Exploring Destin in December: The Complete Guide to Safe Winter Swimming

Wondering if you can take a dip in the beautiful waters of Destin in December? Well, you’re not alone. Many travelers ask this question as they plan their winter getaway to this popular Florida destination.

Destin, known for its stunning white beaches and emerald-green waters, is a year-round paradise. But, when it comes to swimming in December, there are a few things you need to consider. Let’s dive in and find out if you can really enjoy a swim during your December visit.

Key Takeaways

  • Destin, Florida is a popular year-round destination, known for its beautiful beaches and sea-green waters. Even in December, the city’s charm remains and offers multiple outdoor activities.
  • The average air temperature in Destin in December can range between 45 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, with 21 days in the month typically going below 50 degrees.
  • The sea temperature in December is around 64 degrees Fahrenheit. It is crucial for tourists to check the forecast before planning a swim due to weather variations.
  • Activities like sunrise walks, building sandcastles, shelling, bird watching, fishing, and exploring coastal parks can also be enjoyed in December, along with swimming.
  • If planning to swim in Destin in December, investing in a good quality wetsuit and keeping track of local forecasts is essential for a safe and comfortable experience.
  • Some of the good spots for a winter swim in Destin include Crystal Beach, Henderson Beach State Park, and James Lee Park. Each location offers unique experiences but prioritizing safety is always essential.

Swimming in Destin during the winter months offers a unique and refreshing experience, but it requires proper preparation for safety and comfort. The Good Life Destin provides a comprehensive guide to enjoying the holiday season in Destin, including tips for winter swimming with considerations for cooler water temperatures and accommodations with heated pools. For those looking to explore underwater worlds, Destin-FWB highlights snorkeling activities that connect swimmers to the marine life of Destin, offering an adventurous way to enjoy the waters safely. Moreover, Harmony Beach Vacations mentions the pleasant temperatures in Destin during December, making it an inviting destination for swimmers and beachgoers looking for serene water experiences away from the summer crowds.

Weather conditions in Destin in December

When venturing into Destin’s waters in December, you might wonder about the weather conditions. Understanding the December weather in Destin is crucial to determine if it’s suitable for swimming. Let’s delve a bit deeper.


Destin’s December temperatures tend to vary. On average, high temperatures hover around the 60 degrees Fahrenheit and lows can dip to 45 degrees Fahrenheit. There are also typically 21 days in the month where the temperature goes below 50. Refer to the table below for a quick snapshot of Destin’s December weather.

Average HighAverage LowDays Below 50
December in Destin60 °F45°F21 days

Sea Temperature

It’s not just about the air temperature. You’ll also need to factor in the sea temperature which measures around 64 degrees Fahrenheit in December.

Weather Variations

Although the averages provide a general outlook, it’s important to remember that weather can fluctuate rapidly. Be sure to check the forecast before planning your swim.

Effects on Swimming

While these temperatures might seem chilly compared to the warm summer months, many folks do venture into the water. However, it’s always best to consider your own tolerance to cold water before diving in.

Keeping these factors in mind not only helps in planning your trip, it also sets expectations so you can fully enjoy all that Destin has to offer — even in the heart of winter.

Remember, the weather doesn’t stop the beauty of Destin from shining through, even in December. Regardless of the temperature, the city’s charm remains, making it a must-visit destination year-round. Keeping yourself prepared to adapt to the weather lets you comfortably enjoy all the outdoor activities Destin is renowned for.

Water temperature in December

At the heart of your December swimming equation is the water temperature. You might wonder, how cold does the water get in Destin in December? It’s important, we’re dedicating a whole section of this guide to it.

During December, the average sea temperature in Destin tends to hover around 64°F (17.8°C). Compared to July’s average at about 86°F (30°C), it’s significantly cooler. In a nutshell, if you’re a fan of lukewarm summer seas, December waters could feel a tad on the chilly side.

Nevertheless, these temperatures aren’t strictly forbidding for everybody. Frequent swimmers, surfers, or those donning a neoprene wetsuit might find the conditions suitable to still enjoy the sea. After all, the experience is about more than the temperature. It’s about the moment. The freshness of the air, the tranquility of the scene.

Of course, whether the water temperature is comfortable for swimming varies person by person. It’s a subjective factor depending, among other things, on how used you are to cold water, personal preference, and general health conditions.

A prominent rule of thumb is that water temperatures below 70°F (21°C) are usually considered crisp for swimming. However, temperatures up to 77°F (25°C) are generally deemed ideal for most swimmers to feel comfortable. Here’s a handy table for quick reference:

Ideal Temperature for SwimmingNot Ideal Temperature for Swimming
77°F (25°C) and aboveBelow 70°F (21°C)

Remember, it’s crucial to monitor weather conditions and sea temperature updates frequently, especially planning for a December swim. Destin’s sea temperature can fluctuate across the month. Your health and safety should be the priority. Thanks to modern climatology, it’s now easier than ever to make informed decisions based on robust and up-to-the-minute weather data. Benefit from it, and help make your Destin experience unforgettable.

Activities to enjoy on the beach in December

Even if you’re not keen on taking a dip in the chilly waters during December, Destin’s picturesque beaches have so much more to offer. You can indulge in plenty of activities without getting wet.

Kick off your day with a relaxing sunrise walk. Remember, there’s nothing quite as serene as the sight of the sun slowly ascending over the sparkling sea. Make sure to bring your camera. You never know when you’ll encounter a perfect photo moment!

