Gulf Islands National Seashore bridges Florida and Mississippi, stretching some 150 miles along the Gulf of Mexico coast.

- Carlton Ward for VISIT FLORIDA

Winter Prep FAQs

The best way to beat the cold is to fly south to a toasty Florida vacation, and we’ve created a list of some of the most frequently asked winter questions to help you prepare. From gear and winter wear, to shoveling and de-icing like a pro, our winter FAQs are the perfect starting point. It’s also the place to start planning your Florida winter escape. 

What’s the best way to keep your hands warm during the winter?

Keep your extremities warm - the keyword here being keep. Run your hands under warm water or get them nice and toasty by the heater before slipping on a good pair of gloves. Of course, a little bit of exercise, like say paddle boarding in Florida, is also great to get the blood flowing in your hands. Try some eco trails in Naples along Florida’s Paradise Coast, or a magical night paddle in Don Pedro Island. We’re warm already.

I’m covered in blankets, and it’s still cold. Which is the best heater for my home?

Space heaters are a great solve for those extra cold days, or when you’re looking to save on your energy bill. Stick to models that are efficient and deliver even, gentle warmth… the kind of warmth you get from Florida’s sunshine and its beaches. We suggest exploring South Beach for some rays and bites along Ocean Drive, or Tampa’s Clearwater Beach for some stunning Pier 60 sunsets and sea creature fun at the aquarium (dolphin splashes beat blizzard slush).

What’s the best way to treat an icy driveway?

Give your driveway a good shoveling to clear off snow, then evenly sprinkle your de-icing product of choice. Popular products include calcium chloride, potassium chloride, and rock salt. You could also ditch sub-zero temps and driveway salting altogether for a salted margarita in Key West. Visit the famous Margaritaville Restaurant or pay homage to Ernest Hemmingway with a quick stop at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, one of the writer’s favorites. All in favor of swapping car keys for Key West...

My SUV is covered in white fluff. How do I melt snow off my car?

Some tips to keep in mind when you want to melt snow off your car are turning on your defrosters right away, using a non-abrasive brush, and starting from the top and working your way down…like you would a road trip in the Everglades. Make the neighboring town of Homestead your home base while you explore mangroves and fauna. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, stop by an alligator farm for an airboat tour. In short: leave the brush, bring your binoculars. 

What are the warmest winter coats?

When it comes to warm winter coats, stick to functionality with stylish touches (i.e. waist belts) that fit your look. Most people go for down, down alternative, or wool. We think nothing says “wrapped in warmth” quite like a golden tan. Delray, Boca, South Beach, the Keys… the possibilities are endless. Find your beach inspiration, and keep the winter coat on your wish list for now. 

What should I look for when shopping for winter hats?

If you were spending winter in freezing temperatures, we’d recommend shopping for the classic winter hats: beanies, bobble hats, or trapper hats made from lightweight cashmere or merino wool. If you opted for a tropical Florida winter, however, you could sport a cool helmet while you mountain bike down a gorgeous scenic path. Try Caloosahatchee Regional Park in Fort Myers, or the Fort Pierce Mountain Bike Trail, which goes under Interstate 95. Now that’s cooler than being cold.

Winter boots - which do I pick?

Look for sturdy rubber soles that are water-resistant and can grip snow firmly.

Like a good pair of golf shoes, you’re going to want some grip on your winter boots. On that note, just pick up your favorite pair of golf shoes and head to one of Florida’s verdant golf courses instead. The PGA Village in Port St. Lucie is the ultimate golf resort, and Disney’s Palm Golf Course is considered one of the most beautiful courses in the country. We’d take the 19th hole over 19º any day.

How do I prepare for a blizzard?

Blizzards can unexpectedly leave you buried in snow and stuck in the house until further notice. That’s why we recommend stocking up on essentials and nonperishables. Also highly recommended? Avoiding blizzards altogether by planning a trip to Florida. Why risk getting stuck indoors when you can set yourself free down an exciting zip line course at St. Cloud’s Ecosafaris? Or splash the day away at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort, with the largest resort pool area in Southwest Florida.

What are some good tips for driving in snow?

Icy roads can be dangerous to navigate, so we recommend paying extra attention to the road to avoid all distractions. Don’t forget to take it as slow as possible. But how about hiring someone to do the driving for you? Head down to Florida with a group of friends and/or fam and rent a boat, captain and all. Enjoy sunset views as you sip wine, or spend the whole day snorkeling around different mangroves and/or islands. Less tricky driving, more smooth sailing.

How much should I spend on snow tires?

Snow tires can get pricey. A set of four could set you back anywhere from $250 to $600 or more, depending on your car model. But with your snow tire savings, you could set sail on a cruise departing from one of Florida’s ports instead. With popular companies like Carnival and Norwegian, there are a ton of budget-friendly options for quick cruise escapes while you’re in Florida.

What should my winter emergency car kit include?

Keep essentials handy: water, a first aid kit, flashlight, blanket, gloves, and snacks. Load up the car with tire chains, jumper cables, and snow flares. A roundtrip ticket to Florida is also highly recommended. All that icy road navigation and preparing can be draining, so recharge with a little R&R at one of Florida’s beach resorts and hotels. Enjoy views of crystal-clear waters at Key West’s Sunset Key Guest Cottages, or head to South Beach and enjoy pampering pool time. Your ticket to Florida will help you beat the real emergency: cabin fever.

How can I shovel snow more efficiently?

Shoveling snow can get exhausting real fast. Strategizing by sections can help lessen the burdenbut one more light snowfall and all your hard work was in vain. Why not try a more rewarding hobby like fishing? Fresh, saltwater, lobstering… you name it, Florida’s fishing scene has got it. Spend the day out relaxing on a fishing charter, or enjoy solo flat fishing over calm waters (the Florida Keys are unsurpassed). Unlike shoveling, your hard (or should we say, relaxing) work will pay off: grilled striped bass, anyone?

How do you make a snowman?

Making a snowman takes some practice. Make sure you have a strong base before piling on the rest of the body. Remember, snowmen are like works of art. And if creativity is your thing, trade frosty for fine arts at one of Florida’s many galleries and murals, like Wynwood Walls. Or, mark your calendar for the first weekend of December and visit Art Basel Miami, one of the biggest art and cultural events in the world. Who knows? You may even make your first-ever sandman at a nearby beach.