Your Florida winter bucket list

Shutterstock/Alex Couto

By Tyler Francischine

January 23, 2024

While the rest of the country huddles inside, clutching piping hot cups of cocoa to keep warm, Floridians are treated to a winter season so temperate, getting outdoors and embarking on an adventure with loved ones is a necessity.

For fans of winter sports, several venues across Florida bring the ice and snow to the South. For those who prefer their winters drenched in warm sunshine, activities like picking in-season produce off the vine or watching manatees congregate in Florida’s natural springs promise unforgettable memories for the entire family.

By no means an exhaustive list, here are several must-do activities across the Sunshine State to check off your bucket list this winter.

Ice skate at The RINK at Las Olas Oceanside Park

Your Florida Winter Bucket List

Photo courtesy of The Loop Fort Lauderdale Beach

Where else but Florida could you glide around on ice skates along a rink with ocean views? The RINK at Las Olas Oceanside Park in Ft. Lauderdale Beach—a 4,000-square-foot ice skating rink that will never melt in the South Florida sun—is open daily through Jan. 1, 2024. This winter pop-up offers a variety of programming to please any age group or skill levels. Each Saturday evening, the rink transforms into an adults’ paradise with live DJs and themed couples’ attire while Sunday afternoons offer family skates.

Hit the Floridian slopes at WinterClub Indoor Ski and Snowboard

Your Florida Winter Bucket List

Photo courtesy of WinterClub Indoor Ski and Snowboard Facebook page

There aren’t any snowy mountains within Florida’s state lines, but that doesn’t mean Floridians can’t practice and perfect their ski and snowboarding skills this winter. Visitors to Winter Club Indoor Ski and Snowboard in Winter Park, just northeast of Orlando, can tackle two indoor ski slopes as well as an interactive ski simulator that makes you feel like you’re racing down a snow-capped mountain. WinterClub provides all the necessary gear including skis, poles, snowboards, helmets, and boots, so all visitors need to do is bundle up in loose-fitting, long layers and cozy socks.

Pick fresh produce off the vine at Graham Farms

Your Florida Winter Bucket List

Photo courtesy of Graham’s U Pick Peaches

Florida’s farms become true wonderlands in wintertime with bountiful harvests of fresh fruits and vegetables ripe for the picking. Make memories with your young ones this winter by helping them pick the juiciest of the bunch, straight from the vine, at Graham Farms, with locations in Umatilla and Altoona. Graham Farms’ pair of locations between the Ocala National Forest and Mount Dora have been operated by members of the same family for the last century. Visit their Altoona location this December for strawberries and seasonal vegetables, or pick your favorite honey bells, sugar bells, and red navels at their Umatilla farm.

Commune with manatees at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Your Florida Winter Bucket List

Photo by Florida DEP courtesy of Visit Florida

When winter chills the temperature of the Gulf of Mexico’s waters, Florida’s West Indian manatee population swims inland to Crystal River, an area bubbling with freshwater springs that remain a comfortable 72 degrees all year. Wintertime visitors to Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Homosassa, just a few miles south of Crystal River, gain the rare opportunity to get up close and personal with Florida’s beloved sea cows. The park’s Underwater Observatory extends far beneath the water’s surface to allow humans to view manatees in their natural habitat. Each day at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., park staff offer educational presentations about the life cycles and behaviors of these gentle and endangered giants.

 

Author

  • Tyler Francischine

    Tyler Francischine is a journalist who writes about travel, arts, culture and community. She's passionate about social justice, the Atlantic Ocean and live music.

CATEGORIES: COMMUNITY | THINGS TO DO

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