Visual and somatosensory cortices exhibit profound experience-dependent plasticity during development and adulthood and are common model systems for probing the synaptic and molecular mechanisms of plasticity. However, comparisons between the two areas may be confounded by a lack of accurate information on their relative rates of development. In this study, we used whole-cell recording in acute brain slices to study synaptic development in mouse barrel and visual cortex. We found that short-term plasticity (STP) switched from strong depression at postnatal day (P)12 to weaker depression and facilitation in mature cortex. However, presynaptic maturation was delayed by ∼2 weeks at layer (L)4 to L2/3 excitatory synapses in visual cortex relative to barrel cortex. This developmental delay was pathway-specific; maturation of L2/3 to L2/3 synapses occurred over similar timescales in barrel and visual cortex. The developmental increase in the paired-pulse ratio to values greater than unity was mirrored by a developmental decrease in presynaptic release probability. Therefore, L4 to L2/3 excitatory synapses had lower release probabilities and showed greater short-term facilitation in barrel cortex than in visual cortex at P28. Postsynaptic mechanisms could not account for the delayed maturation of STP in visual cortex. These findings indicate that synaptic development is delayed in the L4 to L2/3 pathway in visual cortex, and emphasize the need to take into account the changes in synaptic properties that occur during development when comparing plasticity mechanisms in different cortical areas.