December is a perfect month to visit Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale in December – best things to do, where to stay and more (2024)

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Fort Lauderdale in December is the place to be – the weather is perfect, the activities are fun and plenty, and the restaurant scene is nothing short of amazing!

While most of the country is covered by snow, Fort Lauderdale is basking in sunshine 💛 The city has a subtropical climate, which means that the winters are generally mild and pleasant so you can ride a bike, spend your day at the beach or walk around downtown Fort Lauderdale.

If you are wondering what this city is like during the first month of winter, and what to expect, this article is for you! I’ve spent a year in Fort Lauderdale, and know what the city is like during every month.

Fort Lauderdale is one of the most fun destinations in South Florida, but December is the beginning of the winter season, when most travelers come here.

Keep reading to find out about how to make the most of your time when visiting this popular city during the first month of winter.

Fort Lauderdale in December

Weather in Fort Lauderdale in December

Fort Lauderdale typically has mild and pleasant weather in December, with the average high between 76°F to 80°F (24°C to 27°C) and average lows between 58°F to 63°F (14°C to 17°C)

December is one of the drier months in Fort Lauderdale with relatively low rainfall with an average of around 2 inches (51 mm) of precipitation for the month. The city has plenty of sunshine in December, and humidity levels are lower than during the summer months, making it easier to be outside.

The breeze off the Atlantic Ocean can make the weather feel cooler, especially in the evenings, so bring some layers.



Swimming is one of the best things to do in Fort Lauderdale in December

Nicknamed the “Venice of America” due to its extensive waterways and canals, offers a wide range of water activities. Whether you’re interested in relaxing on the beach, exploring the Intracoastal Waterway, parasailing, snorkeling, or diving, there are tons of fun things to do in Fort Lauderdale in December.

Here are some popular water activities you can experience in Fort Lauderdale:

1. Sunbathing on Fort Lauderdale beaches

Fort Lauderdale is famous for its beautiful sandy beaches. Relax on the shores of Fort Lauderdale Beach or nearby spots like Hollywood Beach or Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. You can sunbathe, swim, build sandcastles, and enjoy the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Read: Best breakfast in Fort Lauderdale

2. Boat Tours

Exploring the Intracoastal Waterway and the city’s canal system on a boat tour is one of the most fun things to do in Fort Lauderdale. You can choose from various options, including sailing cruises, eco-tours, and even a sunset dinner cruise.


3. Jet Skiing

Rent a jet ski and have an adrenaline-pumping adventure on the water. Many rental companies offer guided tours for both beginners and experienced riders.

4. Kayaking and Paddleboarding

Paddle along the calm waters of the Intracoastal Waterway or explore the canals on a kayak or stand-up paddleboard. 

5. Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

Fort Lauderdale is known for its vibrant underwater ecosystems. Take a snorkeling or scuba diving trip to explore coral reefs, shipwrecks, and marine life. Many dive shops can assist you in arranging dives.


6. Yacht and Sailboat Charters

Charter a yacht or sailboat for a private cruise on the ocean or Intracoastal Waterway in Fort Lauderdale. You can book a captain to handle the vessel or sail it yourself if you have the experience.


7. Parasailing

Get a bird’s-eye view of Fort Lauderdale by going parasailing. It’s a thrilling way to see the coastline and the city from above.


8. Water Taxis

Fort Lauderdale has an extensive water taxi system that can take you to various waterfront restaurants, shops, and attractions along the Intracoastal Waterway. 




You can get around Hugh Taylor Birch State Park by kayaking, jogging and riding a bicycle.

1. Pleasant Weather

December brings mild and pleasant weather to Fort Lauderdale. With average high temperatures ranging from 76°F to 80°F (24°C to 27°C) and lower humidity than the summer months, it’s a comfortable time to enjoy outdoor activities and the beautiful beaches.

2. Escape from winter

December is a prime month for visitors looking to escape the cold and snowy winter weather in many parts of the United States and Canada. Fort Lauderdale offers a warm and inviting retreat during this time, compared to other parts of North America.

3. Attend holiday events

Fort Lauderdale gets into the holiday spirit with festive decorations and events. You can explore the city’s holiday lights, visit holiday markets, and even enjoy boat parades, which are a unique coastal holiday tradition.

4. Boating and water activities

The pleasant weather in December allows for enjoyable boating and water activities. You can go sailing, take a boat tour, or even try water sports like jet skiing or paddleboarding.

