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16 May 2024
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Things to Know

Heading to the Emerald Coast in May? You’re in for a treat! This stretch of Florida's coastline, known for its stunning white sands and crystal-clear waters, is particularly delightful during this spring month. The weather is warm but not too hot, the summer crowds haven't yet arrived, and the Gulf waters are inviting. To make the most of your trip, packing appropriately is key. Here’s your go-to guide on what to bring for a splendid beach vacation along the Emerald Coast in May.

Understanding the Weather and Climate

May on the Emerald Coast typically sees daytime temperatures ranging from the high 70s to mid-80s (Fahrenheit), with nighttime temperatures dropping to a comfortable mid-60s. While the majority of the days are sunny, occasional rain showers can occur, usually brief and refreshing. The Gulf of Mexico is warm enough for swimming, and the mild evening breezes make nighttime strolls along the beach a delight.

Essential Packing List


  • Lightweight and Breathable Fabrics: Opt for cotton, linen, or moisture-wicking materials that keep you cool under the sun.
  • Swimwear: Bring multiple swimsuits as you’ll likely spend a lot of time in the water.
  • Cover-Ups: For walking to the beach or grabbing a bite at a beachside café.
  • Comfortable Footwear: Sandals for the beach, water shoes if you plan to explore rocky areas, and comfortable walking shoes for sightseeing.
  • A Light Jacket or Sweater: For cooler evenings or breezy days.
  • A Wide-Brimmed Hat and Sunglasses: Protect yourself from the midday sun.

Gear and Accessories

  • Beach Bag: To carry all your beach essentials.
  • Sunscreen: SPF 30 or higher, waterproof is best. And pay attention to it's 'reef-friendliness' as many sunscreens can be damaging to our local wildlife and reef structures. Choose reef-friendly!
  • Beach Towels: At least one or two, or a beach blanket.
  • Reusable Water Bottle: Stay hydrated in the heat.
  • Snorkel Gear: The Emerald Coast has beautiful snorkeling spots, especially around Destin and the 30A area.

For Those Rainy Days

  • Light Rain Jacket or Umbrella: Be prepared for sudden showers. The can come on quickly, but typically don't last very long.
  • Waterproof Phone Case: To protect your phone from water and sand. 

Health and Safety

  • First Aid Kit: Include basics like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers.
  • Bug Spray: Evenings can bring out mosquitoes, especially near water bodies.

Activities and What to Pack for Them

Beach and Water Sports

  • Kayaking and Paddleboarding: Many places along the Emerald Coast offer rentals, but if you’re bringing your own, don’t forget the necessary equipment.
  • Fishing Gear: If you plan to fish, whether from the shore or a boat. OR...there are plenty of great charter companies here on the coast! Leave the heavy lifting to the pros.

Sightseeing and Exploring

  • Camera or Smartphone: The scenery is picturesque, ideal for photography enthusiasts. You'll want to capture every sunset.
  • Maps or Guidebooks: Although digital is handy, having a physical backup is a good idea.
  • Comfortable Shoes. If you're planning on a day hike in one of our many natural forests, make sure to pack more than flip flops!


  • Books or E-Readers: Perfect for a beach day under an umbrella.
  • Portable Speaker: For some music by the beach, but remember to keep the volume down to respect everyone's good time.

Packing for a trip to the Emerald Coast in May means preparing for warm weather, cool evenings, and plenty of sun and sea. With this list, you’ll be ready to enjoy everything from lounging on the beach to exploring coastal dunes and dining al fresco under the stars. Enjoy your trip to this beautiful part of Florida, where every moment is a blend of relaxation and adventure.

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