Best Time to Visit Florida (Weather and Costs)

Nicola Curtis writer bio photo

Florida, aka The Sunshine State, is a place most people have on their bucket list. Knowing the best time to visit Florida will give you the chance to do exactly what you want, without any regrets. Theme Parks, Mickey Mouse, shopping, amazing white sand beaches, wildlife, and plenty of sun; what’s not to love?

Understanding when to go to Florida, USA can be tricky because it’s a much bigger state than people give it credit for. It’s not just Orlando, but Tampa, Miami, Tallahassee, the Everglades, Jacksonville, St Petersburg, Sarasota, and much more. Oh, and let’s not forget the incredibly beautiful Florida Keys. There are so many places to visit in this incredible state.

Such a huge area means slightly different weather according to each season, but the good news is that Florida is never freezing cold. I’ve visited Florida on countless occasions, more times than I can remember, and I have never once been cold enough to need more than a light jacket.

So, to help you whittle down your choices, let’s talk about the best month to head to Florida and enjoy everything this stunning state has to offer.

SEE ALSO: 15 Pros and Cons of Living in Florida

Overall Best Time To Visit Florida

A river and buildings, trees and some floating boats and at the background the blue sea and clear sky.

The best time to visit depends on where you want to go, and the things you want to see and do in Florida, but overall, I particularly enjoy visiting in September. If you’re in the central part of the state, including Orlando and Tampa, you’ll find milder temperatures and less humidity. The same goes for the south, where you’ll find Miami and The Everglades.

I’m not a huge lover of high temperatures and sticky weather, so July and August are out for me. The shoulder seasons offer fewer crowds and better weather, but that also varies across the region.

However, September means that at least the hottest temperatures have passed, and while it’s still the hurricane season, humidity has fallen and you can sleep more comfortably at night.

When deciding when to visit Florida, I’d recommend thinking about what you want to focus your time on, such as beaches, nature, shopping, theme parks, etc. That way, you can zero in on the area you intend to spend the most of your time in and find the best month for you.

SEE ALSO: 15 Travel Tips for Florida (By a Local)

Peak Season in Florida
(May to Early September)

Air show, small planes allowed smoke in the air showing the air acrobatics.

While different parts of Florida experience peaks in visitor numbers at certain times of the month, you can sum peak season up as May to early September. This is the best time to go to Florida if you like very hot temperatures, however, you can also expect crowds, especially in Orlando’s huge theme parks.

Sunfest, a huge music festival, takes place every May in West Palm Beach, drawing huge crowds. Tampa Riverfest also takes place in May, and the Pensacola Beach Air Show is hosted in July.

The downside of Florida’s overall peak season is that you have to expect higher prices and hotels are almost at full capacity in some places. Shopping around and booking early might save you some money, but inevitably, you should expect to pay more at this time of year.

Shoulder Seasons in Florida
(March – May & Mid-September – November)

Marching Scottish band marchin' on grass.

In my opinion, the shoulder seasons are the best time to travel to Florida. The weather is cooler, humidity is less intense, and crowds aren’t quite so troublesome. You can explore more freely, and it’s a great opportunity to get out into nature and make the most of being in The Sunshine State.

If you travel to Florida during October, expect all manner of Halloween celebrations, as well as Oktoberfest in Tampa. In April, be sure to check out the Dunedin Highland Games and Festival, as well as the Gasparilla Festival of The Arts in March.

You’ll often find cheaper hotel prices during Spring and Fall, with savings up to $100 per night in some cases. While restaurant and attraction prices will remain the same, if you can keep some cash in your pocket from your hotel reserves, you’ve got a good deal.

Off-Season in Florida
(December – February)

Children's Party in a Pirate Style. Children in Pirate Costumes

I’ll use the term ‘off-season’ loosely here because Florida doesn’t have a winter like the rest of the world knows it. In fact, from December to February, many people from other parts of the US head to Florida to soak up the milder weather. The coldest month to visit Florida is January, but even then, it’s warm compared to elsewhere.

Between December and February is the best time to visit Florida if you want to avoid crowds, however, certain parts of the country experience a boom in visitors at this time, particularly the southern beach towns. It’s entirely possible to swim in the Florida Keys and even Miami at this time, although definitely not as pleasant as in the summer months.

Christmas and New Year offer plenty of festivities, but you can also check out Children’s Gasparilla Days in Tampa in January.

When to Visit Florida For Beaches

Aerial Miami Beach is building structures near the shore, blue tent, and blue sea.

