Who doesn’t love a Florida Keys vacation? Over 2 million tourists visit the islands every year, so a lot of people do! There are plenty of activities, events, and sports to enjoy year-round.
And it’s essential you choose the best time to visit the Florida Keys as it could make or break your trip.
Those who usually brave through icy cold Januarys might dream of spending winter in the sun. And others who want to snorkel, fish, and swim couldn’t choose anywhere better in the USA than the Keys.
But if you don’t do your research and visit the Florida Keys in the wrong season, you might be saying goodbye to snow and hello to hurricanes.
Or you could be stood with your rod in the water for hours with no bites!
This detailed guide will help you figure out exactly when the best time to visit the Florida Keys is for you to make sure you have an awesome trip. It includes when the peak and off seasons are and the cheapest time to go as well as the weather, seasonal activities, and annual events.
Weather in the Florida Keys
The weather in the Florida Keys is one of the main reasons why tourists choose to visit on vacation. Those who already live in the US are able to enjoy a tropical climate without having to leave the country!
But while tropical weather equals heat and sunshine, it also spells rain and hurricanes. Deciding when to visit the Florida Keys will largely depend on the weather.
Rainy Season: May – November
As a tropical climate, the Florida Keys doesn’t experience the four seasons that other parts of the world do. There are only two main ones: wet and dry. The wet (or rainy) season usually runs from June to October, with May and November also experiencing some moderate rainfall.
These summer months are also the hottest, with temperatures regularly reaching 90°F/32°C. But as the locals say: it’s not the heat that’ll get you, it’s the humidity!
Florida and other southern states regularly experience hurricanes. Hurricane season officially begins in June and ends in November. August and September are generally the worst months for hurricanes.
But the rainy summer months are also the cheapest for hotel rooms!
It’s a good idea to keep the weather in mind when deciding when to visit the Florida Keys. If you want the balmy summer warmth but not the downpours, June or October are probably the best months.
Dry Season: December – April
No surprises, the dry season usually runs from December to April. December and January are the busiest months for tourists because sun-seekers are escaping colder weather elsewhere. Flights and hotels will likely be the most expensive during these months.
Although December and January are the most popular months for visiting the Florida Keys, they are also the coldest. Temperatures are around 75°F/24°C.
But considering the temperatures elsewhere in the Northern hemisphere in January, that’s very warm!
If you want to avoid the price hikes but want warmer weather without the rain, the best time to visit the Florida Keys is around March or April.
Seasonal Activities in the Florida Keys
Some activities that you can do in the Florida Keys are much more enjoyable in certain seasons. For example, you wouldn’t like to golf in the middle of a hurricane!
Snorkeling and Swimming
For those who love the ocean, Florida is perfect. The sea is generally warm and there are some great places to go snorkeling and see the underwater plant and sea life.
The best time to visit the Florida Keys for snorkeling is either March, April, or November. The temperatures are still very warm but much calmer and safer than during the summer. There is also generally less wind so you can see and explore more of the coral reefs with calm waters.
Yep, another water-based activity! Surely the second-best thing about the Florida Keys besides the warm weather is the proximity to the ocean. Many tourists love the fishing in the Florida Keys, but what you’re hoping to catch will depend on the season.
Fishing enthusiasts wanting to reel in tarpon, yellowtail, and mutton snappers are in luck because they’re biting year-round. But December to March is best for sailfish and there are ample blue marlin in April-May but not so the rest of the year.
Other Activities in the Florida Keys:
- Helitours – https://www.ultimate-helitours.com/tours/25-60-minute-tours/seven-mile-bridge-lighthouse-tour/
- Kayaking and Canoeing – https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attractions-g34340-Activities-c61-t191-Florida_Keys_Florida.html
- Canal Cruises – http://africanqueenflkeys.com/cruise.html
Annual Events in the Florida Keys
The Florida Keys hosts some fantastic annual festivals and events that you could plan your trip around. On the other hand, it’s good to know when the top festivals are happening if you want to avoid hotel price hikes!
One of the best times to visit the Florida Keys is during Fantasy Fest every October. It’s a huge costume and mask festival taking place in the lead up to Halloween, but it’s not an event to bring the kids to.
The popular celebration consists of x-rated carnivals and parades and guest appearances by adult film stars. As you can imagine, it’s a lot of fun!
Hemingway Days Festival
July might be the hottest month in the Florida Keys but the events don’t slow down. Ernest Hemingway lived in the Florida Keys for almost 10 years during the 1930s and his house is now a National Landmark.
There are many events spread across several days in July to commemorate his birthday. Some of these include a Lookalike contest and a 5k sunset run/walk. You might be better off walking the 5k considering the heat!
Other Annual Events in the Florida Keys:
- Key West Half Marathon in January
- Key Lime Festival in July
- Key West Brewfest in September
- Key West Film Festival in November
Choose the Best Time to Visit the Florida Keys for You
It can be difficult to choose the best time to visit the Florida Keys for many factors. But now you have all the information you need to pick the best time of year for you!
For related articles, head to the “travel” section of our site.