Personally, I thoroughly enjoy both Florida’s world-class beaches and its unparalleled springs…but when it comes to mid-summer cooling off power, there is a clear winner.
The first and most telling tale is water temperature. On July 28 (2016), I looked at the NOAA water temperature MAP and sampled 11 sites from Fernandina Beach to Key West to Pensacola. The average temperature was 88.5 degrees F. St. Petersburg was the warmest with a 92.3 reading. Interestingly, Key Largo was the coolest at 85.6, but that showed as being offshore.
To me that’s pretty much bath water. In the blazing sun, assuming a sunny day, with no shade even the sand becomes scorching hot. If you plan on spending much time here out in the open, you better protect yourself from the relentless sun — and protect your eyes from the searing glare of reflected sunlight off the ocean.
So then I randomly sampled 11 springs throughout Florida from a CHART on Wikipedia. The average temperature was 73.3 degrees F. — a whopping 15.2 degrees cooler than going to the beach! All the vegetation that typically grows near springs and their rivers also helps to cool the air and can even provide shade in some areas. However, most springs are exposed to the sun, so take the same protective measures you would at the beach.
By mid-summer the fierce Florida sun warms even the enormous ocean waters to nearly daytime air temperatures. So why don’t the springs heat up? Because their water is stored deep underground, far from the warming effects of the sun and outside air temperatures. Downriver the spring runs warm up, of course, but they can carry their cool for quite a distance.
Play it cool this summer — head to one of Florida’s amazing springs. Where to go near you? Check it out HERE, then scroll down to Springs by County. You can also check out Florida State Parks’ Top 10 Springs HERE. And of course you can always check out our Bucket List. Go cool off and enjoy the summer!