The Sunshine State is a great destination for a vacation year-round, but certain seasons are more ideal if you’re looking forward to partaking in specific activities such as parasailing, hiking, and snorkeling. Before booking one of many incredible Florida vacation rentals, check out the local weather patterns and general tourist trends to avoid large crowds. Moreover, it’s advantageous to consider that the best time of year for amusement parks might not be an opportune time to lounge on the beach or explore the Everglades. Take a look at these seasonal recommendations to help you make your decision about when to visit Florida.
Visiting Florida in the Summer
The weather in Florida is hot and humid in the summer, so be sure to pack plenty of lightweight clothes in breathable fabrics. High temperatures in June, July, and August tend to run in the 90s throughout the state, and overnight lows rarely dip below 75. June is the rainiest month of the year in Florida, so it’s not ideal if you have a lot of outdoor activities planned, but even in June, you are likely to also get plenty of sunny days during your trip. Although the summer includes the hurricane season, hurricanes rarely make landfall in Florida and needn’t be a major consideration during vacation planning. On the other hand, you may want to consider that summer is Florida’s busiest tourist season and not the ideal time to visit if you hate crowds. Many of the summer visitors are families taking advantage of school vacations. This means long lines in the state’s amusement parks, such as Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, but also more special family-oriented events taking place. Consider visiting one of the state’s more northern beaches, such as Clearwater Beach near St. Petersburg, Daytona Beach, and Horseshoe Beach near Cedar Key, in the summer to enjoy the warm Gulf water for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Businesses in the Florida Keys are also particularly active in the summer months with specials designed to draw in tourists during the summer heat. Sample delicious desserts at Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe before touring the Key West Shipwreck Museum. If you choose a summer Florida vacation, remember that nearly every place indoors is comfortably air conditioned, so a reprieve from the heat is always close at hand.
Visiting Florida in the Fall
Temperatures are more moderate in Florida in the fall than in the summer, with daily highs running from the upper 70s to the upper 80s through much of the state. September is hotter and rainier than November, with the rainy season ending along with the heat as fall progresses. Expect regular afternoon thunderstorms in September but mostly dry weather in October and November. When considering what to pack, be sure to bring along plenty of warm weather clothes for the time you spend outdoors, along with a lightweight sweater or two for air-conditioned interiors and the occasional cool evening. September is still hurricane season, with the Atlantic coast being most affected, so it is not the best time to visit Miami or West Palm Beach, although hurricane landings are still very rare in the state. On the other side of the state, the Gulf waters stay warm for swimming through the end of October, but expect colder water temperatures by November.
September is a less busy time at Disney World and theme parks in general because the new school year is just starting up, and parents are reluctant to pull their kids from classes so early in the school year for vacationing. This also makes it a good time for couples and seniors to visit the parks. If you love outdoor adventuring, including hiking, horseback riding, and paddleboarding, consider an autumn trip. Temperatures are dropping, and outfitters and guides are less busy than in the summer or winter tourist seasons. Companies such as Kayak Amelia offer kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding eco-tours in the Jacksonville area, and this harvest season is also a great time to visit the Jacksonville Farmers Market and other farmers markets around the state for fresh produce and craft items. Choose from vacation rentals near the coast to be close to the action.
Visiting Florida in the Winter
Winter’s cooler temperatures and low rainfall make it a great time for adventuring in southern Florida, including the Everglades and the Keys. With less rain and less humidity than other seasons, it is also a fairly good time to visit the state’s many amusement parks. If you’re looking for a beach location, especially in the northern part of the state, remember that temperatures typically only reach the upper 70s, so bring along a sweater to slip on after soaking up the sun. The waters around Jacksonville and Daytona are likely to be too cold for swimming at this time of year. When considering what to pack in the winter, go with layers so you can be comfortable when things warm up at midday and add layers as the temperatures drop over the course of the day.
If you love to golf, winter is the best time to visit Miami and Tampa area golf courses, such as Miami Shores Country Club and TPC Tampa Bay, and there is little risk of any of your tee times being rained out. For a real special winter vacation, head to Three Sister Springs in Crystal River or the TECO Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach to see large groups of manatees wintering in the warmer waters inland. Winter is also the best time to enjoy fresh Florida citrus fruits right off the tree.
Visiting Florida in the Spring
Spring comes slowly to Florida, with March being much like winter in terms of temperature and dryness. In April, things start to warm up, and by May, expect showers a few times a week leading up to the rainier June. Highs in April and May hover around 80 in the central portion of the state. Expect warmer temps in the south and temps that are still winter-like in north Florida. Because the weather is so variable in Florida in the spring, be sure to check the forecast for the specific time and area you are visiting before deciding what to pack. The area around West Palm Beach and Miami, in particular, sees an increase in rain in May, so expect be prepared to plan your beach trips around occasional showers and have a lightweight, waterproof jacket ready when out and about.
That being said, spring is otherwise a great time to visit the Miami or Palm Beach area, with temperatures perfect for spending times outdoors and humidity levels still reasonable. On the other hand, crowds swell at Florida beaches during the spring-break season. To avoid the crowds, consider other activities during your stay. If you love flowers, be sure to add a stop at one of Florida’s fabulous botanical gardens. Mounts Botanical Garden of Palm Springs Valley offers 14 acres of blooms in 23 beautiful gardens, and Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami offers spectacular European-inspired gardens for exploration all flowing seamlessly from the restored 19th-century villa at the heart of the estate. If you love wildlife, spring is the perfect time to tour wildlife refuges, such as Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge or Gator Beach. Another option is exploring some of Florida’s museums, such as the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Cape Canaveral or The Ringling in Sarasota. Choose from vacation rentals around the state with amenities that include backyard fire pits and lanais to take full advantage of the great spring weather.
When is the Best Time to Visit Florida?
In general, the best time to visit Florida is in April, May, October, or November. These months have fairly low rainfall levels and warm temperatures without too much heat and humidity. If your goal is primarily great beach weather, a visit in May through September assures warmth and good water temperatures for swimming and water sports. Choose May or September for the lowest risk of rain, with May being first choice. The best time to visit the theme parks in the Orlando area is from November to May, when rainfall is low and temperatures are comfortable for waiting in line. If you are an older visitor or just hate crowds, consider a September theme park trip. The best time to visit the Everglades and Keys is in April or May, when the rainy season hasn’t yet begun, but the animals are becoming more active as the temperatures rise.
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