Bridge with Christmas Wreath in Alys Beach
What to Wear on a Winter Beach Vacation

If you're used to snowsuits and boots near the holidays, you may ask yourself what you need to pack to enjoy a winter wonderland at the beach. Even in mid-winter, our weather is typically mild, and even if the temperature isn't right for a suntan, there's plenty to keep you busy here, indoors or out.

Inlet Beach - South Walton, FL

Exploring by bike? The cooler weather is ideal for pedaling anywhere you want, and South Walton is best by bike at any time of year. Grab coffee, lunch or cocktails and peruse boutique shops, or shop 'til you drop and grab a donut or a refreshing frozen popMake a pit stop for a great view or an action-packed interlude at Baytowne Adventure Zone. Explore the coastal dune lakes or take in art at a local gallery. With such a variety of activities, layering is key. Bring a light sweater to throw over a t-shirt if the breeze picks up – maybe even a pair of shorts if you're lucky!

Artists at Gulf Place - South Walton, FL

Take in the world of local art at one of many area galleries, and be cultured, casually. Like the art itself, the atmosphere of each gallery varies. 2013 Artist of the Year Andy Saczynski's gallery feels a bit like a large shed filled with art (and the artist at work), while 2005 Artist of the Year Justin Gaffrey's gallery houses a retrospective of his work in a converted home. In most cases, the art scene is fairly "come as you are" here – dressing for the weather will do just fine. Just as art is inspired by the surroundings, the casual beach atmosphere flows through local galleries.

The dining scene stays hot year-round, regardless of the temperature outside. South Walton's restaurants offer world-class cuisine and atmosphere, and the view of the beach is a complement to any great meal. Whether you're looking for a meal with a view or simply the best Gulf-to-table cuisine, winter is the perfect time to pull up a chair and enjoy the bounty of South Walton. Even better, you don't have to pack anything fancy unless you want to. Beach casual works at many restaurants, and a nice pair of jeans will work just about anywhere.

If you're here during cooler weather, take advantage of the opportunity to see a spectacular sunset. It's tough to predict a pretty sunset, but you can make the most of your attempt to catch perfection. There's nothing like gathering on a breezy beach as the sun goes down to take in the show. Throw on a sweatshirt or a light jacket and you'll be set to enjoy a sunset like you've never seen – the most beautiful time of year for the most beautiful sunsets on earth.

Packing for South Walton in the winter is simple: plan for layers. You'll never have to worry about snow or freezing temperatures, so just make sure your wardrobe can handle a bit of a breeze. And because you're at the beach, just remember to put comfort first!

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