What To Pack For Florida

Are you a snowbird? Do you spend your winters in Florida, or pop down for a couple of weeks every year? Are you getting ready to visit after Christmas?

Like many northerners, Florida is my home away from home. I’ve been going there twice a year for the last 25 years to escape the cold and soak up the sun. The weather is excellent, the food and shopping are first class, and the beaches are breezy and relaxing. No wonder it’s one of America’s most popular vacation spots.

Recently, many of you have emailed me because you’re planning a trip to Florida, but you aren’t sure what to wear. So here’s a look at some stylish ideas for what to pack for Florida.

1. Pack an Easy Breezy Shift Dress

What to Pack for Florida -Lily Pulitizer Dress

shop the look

When I’m in Florida, forget cooking! I like to go out for dinner a lot, and I usually like to wear a dress because it makes my evening feel a little more special. The problem is that many of the sundresses I come across are sleeveless or too skimpy around the neck or shoulders, meaning I freeze when I’m in an air-conditioned restaurant (some, which they keep as cold as meat lockers!)

That’s where a dress like this comes in.  I always like to pack a cute, easygoing shift dress in a bright print.  Florida is a place where you can let loose a little and have fun with a gorgeous, eye-catching print. Pulitzer dresses are the best ones because they’re “so Florida” – very light, cheery, and tropical.  Shift dresses tend to be on the short side, so I throw a little self-tanner on my legs, and I’m good to go.

This style ( above) looks great with flat sandals, which suits me just fine!  I love the 3/4 length sleeves because you get upper arm coverage, but you can still throw on some bangles, etc., and show a little skin at your forearms, which is always youthful.

This is my Florida go-to dress that I wear shopping, to dinner, just about anywhere. It’s loose, but not baggy, colorful, sporty, and fun.


2.  White Jeans

What to Pack for Florida - White Pants, coral top

shop the look

If you’re ever going to wear white, Florida is the place to do it. White jeans, long or cropped, are a staple in my “down south” wardrobe.  Pair white jeans with a colorful tropical colored top and some cute gold strappy sandals, and soak up the sunshine!


3.  Shorts

Cruise Shorts - Olive


shop the look

Not everyone is into shorts, but I think it doesn’t hurt to bring a pair. I like any color ( although I’m not a denim fan). This trendy square neck tee gives a basic pair of shorts a fresh update.  Cute gold sandals, fringe earrings, and a round rattan bag uplevel the look.


4. A Cute Sundress

Cruise - Striped Wrap Dress


shop the look

Casually chic is the name of the game when you are on vacation, and this cute sundress fits the bill. Stripes are very nautical and always a great look when you are by the ocean. This darling midi has a gorgeous twist, literally with that wrap tie waist. Add a sporty natural tote and braided flats, and you have a fabulous summer look.


5. Linen Pants

Cruise - Linen Pants

shop the look

It’s vacation time, so why not pack a pair of easy breezy linen pants? They’ll keep you cool, they feel comfy, and they look so summery. Team them up with a linen shirt, a pair of cute flat sandals, and a wicker bag, and you have a great look to go shopping or out to the beach for pizza and a glass of wine.


5. How about a Beach Dress?

beach dress

Beach Dress

If you are going to Florida, you likely be at the beach, and so a cute beach dress is a must. Here’s a darling maxi sundress that doubles as a swim coverup.  Wear it during the day by the beach and then dress it up at night. It feels breezy, easy, and holiday-like, and it’s something different from what you might wear back home.

Sass it up with some sexy gold sandals, a great bag, and a smart-looking hat, and you’ve got a complete vacation look. Can’t you see yourself wearing this on the patio, great music in the background with a margarita in hand?


6. Your Favorite Jeans

What to pack for Florida - polka dot top

shop the look

Your favorite jeans will always come in handy, especially when it cools down at night. Wear them with something light and flowy like this pretty asymmetrical tunic to create the perfect outfit for when you want to go out to dinner or the movies, and the air conditioner is blasting away. White espadrilles give you a cute tropical look.  The straw circle bag is a fun, relaxed addition.

