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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I obtain a Florida Highway Map, Visitor Guide or other printed VISIT FLORIDA publications?
You may request free maps and publications to be mailed to you.

What are the average monthly temperatures in Florida?
For records on Florida’s climate, visit

What are average water temperatures of Florida’s beaches?
The water temperature for the Gulf of Mexico (West Coast) ranges from the low to mid 60s January through March and up into the 80s from June through September. Atlantic Ocean waters (East Coast) are several degrees cooler. Northern beaches are always a few degrees cooler than southern ones.

How safe are the beaches from sharks?
Florida had 18 unprovoked shark attacks with one fatality in 2005 according to the International Shark Attack File, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida. Considering the millions of people that visit our beaches every year, this is a very low statistical rate (of course not for those that were bit!).

Are jellyfish a problem?
Jellyfish are common to all ocean waters, but are not everywhere all of the time and most are harmless. Some visitors and locals have never seen a jellyfish in our Florida waters. Check with local lifeguards or officials to be sure.

Will stingrays attack?
There are many kinds of rays along Florida's coasts and most pose no threat. None will actually "attack", however, they do have a very painful barb that will be deployed if stepped on. If stingrays are known to be in the area, or if in doubt, simply shuffle the feet while walking through the water.

What is red tide and why should I care?
Red tide is an overgrowth or bloom of algae in seawater. The algae produces a toxin that can kill marine animals and cause respiratory irritation to humans. Severe outbreaks make it very unpleasant to be in or near the water.

Will I see alligators when traveling in Florida?
This is much more probable today than it was a few decades ago. Alligators have made an amazing recovery and can now be found in every part of Florida, including many suburban lakes and ponds!

Which beaches are good for surfing?
Generally all beaches along the Atlantic coast of Florida have potential for surfers. Surf in the Florida keys and along the west coast is low to almost non-existent, however.

When is hurricane season?
June 1st to November 30th. Historically, the majority of hurricane activity occurs in August, September and into October.

Will I see Dolphins?
Assuming this question is in reference to the marine mammal and not the Miami Dolphins football team!, dolphins are quite numerous and often seen from the shore and while boating. The probability of seeing dolphins is much higher than that of seeing sharks, manatees or whales. In tourist popular areas along the coasts, dolphin watch boating tours are often available.

Will I see whales in the seas around Florida?
Whale sightings around Florida are very rare.

When is the busy tourist season?
November through April are the peak tourist seasons in central to south Florida. The Orlando area is busy year-round. Northern Florida sees its peak in summer.

What are Manatees?
Manatees are large, gray aquatic mammals, often called "sea cows" that live in warm, shallow waters near the coast. They have rounded bodies that taper to a horizontal, paddle-shaped tail. Manatees feed on sea vegetation.

How many kinds of poisonous snakes are in Florida?
Of nearly 45 species of snakes in Florida, only 6 are venomous including the diamondback rattlesnake, the canebrake rattlesnake, pygmy rattlesnake, cottonmouth, copperhead and coral snake.

How much of a problem are the mosquitoes?
Problems with mosquitoes range from nearly non-existent in populous areas and during the cool months, to quite severe in moist to wet woodland areas, hammocks and saw grass prairies, particularly in south Florida and during the summer months.

How can I find out which beaches and state parks allow pets?
For information on Florida State Parks policies about pets, visit For information about other beaches where pets are allowed, contact the area’s local Visitors Bureau.

Does Florida require international travelers who wish to drive in the state to have an International Driving Permit?
For the latest information about International Driving Permits for international visitors, click here.