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Planning an East Coast beach vacation? Here's when to expect perfect ocean temperatures for swimming and surfing

(WGHP) – With temperatures warming up and most of last week’s temperatures in the 80s, we have already begun thinking about beach vacations. 

For those planning on heading to the beach in the next month or so, you may be wondering if the ocean temperatures are warm enough for you to cool off in the water. 

The National Weather Service in Wilmington posted current beach water temperatures on April 14 which showed ocean temperatures rising quickly as we move deeper into spring. 

How are ocean temperatures this month?


Along the North Carolina and South Carolina coast, ocean temperatures are in the mid to upper 60s

On April 14, the NWS Wilmington reported ocean water temperatures in Cape Hatteras were 65° but over the weekend, temperatures at the USCG Station in Hatteras measured ocean temperatures of 70.3°. 

Beaufort, North Carolina, reported water temperatures of 65° on April 14, and, by this past weekend, ocean temperatures reached 72.1°. 

The Charleston Harbor observed a water temperature of 66° on April 14, and, as of April 21, the temperature had reached 67.3°. 


On April 17, Cape Canaveral, Florida, observed an ocean temperature of 80.1° just three days after recording temperatures in the upper 70s. 

While temperatures along the southeast coast range from the 60s to the low 80s in some spots, temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico are even warmer. 

As of April 22, ocean water temperatures in Clearwater Beach, Florida, are 79.9° which is about 5° warmer than the norm for April. 

Ocean temperatures in the Florida Keys are even in the low 80s which is a couple degrees warmer than normal for this point in the year. 


Further west in the Gulf, Galveston, Texas, observed water temperatures in the upper 60s which is near-normal for the western Gulf. 

South Padre Island, which is one of the southernmost points in Texas, along the Gulf Coast, observed water temperatures in the mid-70s on April 22. 


For those who enjoy traveling to Cape Cod, you’ll want to wait a little bit longer to plan any beach trips if you’re hoping to go in the ocean.

According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, the coastal water temperatures in the northeast remain quite frigid with many in the 40s and 50s.

Along the Jersey Shore, temperatures are in the low 50s. The warmest water temperatures along the Jersey shore occur from July through September and typically peak near the mid-70s in August.

Ocean temperatures near the Hamptons are currently in the upper 40s and low 50s. July, August and September are also the warmest months for ocean temperatures in the Hamptons with a peak in the low 70s during August.

Just a little bit further north, the beaches along Cape Cod are still observing ocean temperatures in the upper 40s. From June through September, average water temperatures along the Cape are in the 60s.

Cape Cod’s warmest ocean temperatures typically occur in July and August, reaching the upper 60s.

So when is the best time to go to beaches in the Carolinas?

While your ideal water temperature is up to personal preference, June through early October is typically when water temperatures along the North Carolina coast are near-tropical and best for swimming and surfing, according to the National Weather Service in Wilmington

Average ocean temperatures in North Carolina for June through September are in the upper 70s through mid-80s.

With ocean temperatures along the North Carolina and South Carolina coastline already in the 60s and even the occasional spot in the low 70s, some may consider the water temperatures warm enough for swimming by early May! 

From a personal perspective, I took a trip to Vero Beach, Florida, in March and the ocean temperatures were warm enough that I went swimming despite how early in the season it was for a beach trip. 

With several of the ocean temperatures along the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic Coast already a few degrees warmer than normal for April, scientists are citing already warm ocean temperatures as part of a reason for a forecasted active hurricane season. 

See the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coastal Water Temperature Guide for more information on coastal temperatures

Source: Fox 8 News Channel

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