The best time to go to the beach in Florida is between June and the end of August. This is when the weather is hot and humid, and jumping into the sea is the best idea around. Of course, everyone else has the same idea so you can expect beaches to be busy.

Places like Clearwater Beach and Miami Beach in particular are very popular at this time, and hotel stays are higher in price.

However, around Christmas and New Year is also a pleasant season to visit the beaches in the south, especially the Florida Keys, which experiences its peak season at this time of year.

When to Visit Florida For Festivals

Table with seafood full of prawns and crabs during the festival.

The largest number of festivals in Florida take place between January and March. The weather is comfortable at this time of year, which means you can explore different events without feeling stressed by the heat and humidity. I think this is the best time to visit Florida for vacation if beach time isn’t your thing.

A few interesting festivals at this time include the Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza in Tampa, the Everglades Seafood Festival in February, and the Florida State Fair in Tampa. I really enjoyed the Naples National Art Festival, which takes place in February, along with the Calle Ocho Festival in Miami, which always pulls in a huge crowd.

When to Visit Florida For Cities

Orlando downtown skyline panorama silhouette over Lake Eola at dusk with urban skyscrapers.

Walking around a city and doing a spot of sightseeing is a great idea and Florida offers some great spots to do just that. Tampa is packed with fantastic attractions, including Ybor City which spills history at every corner. Miami is packed with interesting street art, while Downtown Orlando and the state capital Tallahassee also boast plenty of sights to check out.

Deciding when to travel to Florida if you want to base yourself in a city comes down to weather preference. I don’t love walking around busy cities in the hottest months, so I think May, the end of September, and October are great choices. However, Miami is also wonderful in the cooler months, when you can explore in January and still catch a suntan.

When to Visit Florida For Whale Watching

On the blue sea there's a big tale of  Right Whale

The best month to visit Florida for Northern Right Whale watching is February, and you’ll need to be in the northeast of the state, around Cape Canaveral and Jacksonville. The only challenge is that you’ll need to look yourself as there are no tours to take you out spotting; these whales are a little elusive, but if you stick with it, you might be lucky.

Of course, you could go manatee or dolphin spotting instead, and these are generally found throughout the entire year. The best time to visit Florida to see manatees is typically November to April, especially in the Crystal River area. Here, you can snorkel with manatees; click here for more details and to book.

When to Visit Florida for Cheap Prices

flight florida

The best time to visit Florida to save some cash is usually between January and March, however, you will find prices drop after September as the peak season ebbs and crowds are less.

Keep in mind that these reductions do depend on where in Florida you’re looking at because the southern part of the state, and especially the Florida Keys, tend to see higher prices at this time as people tend to escape the cold weather from elsewhere.

Hotel prices are often around 10%-20% cheaper at this time of year, especially compared to June-August. This is predominately the case in Orlando, which sees huge crowds and high prices during the summer months.

When to Visit Florida For Hiking

Board walk on Anhinga Trail Florida with lake and trees

Hiking isn’t the best idea when it’s hot so the shoulder months are the best times to get your boots on. The great thing is that there’s year-round weather in Florida so even if you do want to head off on a short hike in the so-called winter months, that’s perfectly doable.

The Riverwalk in Tampa is a great route that passes by plenty of entertainment options, or if you’re in the south, the Anhinga Trail in the Everglades is a stunning walk.

The Best Time to Visit Florida By Month

The best time to visit Florida for you might be someone else’s worst time; it’s totally subjective. So, to help you out, I’ve compiled a list of what to expect each month across different areas. Remember, Florida is huge so the weather may differ from one place to another, along with crowd levels.

January

Florida in January is a very pleasant time, and you can expect mild temperatures and fewer crowds.

Weather in Florida in January

January is probably the cheapest time to go to Florida as everyone is still getting over the festive rush of Christmas and New Year. However, that doesn’t mean the weather is gloomy; you can expect averages of 88°F (31°C) during the day with mild evenings.

The south is generally warmer than the north and inland parts of the state, so, if you’re looking for the best of the weather, head to Miami or the Florida Keys. Crowds will be slightly higher in these areas.

Things To Do in Florida in January

A Manatee swimming underwater.

If you’re not a fan of flocks of people, January is a great time to head to Disney World Resort and jump on some rides without quite so many queues. It’s also a busy time for festivals across the state, and the mild weather makes for a great time. For me, January ticks every box: the weather is good, it’s not so crowded, and hotel prices are usually a little lower.

