The Best Time to Visit Florida for the Perfect Vacation

Florida is one of the most popular places to vacation in the United States. It’s a melting pot of great tropical weather, exciting attractions, mouthwatering cuisine, picturesque scenery, and perhaps the best beach bodies you’ll find anywhere on the planet.     

Mix that together, and voilà—you’ve got a combo of fun entertainment, thrills, outdoor adventures, and memorable moments in America’s sunshine state. 

Before you race to book that flight to Miami, Orlando, or Tampa airport, there’s one question: When is the best time to visit Florida?  

But First …

When considering the essential “when and where” of your trip to Florida, it’s best to first break down expectations for weather, crowds, and affordability across Florida by different seasons. So let’s start with the climate.

Best Time To Visit Florida

The best time to visit Florida depends on what you’re looking for in a vacation. Spring or fall may be the perfect time to visit if you’re looking for warm weather and gorgeous beaches. During these seasons, the temperatures are milder, making it comfortable to spend time outdoors. Additionally, the crowds are smaller at this time of year, so you can enjoy all Florida offers more easily without feeling cramped or overwhelmed. Spring or fall is a great time to visit Florida!

What’s the Weather Like in Florida During Winter?

During winter, December through February, Florida sees a small spike in “snowbird” visitors as average temperatures settle into a loveable mid-60 to 70s while frigid cold fronts sweep across many U.S. states. 

Humidity remains relatively high in the winter—in the 70s throughout popular cities like Key West, Jacksonville, and Tallahassee. But most of Florida is unlikely to experience any rainfall, and snowfall is a rarity. 

With that, you can still enjoy a trip to any one of the beaches along Florida’s 1,350 miles of coastline. Still, you may want to think twice about jumping into the ocean water during winter. After all, 70 °F to 75 °F temperatures may sound good on paper, but it’s not as warm as you may believe, especially if the beach air is already cold!   

What to Wear During Winter in Florida

Shorts and t-shirts are okay, but you’ll want to pack in layers for Florida’s winter months. Bring jeans, sweatpants, leggings, and long-sleeve shirts. At night when it’s coldest, wear a sweater or light jacket. Should you still bring a swimsuit? Of course. That is if you’re brave enough to jump in the frosty ocean water!  

You won’t be disappointed if you plan a trip to the Miami/South Beach area and attend the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.

Is Spring the Best Time of Year to Visit Florida? 

Florida is a perfect place to visit in the spring. With temperatures ranging from a soothing 70 °F to 90 °F, it’s the ideal time to get outside and explore as many attractions as possible.  

Expect longer, sunnier days, along with pleasant breezes and low humidity. Watch the colors across trees, high-rise condos, and sandy beaches suddenly ooze with intoxicating vibrancy and radiating vitality. Shorts and flamboyant tees are in, people are smiling more, and popular tourist destinations are excited for new and returning customers.  

And that ocean water? Temperatures have climbed about 10 degrees to an average of 80 °F. Hence, it’s an excellent opportunity to partake in swimming and water sports.   

Moreover, spring does officially kick start the wet season in Florida. There’s a lot more sunshine than in previous months. Still, it’s also not uncommon to see occasional rain showers between 2 to 4.5 inches in April and May, which will only increase up until October.   

Spring in Florida is when you’ll have the look and feel of summer without all of the summer extremes, making it one of the best times to visit.  

Best Places in Florida to Visit in Spring  

As the weather gradually warms in April, you’ll want to explore the emerald waters and marvelous white sand beaches of Panama City, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Orlando.  

Spring is also a great time to visit Florida’s theme parks, especially from mid-April to May, once spring break has wrapped up and the overall pace across the state returns to normal. Head to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Florida, SeaWorld, LEGOLAND, Busch Gardens, and Discovery Cove for amusement parks, live entertainment, and thrills.  

Plus, find time to go on outdoor adventures across Florida. Take a dip in a natural freshwater spring at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park or Ginnie Springs. Tour the Kanapatha Botanical Gardens in Gainesville, go hiking at Ocala National Forest in Marion County in central Florida or enjoy a dolphin encounter in the Florida Keys.  

Is Summer in Florida as Hot as You Think? 

Florida summers are notoriously hot and humid—temperatures range between the 70s and mid-90s, with humidity between 70% and 90%. But the season’s gorgeous sunshine, remarkable clarity, and irresistible aurora of fun and adventure help make it the most sought-after time to visit throughout the year.  

While spring carries its gentle breezes into June, July becomes Florida’s hottest month and receives the most daylight hours. Plus, the average ocean water temperature at this time is a comfortable 84 °F.  

But while you’ll find an abundance of sunshine, you’ll also see the most rain. Florida is frequently hit with rain and afternoon/evening thunderstorms from June through August. Average precipitation sits around 7 inches, with the crux of rainfall occurring in August, which gets about 15 days of rain in the month.  

A word of caution—by summer’s end in August, peak hurricane season arrives in Florida, and the strong currents from the Atlantic Ocean can cause severe damage to coastal communities.    

Best Activities for the Summer in Florida

Don’t let the heavy rainfall and the start of hurricane season fool you. Summertime in Florida is one of the best times to visit attractions and participate in fun experiences around the southernmost U.S. state. Remember, those exciting things to do and places to see mentioned in spring are still very much viable options. Still, endless activities are waiting to explore.  

Water sports and water parks are no-brainers. First, hit the water slides at Rapids Water Park at Riviera Beach and enjoy floating trampolines in the inflatable water park at Tradewinds Resort along St. Pete Beach. Then, hop on a thrilling banana boat ride in Destin and snorkel at Honda State Park in Big Pine Key and Devil’s Den cave in Williston.   

Furthermore, if you’re a fan of NASA and love all things space-related, head to the Kennedy Space Center for an intimate look at real rocket launchers and equipment used on space flights. 

