Gulf of Mexico Water Temperatures and More

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When planning your trip to Orlando, you’re probably hoping for the perfect (your ideal) water temperature. Time of year, rainfall, and what beach you visit all heavily dictate what the water will feel like during your visit. There are plenty of beaches for you to visit, and they all vary in temperature and location. The closest beaches to Orlando are scattered around the coasts, and some lay on the beautiful Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico water temperatures are some of the warmest coastal waters in the United States.

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Scientists have been collecting data on water temperature for decades, which have given us averages of how warm the water is each month. They record the temperatures by oceanographic satellite along with buoys that float offshore; these buoys off shore can give readings that aren’t the same as what exactly is what shore temperature is like. This leads to variation in recorded temperatures.

Typically, the water temperatures may also vary by a few degrees depending on the day, but they hover around the averages recorded. You can expect that in the winter there might be lower temperatures than average, and warmer than average during summer heat waves. Don’t forget that the farther south you go, you’re more likely to hit warmer waters.

The National Centers for Environmental Information provides extensive data on recent temperatures and the average climate, which their team updates daily. This is a handy resource for those who want to plan their trip around how warm the water will be.

What you think ideal water temperature is entirely up to your preference! Some people like colder water and there are some that want their water to feel like a nice, warm bath. Maybe you’re somewhere in the middle – it depends on the day, and how hot it is on land.

Usually, those who aren’t from southern states (think Canada or those in the Northeast) can handle anything below 75 degrees.

Typically, those who are more suited to the heat prefer anything above 80 degrees.

Anything in the range of 76 to 80 degrees is often the perfect medium for everyone.

When visiting Orlando, there is a multitude of highly rated beaches within an hour and a half from the city. Cocoa Beach is the closest beach to Orlando, making it a central Floridian’s favorite. Cocoa Beach reaches peak water temps of roughly 82 to 86 degrees around July, making it the perfect water temperature for those who love to bathe in what feels like bath water.

Vero Beach is also a popular beach destination for those visiting the Orlando area. Vero Beach is less than two hours away from Orlando and provides a beautiful resort town for those who want a more luxurious beach vacation. Unlike Cocoa Beach, the waters in Vero peak at 77 degrees in April. If you don’t want to step your toes in the colder waters, you can take a visit to Disney’s Vero Beach Resort and wade in their heated pools.

If you’re looking to escape the crowd and fit in with the locals, New Smyrana Beach is going to be your best choice. On light traffic days, your ride from Orlando will be a little under an hour and fifteen minutes, making it an easily accessible destination. New Smyrana Beach is similar to Cocoa Beach when it comes to water temperature and peak days; you can expect to be around the 82 to 86 degree mark.

If you want to see the sights of the Gulf of Mexico, Clearwater is going to whisk you away with its calm waters and beautiful, and well, clear water. The water temperatures here are a little warmer than some other beaches around the Orlando area. They typically reach peak temperatures of 82 to 88 degrees during mid-August. While it’s a little farther, with a 2-hour drive, you won’t mind once you see all the sights.

St. Augustine Beach is another population for those who like warmer waters – they reach a peak of 82 to 86 degrees around the end of July. Even though it’s probably the longest drive, with about two and a half hour drive in moderate traffic, the 42 miles of sparkling clean beaches will make it all worth it. St. Augustine also boasts fantastic restaurants, such as Mojo Old City BBQ or The Floridian that will pair with your sunbathing perfectly.

Probably the most well-known beach near Orlando, Daytona Beach is famous for a reason. With riverside carnivals, motorcycle racing, and a pier overlooking the fantastic waters, taking the less than an hour drive is worth it. While Daytona has cooler waters, with a summer average of 78.5 degrees, you can still wade and splash in comfort. Daytona Beach also has places that you can fish, shop, and relax – it certainly lives up to the hype!

If you want to spend more time on the Gulf Coast, Siesta Key is right on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico! With a two hour drive from Orlando to the white sandy beaches and warm, nearly 90-degree waters! These warm waters drop to their lowest point in January, where it’s a chilly 66 degrees. If you’re visiting when the water is, and that isn’t your thing, you can always take a visit to the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens or the local Aquarium.

From lukewarm to water so warm you would think you drew a bath, the beaches relatively close to the Orlando has waters that can suit every beachgoer. From smaller beaches, like New Smyrana Beach to the more popular beaches, like Daytona or Vero Beach, you’re sure to find somewhere you’ll love.

Make sure you look at whatever beach you plan on visiting’s monthly average for water temperatures, though, so you have an idea of what to expect when you come to visit! There are multiple sources that you can use to find the current water temperatures and things to do wherever you decide to visit, so don’t hesitate to Google search the current water temperature where you plan to attend!

Photo:Erin White

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