The Crystal River Manatee Festival takes place in Crystal River in mid-January every year, and families should head to Tampa to enjoy the Gasparilla Pirate Fest. You can also take advantage of the milder weather with the Miami Little Havana Food & Walking Tour and try all manner of delicious treats while getting some exercise. Click here to learn more.

SEE ALSO: 25 Best Things To Do in Florida (By a Local)

February

Mild weather and low rainfall continue into February, meaning you can take advantage of many outdoor activities without dealing with high temperatures and crowds.

Weather in Florida in February

Florida in February is still in the middle of the state’s dry season, so you can expect little to no rainfall. Temperatures range between 64°F (18°C) to 75°F (24°C), with the hottest temperatures once again experienced in the south.

Things To Do in Florida in February

February is of course the month of love, so it’s the ideal time to enjoy a romantic break with a loved one. I really enjoyed the Key West Sunset Dinner Cruise, where you’re served a delicious tropical buffet dinner to enjoy. Click here to learn more.

February is also the best time to visit Florida if you want to go hiking. If you happen to be in Orlando, definitely check out the Three Lakes Loop which takes you through some truly breathtaking scenery. Alternatively, head to Boggy Creek for an airboat ride and some wildlife spotting. If you go at this time of year, you’ll miss the biggest crowds. Click here for details and to book.

March

Florida in March means spring has sprung and slightly warmer temperatures are around the corner. Crowd levels are still fairly low at this time of year.

Weather in Florida in March

As March arrives, the rest of Florida catches up with the south and temperatures tend to be on a par. You can expect average highs of between 70°F (21°C) to 79°F (26°C), with mild evenings perfect for wandering around your location. Rainfall is still very low at this time of year, although it can be a little windy on the coast.

Things To Do in Florida in March

Rocket ship on a day set up.

The Kennedy Space Center is one of my favorite things to do in Florida, and March is a great time to go thanks to fewer tourists around. There are many ticket options available but click here for more information.

March is the best time to visit Florida if you want to wander around more freely, and a day at Universal Studios is high on the agenda for me. Click here for more information.

Carnaval Miami takes place in March, and this is a must-visit if you’re in the area. At Daytona Beach, you’ll also be able to check out Bike Week, which I definitely recommend if you’re looking for something a little different.

April

Florida in April brings slightly warmer temperatures, but lower prices for hotels compared to the coming months. It’s a great month to visit for couples and families who don’t like crowds.

Weather in Florida in April

Across Florida, you can expect similar temperatures at this time of year, which changes a little as the peak months arrive. On average, temperatures are around 77°F (25°C) – 85°F (29°C) with mild evenings. You can expect a tiny bit more rain than the previous months, but whatever showers do come will be very short-lived.

Things To Do in Florida in April

A girl and a man riding on a kayak with lake and trees in day time.

If you happen to be in Key West, I advise you to add the Sandbar Excursion & Kayak Tour to your Florida itinerary. It’s such a fun day out and is well-priced considering food and drinks are included. The weather in Key West is beautiful in April and the crowds of the previous months have cleared a little. Click here for information.

Of course, if you’re in Miami, it would be a shame not to check out the Everglades on a tour. A guide will give you all the information you need, and this is a great time to spot some native wildlife. I absolutely loved the Everglades and can’t wait to go back. Click here for more information.

If you’re in Clearwater, check out the Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival, which takes place every year and is an interesting and fun way to spend a few hours on the beach.

May

If you want to visit Florida in the summer, then May is your best bet. This is the ‘official’ start of summer, but the highest temperatures, humidity, and crowds haven’t arrived yet.

Weather in Florida in May

Florida in May means warmer weather and plenty to see and do, but it’s the best time of year to visit Florida if you like warmth but not extreme heat.

Temperatures begin to vary very slightly across the state at this time, with warmer temperatures inland, in places like Orlando, compared to the coastal regions. You can expect between 82°F (28°C) – 88°F (31°C) with warm evenings. The wet season starts in May, although you can expect the most rain toward the end of the month.

Things To Do in Florida in May

 West Palm Beach with landscaping plants, coconut trees, a bridge and buildings.

May’s warm evenings make it the ideal time to explore during the evening hours as well as the day. The Miami Evening Cruise is a great idea at this time of year, and you’ll get to see stunning views from Biscayne Bay. Click here for details.

One of the biggest festivals of the year takes place in West Palm Beach in May: Sunfest. This music festival is one you simply must attend if you’re visiting at this time, and there’s a lot more going on besides concerns, with food and craft stalls available.

If you’re in Tampa, definitely check out the Cuban Sandwich Festival in Ybor City. I can’t explain how much I love Cuban sandwiches and it’s my go-to snack whenever I’m in the area.

