Gasparilla Pirate Festival
January 28, 2017
The Gasparilla Pirate Festival has, for a century, sailed into downtown Tampa. Hundreds of colorfully costumed pirates will "invade" the city aboard the Jose Gasparilla with canons and pistols blazing, accompanied by a flotilla of hundreds of boats. Later, Jose Gaspar and the Mystic Krewe captures (with little resistance) the city and shares their wealth of trinkets and doubloons with the enthusiastic crowd along the Parade route.
Nights of Lights
November 19, 2016 - January 31, 2017
Florida's oldest city becomes a magical city with a grand holiday celebration of lights. The Nights of Lights features over two million lights that illuminate the colonial buildings, downtown parks, and historic bayfront. And, the event has grown to include activities that keep visitors busy well into the new year.
Best Time to Go
New Year's through the first week of January will usually see average crowds at Central Florida's theme parks. Attendance at Disney World is typically the least crowded from the second week of January through the first week in February. The same holds true for most other theme parks and attractions.
What to Pack
Generally, Florida's daytime temperatures are easily tolerated by most visitors. Of course, if you are visiting north Florida, you may need warmer clothing during the day and something heavier than a sweater at night, especially if you'll be staying or playing along the waterfront.
Daytime attire may include long slacks vs shorts; but, of course, keep the shorts on the packing list if you're visiting South Florida. Do come prepared for very chilly weather that occasionally reaches freezing. If you are visiting the theme parks, do include a wind breaker or light jacket. Cooler days are often accompanied by gusty winds that whip up between buildings and can make you quite uncomfortable.
Do bring along your bathing suit. Even though water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic will not be tolerated except by those who are used to extremely cold temperatures, most hotel pools are heated these days. If this is important, be sure to inquire when you make your reservations.
Florida's mild climate extends into the winter months, but there is a chance for cold temperatures — even frost — during the month in North and Central Florida.
Average temperatures are listed below. If you're looking for more specific information on these popular Florida destinations, take the links to see what's in store throughout the year.
- Daytona Beach: High 70°-Low 47°
- Fort Myers: High 75°-Low 54°
- Jacksonville: High 64°-Low 42°
- Key West: High 75°-Low 65°
- Miami: High 73°-Low 63°
- Orlando: High 72°-Low 50°
- Panama City: High 62°-Low 39°
- Pensacola: High 61°-Low 43°
- Tallahassee: High 64°-Low 40°
- Tampa: High 70°-Low 52°
- West Palm Beach: High 75°-Low 57°
One plus for a January visit is that hurricane season doesn't begin until June 1 and frequent cold fronts that roll through the state seldom produces violent weather.
January Water Temperatures
The water temperature for the Gulf of Mexico (West Coast) ranges from the high 50s to high 60s.
The Atlantic Ocean (East Coast) waters average mid-to-high 50s from Central Florida north. The beaches to the south - West Palm Beach, Miami and The Keys - are always several degrees warmer than those in North Florida.