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Florida in February: Everything You Need to Know

Thinking about spending some time in Florida in February? We’ve got you covered with this comprehensive guide.

February in Florida is a beautiful weather month for the state, making any type of vacation enjoyable for the whole family. Whether you’re here for Spring Training, Walt Disney World or to experience one of the many beautiful beaches, there is plenty of fun to be had this month with excellent conditions for your travels.

Some of the best things you can experience only in February include swimming with manatees in Crystal River, attending the Florida State Fair in Tampa and seeing the Ocala Winter Circuit in the Horse Capital of the World. In addition to these unique experiences, adventurers will thrill in the Everglades cooler weather and the sailfishing in the Keys.

From weather to beaches, attractions, and things to do, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about visiting Florida in February.

This article is part of Roundtript’s series of expert Florida travel guides for every month of the year.


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For a summary of each Florida month & season all in one place, check out our big guide to the Best Times of the Year to Visit Florida.

February Weather in Florida

Aerial shot of Miami Beach
Aerial shot of Miami Beach.

February in Florida can vary widely from year to year, depending on how cold the early Winter was. Some years, the Winter is warm for Christmas, then cold blasts in from February through March. While Florida is bound to fluctuate in late Winter, expect to pack light layers you can put on and strip off when necessary.

Florida is the only place in the United States that maintains a subtropical to tropical climate all year round. Based on where you’ll be traveling, temperatures are likely to vary.

In the northern part of the state (Central Florida to the Panhandle) average daily highs in February will be around 68°F (20°C) and lows will be about 45°F (7.2°C). In the southern part (Central Florida to the Keys) average highs in February will be closer to 74°F (23.3°C).

February is in the dry season in Florida, and snow is extremely rare even in the Northern areas. Rain is also scarce. Humidity levels will remain higher than the rest of the country, but February tends to have drier air. One of the main cautions for February is the fogginess of the morning hours. Very often the cold air collides with humidity at this time, creating fog on the roadways for a few hours every morning until about 10am.

February Affordability & Crowds in Florida

Fort Meyers Florida Airport
Travelers at airport in Fort Meyers, FL. EQRoy/Shutterstock

February crowds in Florida will vary depending on which region you visit this month. However, February tends to be a slower month for vacationing. Most parts of Florida will experience a lull, even on the beaches, as most families will not be traveling this month in general.

The places where you’ll experience the biggest influx of visitors will be in towns that are popular with “snowbirds” (Northern residents who stay in Florida for the Winter and Spring). The snowbirds usually arrive in October and stay through May. You’ll generally want to avoid traveling to places like St. Petersburg and Clearwater, Naples, Fort Myers and Hollywood, FL, as these will see some of the largest amounts of winter visitors.

Most travelers will enjoy lower than average rates for Florida hotels in February. Decent accommodations in Orlando will range from $200 – $350 per night, hotels in Tampa will range from $250 – $350 per night, and the more populous city of Miami will see rates from $300 – $500 per night.

Best Things to Do in Florida in February

Experience Miami & Fort Lauderdale

Miami Heat's American Airline Arena
American Airline Arena, home of the NBA’s Miami Heat. Tiago Pestana/Shutterstock

Miami and Fort Lauderdale are two cities in the state that are very much their own experiences, but so close in proximity it’d be a shame not to experience them together. While Fort Lauderdale tends to be more widely known as a place to live, and Miami being the place to visit, there are loads of things to excite you in both environments.

Miami, of course, is well-known for it’s white, sandy beaches and exquisite nightlife. We highly recommend booking a hotel on Miami Beach to get access not only to on-the-water vacationing, but to also be near the sights and sounds of downtown Miami. There are so many events going on in February, from NBA games to Art Fests and everything in between. We recommend taking a boat or helicopter tour of the city, exploring Little Havana and seeing the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.

In the same trip, you can easily get to Fort Lauderdale via car in about half and hour. Fort Lauderdale offers a big city atmosphere with a more exclusive vibe, featuring upscale dining, entertainment and excursions. There are many day cruises perfect for a family outing while taking in the scenery, and there are fishing and sportfish charters you can take into the Atlantic. Don’t miss Las Olas Boulevard for when you need some high class dining and shopping to rival Miami.