June

Florida in June means that summer is almost in full swing and temperatures are rising. Prices start to rise slightly at this time of year, but you may be able to find some good hotel deals early on in the month.

Weather in Florida in June

You can expect more rain in June compared to May, and rainfall will increase as the month goes on. However, downpours don’t tend to last too long, (just carry an umbrella with you). The downside is that rain and warmth tend to bring humidity, and this starts to increase as June progresses.

Things To Do in Florida in June

Key Lime cake on a glass plate.

June is the best time to visit Florida if you love beaches and don’t want to struggle for a spot on the sand. The increasing heat means a few hours of enjoying the sea and sun is ideal, so head to Clearwater Beach for a fantastic day out. There are rides, amusements, shops, and plenty of restaurants to enjoy. Click here for directions.

If you’re around the Naples area, head to Marco Island – it’s one of my favorite beaches in the whole of Florida. The beach can be reached via a bridge, and I’m talking impossibly white sand and translucent sea. Click here for directions.

For those in Key West, check out the annual Key Lime Festival, for limitless fun and delicious food.

July

The heat is definitely on in Florida in July, and this is the hottest month of the year in the region. It’s also one of the most expensive, but it guarantees fun in the sun.

Weather in Florida in July

If you don’t like heat and crowds, this is the worst time to go to Florida, but if none of that bothers you, you’re sure to have a great time. You can expect temperatures to climb up to 87°F (31°C) – 92°F (33°C). It’s also much more likely to rain as the month goes on, as we move toward the rainiest month of August.

The biggest issue at this time of year is humidity. My advice is to see as much as you can but to keep things steady; don’t go rushing from place to place and keep hydrated.

Things To Do in Florida in July

St Petersburg to Egmont Key catamaran cruise with mountains, cottages, houses, buildings on the riverside.

For me, the best thing to do in July is to be either near or in the water. There are so many beautiful spots around the Florida coast, and the St Petersburg to Egmont Key catamaran cruise is a great way to see some of them. This is such a chilled-out day, and I’d highly recommend it. Click here for details.

If boats aren’t your bag, Florida has some fantastic waterparks. Aquatica in Orlando is the biggest waterpark in the state, and it’s a full day of splashing around, thrilling rides, and general fun. You could even choose to stay the night and enjoy the evening entertainment. Click here for ticket details.

August

Florida in August can be summed up in two words: humid, and rainy. This is the state’s rainiest month across the board, yet it still brings very high temperatures.

Weather in Florida in August

In the middle of the hurricane season in Florida, you’ll find plenty of rain coming your way, not necessarily from a hurricane, but simply because it’s the wettest month. It’s also the most humid by far at around 75% – make sure you book accommodation with air conditioning!

You can expect average temperatures between 88°F (31°C) -91°F (33°C) with not much of a drop in the evenings. However, the biggest change here is the amount of rain that falls, with around 15 days of rain across the month. You’ll need both sun lotion and an umbrella in your bag.

Things To Do in Florida in August

Due to the heat and rain, there aren’t as many festivals in August, but there’s still plenty to see and do. On dry days, a private helicopter tour over Miami is a great idea and will give you the chance to take some amazing photographs and see the state from a different perspective. Click here for details.

You might need to escape a sudden downpour, and if you’re in Orlando, heading to WonderWorks on International Drive is a fun yet surreal place to visit – it’s somewhere I always pop into when I’m in the area. Alternatively, head to Madame Tussauds and have your photo taken with your favorite celebrity waxwork.

September

September is my favorite month in Florida. The rain has slightly abated, temperatures start to come down, and crowds follow the same trend.

Weather in Florida in September

Florida in September means a slight move away from rain, although it’s still quite humid, abating as the month goes on. Fall is just around the corner, and it’s almost as if you can hear the sigh of relief. Despite that, it’s still the middle of the hurricane season, so storms may come your way occasionally.

You can expect temperatures between 86°F (30°C) – 90°F (32°C), gradually cooling as the month goes on. Humidity is higher at the start of the month than at the end, and rain follows the same pattern.

Things To Do in Florida in September

September is the annual Sing Out Loud Music Festival in St Augustine, and if you’re in the area, I’d recommend booking tickets ahead of time to avoid disappointment. It’s such a fun festival and is packed with amazing music performances.

The Pensacola Seafood Festival is also a great visit, with dishes locally caught from the Gulf of Mexico. Alternatively, September is the ideal month to go dolphin spotting, and there are countless trips to try. Little Toot Dolphin Adventure at Clearwater is one of my favorites and leaves plenty of time for enjoying the area afterward. Click here for details.

