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Best Time to Visit Florida

Written by Shandley McMurray
Jan 27, 2020

Florida offers something for every type of traveler. An amusement park aficionado? Choose from tons of attractions, including Disney World and Universal Studios near Orlando. Nature lover? Head to the Everglades to witness the state's remarkable wild beauty. Beach bum? Luxuriate for hours on one of hundreds of unspoiled beaches. Artsy maven? You'll love the eclectic artist colonies peppered throughout the state. No wonder this southernmost state is the most popular to visit on vacation.

Known widely as the "Sunshine State," Florida is also known for its amenable weather and vast amounts of the bright stuff so many of us pine for during the dark, cold winter months.

Wondering when it's best to head south? Depending on where you're headed (i.e. the northern, cooler part of the state or the sunny Keys) and what you're hoping to do during your vacation (i.e. soak up warm rays or ride rollercoasters), the best time to visit Florida is between February and May and October and December.

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Best Month to Visit Florida

Miami Beach at sunset

If you've ever been unlucky enough to be in Florida when it snowed (yes, that's actually happened), you'll understand why it's important to get your vacation timing right. Let's face it, most of us head to the Sunshine State for, well, sunshine. And we're not looking for that cold bright sun that sometimes peaks from a winter cloud. We're talking about luxuriously hot rays that warm our bodies from the outside in.

With that in mind, the best month to visit Florida is any month between February and May. At this time, you'll avoid the coldest months of the year (November through January), as well as those which are so stifling you'll wish for a blizzard (namely July and August). Oh, you'll also miss out on the hurricanes that hit between June and November (peaking between mid-August through mid-October). Here's a rundown of why you should visit during these months:

February: Sees highs that average around 75 degrees Fahrenheit in Miami and lows of about 61. These temperatures will, of course, get warmer the farther south you go and colder for those heading north. The sun will shine on average for eight hours a day, and the sea temperature will be a refreshing 75 degrees. Rain only falls about six days of the month, so it's pretty dry and mild.

March: The highs are higher during this popular travel month, hitting about 77 degrees with lows of 64. Again, you won't see much rain, but you'll get an extra hour of sunshine over February. Tourist numbers are on the up and up during this Spring Break month, which means you'll see more crowds.

April: This beautiful month offers warm temps (a high of 82) and even less rain (about 5 days) than its two predecessors. It's a busy travel month due to Easter, but once that's over, you'll see the crowds and inflated prices dissipate.

In terms of tourists, you won't have to fend them off since this is a shoulder month (a.k.a. that time between peak and off-peak). In the case of Florida, the shoulder seasons can be found between April and May and September through November.

May: If you're looking for warmth, soak it up with the average highs of 87 degrees during this low-key month. Another shoulder season spectacular, you can enjoy low prices, lots of hotels to choose from, and much shorter lines at attractions.

Best Time of Year to Go to Florida

Naples Pier

The best time of year to visit Florida is during the spring or fall. While most hop on a plane bound for the sunshine coast during the winter school holidays and Spring and Easter Breaks, you'll experience the best the state has to offer when traveling at these off-peak times. In addition to warm weather, low humidity, and a dramatic reduction in hurricane risk, you'll also face thinner crowds at amusement parks and more affordable accommodations.

Those heading to the northern parts of Florida will want to visit during the summer. At this time, the weather is reliably warm, and you won't face the cold temperatures (or possible flurries) that hit during the winter months. This is a great time to visit the white sand beaches of places like Panama City Beach.

Cities with the Best Weather in Florida

Lifeguard tower and seagulls on the beach near Sarasota

Want to ensure you have the best weather during your Florida vacation? We don't blame you. While the state boasts an average of 237 days of sunshine each year, you may not reap the benefits of these bright skies in all Floridian locales.

Topping the list of cities with the best weather in Florida are: Bonita Springs and Fort Myers (both boast nearly 271 sunny days), Lehigh Acres and Punta Gorda (both have about 267 days of sun), and Immokalee and Iona (both have an average of 266 sunny days)

Sarasota, which lies just south of Tampa on Florida's Gulf Coast experiences a mild temperature and plenty of sun year-round. As such, it's another great contender for one of the best cities for weather in Florida.

Following close behind are Cape Coral (also on the Gulf Coast) and Key West (the southernmost city in the US), which are hot (90 to 92 degrees) in the summer and mild (about 65 degrees) during the winter months.

Best Time to Visit Miami

Aerial view of Miami

A long, beautiful beach, eclectic shops, award-winning eateries, fabulous hotels, a vibrant nightlife, and various other attractions await Miami visitors at all times of the year. No matter when you go, you'll have a great stay. For an exceptional vacation, though, you'll want to choose your timing carefully. Avoiding high crowds (Spring Break is pure chaos), ensuring lots of sunshine, and avoiding hurricanes are all key things to consider when booking your Miami trip.

The best time to visit Miami is between mid-February and the end of May. This springtime window offers tourists the warm (but not too hot and humid) weather that makes beachgoing a pleasure. It also helps them to avoid hurricane risks and super big crowds.

