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Like California and Hawaii, many tourists have the mistaken belief there’s never a bad time to visit Florida. Heck, there are still people who believe Walt Disney World is surrounded by a dome that keeps it perpetually picture perfect. Just because Florida is the “Sunshine State” doesn’t mean it’s warm and bright every single day. Indeed, it could be downright chilly or dangerously rainy depending on where and when you visit.
As with any other travel destination, the best time to visit Florida depends on what you want to do here. With this in mind, the months of March, April, and May are usually fantastic times to visit anywhere in the state. During these months, you avoid the sweltering summer heat, peak tourism traffic, and the looming threat of hurricanes.
For more detailed information on the best seasons to visit Florida, please keep reading this post. Below, we’ll go over the best things to do and see in Florida in each season and share a few specific tips on visiting popular draws like Disney World and the Florida Keys.
A Seasonal Guide To Florida Travel
Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot: Sweaty Florida Summers
If you’re planning on visiting Florida during summer break, then you’d better get ready for intense heat, high prices, and huge crowds. On most days, you’ll have to deal with brutal humidity and daytime highs in the 80’s to 90’s degrees F. Also, afternoon thunderstorms are an almost daily occurrence, so be sure to have a few rainy day plans.
For all of these reasons, travel experts usually don’t recommend visiting Florida during the summertime. If you must visit during this time of year, however, ensure your hotel has adequate AC, drink plenty of water, and apply generous amounts of sunscreen. Oh yeah, and it’s a good idea to always have a compact umbrella on your person, like this popular model available on Amazon.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t have a good summer trip to Florida. Indeed, if you don’t mind the crowds, summer is a lovely time to sunbathe on Florida’s world-class beaches…provided that you miss a rainstorm.
Of course, summertime in Florida is also perfect for water park enthusiasts. There are dozens of first-class water parks to choose from, but here are a few of the most popular to keep in mind:
- Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon
- Disney’s Blizzard Beach
- Adventure Island Tampa
- Universal Orlando’s Volcano Bay
- Aquatica Orlando
- LEGOLAND Water Park
- Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park
Fabulous Fall Festivities In Florida
No, you won’t find colorful autumn leaves on Florida’s trees. What this state lacks in pretty foliage, however, it makes up for with mild temps, reduced crowds, and dozens of world-class festivals.
Between September and November, daily highs rarely get above 90°F and humidity is nowhere near as oppressive as in the summer. Unfortunately, the beginning of autumn is peak hurricane season, so you must pay close attention to local weather stations.
Foodies and festival enthusiasts will really enjoy an autumn vacation in Florida. Obviously, Halloween festivities take center stage during this time of year, but there are also plenty of music festivals, Oktoberfests, and food & wine tastings to try out.
Here are a few of the most popular fall festivals in Florida to check out:
- Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival
- Lake Worth Oktoberfest
- Walt Disney World’s “Mickey’s Not-So Scary Halloween Party”
- Busch Gardens’ “Howl-O-Scream”
- Universal Orlando’s “Halloween Horror Nights”
- Venice Island’s Chalk Festival
- Winter Park Autumn Art Festival
Escaping The Snow: Santa In The Sunshine State
Florida has a long been a popular destination for Northerners seeking to escape the brutal winter snow. Indeed, some towns like Winter Park and Winter Haven bear evidence to the state’s early 20th century tourism industry.
To this day, Florida is an attractive winter vacation spot, especially for folks living in the frigid Northeast and Midwest. Be prepared for big crowds and higher prices if you’re visiting the hot tourist spots during this comfortably cool season.
On the pro side, the winter months in Florida are mild and dry. Snowfall is rare (but not unheard of) and daily lows only dip to the mid-40s in North Florida. It’s a good idea to pack a jacket and long pants, especially if you’re traveling to northern cities like Jacksonville or Tallahassee.
Besides escaping the Northern chill, many tourists plan their winter vacation to coincide with the state’s many holiday festivities. If you’re interested in celebrating Christmas in the 27th state, then book your hotel reservations well in advance to avoid disappointment.