Visit Ocala

Silver Spring State Park in Ocala. Sorin Popa/Shutterstock

Ocala is a lowkey destination in the Northern Central part of Florida, known for it’s abundance of horse farms, expert equestrian trainers and race tracks. It’s renowned as the Horse Capital of the World. The main attraction in February is the Ocala Winter Circuit, a competition that lasts from mid-December to March. Every weeks hosts a different equestrian competition with prizes ranging from $50k to $1mil.

Many of the over 1,200 horse farms located in Ocala will offer tours and horseback rides for families and groups. They also offer feeding activities and carriage rides for special occasions. But horse farms aren’t the only entertainment around this vast area; Ocala is also home to some of the most beautiful natural habitats in inland Florida.

Tourists will revel in the landscapes of both Silver Springs State Park and Ocala National Forest, featuring natural springs, waterways and tree-lined wetlands. Glass-bottomed boats can be rented to get the full experience of the crystal clear springs. Ocala also has Juniper Springs, Rainbow Springs State Park and KP Hole Park, giving your party many options to choose from. And if fine dining or shopping is on your vacation bucket list, Ocala Downtown Historic Square has plenty to offer.

Swim in Crystal River

Manatees in Crystal River, Florida.
Manatees in Florida’s Crystal River.

Where else can you swim with real Florida manatees? These gentle creatures can be found in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and the Amazon, but Crystal River is the only place where you can legally swim with them. They are lovingly referred to as “sea cows” for their peaceful demeanor and slow-paced, vegetarian lifestyle.

Crystal River, located on Florida’s Nature Coast, is the Winter destination for manatees seeking warmer waters than the ocean. The river maintains an even 72°F (23.3°C) all year long, making it a comfortable environment for both manatees and people in the Winter months. Residents recommend staying at the Plantation on Crystal River, for the nicest amenities, beautiful white plantation accommodations and old-school Southern charm.

While there are plenty of water adventures like kayaking and fishing, and dry land biking and exploring, no experience beats swimming with the manatees in Kings Bay. There are several outfitters that will take you on guided tours of the springs where these manatees refuge in February. They’ll rent equipment and take you right into the water for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Tour Everglades National Park

Long Pine Key Lake in Everglades National Park

February is a great time to see Everglades National Park since there are fewer visitors this time of year and the weather is favorable for outdoor exploring in these typically hot wetlands. This national park makes up 1.5 million acres in Florida’s southwest corner on the opposite side of Miami, filled with mangroves and hundreds of wildlife species.

It’s touted as the United States’ Largest Subtropical Wilderness and guests can experience the habitat in many different ways. Guides host daily tours via tram, rented bicycles, and airboats. You even have the opportunity to take a fishing tour, eco tour or go kayaking and camping in the Everglades.

Kids will love the Everglades “Every Kid Outdoors” program. This special pass is applicable to multiple national parks around the U.S. and allows kids to experience the fullness of national parks while learning with expert guides along the way. In the Everglades, children and parents will get to see everything from alligators and manatees to birds and turtles.

Diving in the Keys

The Winter months are a great time to dive in the Florida Keys with great visibility and fair temperatures in and out of the water. Outfitters dot the Overseas Highway from Key Largo to Key West, giving you plenty of options for a guided dive and rental equipment. Because the water temps are cooler, a wet suit is highly recommended for your trip.

The top dive sites you’ll find in the Keys are reefs filled with aquatic animals from sea turtles to sharks. Looe Key off of Big Pine Key is a great jumping off point for reef diving, along with Molasses Reef in Key Largo. You can also dive wrecks like the USS Spiegel Grove off Key Largo and the USNS Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, the preferred diving spot in Key West. There’s even a sunken “Christ of the Abyss” you can find in the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the most sought-after diving experience in the Keys.

If you’re into spear fishing, the Keys is one of the world’s best locations for the sport. In February, you’ll be searching for some of the Keys finest catches, including Hogfish, Lionfish and Grouper. If you prefer fishing above the water, February is a great month to take a charter offshore in search of Sailfish. Sportfishing is huge here and February through March is the finest time for landing these beastly fish.

