Kids are HS age, we are bringing a friend so 2 boys 2 girls.
Gulf coast beaches warmer than east coast? Which one should we look at?
There really isn't going to be a difference in temperatures. It's just that gulf coast beaches are prettier with their white sand and turquoise water. The shells are nicer on the gulf side too. Nice to look at, but either way it's likely going to be too cool for swimming without a wet suit.
If you've got teenagers, they would likely appreciate Universal. Islands of Adventure is my favorite. It has a lot of great rides. Universal Studios doesn't thrill me so much, but it does have a lot of popular attractions too.
"Is it ignorance or apathy? Hey, I don't know and I don't care." ~Jimmy Buffett
It may be too cold to swim,I would pick a resort that has a heated pool. Sea world
Is fun-they have a cirque type show that is entertaining. There is also a Titanic museum that is good. Orlando can be in the 40s at night if they get a cold snap. I would check the weather channel frequently for a 5 day forecast and pack jackets,just in case.
For teenagers a trip to the keys might be fun- go snorkeling (rent a wetsuit), kayak through the mangroves, the pelican rescue is cool. Could stop and do an everglades air boat ride on the way down (and stop in Wellington to see some really nice horses or a polo match (no idea what you have to do to watch one.))
The kids would probably love windsurfing or kite boarding lessons somewhere (not cheap.) There's even surfing at cocoa beach from what I've heard.
Universal is great! Also, keep in mind that cold beach is relative. We get some warm spells where the temps are in the high 70's, or it could be in the 30's (I remember one memorable December surfing at the pier when it was 30 something during the DAYTIME - I was wearing a HOOD and BOOTIES!). The water rarely gets below 60, though. So you do see tourists from other places still swimming - if you come down from Minnesota you are by god going to go in the water, and we're all walking around with flannel on, because our blood is thin! I surf year round, often with just a thin 1ml top on.
For teenagers, if you don't have a really good mall near you, they might appreciate the Mall at Millenia, as well - we have a REALLY big mall in Orlando . There is also a ton of shopping up there.
Tampa is not too far and there is the Dali Museum in St. Pete, St. Pete in general, The Ringling (sarasota), Fine Arts Museum, and Tampa Museum of Art, Clearwater Beach, MOSI, Bush Gardens, although the horses are gone, the Lowery Park zoo is awesome as well as, the aquarium. Catch a Bucs or Rays game (if its the season I dont pay attention to that stuff). Chanel Side, Bayshore, and Ybor City for walking. Fishing off the Skyway bridge pier. Charter a boat and fish.
Since the kids are HS age, come and walk around USF or Univ. of Tampa.
The weather will be cool in the evening and pleasant during the days.
Originally Posted by Frank B
Lots of stuff to do in a two-hour radius of central Florida. To the west is Tampa and Busch Gardens, to the east is the Space Center and plenty in between.
I've done Disney at Christmas. If you can get away with it, go the week before. It's surprisingly quiet then. The week between Christmas and New Year's is insane.
Either way you'll love it! Both Disney and Universal have some awesome holiday themed attractions (parades, light shows, etc.). That's also the best time of the year as far as weather. It'll most likely be in the 50-60's and sunny.
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I grew up in Maine! We were in the water as soon as the ice was off the lakes! Two seasons, swim and ice skate
Kids are not gonna care if the water is 75 as long as the air is around the same.
Days should still be in the 70s, unless we get a weird cold snap.
East side may be cooler water, but nicer beaches.
Look at Segway tours, shelling too. All the big parks will be crowded, but maybe you can hit one midweek?
Homossassa springs is nice, as is tarpon sponge docks, and we have HUGE flea markets!
We are from Michigan and the water and weather was not to cold to swim last winter ( 70's)! We did Clearwater beach which is about 1.5 hrs from Orlando area I think? It was great and we all swam! Best part about winter beaches in Florida is that to us Northerners it is warm but to everyone else it's to cold so the beaches were not crowded.
We did both Sea World and Disney when we were there. It was crowded but not super crazy. If you are there after the New Year I suggest you save your theme park trips until then> Christmas decorations are still up but it's a bit less crowded. the Disney fireworks and show on Cinderella's castle was AMAZING! Englewood, Manasota key, and Stump pass are other great beach areas. A little less touristy ( great shelling..) There is also Lego land in Winter Haven which is mostly roller coaster type rides if I am not mistaken.
Also there I would go to Celebration ( the city) and Olde Towne. Both fun areas.