When’s the best time to visit Florida and avoid the crazy heat, humidity, and crowds? Find out the perfect times to visit here.
The State of Florida is one of the most popular vacation destination spots on the planet because of the sun, picturesque beaches, and endless things to do. That said, Florida also can have notoriously unstable weather, stifling heat and humidity, and massive crowds, leaving many to wonder when the best time to visit Florida is and when tourists should stay away.
The best time to visit Florida depends on what you are looking to experience. No matter your interest, there is a time for you in Florida. For most people, there is also a time to stay away. If you find yourself never experiencing the latter, you probably are a resident or should become one.
The following is a guide to the best and worst times to visit Florida, depending on what you are looking to do.
Understand the Diversity
Florida is diverse in just about every way. Ethnically, it is a melting pot. It attracts people from all over the world. Culturally, Florida is a true melting pot statewide. Arguably, nothing bears that out more than the cuisine, which ranges from classic American to Latino, the Caribbean, African, and just about every other type of food imaginable.
Geographically, Florida has beaches, the Keys, grass and farmland, massive swamps, and even mountains, although those would be considered larger hills in most of the country. In the midst of all that, just about every type of tourist attraction a person can think of is somewhere on the Florida peninsula.
All of that factors into a state with something to offer everybody, unless it is sub-zero temperatures, blizzards, and ski resorts you crave. Those are not impossible to find, though. You can drive to several popular ski resorts from Florida within a day’s drive, even from southern Florida.
The other diversity is in its weather. The state is so large from north to south that it is possible to have a genuine cold snap on the Florida-Georgia border and stifling heat in southern Florida. So when you visit, you need to keep tabs on the weather for the specific area you are traveling. There is no such thing as “Florida weather,” except during specific weather events.
A True Melting Pot
Florida is diverse in just about every way. That means there is no “ideal” season to visit, so much as depending on what you want to do and where you want to do it, some months are better than others.
The following is a breakdown of the major factors that determine whether a visit is worth the trip or if you should consider another time.
Best Time To Visit Florida For Weather
Most people think of two things when they think of Florida:
- Sun-kissed beaches and picturesque sunrises and sunsets
While Florida weather offers a lot more than just those two, it is a fair assessment that lets most tourists at least determine when they want to stay away.
For example, if you visit the middle to the northern part of the state, on the Atlantic ocean side, January through early March can bring colder weather and occasionally even ice and snow flurries. During tropical storm season, roughly starting in mid to late summer and continuing into late fall, you may experience a lot of sun or have to evacuate because of a major storm.
Some months are ideal for sunning and enjoying the beach, and other months make you eternally grateful that air conditioning is standard everywhere you go.
The following is a breakdown of weather in Florida, generally:
Rainy and “Cool”
As you plan your Florida getaway, remember that the term cool is subjective. If you live in Minnesota or Alaska, you probably would only rarely consider Florida cool. Conversely, “rainy” is subjective. Florida tends to get much more rain than most places but during specific seasons.
April and November record the lowest rainfall usually. The temperatures also tend to be cooler and the sunlight less intense from November through early April.
Warmer but Not Blistering, With Less Rain
May and October, excepting the occasional hurricane, are regarded as the months that merge warmer but not blistering heat with less rain. Daytime temperatures are warm, but you do not feel like you are melting, and rain, while common, comes and goes quickly.
Locals will tell you that the heavens open up once a day for about 45 minutes, but the rest of the time during this period, the state is idyllic.
Hurricane season is at its peak from late August through November. Technically, the entire season lasts from late May through the end of November. At any point during that period, a tropical depression can arrive, or it can develop into a deluge from a tropical storm, or you may have to evacuate to avoid a violent and dangerous hurricane.
Some parts of the state are more susceptible than others, but across the state, paying attention to the weather is a must. Understand that if you plan on a visit during this period, your trip might get delayed, or you may have to move to safer ground or be stuck dealing with the aftermath of storm destruction.
Disney Has Its Own Seasons
The best time to visit The Mouse is late fall. Orlando’s weather is cooler, and rainfall is rare. Fall visitation to Disney can change dramatically, though, if a major storm is approaching, but overall, late fall is the best time to enjoy all Disney has to offer.
The Rainy Season
Florida does not have a rainy season in the traditional sense, but it does have a lot of rain from mid-May through mid-October.
The state government considers the May through October period as the rainy period because the state gets about 70 percent of its annual rainfall in those months. The rain rarely lasts more than a few hours, so by itself, it is usually not enough to dissuade travelers.
The closest thing to an official, full-fledged rainy season Florida experiences is in the Keys, from August through October. Much of that, however, is influenced by the hurricane and tropical storm season. You can experience days of rain during this time, so you may want to forego a visit or plan on being inside a lot.
While there are exceptions, Florida is the hottest from late June through mid-September. During this time, the heat, day and night, except if you are on the ocean, can be stifling. Even on the ocean, the daytime temperatures can be unbearable, and you must be sure to hydrate.
To get a sense of how hot it is in Florida, consider the gimmick weather crews in the northern USA occasionally use to show the effects of a heatwave. These crews dramatically crack an egg and lay it out on the asphalt in the afternoon before solemnly informing you that “it is so hot that you can fry an egg on the road.”
It gets the point across because heat like that is rare.
In Florida, you can do that just about every day from mid-May through early October.
When Florida weather folks want to show you how hot it is, they point out that you can get sunburnt when it is cloudy if you are not careful.
Because of the heat and intensity of the sun, if you are the least heat-sensitive or prone to burn severely, you might want to skip visiting Florida from late spring through early fall. If you do visit, make sure you wear a ton of sunscreen if you go outside.
Florida is more humid in most places than the rest of the United States on average. From July through September, Florida is probably the most humid state and maintains that humidity day after day.
When combined with the summer heat, Florida’s humidity can make it very uncomfortable to go outside except for a few moments. Most people try to go from an air-conditioned environment to an air-conditioned environment.
There are other times during the year when Florida humidity is infamous, usually when some tropical weather event is happening, but the most consistent, uncomfortable humidity usually starts in mid-July and continues through late September.
As a destination point, Florida attracts people from all over the world. Some times are more crowded than others. For example, if you are family-oriented or have children, you probably want to avoid spring break venues. If you are looking for less crowded beaches, consider visiting some of the many state park beaches that are usually adjacent to wildlife refuges.
Here are some examples of events that attract huge crowds in Florida:
- The Daytona 500
- Daytona Bike Week
- Disney just about year-round
- Multiple cultural and music festivals in southern Florida
- Spring break
- Multiple New Years celebrations
In addition, there is normal tourism that brings crowds of people for school breaks, beach weather, etc. If you visit Florida during those times, make sure to plan!
Final Thoughts – Best Time To Visit Florida
There is no “best time to visit Florida” so much as some times work better than others, depending on what you want to do and where you want to do it. Regardless, with a little planning, you can have the time of your life in Florida year-round. The key is to research where you want to go, follow the general advice above, and plan accordingly.