CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. (FOX 13) - Thousands celebrated Christmas Day barefoot and in bathing suits.
“It’s all gray and snowy back home, so this is a beautiful way to spend the day," said Leigh Mounsey, a Canadian native who spent the day with her husband and two kids at the beach.
For many people, a white Christmas means sugar sand and sunny skies. The beaches were crowded, parking lots were packed, and businesses stayed busy.
“Weather will predict a lot of things in our business," said Alph Alvestad, who runs a Jet Ski rental shop. This year, the favorable weather brought in a good amount of clients, he added.
Visitors from all over the world celebrated Christmas at the beach, many blaming the cold weather back at home for their decision to head South.
“Being able to walk around without a hoodie and your boots and you know gloves, so it’s good!” said Maria Filipe who traveled with her son and husband from Canada.
The big crowds are a reflection of a strong tourism year for Florida.
According to Visit Florida, 2018 may set a record.
While fourth quarter numbers are still pending, in its third quarter, tourism numbers increased by 10% compared to last year.