Visit Mount Dora

Mount Dora is a small town in Central Florida, about 45 minutes north of Orlando. The town is a popular antique shop destination for Florida residents and makes a great stay for a quiet vacation away from the hustle and bustle of city life. In February, the crowds will be minimal and lodging rates will be fairly low.

The main event happening this month will be the Annual Mount Dora Arts Festival, held on the lakeshore. Locally recognized artists and a few renowned creators from across the country will make an appearance at the festival over the course of three days. Guests will have the opportunity to view hundreds of different works with many available for purchase.

Downtown Mount Dora is dotted with antique shops, restaurants and hometown goods. Those visiting will enjoy the quiet comforts of walking the main drag, upscale dining at a local cafe or touring one of many historical buildings. The residents and business owners are extremely friendly and welcoming to all guests who enter their doors.

Best Florida Beaches in February

Florida has a multitude of great beaches to visit all year. Below we’ve listed the best beaches in each area and what the experience will be like in the month of February.

Gold Coast: Best All-Around

Ocean Drive in Miami
Ocean Drive on South Beach, Miami.

The Gold Coast is located in the southwest side of Florida, mainly encompassing the Miami and Fort Lauderdale area on the Atlantic side. Miami has the highest temperatures in Florida all year round, making it the top destination for February visitors who are looking to avoid the cold. The beaches in this area are very popular with tourists, so expect them to be fairly crowded, with water temps at 71°F (21.6°C).

Our top recommendations for Gold Coast beaches include Las Olas Beach in Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach and South Beach. The best part about visiting this area is cruising down Ocean Drive, choosing from a wide variety of dining and hotel options and enjoying the night life in the city.

Treasure Coast: Best Weather

Palm Beach, Florida, USA clock tower on Worth Ave.
Palm Beach, Florida, USA clock tower on Worth Ave.

The Treasure Coast is located just above Miami’s beaches and has some of the warmer temperatures – about 74°F (23.3°C) – you can experience in Florida in February. West Palm and Palm Beach are popular beach towns in this area known for glamorous residences on pristine white sands. There are many things to do in this area, making it a nice place to vacation.

Our top beach recommendations in this area are West Palm, Delray, Pompano, Palm Beach, and Boca Raton. All feature slightly different styles. Delray Beach not only has excellent beaches, but has a booming arts district. Pompano Beach has multiple diving sights to explore coral reefs and shipwrecks. Boca Raton is great for recreational activities like golf and shopping.

The Florida Keys: Warm Getaway

Smathers Beach, Key West, Florida.
Smathers Beach in Key West, Florida.

The Keys are an extremely popular destination all year round, and February is no exception. February offers a winter reprieve for snowbirds and tourists alike, so the Keys will also be packed with visitors this time of year. The water averages 71°F (21.6°C). Our favorite spots include beaches on Key West, Key Largo and Marathon, as well as Bahia Honda State Park and the Dry Tortugas National Park.

Some fun and unique things to do in this area include exploring historical places like the Hemingway House, the old civil war base at Fort Zachary Taylor and getting a picture at the Southernmost Point. We highly recommend flying in for those looking to do an extended weekend in the Keys, but driving from Miami will give you some of the most scenic ocean views you’ve ever witnessed.

Paradise Coast

Board walk at Marco Island, Florida
Board walk on Marco Island.

The Paradise Coast is opposite of the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area, featuring a more natural habitat and relaxing environment for winter visitors and older audiences. The area tends to be an idyllic setting for snowbirds, with lots of events and activities within a serene atmosphere. It’s also one of the closest beach spots to the Everglades.

The vacation areas will be fairly busy this time of year, with cool and clear waters averaging 69°F (20.4°C). The top destinations on this coast are Marco Island, Naples, and Fort Myers. Marco Island is great for fishing, kayaking and paddleboarding, making it a fun beach trip for families and active seniors. While Naples and Fort Myers generally draw an older crowd for a more refined experience.

Cultural Coast

Coquina Beach Anna Maria Island
Aerial view of Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island.

We are most partial to the Cultural Coast as it’s been the favorite summer destination for our families since before we were born. In February, the water and weather will be slightly cooler than you’d expect for the Gulf Coast. The beaches are beautiful here, but the water will average 64°F (17.3°C).