To narrow things even further, try booking your trip between March and May. You'll luxuriate in temps that won't burn (between high 70s and low 80s) and prices that won't gouge your wallet. There is a caveat, though: avoid the super packed (and expensive) Spring and Easter Breaks!

Best Time to Visit Orlando

Lake Eola at night in downtown Orlando

Orlando is one of the top-visited cities in Florida. The main reason for heading to this non-stop locale is for its theme parks. Home to Walt Disney World, Sea World, and Universal Studios, this is the place where the term "fun" was coined. That's may not actually be true, but it totally makes sense!

There's nothing worse than visiting a theme park on a cold, rainy, or stormy day. Well actually, there is. Add a massive crowd of a gazillion people lining up for two hours to ride a rollercoaster that lasts two minutes to the sour weather. That's much worse!

The best time to visit Orlando is between January and May. You'll avoid the holiday crowds (with the exception of Spring and Easter breaks, which should be avoided) and enjoy mild temperatures (highs between mid-50s to high 80s) and typically dry weather. Since this season isn't as popular, you'll also enjoy better prices on everything from airfare to hotel stays.

Looking for the best time to go to Disney World? Early fall is where it's at. Time it right, and you'll not only reap the benefit of cheaper accommodation and park rates, but you'll also enjoy mildly warm temperatures that won't leave you dripping while standing in (much shorter) lines.

Best Time to Visit Key West and the Florida Keys

Aerial view of the Florida Keys

The best time to visit Key West and the Florida Keys is between March and May. Booking a flight and hotel room during this time will be a less stressful experience (except for the Spring and Easter break times). You'll notice more options at much better prices.

Plus, you'll reap the most important reward that accompanies Florida travel during springtime-bright, sunny skies offering highs between the high 70s and high 80s. There's little worse than spending a week shivering on your tropical vacation. You won't need an umbrella, nor will you run the risk of bumping into a hurricane during this time.

Cheapest Time to Visit Florida

Jacksonville at night

The cheapest time to go to Florida is during the late spring and early fall. Luckily, you'll experience mild weather, avoid most of the hurricanes, and stay mostly dry during these shoulder seasons.

The off-peak months of July and August are also easy on the pocketbook, but be prepared to battle bugs, insane heat, humidity, and a ton of rain, especially in the southern part of the state. If you're traveling to Florida at this time, we'd suggest heading north.

Fewer people want to travel to Florida during the shoulder season for multiple reasons (i.e. school is in session and the weather can be iffy). That works well for those of us who aren't bothered by these factors.

The cheapest time to go to Key West is between September and November. Not many people want to brave the area during this time due to its increased hurricane risk; hot, sticky weather; and propensity for monsoon rains. The upside: you'll notice fewer crowds, the best hotel deals, and breaks on restaurant meals.

Best Time of Year to Visit Central Florida

St. John's River in Central Florida

Central Florida includes Floridian heavyweights: Orlando, Kissimmee, and Tampa. As its name implies, this region comprises the central part of the state. The best time of year to go to Central Florida is between January and early May. That's when you'll notice the warmest (but not scorching, humid, or unbearably hot) temperatures and driest days. If you avoid high travel holidays, you'll also be privy to great deals and slimmer crowds.

Best Time of Year to Visit Southern Florida

Sunset in South Florida

Southern Florida, not surprisingly, comprises the southern region of the state. Travel hot spots like Miami, West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale make up this popular vacation spot. Due to its southerly locale, this has become a hub for travelers chasing the sun.

In terms of finding optimal weather, fewer tourists, and better deals, the best time of year to go to Southern Florida is between late winter and spring (mid-February through May).

Best Time of Year to Visit Northern Florida

St. Augustine

Northern Florida isn't as popular a vacation destination as its warmer, more southern cousins. Made up of cities like St. Augustine, Jacksonville, and Tallahassee, this section of the state is a beautiful place to spend a holiday, as long as you time it right!

Considering the fact that it's been known to snow in the northernmost towns during the winter months, you'll want to choose your timing wisely.

The best time of year to go to Northern Florida is during its shoulder months - between March and May and September through November. Temperatures are ideal, weather is good (i.e. dry and free of hurricanes), and prices are reasonable.

If you're hoping for ensured warm temps, head here during the hot summer months. Be warned, though, summertime is the region's peak season, so expect to find higher prices and bigger crowds along with the higher temps.

Worst Time of Year to Visit Florida

Nature preserve in Port St. Lucie, Florida

The worst time of year to visit Florida is between June and October. First, you'll have insane amounts of monsoon rains to deal with. Then, you'll have to survive the nauseatingly humid heat that sticks to your every crevice. Also, insects abound, especially during July and August. Oh yeah, you're also likely to witness a hurricane or two since the peak season for these deathly mega storms runs from mid-August to mid-October.

Yes, you'll experience lower prices during this time, but that's only because no one else wants to suffer through the horrible weather. Not surprisingly, the hotels and restaurants are so desperate for tourists they often offer intoxicatingly low rates.

If you're hoping for a cheap vacay with little to no lines at attractions (ahem, Disney World), and you don't mind sweating through three outfits a day, or running the risk of seeing a hurricane first hand, this time of year may be right for you. Just pack an extra water bottle or two and don't forget a raincoat!

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