SEE ALSO: Best Packing List for Florida: 20 Must-Haves for the Perfect Trip

October

Florida in October means plenty of traditional fall and spooky fun to soak up. The whole state goes crazy for Halloween and you’ll find countless fantastic events no matter where you are.

Weather in Florida in October

October is the best time to visit Florida if you want lower prices, cooler weather (yet still mild), and less rain.

Things To Do in Florida in October

Happy people men and women mixed race dancing together on halloween party

You cannot visit Florida in October without trying a ghost-hunting tour., and you’ll find them all over. For those in St Augustine’s, don’t miss the Ghosts & Gravestones Old Town Trolley Tour. Your guide is a so-called “ghost,” and you’re transported from haunted spots to spooky spaces by a trolley, so no walking is required. Click here for information.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom, Orlando is a fun-filled event for the whole family, and even big kids (like me) enjoy it. You can ride later into the night and watch spooky parades, with special snacks on offer. Oktoberfest in Tampa is also a fantastic event at this time of year, and one not to be missed.

November

With the hurricane season coming to an end, cooler temperatures, and less humidity, November is a month of lower prices and more pleasant conditions.

Weather in Florida in November

Florida in November brings big changes in the weather, and it’s noticeable from the get-go that humidity has dropped right down. It’s now the dry season again, which means it’s far less likely to rain, and you don’t need to carry an umbrella with you at all times.

You can expect temperatures between 71°F (23°C) – 79°F (26°C), with the highest temperatures toward Miami and the south. At this time, the busy season in that area slowly starts to pick up again; peaking in January and February. However, Tallahassee, Orlando, and Tampa in particular are very pleasant at this time of year.

Things To Do in Florida in November

Ybor Men's Club for Cigar Factory owners i Ybor City Historic, District, Tampa, Florida

November means Thanksgiving and you’ll find plenty of events to mark the tradition. Bear in mind that some bars, shops, and restaurants may close for the day, but they’ll give notice beforehand. If you’re in Miami with kids, head to the Miami Book Fair for a fun-filled and educational day out.

It’s much easier to walk around and explore at this time of year, and you’ll find countless walking tours available. One of my favorites is the Ybor City Shared Historic Walking Tour. You’ll explore the most historic part of Tampa with the help of a knowledgeable guide. Click here for information.

If food is more your deal, the Ybor City Food Walking Tour is a great choice, where you’ll get to enjoy those amazing Cuban sandwiches. Click here for details.

December

Visiting Florida in December is a great idea because not only is the weather ideal for outdoor activities and exploring, but you also get to enjoy plenty of festive events.

Weather in Florida in December

‘Mild’ is probably the best way to describe Florida’s weather in December, and that goes for the entire state. As always, the southern part is warmer than the north or inland regions, but only by a few degrees.

If you ask a native Floridian, they’ll probably tell you it’s ‘cold’ in December, but it’s definitely not weather for a coat. You can expect average temperatures between 72°F (22°C) – 77°F (25°C). It’s also the dry season, so rain is pretty rare.

Things To Do in Florida in December

Children read a book in the room with Christmas decoration in Christmas.

December is the best time to visit Florida for fun and celebrations as Christmas and New Year add plenty of glitz and glamor. You’ll see lots of magical parades and events throughout the last couple of weeks of the month. The Winterfest Boat Parade in Fort Lauderdale is a must-do, and it’s always extremely busy so I’d suggest getting there early.

The guided Christmas Tour in Orlando will show you the best decorations and festive fun in the area and is suitable for children too. Click here for details. All the major theme parks decorate for the holidays and have special parades, including the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios, Orlando. Click here for ticket details.

In Conclusion

The best time to visit Florida will be different for everyone. It’s subjective in many ways because each traveler enjoys different things and different types of weather. I’m not a fan of humidity, so I avoid the months when it’s wet and hot — but maybe you don’t mind those kinds of conditions.

Florida is an amazing destination, no matter the time of year you go. Whether you’re all about theme parks, and beaches, or you’re into nature, food, or parties, there’s a town, city, or beach resort for you. The biggest problem is whittling your choice down to one or two places.

Nicola Curtis writer bio photo

Written by

Nicola Curtis

Born and raised in the north of England, Nicky is a writer of more than ten years’ duration and through that time, she has hopped around the world trying new cuisines, meeting amazing people, and experiencing different cultures. Of course, she loves to put all of that into words for others to read and be inspired by.

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