5. Dining

The city boasts a diverse culinary scene, with numerous restaurants offering local and international cuisine. Enjoying dining along the beach is particularly pleasant in December.

6. Nature and Parks

Explore the city’s parks and nature preserves, such as The Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, where you can go hiking, biking, or have a picnic amidst lush greenery.

7. Cruise Departures

Fort Lauderdale is a popular departure point for cruises to the Caribbean, and December is a peak season for cruising. If you plan to take a cruise, Fort Lauderdale is a convenient starting point.

What to know when visiting Fort Lauderdale in December:

December is the best time to visit Fort Lauderdale if you are looking for the perfect sunny weather, but it’s also the busiest time. If you plan to visit Florida in December, make your reservations ahead of time, as prices tend to be very high on tours and accommodations during this month.

Fort Lauderdale is one of the best places to visit in South Florida

When to avoid Fort Lauderdale:

The worst time to visit Fort Lauderdale can vary depending on your preferences and tolerance for certain weather conditions. But there are a few periods you might want to avoid including the hurricane season, as well as mid-summer when the intense heat coupled with high humidity could make it difficult to be outside. 

Hurricane season

Hurricane season in the Atlantic typically runs from June though late October, with the peak occurring between August and October. While hurricanes don’t hit Fort Lauderdale every year, the risk is higher during this period. It’s advisable to check the weather forecasts and hurricane updates if you plan to visit during hurricane season.


July and August can be very hot and humid in Fort Lauderdale. High temperatures combined with high humidity levels can make it uncomfortable for outdoor activities. If you’re not a fan of intense heat, this may not be the best time to visit.

Spring Break

Fort Lauderdale is a popular destination for college spring breakers in March and early April. If you’re looking for a quieter, atmosphere, avoid visiting the city during this time, as the city can get crowded and noisy.

Major Holidays

While December is a great time to visit Fort Lauderdale for pleasant weather and holiday festivities, skip Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Accommodations and attractions get busy, and prices for hotels and flights are usually high.

Heavy rainfall months

The wettest months in Fort Lauderdale are typically June and September, with a higher chance of afternoon thunderstorms. If you prefer dry weather for outdoor activities, these months may not be ideal.

To maximize your enjoyment during your visit to Fort Lauderdale, consider your weather preferences and the experience you’re looking for. 

Best time to visit Fort Lauderdale is from December through April

When is the best time to visit Fort Lauderdale?

December through April is the dry season that offers the most comfortable and enjoyable weather conditions. However, if you’re looking for budget-friendly travel deals, you might find better prices during the off-peak summer months, despite the higher temperatures and occasional rain showers.

How cloudy is Fort Lauderdale in December?

Fort Lauderdale tends to have relatively low cloud cover in December, which is part of the dry season in South Florida, and it typically experiences clear to partly cloudy skies. It’s one of the reasons why many tourists visit the area during this time to enjoy the pleasant weather.

While cloud cover can vary day by day, you can generally expect a good amount of sunshine and blue skies during December in Fort Lauderdale. Of course, weather can be unpredictable, so it’s still a good idea to check a local weather forecast closer to your travel dates for the most accurate and up-to-date information on the expected cloud cover and weather conditions during your stay.

✅ Check out the best hotels along Fort Lauderdale Beach


Rolo Beach is one of the most affordable hotels in Fort Lauderdale
  • Pelican Grand – A popular hotel with a private beach area, Pelican has spacious rooms, oceanfront restaurants, and spa services. 




Lona Cocina is one of the most popular restaurants along the beach in Fort Lauderdale

Best Fort Lauderdale Restaurants

Fort Lauderdale has a great variety of restaurants. Here you can find anything from cafes where you can grab a brunch to upscale restaurants and popular bars perfect for a fun night out. 

  • SoBe Vegan – My favorite restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, SoBe has some of the best vegan food in Fort Lauderdale! Their menu includes comfort options like burgers, wraps, sandwiches, and tacos. 
  • Casablanca Cafe – a popular beachfront restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Casablanca has a mix of American, Italian, and Mediterranean cuisines with vegan and vegetarian options. 
  • Village Cafe – A perfect spot for breakfast or brunch, the village cafe is tucked in a quiet corner behind the Conrad Hotel. The place offers pastries, pancakes, and coffee. 
  • Lona Cocina – Located near the Westin Hotel, Lona Cocina is a popular Mexican restaurant that offers tacos, empanadas, quesadillas, and delicious margaritas. 