A few of the most popular wintertime festivals in Florida include:
- Walt Disney World’s “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party”
- Epcot’s “International Festival of the Holidays”
- The Holidays at Universal Studios Orlando
- Pensacola Winterfest
- St. Augustine’s “Night of Lights” Christmas Parade
- Key West Holiday Fest
- Ice Sculptures at Kissimmee’s Gaylord Palms
Springtime In Florida: The Ideal Season?
If we had to pick a perfect season to visit Florida, it’d have to be the spring. No matter where you’re traveling in the state at this time, chances are high you’ll enjoy mild temps, fewer crowds, and low precipitation.
Outdoorsy types and nature enthusiasts will enjoy exploring the rich flora in Florida’s pristine parks and gardens. A few exceptional gardens to visit during this season include Bok Tower Gardens, McKee Botanical Gardens, and the Florida Botanical Gardens. Even Disney World celebrates the arrival of spring with its famous “International Flower & Garden Festival” at Epcot.
Yes, visiting in spring has its advantages, but there are a few negatives that should be pointed out. The most obvious negative is you might have to deal with rowdy spring breakers. Check online to see when most schools and colleges have their spring breaks scheduled beforehand if you want to avoid this influx of tourists.
Unfortunately, springtime visitors may also have to contend with swarms of pesky lovebugs. Although these fly-like bugs are harmless, they can be extremely annoying as you’re driving, biking, or walking around the state. To learn more about lovebugs, check out this page put together by the University of Florida’s Department of Entomology.
Additional Tips On When To Visit Florida
What’s Peak Hurricane Season In Florida?
Officially, Florida’s hurricane season begins in June and ends at the end of November. Although you have to be vigilant throughout all of these months, August and September have a significantly higher risk of hurricanes.
Thankfully, meteorologists have many hi-tech tools to track hurricanes as they move across the ocean. As long as you keep abreast of the weather, hurricanes shouldn’t catch you off guard. Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee hurricanes won’t put a damper on your Florida vacation plans.
Anyone visiting Florida during hurricane season should take advantage of the weather apps now available for iOS and Android devices. Here are a few free weather apps you might want to download right now:
What’s The Best Time To Visit Orlando, Florida?
Typically, tourism experts recommend visiting Orlando in the spring or fall to take advantage of less humidity, fewer tourists, and lower prices. Winter is also a nice season provided you prepare yourself for the holiday rush. Lastly, unless you’re a glutton for punishment, spare yourself the misery of visiting Orlando during the peak summer season.
Whenever you choose to visit Orlando, be sure to do a bit of research on wait times for popular attractions and write down a list of priorities. Also, be sure to learn about Walt Disney World’s Fastpass+ program so you could skip the lines at a few rides.
What’s The Best Time To Visit Miami & The Florida Keys?
Those interested in visiting major South Florida attractions like Key West and Miami must know that winter is peak tourism season. For this reason, many tourism experts recommend visiting this region during the spring.
As long as your vacation doesn’t coincide with spring break, you’ll enjoy minimal crowds in all of the South Florida hotspots. Springtime visitors will also enjoy mild weather, minimal rain chances, and reduced rates on airfare, food, and hotels.
Ultra budget travelers might want to chance a trip to Miami or the Keys during the summer or autumn. Since the chances for precipitation are so high, hotels often offer steep discounts at this time of year. Of course, you will be taking a pretty serious gamble visiting South Florida during hurricane season.
No Matter When You Visit, Pack Strong Sunscreen!
Whenever you choose to enjoy the Florida sun, please don’t forget to put on plenty of sunscreen. Yes, it might be uncomfortable and annoying, but putting on a fresh layer of sunscreen every few hours will reduce your risk of serious diseases like skin cancer.
If possible, invest in a high-quality sunscreen that has been approved by the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG). Currently, one of the best-reviewed sunscreen companies on EWG’s website is All Good. Check out this link to All Good’s popular Sunscreen Lotion.