Best Time to Visit the Bahamas: When Is Hurricane Season?
The best time to visit the Bahamas depends on whether visitors want to stay mostly on land or mostly in the water.
The Bahamas islands are part of the Caribbean in one way and not in another. They are the most popular place to visit on Caribbean cruises, but they are not actually in the Caribbean Sea.
Their location to the north of the Caribbean and to the east of Florida makes their weather cooler than most other Caribbean islands.
What they do share in common is the Caribbean hurricane season from June 1 to Nov. 30 every year. They also share the heavy rains, high winds and damaging weather that comes with hurricanes and tropical storms.
Historically, May is the best month to visit the Bahamas for warmer temperatures and low risk of rain, according to data from the Bahamas Department of Meteorology.
That said, we took a cruise to the Bahamas in May of one year and had clouds and rain all week. The rainfall and temperature charts below show the levels of risk for each month.
April is a better month for low risk of rain, but temperatures are cool enough at night to make swimming in the ocean uncomfortable during the day.
The worst times to go to the Bahamas based on average annual rainfall are June and August.
Worst Time to Go: Bahamas Hurricane Season
The worst time to go to the Bahamas is August during the Caribbean hurricane season. The hurricane season brings with it about 12 to 20 tropical storms each year with an average of six becoming hurricanes, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The season officially runs from June 1 through Nov. 30 and brings heavy rainfall to all of the Caribbean. The worst months for most islands are usually September and October.
But not the Bahamas. They have the highest rainfall of the year in August with more than nine inches followed closely by June, according to historical records from the Bahamas Department of Meteorology.
Those months are more popular than September and October, which have better weather.
The Bahamas hurricane season runs from June through October based on the total rainfall each month. Although June and August have the worst average rain at nine inches each, the other three months average six inches apiece. Those totals are above average for the Caribbean.
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Best Months to Go to the Bahamas
People who enjoy beaches and the ocean will find that the rainy season months have the best temperatures for swimming.
The average high temperature in Nassau reaches nearly 90 degrees Fahrenheit or 32 Celsius from July through September.
Visitors who are daring enough to visit during those months will find that temperatures are comfortable enough for sunning and swimming. But they also risk higher than average rainfall.
The best month for a combination of higher temperatures and lower risk of rain is May. The average high temperature is 85 degrees Fahrenheit or 30 Celsius. Average rainfall is four inches.
People who prefer land activities such as golf and don’t want to spend as much time at the beach will find that November through April are the best months to visit.
Average high temperatures hover in the upper 70s to low 80s Fahrenheit or mid 20s Celsius. Seawater is almost always too cool for swimming because of nighttime temperatures in the low 60s Fahrenheit or mid teens Celsius.
Bahamas Monthly Weather
The Bahamas monthly weather data comes from the country’s meteorological department and a 30-year history of Nassau.
January weather in the Caribbean gets credit for both the coolest and driest month of the year. Average high temperatures reach 78 Fahrenheit or about 26 Celsius. It rains less than two inches, and it rains on average eight days during the month.
Temperatures in February barely change. The total rainfall increases to nearly two inches, which is still low for the Caribbean region. The total days that it rains decreases to six days, the lowest total of the year.
March temperatures increase by two degrees. Average rainfall increases slightly, while the number of days that it rains during the month barely climbs to seven. Tourism reaches the highest point of the year in part because of spring break from U.S. schools.
Temperatures climb two more degrees to 82 Fahrenheit or 28 Celsius. Seawater is still too cool for swimming much of the time because of chilly nighttime temperatures. Rainfall increases to nearly three inches, and the number of days that it rains moves up to eight. Tourism declines slightly from March.
Bahamas weather in May is historically the best month for lower risk of rain and warmer temperatures.
Bahamas weather in May is historically the best month for lower risk of rain and warmer temperatures. The average monthly rainfall of four inches is actually a bit high for the Caribbean during this month. Beaches are getting warm enough for sunning and swimming. Despite the better weather, tourism drops again from April.
June is the second ugliest month to visit the Bahamas based on weather history. The average rainfall reaches a total of eight inches. The number of days that it rains jumps up to 15. But at least it is warm with an average high of 88 Fahrenheit or 31 Celsius.
Bahamas weather in July barely takes a break from June with more than six inches of rain, 17 rain days and temperatures reaching 89 Fahrenheit. It is the second most popular month to visit Nassau.
The winner of the title of worst month to visit the Bahamas is August. Average rainfall exceeds nine inches, which is just as bad as the downpours that hit Cancun and Cozumel during their worst months. Average days of rain also reach a high point of 19. Temperatures stay hot. Brave vacationers should visit in August if they have a last-minute trip with a good forecast—or if they are just feeling lucky. August tourism is high despite the bad weather.
The Bahamas have the fewest number of tourists in September despite the fact that its weather historically is better than August. But it’s still bad enough. It rains more than six inches and averages 17 rain days.
Total rainfall in October is barely different from September, while rain days stay at 17. Average high temperatures drop three degrees to 86 Fahrenheit or 30 Celsius. Tourism has the second lowest total of the year.
Even though November is part of the Caribbean hurricane season, it historically isn’t part of the Bahamas hurricane season. Average rainfall drops to three inches and rain days to 10.
Bahamas weather in December is the second coolest of the year with an average high of 79 Fahrenheit or 26 Celsius. Rainfall takes another drop to only two inches and rain days to eight. Tourism returns to a normal level as northerners come to the islands for a break from winter. Temperatures are mild and similar to April.
Related Caribbean Vacation Links
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- 10 Best Caribbean Islands Offer Great Beaches
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- Average Caribbean Weather: Best Times to Go
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© 2016 Scott Bateman