The Best Time to Visit Florida for Fewer Crowds, Better Weather, and Travel Deals

·7 min read
A general landscape view of Clearwater Beach, on main focus a recreated trolley bus, this kind of bus are the public transportation around the ClearWater City.
A general landscape view of Clearwater Beach, on main focus a recreated trolley bus, this kind of bus are the public transportation around the ClearWater City.

Getty Images

Aside from beaches, theme parks, and nonstop sunshine, one of Florida's biggest draws is that there's never a bad time to visit. The weather is warm all year round, so you'll never have your plans dashed by a snowstorm or need to pack a winter coat.

Florida does, however, have foul weather concerns of a different type: buggy, muggy, blazingly hot summers; afternoon thunderstorms; and, of course, hurricane season. There are crowds and tourist seasons to account for, as well as surge prices on trip necessities like hotels, rental cars, tickets, and flights when demand is at its peak.

The best time to visit Florida depends on your specific needs — the purpose and exact destination of your trip, plus your itinerary, budget, heat tolerance, and more — but the bottom line is that the Florida trip of your dreams is within reach, as long as you plan accordingly.

Related: The Best Places to Visit in Florida, According to a Lifelong Resident

Aerial view of Miami Beach, Florida at sunrise
Aerial view of Miami Beach, Florida at sunrise

Getty Images

Best Time to Visit Miami

What fun-loving person can resist a visit to Miami? The Magic City is buzzy, sultry, and unapologetically vibrant. Go in the spring to find fewer crowds, more pleasant temperatures, and plenty of events (like Ultra Music Festival, Miami Fashion Week, and the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, to name a few) or plan a summer trip if you want to experience Miami at its least crowded — and, yes, sizzle on South Beach like a fresh-cooked tostón.

Winter is a fabulous time to visit Miami — temperatures are mild and humidity is lower — but lots of other people think so, too, so you'll have crowds and peak hotel pricing to contend with. Still, it's arguably worth it to attend Art Basel or a Miami Heat game.

If you like living the high life, we'll let you in on an insider secret: Even though it's one of the hottest, August is arguably the best month to visit Miami. August is the only month when Miami's Spa Months, Restaurant Months, and Hotel Months overlap, so you can treat yourself to the Magic City's best restaurants, hotels, and spa treatments at a fraction of their usual cost.

Sunset Mallory Square Dock Sailboat Key West Florida
Sunset Mallory Square Dock Sailboat Key West Florida

Getty Images

Best Time to Visit the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are one of the best places to visit in Florida, a subtropical delight with nice weather year round. But beware of peak tourist season, which begins right after Christmas and lasts until about May. In winter, there is very little rain, and high temperatures are typically in the 70s, so the weather isn't unbearably hot.

Crowds thin and hotels lower their prices from May through September, and July's average high is a bearable 86°F, but don't forget that the Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 (peak months for the Keys are August, September, and October), so there's a chance a storm could form and dampen your plans. If you can deal with a little heat and humidity, summer can be a great time to score some deals.

For extra fun in the Keys, plan your visit to coincide with a festival like the Original Marathon Seafood Festival (March), the 7 Mile Bridge Run (April), the Key Lime Festival (June/July), Hemingway Days (July), the Key West Brewfest (September), or Fantasy Fest (October).

The Pinocchio Village Haus restaurant at Walt Disney World's
The Pinocchio Village Haus restaurant at Walt Disney World's

Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Best Time to Visit Florida's Theme Parks

Summer is the off season for most of Florida, due to the extra-hot weather and potential for storms, but beach towns and theme parks are the exception to the rule.

Disney World is a popular destination year round; there's nary a day when you won't encounter crowds and long lines at this beloved resort. But if there are any months that are slightly less crowded than others, that would be January (after the holiday rush), February, and mid-August (when it's as hot as it gets and many kids head back to school).

It may be convenient for families because school is out, but visiting the theme parks during the summer guarantees super-long lines in super-hot weather. Visiting around any holiday is fun because you'll get to see the parks decorated for occasions like Halloween and Christmas, but that also means you'll encounter especially dense crowds who are clamoring to enjoy the festive decor.

The best time to visit Disney if you want cooler temperatures is during Florida's winter months, but be aware that you can't really get around the crowds.

Best Time to Visit Florida for Fewer Crowds

Avoiding the crowds in Florida is a tall order. It's a desirable place to be, and visitors flock all year round. However, some places have quieter months than others. In South Florida, for example, the summer months are when it's less packed — but visit Orlando for the Disney theme parks, or beaches throughout most of the state, and you'll find hordes of families enjoying their summer vacations in May, June, July, and August.

You may not be able to avoid other tourists on your visit to Florida, no matter the month, but you can do yourself a favor and avoid peak travel periods like Panama City Beach during spring break, the Florida Keys during mini season, or St. Augustine around Christmastime.

Best Time to Visit Florida for Travel Deals and Lower Prices

The best time to visit Florida for travel deals and lower prices depends on your destination. If you're heading to the beaches or theme parks, summer is high season and you'll be hard pressed to find available rooms, much less a good deal.

But some places in Florida simmer down during the summer months. Take Palm Beach, for example: The island is booming November through April and prices are through the roof, but during off season (May through October, when the snowbirds head home and the social set jets to the Hamptons), you'll find a glimmer of the quiet town it once was — and nightly rates slashed to a fraction of their mid-season prices.

The cheapest months to fly to Florida are typically May (except for Memorial Day weekend) and September. You can score great deals if you plan ahead and aim for just outside your destination's peak season.

A general landscape view of Clearwater Beach, on main focus a recreated trolley bus, this kind of bus are the public transportation around the ClearWater City.
A general landscape view of Clearwater Beach, on main focus a recreated trolley bus, this kind of bus are the public transportation around the ClearWater City.

Getty Images

Best Time to Visit Florida for Great Weather

Florida's summers are notoriously hot, especially anywhere inland, where you don't get a seabreeze to keep things cool(ish). There's no way around the Florida heat in the summer; most of the state hits high temperatures accompanied by high humidity, and with the bright sun beating down on you, you just might feel like you're baking in an oven.

Even if you love warm weather, Florida summers push the limit of how much heat humans can take. There's high risk of severe sunburn, dehydration, and even heat stroke, so just be sure to wear sunscreen, drink lots of water, stay in the shade when possible, and don't overexert yourself. Florida summers are great for the beach, where you can cool off in the ocean, but not necessarily a shining display of the state's great weather. Summer also falls into Atlantic hurricane season, so there's risk of tropical storms (and beyond) June through November. Even with no hurricane on the horizon, thunderstorms arrive like clockwork every afternoon.

If you want to visit Florida at a time that's (at least a little) cooler and drier than the sweltering, stormy summer months, go in the heart of winter — December and January typically see the state's lowest temperatures. In spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) the weather can be hit or miss; you may get a gloriously cool, low-humidity day or you may get an unseasonably warm day. These months also sport less risk of rain ruining your fun.