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Winter Beach Days, a Perfect Time for a Visit!

Hues of ocean blue and green invite visitors all year long, including winter.

Going to the beach on a winter day is probably the last idea on your mind. Snow flurries and“Jack Frost” recently visited some parts of north Florida. However, a beach adventure after the holidays could be the cure for too much turkey and “cabin fever”.  It also is a unique seasonal opportunity for beach combing, photography, and serenity.

The first thought for many is that it’s too cold!  This may be true on our coldest days but those are actually very few and usually for short periods of time. Our typical winter days have clear crisp skies and calm winds. You won’t be wearing a swimsuit but dressing appropriately can give you a comfortable outdoor experience lasting hours. There are no fashion police or rules – you can wear what you need. This time of year, a jacket, hat, gloves, and even a blanket can keep you cozy if you need them. Layering your clothes is a good idea as you can put on several pieces or take them off as the day’s weather changes. As an added bonus on these cool days, hot drinks are savored and your cold drinks stay that way!

The sea provides its own presents after a cold front or winter storm. Some of the best beach combing happens on cool mornings after the rain moves southeast. North winds push water back into the Gulf and at low tide provide unique opportunity to see what no one else has ever seen – at least for a few hours. Some of my most treasured seashells have been collected in winter. Remember, check the shell to make sure it is empty and be kind when collecting shells. If the shell has a snail or hermit crab, it’s best to leave it where you found it.

A fiddler crab poses in the salt marsh for a close-up. There are more images and moments like this one waiting for photographers to discover this time of year.

The winter beach provides photographers opportunities to capture awe inspiring natural scenes. The Emerald Coast truly shimmers and shines this time of year. Clear skies provide consistent days to get the perfect picture whether you like to take close-ups of plants and animals or landscape images of beautiful sunsets and water.  Pictures make great gifts to friends and family. If social media is a part your life, a beach visit can give you a quick post that makes harsh climate dwellers jealous!

Finally, if you are looking to recover from hectic shopping, traffic snarls, or endless holiday parties, the beach can recharge your life with peace and serenity. The gentle sounds of waves and birds are possibly all you will hear. Gone are crowds of tourists as the beach rests and gets ready for another busy year in a few short but inspiring weeks.

(Photos by Author)

An Equal Opportunity Institution. UF/IFAS Extension, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension. Single copies of UF/IFAS Extension publications (excluding 4-H and youth publications) are available free to Florida residents from county UF/IFAS Extension offices.