Our best suggestions for visiting the Cultural Coast are Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key, Siesta Key and Sanibel Island. Anna Maria Island is the perfect beach town with a very relaxed atmosphere that encourages walking and biking around the island. Longboat Key on the other hand puts on more of the ritz. Siesta Key has recreational accommodations for the whole family and Sanibel has a great natural habitat in the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Preserve.

Space Coast

The Space Coast is located slightly north of Orlando on the Atlantic side of the state. Known as the home of Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral and the famous Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach, this area has been a popular Spring Break destination for decades. While the beaches don’t rock as much as they did in the early 2000’s, tourists still enjoy what the Space Coast has to offer.

February will be cooler on the Space Coast, with the water temperatures averaging 65°F (18.3°C) which is cold to Floridians, but vacationers may not mind. The best beaches on the Space Coast are Melbourne, Cocoa Beach and Daytona Beach. All have a very similar structure and atmosphere, so choosing your location may be based on their proximity to Orlando – in which case Cocoa will be your closest option.

Sun Coast

The Sun Coast is north of the Cultural Coast on the Gulf side of the state, with similar weather and water temps at 61°F (16.1°C) in February. The Sun Coast boasts Tampa Bay’s best beaches, including Dunedin, Clearwater and St. Pete Beach. While these beaches are heavily marketed and popular with tourists, the coasts mentioned above will have more pristine offerings and lodging.

Our best recommendations for this area are to visit Caladesi Island State Park or Honeymoon Island State Park. Both require ferry trips from the mainland in Dunedin. These well-preserved state parks have designated dog-friendly areas, picnic tables and walking paths to take in the natural island habitats. You’re also guaranteed to see gopher tortoises, sea turtles and ocean birds with every visit to these islands.

First Coast

The First Coast is Florida’s coldest coast on the Atlantic side, featuring the historical cities and beaches of St. Augustine, Jacksonville and Sea Islands. The water temperatures in the month of February will be about 62°F (16.6°C). Visitors to this area will love the historical aspects of the region even more so than the beaches themselves this time of year.

St. Augustine is known as Florida’s oldest city and has many landmarks to explore, including the Castillo de San Marcos fort. Jacksonville is Florida’s most populous city with many parks, gardens and museums to experience. Amelia Island is the perfect escape for a luxury resort stay with upscale golf courses and shopping districts.

Emerald Coast

The Emerald Coast makes up Florida’s panhandle from Pensacola to Tallahassee. This coast will experience the coldest temperatures in Florida during the Winter, so expect February water temperatures to follow suit 61°F (16.1°C). Despite the cooler weather, the Emerald Coast has a lot to offer in the month of February.

Our top beach recommendations in this area are Pensacola, South Walton Island, Destin and Panama City. Swimming may not be your top option this month, but beach walks and inland activities will make a great vacation. Pensacola has many museums to visit, while Panama City has several state parks to experience. South Walton has a great art scene and Destin has excellent golf courses and other recreational activities.

Top Florida Attractions in February

Walt Disney World

Stormtroopers at Disney World's Hollywood Studios
Stormtroopers interacting with guests inside Disney World’s Star War’s Galaxy’s Edge.

Walt Disney World is the vacation capitol of the world, therefore it’s Florida’s biggest attraction. Walt Disney World is comprised of four different theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom) and two water parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon). Disney is located outside of Orlando in Lake Buena Vista. In the month of February, the weather will be cool but dry and the parks will not be very crowded.

Epcot International Art Festival is going on during the entire month of February, with special events and merchandise featured inside the park. Resort rates will be lower this month, along with ticket pricing and even food pricing (which fluctuates with tourist volumes). February is also when the Princess Half Marathon takes place in the Magic Kingdom.

There is so much to do at Disney World, as you can see on this big list of 110 Disney World Must Do’s.

Universal Orlando

The Incredible Hulk rollercoaster at Universal's Islands of Adventure.
The Incredible Hulk rollercoaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. VIAVAL TOURS/Shutterstock

Universal Orlando is Disney’s biggest rival, featuring two different theme parks (Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure) along with one water park (Volcano Bay). It’s located on the outskirts of Orlando and has it’s own resort accommodations for guests to enjoy. The parks are known for movie-themed roller coasters, rides and attractions for all ages.

