My experience with theme parks and weekend excursions throughout Florida as a native Floridian has taught me what to expect on a Florida vacation. This comprehensive list of what to pack for Florida vacations is perfect for anyone heading to the beach, to the theme parks, or to downtown Miami.
Being a Florida resident for 27 years and having been on several mini-vacations in my own state, I know what really needs to be packed and why. There will be some of these that seem obvious, and others that will need explanations.
You shouldn’t bring 3 blouses or 6 pairs of underwear. This isn’t your standard packing list. If there are things that are specific to Florida and don’t have a travel timeline, I can help. You can be sure that this list will help you plan the perfect Florida vacation.
What to Pack for Florida:
There is favorable weather in Florida throughout the year. There is a lot of sunshine and humidity in the summer. Averaging 82°F (28°C) in July, it is the hottest month in Florida. 61°F (16°C) is the coldest temperature in January.
May to October is the wet season, which is characterized by high humidity and heavy but short rains. Pack some rain gear if you plan to go when it rains.
What clothing to pack for Florida:
Florida is known for its magnificent beaches, so you’re likely to spend a lot of time there. Make sure you pack whatever beachwear makes you feel most comfortable. The beaches are also nudist-friendly, so you can wear anything you want, including bikinis, one-pieces, speedos, thongs, and board shorts.
There’s nothing you won’t see, literally. In addition to a wide-brimmed hat, you should also pack a cover-up or sarong. They are not only great for protecting you from the sun but also great for going straight from the beach to the bar.
Make sure to pack a UV rash vest if you plan on doing a lot of water sports and snorkeling the reefs. Surfboards and bodyboards reduce chafing caused by sun exposure and UV exposure.
Miami has a super glam dress code, whereas Orlando has a laidback, casual dress code. Plan your packing around the season and humidity, however. Clothing made from cotton and linen should be breathable and light. The most appropriate clothing is shorts, tees, tank tops, sundresses, and loose-fitting trousers.
Pack a poncho or rain jacket that is light and breathable during the rainy season. Light sweaters, jackets, or shawls are recommended at night. During the winter, pack a heavier coat if you are traveling to Florida’s northern regions.
Nighttime dress code:
Men and women should dress smart-casual for fancy resorts and restaurants. Shirts with collars and slacks are recommended for men. Stylish pumps or sandals (not flip-flops) and a cocktail dress are ideal for women.
Dress codes are enforced in Miami’s nightclubs. It’s important to look smart. Wearing athletic clothes, sports shoes, flip flops, or sandals with backless straps is not permitted. Make sure you wear shoes you can dance in, and if you’re wearing heels, carry a pair of ballet pumps.
What shoes to pack for Florida:
A flip-flop or sandal is the perfect footwear for wearing at the beach or poolside. If you want to climb on rocks and explore tidal pools, slip-on mesh water shoes are also a great option.
Comfortable walking shoes are essential for theme parks. It is ideal to wear sneakers. When you are riding the rides, you should avoid wearing slip-on shoes. Hiking and biking in parklands also require sturdy sneakers or trail shoes.
Women’s dress sandals and men’s loafers are perfect for upscale restaurants, resorts, golf clubs, and fancy parties. Bring heels or wedges or sandals if you plan to sample Miami’s famous nightlife. Dress shoes are required for men. Sports shoes are not allowed.
Packing List for Women:
- One maxi dress
- Dress for the sun
- A pair of Bermuda’s like these are great!
- My current favorite tunic is this one! Two sleeveless vest tops, one t-shirt, and one dressier top or tunic for evenings.
- Wear a lightweight cardigan on the plane in case of cooler evenings.
- Wear leggings or yoga pants on the plane. Wear them with your tunic and dressy sandals for the evening. Here’s my post on travel pants.
- These 8 pairs of underwear by Ex Officio are ideal for hot climates.
- A pair of lightweight nightdresses (if necessary)
- I love these specific Crocs flip-flops because they are lightweight, stylish, and perfect for the beach.
- Here’s a full blog post on choosing the most comfortable sandals for travel.
- A pair of walking shoes or sneakers – I love Sketcher’s Go Walk sneakers. There is no better shoe for travel. In Florida, you can omit walking shoes or sneakers if you’re not visiting theme parks.
- Swimsuits for two
- 1 bathing suit cover-up
- 1 lightweight scarf
- 1 sun hat
Packing List for Men:
- This bamboo t-shirt keeps you cool and dry.
- An evening shirt – short-sleeved is fine
- Shorts in two pairs
- 1 pair of jeans or lightweight pants – For the evening and for traveling. They won’t wrinkle and are great for travel.
- For cooler evenings and on the plane, bring one lightweight sweatshirt or hoodie.
- Underwear for 8 people
- A pair of lightweight pajamas (if necessary)
- Leather sandals, 1 pair
- A pair of flip-flops or rubber sandals
- If you will not be visiting theme parks or participating in any active activities during your Florida vacation, you can omit walking shoes or sneakers.
- Two pairs of socks
- Two pairs of swimming shorts
- A UV rash vest is perfect for protecting yourself from the sun at the beach or while kayaking
Toiletries to Pack for a Vacation to Florida:
You can share items if you’re traveling as a couple or family to pack light and get your toiletries into one bag. If you’re going to Florida, you’ll need the following toiletries:
- Decant shampoo and conditioner into travel-size plastic bottles. I love these squeezable ones!
- Comb and brush
- Headbands and hair ties – Humidity can do crazy things to your hair!
- Brushes and toothpaste
- A moisturizer
- Gear for shaving
- Please let us know if you need any medications or contact lenses
- Sunscreen lip balm
- I like this sunscreen because it smells good as well.
- Spray for bugs
There is a perception that Florida is sporty and informal among travelers. Swimming suits, shorts and T-shirts, fishing gear, and golf gear are all commonplace during the day, but sophisticated restaurants, bars, and clubs may require dresses and button-downs.
For men, this dress code consists of a polo or button-down shirt (Tommy Bahama shirts are fine here), while women wear colorful blouses, but pick khakis over jeans. Shoes are optional for beach weddings.
During the winter months, you can wear white jeans if you live in Florida. Winter, summer, spring, and fall are all popular seasons for white jeans in Florida.
Florida residents prefer to wear shorts with their Ugg boots rather than a full-blown winter outfit.
You will find everything you need to spend a beautiful and relaxing vacation in Florida in this packing list for Florida. When it comes to parking for Florida, we can’t forget about theme park essentials such as clothing, toiletries, car essentials, and beach essentials.