✅ Learn about the best restaurants in Deerfield Beach

Fort Lauderdale in December: FAQ

Fort Lauderdale in December

Is December a good time to visit Fort Lauderdale?

December is a perfect time to visit Fort Lauderdale if you are looking for sunny weather with minimal rain. However, it’s also when many travelers come here to escape cold winters up north, so it’s usually busy.

Is Fort Lauderdale warm in December?

The average high temperature in December ranges from the upper 70s to low 80s Fahrenheit (around 25-28 degrees Celsius), and the average low temperatures are in the upper 50s to low 60s Fahrenheit (around 14-17 degrees Celsius).

Most days are warm and sunny, and the chances of rain are minimal, which is perfect if you want to spend time outside and enjoy some of the best water activities in Fort Lauderdale.

While it can be cooler than the summer months, Fort Lauderdale’s December weather is generally pleasant for outdoor activities, and it’s a popular destination for those looking to escape colder northern climates during the winter months.

Can you swim in Fort Lauderdale in December?

December is a perfect time for swimming in Fort Lauderdale, as the weather is generally mild and pleasant. The water temperature ranges from the mid-70s to low 80s Fahrenheit (around 24-28 degrees Celsius). While this may not be as warm as the water temperature in the summer months, it is still comfortable for most people, especially if you enjoy swimming in slightly cooler waters.

Fort Lauderdale is one of the best places to visit in winter in the United States

What part of Florida is warmest in December?

Of all places in Florida, Key West has the warmest weather in December. Being the most Southern point in the United States, you are going to be the closest to the equator that you possibly can be in the state of Florida.

Can you swim in Fort Lauderdale in winter?

Yes, you can swim in Fort Lauderdale during the winter months. 

The average winter temperatures in Fort Lauderdale typically range from the high 60s to low 70s Fahrenheit (around 20-24 degrees Celsius), which can be comfortable for swimming, especially if you enjoy warmer water. 

While it may not be as warm as during the summer months, many people still find the water temperature in Fort Lauderdale suitable for swimming during the winter.

Do people go to the beach in December in Florida?

If you want to enjoy a nice warm beach in December, Florida is a great place, especially in popular tourist destinations like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and the Florida Keys. 

Florida’s mild winter weather makes it an attractive destination for those looking to escape colder climates during the winter months. While the beach experience in December may be different from the peak summer season, it’s still enjoyable for many visitors.

In December, you can expect milder temperatures compared to the summer, with average highs in the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit (around 24-28 degrees Celsius). This makes it comfortable for sunbathing, beach combing, and various outdoor activities. The ocean water temperature is also relatively mild, ranging from the mid-70s to low 80s Fahrenheit (around 24-28 degrees Celsius), making it suitable for swimming and water sports for many people.

Fort Lauderdale is a popular vacation spot in winter

What to wear in Fort Lauderdale in winter?

Winter weather in Fort Lauderdale is mild and generally warm, but it can vary, so it’s a good idea to dress in layers to accommodate changing temperatures throughout the day. 

Here’s a suggested clothing list for winter in Fort Lauderdale:

  • Light clothing: During the daytime, you can wear light and comfortable clothing like shorts, T-shirts, sundresses, and lightweight, breathable fabrics.
  • Swimwear: If you plan to hit the beach or the pool, don’t forget your swimsuit. The ocean water is still pleasant for swimming in the winter.
  • Sun protection: Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat are essential to protect yourself from the strong Florida sun.
  • Light jacket or sweater: While daytime temperatures are warm, evenings can be cooler, so having a light jacket or sweater on hand is advisable. This will keep you comfortable if you’re out late or near the water.
  • Comfortable footwear: Bring comfortable walking shoes for exploring the area, especially if you plan to visit parks, go for walks, or explore downtown Fort Lauderdale.
  • Rain gear: Florida can have sporadic rain showers even in the winter, so packing a small umbrella or a lightweight rain jacket is a good idea.
  • Long pants or jeans: If you’re sensitive to cooler temperatures, you may want to pack long pants or jeans for the evenings.
  • Layers: Layering is key to adapting to temperature changes. You can add or remove layers to stay comfortable throughout the day.