Off on vacation to the Sunshine State but don’t know what to bring? There are just so many vibes to Florida. Are you going to sample the nightlife in Miami? Is it a family holiday to Orlando? It is a beach break to the Keys? Will you be walking, looking for alligators, surfing or just strutting around the pool all day? No doubt you’ll be doing a combination of all those things, which makes packing so much harder! But don’t stress. We are here to make it easier. Just follow our handy guide on what to pack for Florida: the essential list.
What to Pack for Florida: The Essential List
Florida has favourable weather all year. Summers are very sunny and humid. July is the hottest month in Florida with an average temperature of 82°F (28°C). The coldest month is January at 61°F (16°C). The wet season runs from May to October which is characterised by high humidity and heavy but short downpours. So, depending on when you go, you might need to pack some rain gear.
What toiletries to pack for Florida
Reef safe suncream
Florida is known for its year-round sunshine, so, no matter when you visit, you need to pack some sort of sun protection. Key West tried to ban the sale and purchase of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, however, this move was blocked. Nevertheless, you really ought to consider buying reef safe suncream in order to help protect Florida’s coral reefs. So make sure you pack a non-nano mineral sunscreen.
Florida’s swampy environment is a haven for insects, even more so during the rainy season. Therefore, you should pack some sort of mosquito repellant, especially if you plan on visiting the Everglades. Mosquito repellent with 20-30% DEET (diethyltoluamide) active ingredient should be strong enough to keep most of the mozzies at bay.
Waterproof phone case
Beaches, boat trips, swamp tours, water rides, you are going to be around a lot of water in Florida and no doubt you’ll be using your phone too, especially if it’s what you use to take photos. Do yourself a favour and pack an inexpensive waterproof phone cover or case to protect your phone and give yourself peace of mind.
Small backpack or day bag
This is a must, especially if you are visiting the theme parks as you’ll want to keep your valuables secure especially when you are on the rides. However, do choose a small bag, as some larger backpacks may not be permitted on the rides with you. An even better solution is to bring a ‘fanny pack’ or bum bag. Don’t worry, you won’t look out of place wearing one of these in Orlando.
Plug adaptors and power converters
Florida operates on a 120V supply voltage and 60Hz, the same as the rest of mainland USA. There are two types of plugs in Florida. Type A has two flat prongs, while Type B has two flat prongs and a rounded ground pin. Type A and B plugs are mostly used in Canada, Central America, China and Japan. Depending on where your appliances are from, you may need travel plug adaptors. If your electrical items are not dual voltage, you’ll also need a travel power converter.
What shoes to pack for Florida
Flip-flops and sandals are ideal for wearing on the beach and poolside. Slip-on mesh water shoes are also another great option, especially if you want to explore tidal pools and climb on the rocks.
For theme parks, you need comfortable walking shoes. Sneakers are ideal. Avoid wearing slip-on shoes, as they might slip off when you are on the rides. Sturdy sneakers or trail shoes are also recommended for hiking and biking in the parklands.
Dressy sandals for women and loafers for men are perfect for more upscale restaurants and resorts, golf clubs and fancy get-togethers.
If you are planning on sampling Miami’s famous nightlife, pack a pair of heels or wedges or sexy sandals. Men, you’ll need a pair of dress shoes. No sports shoes.
What clothing to pack for Florida
Florida is famous for its magnificent beaches, so you’ll probably be spending a lot of time on them. Pack whatever beachwear makes you feel most comfortable. Anything goes really – bikinis, one-pieces, speedos, thongs, board shorts – there’s plenty of nudist beaches too. You’ll see it all, literally. Packing a wide-brimmed hat and a cover-up or sarong is also a good idea. Not only do these offer you some protection from the sun, but they are great when going straight from the beach to the bar.
If you plan on doing lots of water activities and spending hours snorkelling the reefs, pack a UV rash vest. These protect your skin from sun exposure and reduce chafing caused by surfboards and bodyboards.
The dress code in Florida spans the range from laidback and casual in Orlando to super glam in Miami. However, the best way to plan what to pack is to work around the season and the humidity. Pack breathable, light clothing made from cotton and linen. Shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, sundresses and loose-fitting trousers are all ideal. In the rainy season, pack a very light, breathable rain jacket or poncho. At night time a light sweater, jacket or shawl might be needed. If you are heading to the northern parts of Florida in the winter, pack a heavier coat.
Nighttime dress code
For fancy resorts and restaurants, men and women should dress smart-casual. Men should pack a pair of slacks and a shirt with a collar. For women, a pair of sexy pumps or sandals (not flip-flops) and a cocktail dress is perfect. Miami’s nightclubs do enforce a dress code. You’ll need to look smart. No athletic clothes or sports shoes or flip flops or backless sandals. Wear shoes you can dance in and if you are wearing heels, put a pair of ballet pumps in your handbag.
Florida reading material
Get a feel for Florida with a good book set in the Sunshine State or one that covers the history and culture. For non-fiction fans, pack Tales of Old Florida by Frank Oppel and Tony Meisel. Fiction lovers should pick up a copy of Swamplandia! by Karen Russell.