Feeling a case of cabin fever coming on? Not in Florida! Our mild temperatures in the winter season allow outdoor activities to go year-round, plus who doesn’t want to soak up some rays in the middle of December?
Central Florida is one of few United States destinations that makes for a sunny winter vacation with average temperatures averaging between 55- and 73-degrees Fahrenheit during the winter months. If you’re looking to trade freezing temperatures and snow for a little warm sunshine, Ponce Inlet, FL is the destination for you!
The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse & Museum is located in the perfect area for your next winter vacation and here’s why:
1. Enjoy Some Much-Needed Sunshine at Our Beaches
Many east coast states have great beaches, but only Florida sports warm enough winter days to enjoy them. Ponce Inlet, Florida features one of Central Florida’s best beaches and with so many ways to enjoy it!
Just minutes from the lighthouse grounds is Lighthouse Point Park where you can pay to park with direct access to the Ponce Inlet jetty. From here, you can walk down to the beach or enjoy fishing the inlet (a popular Ponce Inlet pastime). There are also various beach access parking lots sprinkled along A1A within town.
Another favorite way to enjoy the beach that is unique to the area is beach driving. Drive your car right onto the sand for a small fee! Ponce Inlet was the site of the famous 1950’s beach road course where the first NASCAR sanctioned stock car racing took place. When you enter the beach ramp at the corner of A1A and Beach Street, be sure to look out for the sign marking the historic south turn of the course!
Speaking of racing, don’t miss our exhibit on Ponce Inlet automobile racing located in the 2nd Assistant Keeper’s Dwelling. In fact, the lighthouse served as a visual landmark for the races. Make sure to look for it when you’re on the beach!
2. Indulge in Local Seafood
Ponce Inlet is home to some of the best seafood restaurants around. After you’ve climbed the 203 steps to the top of the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and explored our museum grounds, you’ll definitely have worked up an appetite. Just minutes down the road on Beach Street is Down the Hatch, a classic seafood restaurant with casual outdoor seating (often featuring live music) and comfortable inside seating with great views of the river. Ask for the fish of the day sandwich, you won’t be disappointed!
Another local favorite is Racing’s North Turn located right on the beach at, you guessed it, the historic road course’s north turn. Enjoy the sounds of the ocean as you enjoy a southern classic of shrimp & grits. You’ll find no shortage of fresh seafood in Ponce Inlet!
3) Discover Local History
The best part about visiting Florida in the wintertime is avoiding that sweltering summer heat! That’s why it’s the perfect time to visit and tour the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse & Museum. From the moment you step on our grounds, you’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time.
The Ponce de Leon Inlet Light Station is a National Historic Landmark and one of the largest and most complete light stations in the country! Enjoy strolling from building to building and through the historic grounds as you explore our world-famous museum and discover the fascinating history of the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, US Lighthouse Service, local Florida region, and more.
Winter is one of the best times of year to climb 203 steps to the top of Florida’s Tallest Lighthouse! Walk out onto the tower’s gallery deck and enjoy the cool breeze as you soak in panoramic views of the World’s Most Famous Beach, Ponce Inlet, and inland waterways. The view from 175 feet is hard to beat so don’t forget to snap a few pictures while you’re up there!
Be sure to stop by our unique lighthouse and maritime themed gift shop to find the perfect souvenir or gift to commemorate your visit. The museum gift shop offers a unique selection of lighthouse and nautical-themed products for young and old alike. Our wide variety of high quality merchandise covers a broad spectrum of categories including clothing & apparel, home décor, jewelry & accessories, books & videos, artwork, souvenirs & collectables, curiosities, educational toys & games, kitchen & bath, lawn & garden, knickknacks, and more! Who knows, you may even get a little holiday shopping done while you’re here. We hope to see you soon!