Walk the Art Deco Historic District of Miami, stroll the vibrant Duval Street in Key West, or hit the Key Lime Festival.

Observe the wild animals—crocodiles, alligators, panthers, turtles, and more—at Everglades National Park and go on an illuminated night cruise aboard a glass-bottom kayak in Sarasota. There’s just no activity that’s off-limits during a Florida summer!  

What is Fall Weather Like in Florida?

Autumn is a great time to visit Florida. Fresh off summer’s simmering heat and humidity, fall temperatures are much more moderate. Temperatures are dropping from averages of 85 °F in September to around 65 °F by November as cold fronts gradually sweep across Southern Florida.

Sunsets arrive earlier, too—around 5:45/6:45pm—meaning you’ve got slightly less sunshine to enjoy outdoor activities. However, rain showers are still active around Florida during the start of autumn, receiving about 7 inches of precipitation in September but gradually fading to about 3 inches in October.  

During the fall, ocean and gulf water surrounding Florida’s coastline drop from the mid-80s to the high 70s. In addition, fall colors will start to emerge across Florida, especially in the North, where there are larger green spaces. 

The most important thing to consider during autumn in Florida is its peak hurricane season, with the most active times for strong winds and potentially dangerous tropical storms occurring between August through October. 

Best Things to See in Florida During Fall

Fall is a beautiful time of year to observe the vivid color changes in foliage at Florida’s state parks, especially in the northern region. You’ll want to explore Torreya State Park, Three Rivers State Park, and Falling Waters State Park for the best experiences and photography. 

As Halloween falls on October 31st, make trips to St. Augustine and Clearwater for spooky ghost tours. Experience Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights and Scream-A-Geddon’s Horror Park in Dade City, one of the scariest haunted houses in America.      

Furthermore, the Thanksgiving holiday brings a wide variety of beautiful displays and exciting festivals across Florida. Check out the dazzling Nights of Lights Festival in St. Augustine, the Winter National Thanksgiving Parade in North Miami, the Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot in Clearwater, and the Light Up Mount Dora Festival in Mt. Dora. 

What are Crowds Like in Florida During the Year?

Crowd sizes naturally vary throughout the year across Florida, but knowing what to expect during certain months/seasons can be important for planning your vacation in the Sunshine State. 

Winter – In Florida, a “snowbird effect” shows an uptick in visitors. Many people from Northeast U.S. states escape frigid temperatures in their cities by heading down to experience Florida’s warmer winter weather. Plus, Christmas and New Year’s celebrations bring in more visitors, so expect an increase in overall activity from December through February. 

Spring – Spring is part of the high season to visit Florida. The soothing sunshine and pleasant weather make it a popular time of year to start enjoying popular attractions like Orlando theme parks, beaches, and outdoor activities in nature. 

With that, expect more crowds to roll in during spring in Florida, especially in March, when droves spring breaker visitors flock to hotspots like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Daytona Beach, and Panama City Beach. 

Popular holidays like St. Patrick’s Day (March), Memorial Day (May), and Cinco de Mayo (May) stir up numerous events across Florida and bring in lots of visitors. 

Summer – Florida summers are busy, especially in June. The hot and humid temperatures encourage locals and visitors to visit any of Florida’s beautiful beaches. With kids out of school, family vacations to resorts and camping grounds across the state are in full swing. 

Moreover, July and August’s high humidity, frequent rainstorms, and incoming hurricane weather tend to decrease crowds. However, major cities are still prone to larger crowds.

Fall – Autumn in Florida sees fewer crowds. Students return to school, and tourism generally slows. However, there are exceptions for a busy Labor Day weekend in September, Oktoberfest and Halloween events in October, and Thanksgiving celebrations in November. 

Furthermore, fall is the peak season for hurricane weather. It is still very active in its wet season, which ends in October. Autumn is a great time to visit Florida if you want to avoid crowds but still explore attractions in fairly decent weather.   

When is the Cheapest Time to Visit Florida?

It’s safe to say that the cheapest time to visit Florida is between May and September. This is because May kickstarts the wet season across Florida, and September is considered the high season for hurricane weather. Additionally, kids head back to school, and family vacations are on hold. With that, you’ll find plenty of deals on flights and accommodation.   

When’s the Best Time for the Beach?

You’ll find spring through early fall, or May to September, as the best time to visit the beaches in Florida. Temperatures will mostly range between 75 °F and 95 °F—the hottest being summer months—and gulf and ocean water will be in the 80s. Admittedly, it will be the most humid time of the year, but that’s the perfect reason to dip in Florida’s beautiful emerald water.  

When is the Best Time to Visit Florida?

So, when is the best time to visit Florida? Well, based on everything we’ve reviewed—weather, crowds, and affordability—the best time to visit Florida are during late spring, April to May, and fall. Outside of the possibility of rain and hurricanes in fall, temperatures around both times are relatively moderate, and many popular activities and attractions can be explored. Plus, tourism is relatively low, and prices for flights and lodging are the lowest. 

When Will You Visit Florida?

Now that you’ve got a better feel of what to expect during the year, when do you think you’ll visit Florida? Are you looking for cooler tropical weather or hot and humid temperatures in the summer? Do you prefer to surround yourself with crowds, or are you looking to stay as remote as possible? Whatever you choose, Florida is a great travel destination to visit all year round!

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About the author
Steve Morrow
Steve Morrow owns Paddle About, an outdoor recreation and travel blog. Steve loves to travel, kayak, paddle board, camp, hike, and spend time outdoors with his wife and two kids. When he's not exploring the great outdoors, Steve enjoys writing about his adventures and sharing tips for getting the most out of your outdoor experiences. He has a lot of interesting stories to share, and he's always happy to help others get more out of life.