • December: The month of December is the second coldest during Florida’s winter. The average highs range from 66–76°F (18–24°C), and average lows range from 45–67°F (7–19°C).
  • January: This month is the coldest winter month in Florida. Average temperature highs range from 64–74°F (17–23°C) while average lows are between 43 and 65°F (6–18°C).
  • February: The month of February is the warmest during the winter in Florida. Average temperature highs range from 64–76°F (17–24°C) while the average lows range from 44–66°F (6–18°C).

As the weather distribution above implies, it’s hard to classify most winter months in Florida as cold. You can get a few days within the same week fluctuating between shorts and cardigan weather.

Should You Pack Shorts for Florida in the Winter?

You should consider packing shorts for Florida in the winter. Although the weather can get cold on some days, you’re sure to experience many days where you can comfortably wear shorts. 

As you pack your bag for your upcoming travel to Florida, here are extra tips to keep in mind:

The Southern Parts Are Hotter

In most winter months, you can expect the southern parts of the state to have warmer temperatures. For example, Tallahassee will always be colder than the Florida Keys.

You can still pack shorts if your holiday destination is in the colder northern parts of the state, but you’ll get fewer warm afternoons on average.

The Sun in Florida Can Be Overwhelming

The sun is often a welcome sight in winter in most places, but the dynamics are different in Florida. In Florida, the sun often triumphs over the chill.

You may not feel the difference when you’re under shade. However, wearing shorts and stepping into the 67°F (19°C) weather can feel like walking around in 80°F (26°C) weather. Don’t forget your sunscreen!

You Need Different Types of Sweaters

In Minnesota or North Dakota, you always need to wear super heavy jackets in the winter.

In Florida, the story is different. You only need a light jacket when the sun is out (you may not even need it!), but as the later afternoons give way to the early evenings, the ocean breeze intensifies the chill pushing you to reach for thicker covering. So, you need to pack different types of sweaters.

You Shouldn’t Ditch Your Long Sleeves and Pants

Following up on the point above, you can’t expect to wear shorts and tees throughout your stay in Florida in the winter. Your long sleeves and pants will come in handy when the sun isn’t at its peak, and they won’t feel overwhelming as the weather warms up.

You can easily roll up your sleeves if you feel hot; instead of wearing a jacket, you’d have to pull off as the weather warms.

Nighttime Weather Is Always Coldest

Florida is coldest at night like most places—especially in the winter. You have to cover up adequately to stay comfortable. You won’t get frostbite, but where’s the fun in shivering under 45°F (7°C) weather?

If you’re headed outdoors, wear a shirt to give a layer of warmth under a jacket. You should also change out of your shorts into thick pants or denim.

Final Thoughts

Florida is in the top two places to be during the winter months, only second to Hawaii. It has some of the best weather for shorts in the country between November and March, so you can pack a few if you’re traveling down there.

However, you need to keep tabs on the weather as it can quickly change from warm to very chilly—especially as the day winds down.