February weather will be cool and dry and the parks will not be overly crowded. Mardi Gras is the biggest draw to the park this time of year, lasting from February through March. There are festivities happening all over the park with special merchandise and themed foods, as well as a daily Mardi Gras Parade and live concerts with nationally recognized entertainers.

SeaWorld Orlando

Dolphin show at SeaWorld
Dolphins performing during a daily show at SeaWorld. Benny Marty/Shutterstock

SeaWorld is most popular for it’s aquatic animals, shows and coasters. It’s very close to Universal Orlando and makes a great full day of entertainment. Sea World has recently added big roller coasters like Manta and Mako to up their thrill game for older audiences.

There is plenty for people of all ages to enjoy inside this ocean-themed park. In February, the weather is cool and dry and the park will have fewer visitors. Most people expect to get wet at Sea World, but it’s actually not common unless you sit up front for the whale shows, so no worries about getting wet in the colder weather.

Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens is the biggest theme park in the Tampa Bay area, located in north Tampa. It’s a great option for a full day to add into your weeklong vacation in Tampa, St. Petersburg or Clearwater, about 15 miles from the Tampa International Airport. In February, the Food & Wine Festival is going on, featuring live concerts with food and drink specials around the park.

Legoland

Legoland is one of Florida’s newest theme parks, located in Winter Haven, right in the middle of Central Florida. A quick drive from Orlando, Legoland is entirely themed after these popular little toy blocks which have inspired movies, roller coasters and water rides. There’s event a Lego resort where you can stay with the whole family. February is a great time to visit Legoland with dry, cool weather and fewer visitors.

Gatorland

Gatorland is a lesser known amusement park when compared to the likes of Walt Disney World and Universal, but a popular attraction nonetheless. Visitors love to learn more about Florida’s swamp creatures and natural habitat in this fun experience. Gatorland is south of Orlando and offers ziplining fun, off-road adventures and petting areas. February will be a slower month for the park, with cool and dry weather for your trip.

February Events in Florida

Florida hosts thousands of events each year appealing to a variety of audiences. We’ve listed the best events in February that most everyone would enjoy that take place over the course of several days or long weekends.

Baseball Spring Training Games

The Atlanta Braves spring training baseball facility in North Port FL.
The Atlanta Braves spring training baseball facility in North Port FL. Kent E Roberts/Shutterstock

Many Northeastern baseball teams come to Florida for Spring Training since it’s the only state not snowing on the field this month. They call it the “Grapefruit League” and each team makes it’s “home away from home” in different cities throughout the Sunshine State. You’ll find the New York Yankees in Tampa, the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers and the Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater, to name a few. Check the schedule to see if teams are playing in your vacation destination this February.

Florida State Fair

A crowd at the Florida State Fair in Tampa, FL. Yes I Shoot models/Shutterstock

The Florida State Fair is held annually in Tampa at the Florida State Fairgrounds. This 12 day event features carnival rides and games, free entertainment and loads of fair food for guests to enjoy. There are many shopping kiosks throughout the fair, as well as cultural exhibits and even agriculture exhibits with over 5,000 animals on display.

Florida Strawberry Festival

The Florida Strawberry Festival kicks off prime strawberry season in the month of February through March. Plant City in Central Florida is home to some of the best strawberry farms in the state and hosts this festival annually for everyone to enjoy. The festival has rides, games and vendors scattered around the grounds, along with live concerts with national headliners and strawberry shortcake stands.

Valentine’s Day

Depending on your destination, there may be tons of different Valentine’s Day options for you to choose from. Restaurants all over the state will likely be booked far in advance, so it’s best to plan ahead if you want to dine somewhere specific on this special day. In addition to eating, there are other activities offered in many parts of Florida for you to have fun with your love.

Conclusion

February is a beautiful month in Florida, but underrated by many who typically wouldn’t travel this month. If you’re looking for some of Florida’s best weather for experiencing it’s vast number of recreational activities, look no further than the perfect month of February.

A vacation to Florida in February is most ideal for lovers seeking a Valentine’s destination, baseball fans who want to see Spring Training games and outdoor enthusiasts who come to experience diving in the Keys, exploring the Everglades and even swimming with manatees in Crystal River.

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