A winter trip to the beach calls for thoughtful packing with plenty of layers. While afternoon sunshine can lead to moderately warm temperatures on many beaches during the winter months, sunset can usher in crisp air. As a result, packing for shifting temperatures is a must as you prep for a winter vacation.
Temperatures at the beach in the winter vary widely depending on the destination. For example, average winter high temperatures along Florida beaches range from the low 50s along the panhandle in Panama City Beach to the upper 60s in south Florida’s West Palm Beach. Southern California beaches boast winter highs near 70, while places along the mid-Atlantic Coast, such as Virginia Beach, cool to the low- to mid-50s for highs. If you head south of the border, you’ll enjoy average highs in the 80s in vacation destinations like Cancun.
Check the forecast for your destination to ensure you’re packing appropriately for the temperatures.
Blend beach casual looks with seasonally appropriate layers to ensure you look relaxed and stylish and stay warm should evening temperatures plummet.
When visiting warm-weather beaches, wear strapless and sleeveless sundresses, paired with wedge sandals or flip-flops. If the ocean breeze cools temperatures as the sun sets, throw on a coordinating cardigan to stay cozy.
Flat-front shorts teamed with a three-quarter-length sleeved top is a seasonally appropriate look in warmer climates. Choose neutral shorts, such as beige or black, and team wtih a silk floral blouse or a button-down chambray shirt with a colorful — think jade green or royal blue — pair of cutoffs.
You don’t have to give up that relaxed, coastal style if temperatures are cool on your vacation. Choose long, flowing maxi dresses and maxi skirts, which will keep your legs warm. You can even wear tights and boots under these pieces for added warmth. Coordinate a sleeveless maxi dress with a cropped blazer or a maxi skirt with a long-sleeved top, tucked in; finish with a wide belt at the waist.
Replace shorts with breezy linen pants, which you can wear with a boatneck three-quarter length shirt or a tank top and cardigan combo. Even when those winter climes call for long-sleeves, you can add a burst of color by throwing on a lightweight floral or tropical print scarf.
On cooler beaches, you might want to keep those toes out of the sand and covered in shoes. Opt for comfortable canvas slip-ons for daytime and ballet flats for evening.
With fluctuating winter beach temperatures, men should opt for layers as well. Pack a water-resistant, lightweight jacket, which pairs well with shorts and pants and adds an extra layer for cool mornings and evenings.
Shorts should be your go-to daytime outfit in warmer climates — pack a couple pairs of flat-front, neutral — khaki, gray or black — shorts, which you can mix and match with virtually any colored shirt. A collared golf shirt or button-down with the sleeves rolled up is a casual, comfortable look. Sandals, flip flops or canvas shoes are smart daytime footwear choices.
When temperatures cool, replace those shorts with relaxed-fit chinos, which again work well with several tops. Throw a lightweight blazer — cotton or linen — on top of that button-down shirt for added warmth — not to mention a dressier look — for a dinner overlooking the ocean. Chambray slip-on shoes are another beach-friendly option for cooler temperatures.