If you’re visiting with children, combining a bit of creativity with play will make their day more exciting. Building sandcastles, for instance, is a beach activity that never grows old. And it’s all the more fun when accompanied by the cool December breeze and fewer crowds.

Shelling is another calming activity. Enjoy the simplicity of strolling along the beach in the low December sun while collecting a colorful myriad of seashells. You’ll be astonished by the variety of shells that late autumn storms bring to the shore.

Bird watching is a rewarding pastime as Destin beaches are home to a variety of birds relishing in the winter months. You may spot species like the Osprey, Kingfishers, and even Bald Eagles. Bring your binoculars for the best experience!

Former military base turned into a beach park, Henderson Beach State Park offers picturesque walking trails. Pack a picnic and explore the unique coastal sand pine scrub – you’ll be in for a treat!

Don’t forget about fishing! Destin is known as “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village”, a name well earned. Charter a fishing excursion or cast from the shore to catch redfish, flounder, and trout.

Keep in mind, regardless of what activities you choose, the cooler temperatures in December mean you’ll want to dress appropriately. Layer wisely! Also, ensure that you stay updated with local weather forecasts and make safety a priority while planning your beach adventures. With a bit of preparation, December can turn out to be an incredibly delightful time for you in Destin.

Tips for swimming in Destin in December

Winter waters can be a unique challenge. But, if you’re determined to experience a dip in the ocean during your December visit to Destin, a few tips can make it a safer and more enjoyable experience.

First on your list, invest in a quality wetsuit. In December, Destin’s water temperatures can fall as low as 66°F, contrary to the warm 80°F you can find during the height of summer. A wetsuit provides an extra layer of insulation that’ll help maintain your body temperature, keeping your experience comfortable.

Water temperature in DecemberWater temperature in summer
Destin, FL66°F80°F

Secondly, remember to get familiar with the local forecast. Weather conditions can vary drastically during winter months and knowing what to expect helps you plan your beach visit accordingly. Avoid swimming during severe weather or high wind conditions.

You should note that November through April is Manatee season in Florida. If you’re lucky, you could experience an unforgettable encounter with these gentle giants, while swimming in Destin. But it’s important to respect their space and never touch or harass them.

Lastly, always prioritize safety. It’s easy to underestimate the risks associated with swimming in colder waters. There’s always lifeguards present on most of Destin’s popular beaches during daytime hours. Make sure to swim in their line of sight. Remember to exit the water if you start feeling numb or excessively cold.

With these tips, you’re ready for a wintertime swim on Destin’s beaches. Soak in the uncrowded beach landscape and make the most of your unique December beach experience.

Best spots for swimming in Destin in December

Choosing the right spot for your winter swim in Destin is crucial. Some beaches are better-suited for winter swimming than others, and you’ll want to find the perfect balance of safety, beauty, and aquatic life. Below are some top recommendations for your December swim.

Crystal Beach

Crystal Beach is a quiet, scenic location known for its crystal-clear water. During December, it isn’t manned with lifeguards but maintains a calm atmosphere, perfect for those seeking solitude and tranquility in their swim. Remember to prioritize safety and consider swimming with a partner.

Henderson Beach State Park

For a busy, family-friendly beach, you can’t go wrong with Henderson Beach State Park. Even in December, you’ll likely find others braving the waters. This park provides restrooms, picnic areas, and boardwalks, making it an excellent choice for those planning a full-day outing.

James Lee Park

If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, look no further than James Lee Park. These waters are known for their abundant marine life, offering a chance to meet local aquatic residents even in December. Remember, it’s Manatee season during this time, so always respect the local wildlife.

These are merely a few of the many options available to those bold enough to swim in December in Destin. Remember to check local water and weather conditions, always prioritizing safety above all else. With the right preparation, you’ll experience the joy of winter swimming as well as the uncrowded and serene beach landscapes unlike any other time of the year.


So, you’ve got the lowdown on swimming in Destin in December. It’s all about picking the perfect spot like Crystal Beach, Henderson Beach State Park, or James Lee Park. Remember, always keep an eye on local conditions and put safety first. There’s something truly special about taking a dip in the winter waters of Destin’s peaceful beaches. It’s an experience that’s sure to make your December trip unforgettable. So go ahead, take the plunge! Destin’s inviting waters are waiting for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best spot for swimming in Destin in December?

According to the article, Crystal Beach, Henderson Beach State Park, and James Lee Park are some of the most recommended spots in Destin for winter swimming because these places balance safety, beauty, and aquatic life.

Can I swim at Henderson Beach State Park with my family?

Yes, Henderson Beach State Park is known for its family-friendly environment making it safe and enjoyable for families to swim.

Why should I check the local conditions before swimming in Destin?

It’s important to check local conditions before swimming in Destin because winter weather can affect water currents, sea life, and more. This ensures that you have a safe and enjoyable swim.

Does Destin offer a good spot for wildlife enthusiasts to swim?

Yes, James Lee Park is suggested for wildlife enthusiasts because it offers an excellent chance to observe different aquatic life.

Why should I experience winter swimming in Destin?

Winter swimming in Destin offers a unique experience of enjoying the serene beauty of uncrowded beaches. The article recommends taking advantage of this opportunity to enjoy tranquility and observe different aquatic life.