The Sunshine State is one of the southernmost states in the United States. Covering nearly 70,000 square miles, Florida isn’t just big, it’s also densely populated. In fact, it is the third most populous state in the country, with over 21 million people joining its ranks. When you think of Florida, you probably don’t think of cold weather. But there is the coldest place in Florida, just as there is the hottest place. It might not be as cold in this southern state as it is further north, but how cold can it get?
Read on to find out where the coldest temperatures have ever been recorded in Florida. We will also find out which city has the coldest average temperatures. Next, we’ll see if it’s snowing or not in the Sunshine State. After that, we will know more about the coldest place and what to do there.
The coldest place in Florida
If you measure by the coldest annual average temperature, then Niceville, at just 66 degrees Fahrenheit, is the coldest place in Florida. But, if you measure the average annual high temperature, then Pensacola, at 70 degrees Fahrenheit (F), is actually the coldest place in the state. Florida is well known for its hot and humid weather, so you don’t necessarily expect winter weather there. In fact, most of Florida’s climate is classified as humid subtropical. The southern tip of the state, including the Florida Keys, is even warmer and more tropical.
Florida’s average temperature is a perfect 75 degrees F; the state experiences distinct wet and monsoon seasons interspersed with dry seasons. January ranks as the coldest month of the year, with an average statewide temperature of just 54 degrees F. Plus, Pensacola isn’t just one of the coldest places in state, it is also ranked as the wettest. Pensacola alone receives an average of 81 inches of precipitation each year.
Coldest temperature ever recorded in Florida
Florida’s coldest temperature on record occurred during the Great Arctic Outbreak of 1899. It’s true: even Florida isn’t immune to cold air fronts pushing in from the north, causing low temperatures and even snow. The coldest temperature on record in Florida was -2 degrees F, recorded February 13, 1899. Since then there have been a handful of cold snaps in the Sunshine State. The most recent occurred in December 2010 and brought extremely cold temperatures and snow.
Niceville: a story
The two main contenders for the coldest place in Florida, Niceville and Pensacola, are within walking distance of each other. Niceville was established in 1868. However, at that time it was known by the slightly less pleasant name of Boggy. The city retained this illustrious name until 1910 when it took its new name of Niceville. Niceville is in the extreme northwest of Florida, protected from the Gulf of Mexico by a strip of land. The town itself sits on the Rocky Bayou of Choctawhatchee Bay.
But, no account of the history of Niceville is complete without mentioning the old mill. In 1857, a man named William Nathey settled in what is now Niceville. He built his own flour mill, the millstones of which still exist. Then, in 1862, several more families moved to the area under the Homestead Act. From there, the city of Niceville was born.
Fauna of Niceville
The coldest place in Florida is on Choctawhatchee Bay; visitors can see a wide variety of land and water creatures. Turtles and birds are common, as are raccoons, squirrels, and other urban creatures. Even more exciting, Choctawhatchee Bay is home to several species of sharks, all of which feed on the wide variety of fish found in the bay. If lucky, visitors might spot blacktip reef sharks, bonnethead sharks, bull sharks and even tiger sharks.
Activities and leisure in Niceville
Formerly the seat of the Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival (nothing to do with hairdressing), Niceville is full of activities. Florida’s coldest spot offers a wide variety of things to do outdoors and around town. If you want to be in the middle of nature, visit Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park and the Turkey Creek Nature Trail. There’s even the local Lions Park, which offers lovely views across the bay.
Walking in nature not your thing? Do not worry! Niceville offers several dining, dining and staying options that maintain the “Nice” in Niceville. Be sure to catch a show at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Theater or play a little golf at one of the city’s many golf courses. And, if you’ve brought your four-legged friend, there’s even a local dog park.