Los Angeles Times

Central Florida Blooms in Spring


Like a flower shaking off the winter frost, Central Florida blossoms in the springtime. Knowing what to bring and when to come will help you prepare for your spring visit to the center of the Sunshine State.

Local Insights

Central Florida's springtime weather can be a bit indecisive. Visitors often expect the baking sun to be a daily standard, but on certain days, the temperature can sneak into the chilly zone. Weather data indicates that average temperatures in March range from 60 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit, and then steadily increase through May from 69 to 89 degrees Fahrenheit. However, be aware that spikes and dips occasionally occur, with past temperatures reaching extremes from the mid 30's to the high 90's. Your best bet is to prepare for sunny skies and pack your swimsuits, sunglasses and plenty of sun block. However, include a sweater or light jacket for the occasional chill.

As the temperature steadily rises, spring also sees a slight increase in the chance of rain. Luckily showers are sporadic, unlike the blustery hurricane season of summer when every day may be a rainy day. It never hurts to pack a light rain coat or plastic poncho. Inexpensive rain gear and umbrellas can also be purchased at most souvenir shops and theme parks in town.

Early spring is often a high-volume tourist season. March 4th to 14th brings thousands of bikers to Central Florida and the coast to celebrate the annual Bike Week. Hotels fill up and rates increase, especially in Daytona and surrounding beach towns, and traffic becomes a precarious as a multitude of motorcycles zip in between cars. This is a great time to visit if you love Harleys; otherwise, you may want to pick another week.

May sees a dip in tourism. This may be the best time to get deals on accommodations and flights as availability increases. Lines at attractions get shorter and the beaches have lost enough of the crowds that you can lay out and get a decent tan. Memorial Day weekend begins another short rush of visitors, but then the season slows until summer.

Of course, the best time to visit may also depend on your interests. Bring your cameras and video recorders because you won't want to miss a minute of it.

Out and About: Things to Do

Sports fans can enjoy the tail end of the Orlando Magic basketball season in March and April, or check out an Orlando Predators arena football game. The Montreal Expos begin their spring training in Melbourne and the Atlanta Braves train in Orlando. There are also plenty of events for race fans, with such big name events as the pre-spring Nascar Daytona 500 and the American Le Mans Series 12 hours of Sebring.

The rush of Bike Week is often followed in Daytona by hordes of jubilant college kids, who flock to Central Florida's theme parks and beaches for spring break vacation. The college festivities usually end with the Daytona Black College Reunion from April 15 to 18. Add to these crowds, the numerous families with school age children that visit during March and early April and you have one packed tourist destination.

Water lovers will enjoy the opening of the numerous water parks in the Central Florida area, not to mention the warmer waters in the hundreds of lakes and rivers and the sugar sand beaches on both coasts. Plus, there's even more accessibility to water sports from wind surfing and canoeing to scuba diving and wake boarding.

During spring, Central Florida is a Mecca for nature lovers. Many species of migrating birds winter in Florida, and then bear young in the spring. Manatee families visit Blue Springs in winter to birth calves and then stay through March. And in late May, sea turtle season begins. Visitors can witness these prehistoric animals make their instinctive journey to shore to lay their eggs.

Central Florida has plenty to offer in the spring, regardless of your interests. And having the inside information on what to bring, when to come and what to do will give you the advantage when planning your most memorable trip to the tourist capital of the world.

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