Florida Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to frequently asked questions about our state, its beaches, cities, weather, attractions and theme parks.

How expensive is it to vacation in Florida?
Like many places in the US, it depends on location.  Places like Naples and areas in Miami and Fort Lauderdale can be moderate to quite expensive.  However, even in popular tourist locations like Orlando there are often moderate to low cost accommodations and activities.  For value-conscious visitors, look for the discount, coupon booklets typically found in fast-food restaurants and convenience stores.  Also be very aware of the peak tourist seasons when rates are the highest in most locations.

How hot does it get in the summer?
High temperatures average around 91°F/33°C during the day, and drop to an average of 70°F/22°C during the night.  See our Florida Weather page for more information.

How cold does it get in the winter?
With nearly 500 miles distance from north to south, the winter temperatures vary more by location.  High temperatures in the northern part of the state average around 60°F/16°C during the day, and drop to an average of 40°F/4°C during the night. High temperatures in the southern part average around 75°F/24°C during the day, and drop to an average of 59°F/15°C during the night.  See our Florida Weather page for more information.

How warm / cold are seas during the summer and winter?
Sea temperatures along our beaches range from 56°F/13°C in the winter to 86°F/30°C in the summer!  The sea temperatures along the Atlantic beaches several degrees cooler in the summer than those along the Gulf coast.  See our Florida Weather page for more information.

How much does it rain?
Rainfall varies widely by location but there is generally more rainfall in the summer months than during the winter months.  See our Florida Weather page for more information.

How sunny is Florida?
Florida averages 300 days of sunshine per year.

How safe are the beaches from sharks?
Florida had 18 unprovoked shark attacks with one fatality in 2005 according to the International Shark Attack File, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida.  Considering the millions of people that visit our beaches every year, this is a very low statistical rate (of course not for those that were bit!).

Are jellyfish a problem?
Jellyfish are common to all ocean waters, but are not everywhere all of the time and most are harmless.  Some visitors and locals have never seen a jellyfish in our waters.  Check with local lifeguards or officials to be sure.

Will stingrays attack?
There are many kinds of rays along our coasts and most pose no threat.  None will actually "attack", however, they do have a very painful barb that will be deployed if stepped on.  If stingrays are known to be in the area, or if in doubt, simply shuffle the feet while walking through the water.

What is red tide and why should I care?
Red tide is an overgrowth or bloom of algae in seawater.  The algae produces a toxin that can kill marine animals and cause respiratory irritation to humans.  Severe outbreaks make it very unpleasant to be in or near the water.

Will I see alligators?
This is much more probable today than it was a few decades ago.  Alligators have made an amazing recovery and can now be found in every part of state, including many suburban lakes and ponds!

Which beaches are good for surfing?
Generally all beaches along the Atlantic coast have potential for surfers.  Surf in the Florida keys and along the west coast is low to almost non-existent, however.

When is hurricane season?
June 1st to November 30th.  Historically, the majority of hurricane activity occurs in August, September and into October.

Will I see Dolphins?
Assuming this question is in reference to the marine mammal and not the Miami Dolphins football team!, dolphins are quite numerous and often seen from the shore and while boating.  The probability of seeing dolphins is much higher than that of seeing sharks, manatees or whales.  In tourist popular areas along the coasts, dolphin watch boating tours are often available.

Will I see whales?
Whale sightings around Florida are very rare.

When is the busy tourist season?
November through April are the peak tourist seasons in central to south area.  The Orlando area is busy year-round.  Northern Florida sees its peak in summer.

What are Manatees?
Manatees are large, gray aquatic mammals, often called "sea cows" that live in warm, shallow waters near the coast.  They have rounded bodies that taper to a horizontal, paddle-shaped tail.  Manatees feed on sea vegetation.

What's the difference between a Dolphin and a Porpoise?
Porpoises are generally smaller, have more rounded noses, spade shaped teeth and triangular dorsal fins. Dolphins have more pointed (bottle nose) snouts, curved dorsal fins and cone shaped teeth and are generally larger than porpoises.

Does Florida have much lightning?
Storms anywhere in Florida may bring lightning, but the west-central to east-central areas of Florida receive more lightning than any other area in the United States on an annual basis.  Most of this lightning occurs during the summer months.

How many kinds of poisonous snakes are in Florida?
Of nearly 45 species of snakes in Florida, only 6 are venomous including the diamondback rattlesnake, the canebrake rattlesnake, pygmy rattlesnake, cottonmouth, copperhead and coral snake.

How much of a problem are the mosquitoes?
Problems with mosquitoes range from nearly non-existent in populous areas and during the cool months, to quite severe in moist to wet woodland areas, hammocks and saw grass prairies, particularly in the southern region and during the summer months.