These are just a few ideas for what to pack for Florida. I hope you have a wonderful time!

Join the Conversation

16 thoughts on “What To Pack For Florida

  1. Hi, I am coming down to Tampa, Florida in May for my grandsons wedding. I am bringing a three piece outfit that is mix and match, it is navy and grey, the skirt is interchangeable &long and top is sleeveless, with another top over it with sleeves, very lightweight material. Should I wear a hat? We will be there three or four days.

  2. Hi I am coming down to Tampa, Florida in May for my grandson wedding. I am bring a three pieces outfit that is mix and match, it is navy and grey, I skirt is interchangeable &long and top is sleeveless, with another top over it with sleeves, very lightweight material. Should I wear a hat? We will be there three or four days.

    1. Hi Joan, If the wedding is outdoors you may want a hat, but it is not required. Just be sure to wear sunscreen and don’t forget sunglasses. If you have bare shoulders you may also want a light wrap so you don’t get sunburned!

  3. Thanks for the tip that beach dresses can double as a way to cover up my swimwear when I’m not in the water. Since my wedding has been postponed, my fiancé and I just put our attention to possible honeymoon destinations once the pandemic is over. As such, I think I’m going to spend some of my time upgrading my wardrobe for some resort wear.

  4. I have been visiting as a snowbird for years, the Sarasota area. I will be moving there permanently next year. I will be 70 in January, yet I am quite into dressing well. Am 5’3”, size 2-4, love shorts, hate capris (make me look shorter), on the slender side. I love suggestions so I blend in without looking like a snowbird!! Thank you!

  5. I love in SW Florida. I wear shorts, tops, sandals and sneakers. That’s it. I’ve never worn a dress. In the last three years, I’ve only worn pants once. And my shorts are long just above the knee. I’m not 16. It’s very casual down here.

  6. I do like the idea of the maxi. My husband and I make an annual trip down to Florida to thee Bradenton/Sarasota area. We’re baseball fans and we take a weekend trip to watch a Pittsburgh Pirates spring training game. I generally pack my Pirates jersey and t-shirt.

    The hotel we stay at has a pool so I always pack my bikini. I am looking for something to wear poolside.

    Because we’re only gone for 3-4 days, I use the “less-is-more” plan when packing.

  7. I hate to say this but dressing like this all the time in Florida i.e. loud tops and sandals t shirts becomes boring very quickly! Up here in Central Florida where I live, Women cannot wait for the temps to drop to 75 so we can wear jeans and leggings and boots!

    1. Hi Linda,
      I can totally understand that if you live in Florida, you wouldn’t be dressing like this so much, but for us northerners, it’s vacation time. We can’t wait to get out of the dull colors and into something light and a bit tropical. Bring on the sunshine!

      1. You can tell the comment is from a resident. Us northerners would be sweltering in jeans and a sweater when it 75 degrees. I love the bright (not loud) colors, although I rarely wear sleeves in the islands or FL. Too hot for my liking.

    1. I live in Florida. These suggestions are great. Good fitting jeans are staple here as well as day to evening sandals. Neon tops have long been popular in South Florida. IT is a Palm Beach/South Beach sort of thing. You can wear a less loud or patterned top with white shorts/skirt/jeans to be less traffic-stopping. Navy, green, yellow, orange, fuchsia, or black with colorful accessories make a standout outfits with white too. Floridian females live in well fitted scoop neck t-shirts, smart accessories, shorts and sandals. Do pack a nice sundress for evenings, and bring a wrap if the one you choose is strappy to fend off the a/c.

      1. Hi Corrine,
        Great advice. Nothing like hearing from someone who lives in Florida to get the full scoop on what to wear. I personally like cropped pants ( plain and printed) and wear a lot of them in Florida with pretty tops and sandals.
        Thanks for stopping by. Cheers, Deborah

• powered by chloédigital