Celebrating Christmas in the Florida Keys

When you’re ready to swap snow for sand and hot chocolate for margaritas, there’s nothing quite like a Florida Keys Christmas! With sunny weather, tropical breezes, and, of course, lots of dazzling lights, the holidays are a magical time in the Florida Keys. And don’t worry, Santa still makes an appearance; he just traded his sled for a boat. You may even spot a glimpse of him from your private dock at your Coco Plum vacation rental.

Ready for a one-of-a-kind tropical Christmas? Here’s your guide to the ultimate Christmas vacation in The Florida Keys.

About a Holiday in the Florida Keys

Photo Credit: Chuck Wagner

Christmas Weather and Packing Tips

Weather in the Florida Keys during the month of December is typically warm and breezy with very little rain and humidity. Daytimes are mostly sunny, with temperatures in the low to mid-70s. Nighttimes are cool and breezy, with temperatures in the upper 60s to lower 70s.

A cold front will occasionally pass through, bringing temperatures down into the 50s. You can still bring your favorite Christmas sweater for the chillier nights, but leave the heavy jackets and coats at home; you definitely won’t need those down here!

Florida Keys water temperatures in December can range from the low to high 70s, depending on the day and depth of the water. Overall, it’s still plenty warm for a beach day or snorkeling trip, so don’t forget to pack your swimsuit, flip-flops, and sunscreen for a true island-style Christmas vacation.

Florida Keys Christmas Crowds

Like most of Florida, winter is part of the high season in the Keys, so that you can expect more crowds and traffic than usual. If you plan to book a special tour or dine out on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, making reservations ahead of time is always a good idea.

To avoid the larger crowds seen in places like Key West or Miami, head to the Middle Keys. Here, you’ll find fewer crowds but just as many beautiful places and things to do. Marathon offers a peaceful retreat right in the heart of the Keys with easy access to the Overseas Highway for day trips to all the other Keys.

Things to Do Around Christmas in The Florida Keys

While there’s never a shortage of things to do in the Keys, it becomes a little extra magical with great weather and special holiday events during the holiday season. Here are some of the best activities to make the most of your Christmas vacation in The Florida Keys.

Have a Jolly Good Time at the Lighted Boat Parade

Photo Credit: Jay Gao

One of the most anticipated holiday parades of the season, the Key Colony Beach Lighted Boat Parade brings a dazzling display of lights to the waterfront in Marathon. Dozens of decked-out boats, yachts, kayaks, and more parade through the Sadowski Causeway to celebrate the season.

Staying in a vacation rental with kayaks included? Grab a string of lights and join in on the fun! All vessels may enter the boat parade for free.

Rock Around the Christmas Tree at Havana Jack’s

A favorite among locals and visitors alike, Havana Jack’s offers up plenty of holiday cheer with special events. Take a leisurely bike ride to Havana Jack’s to attend the Tiki Tree Lighting Ceremony, enter the Ugly Christmas Sweater contest, or even party with Santa Claus himself on certain nights. Havana Jack’s is the perfect place to get in the holiday spirit with cheery cocktails, festive lights, and live music day and night.

Walk Through a Winter Wonderland at Crane Point Hammock

Photo Credit: Chris Allan

Around the holidays, the beautiful outdoor gardens at Crane Point Hammock are transformed into a winter fest wonderland. Visitors can stroll the grounds enjoying a variety of light displays, snow machines, festive food and drinks, visits with Santa, and more. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the beautiful outdoors and get in the holiday spirit.

Watch Santa’s Christmas Eve Caravan

On Christmas Eve, visitors are in for a real treat as Santa makes his way around the palm tree-lined streets, spreading Christmas cheer and candy, lots of candy! The caravan stops may vary according to yearly schedules but usually include Curry Hammock State Park, Key Colony Beach City Hall, and a mix of centrally located plazas and businesses.

Sing Along at Marathon Community Theatre’s Holiday Show

Every December, the Marathon Community Theatre presents its annual Holiday Show and Sing Along, where locals and visitors come together for an evening of festive, family-friendly fun. Enjoy holiday lights, hot cocoa, dance performances, and a lively Christmas carol sing-along.

Visit the Festival of Trees

Photo Credit: N K

Featuring rows upon rows of beautifully decorated Christmas trees, the Zonta Club of Marathon hosts its annual Festival of Trees in December. This free, family-friendly event is the perfect way to spend an evening getting in the holiday spirit. Stroll through the trees and vote for your favorite, enjoy cookies with Santa, and take plenty of holiday photos among the spirited backdrop.

Have a Holiday Light Hunt

In December, the islands of Marathon are full of festive holiday lights and decorations. A favorite pastime of locals and visitors alike is to drive around on a holiday light “hunt.” Many local churches, businesses, and even residential homes put up dazzling displays of lights and Christmas decorations for all to enjoy. Don’t forget to stroll the local marinas, where you’ll also find beautiful boats all decked in holiday lights.

Take a Day Trip for More Festive Fun

Photo Credit: Roman Samborskyi

Marathon, part of the middle Keys, offers the perfect basecamp for quick access to all the best The Florida Keys offers during the holiday season. An hour’s drive south will bring you to Key West to see the Christmas Tree in Mallory Square or stroll the famous Harborwalk of Lights.

An hour’s drive north will have you in Key Largo, where you can snorkel with Santa or dive into the famous Christmas Tree Cave.

Relish the Tropical Outdoors

While there’s no shortage of holiday fun to be had around the Keys, don’t forget to enjoy all that these beautiful islands have to offer. There are many outdoor adventures, and the dry, breezy winter season is one of the best times to enjoy them. Spend a day at the beach, try watersports like snorkeling and parasailing, visit local parks, or go fishing.

Your Florida Keys Christmas Vacation Awaits

Ready for sun, fun, and snorkeling Santas? With salt in the air and sand in your toes, there’s no better place for a winter escape than The Florida Keys.

Coco Plum Vacation Rentals offers a variety of rentals right in the heart of The Florida Keys. There’s something to suit every type of traveler, from resort-style luxury homes and beachside bungalows to cozy condos and even pet-friendly accommodations; every family member can enjoy a Keys Christmas. Plan your perfect Christmas vacation now!