Best Time to Visit Florida for Warm Weather and Low Rain

Updated on May 20, 2019
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Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely along the East Coast, including Virginia, Florida and the Carolinas.

Contrary to popular belief, the Sunshine State sees its fair share of rain! Learn when to plan a trip to avoid pouring rain and scorching temps.
Contrary to popular belief, the Sunshine State sees its fair share of rain! Learn when to plan a trip to avoid pouring rain and scorching temps. | Source

Say the word “Florida” to someone from Europe, Canada, or the northern states of the U.S., and they are likely to picture hot weather, clear skies and wide, sandy beaches. That’s what most visitors want when they go to Florida for vacation, but that’s not always what they get.

The best time to visit Florida depends on where you want to go and what you want to do. For example, if you want to hit the beaches in the northern part of the state, you should avoid traveling during the winter, when temps are cool. But if you want to go to Magic Kingdom in Orlando, you're better off avoiding the intense heat and humidity of the summer months.

When Is the Best Time to Visit Florida?

It depends on where you want to go. For example, winter is the worst time to go to Florida's beaches and among the best times to go to Orlando's Disney World and Universal Studios.

When to Visit

  • If You Want Low Rain and "Cool" Temps: April and November have the lowest rainfall. The average temperature is also somewhat cool, at least for Florida.
  • If You Want Low Rain and Warm Temps: May and October have the best combination of low rainfall and warmth, but without blistering hot temperatures.
  • If You Want to Go to the Beach: For beachgoers, May is the best time to visit Florida, as rainfall is still moderate (except in Miami and West Palm Beach).
  • If You Want to Visit Disney World and Universal Studios: Late fall is the best time to go to Orlando, as both temperature and rainfall will be moderate.

When Not to Visit

  • Endless Rain: June has the most rain, followed by July through September.
  • Blistering Heat: From May through September, Orlando is a sweaty nightmare that is best avoided (take it from me!).

The worst time to visit the Florida Keys is during the peak rainy-season months of August through October. For Miami, it is June and September. For Orlando, it is June and August. The risk of tropical storms (and even an occasional hurricane) is also highest during the late summer and fall.

Note: No matter when you choose to travel to Florida, you should be ready for any kind of weather (okay, maybe not snow). Regardless of the season, dressing in layers is essential, as even the sunniest day can turn rainy and cold (and then switch right back again).

When Is Florida's Rainy Season?

Florida's official rainy season runs from May 15th through October 15th, during which time the state usually receives about 70% of its yearly rainfall.

Average High and Low Temperatures (˚F), Humidity (Relative %), Rainfall (Inches), and Ocean Temperature in Florida by Month
Average High and Low Temperatures (˚F), Humidity (Relative %), Rainfall (Inches), and Ocean Temperature in Florida by Month

Florida Weather in Summer

Nothing from stifling temps to hurricane-worthy downpours can stop hordes of tourists from visiting Florida during the summer, the most popular time of the year to visit. The summer months are popular because of families with children out of school. (Adults without children will find that the ideal combination of temperatures in the mid- to upper-80s plus lower chances of rain usually takes place in April and May.)

The Worst Time to Visit Disney World in Orlando

This writer still remembers standing in a two-hour line waiting for a ride at Disney World in Orlando during the summer. A child sat on his shoulders. The temperature was above 90, not a cloud dotted the sky and the humidity was high. Sweat poured off every inch. It was a miserable day.

The reality is that many families vacation in Florida during the summer (especially in Orlando) because kids are out of school. But in my opinion, it is the worst time to visit Disney World because of hot and humid weather, and should be avoided if at all possible. Instead, opt for visiting in late fall, when both temps and rainfall will be more tolerable.

The Best Time to Visit Florida's Beaches

The best time to go to most beach destinations in Florida for warm weather is May through September. But keep in mind that a mix of heat and humidity will be at its worst from June through August—the same months with the highest average rainfall. Without a doubt, the month with the best combination of warm weather and low rain for beachgoers is May.

A recent visit to Fort Myers Beach in August had hot and humid weather—sometimes with the heat index nearing 100 degrees Fahrenheit—except for thunderstorms that passed by every afternoon without fail. (The heaviest rainfall of the year usually occurs from June through August, according to 30 years of data from the National Weather Service.) They came from the east, the remnants of Tropical Storm Cristobal. It was tolerable because we were on a beach and not in the much hotter and more humid interior part of the state, but it certainly wasn't ideal.

Key West Weather and Rainfall by Month

Month
Average Low (˚F)
Average High (˚F)
Rainfall (Inches)
January
64
74
2
February
66
76
1.5
March
68
78
2
April
72
81
2
May
76
85
3
June
79
88
4.1
July
80
89
3.5
August
80
89
5.4
September
79
88
6.7
October
76
85
5
November
72
80
2.3
December
67
76
2.2
The above chart is a 30-year history of weather averages for Key West from the National Weather Service. Notice the spike in temperatures and rainfall during the summer.
Beaches like this one in Miami get packed during the hugely popular summer months.
Beaches like this one in Miami get packed during the hugely popular summer months. | Source

What Are the Best Months to Avoid Crowds?

The busiest months in Florida are February and March, with January following closely behind. June and July are also quite busy. Flights and accommodation will be most expensive during these months.

The Off-Season Is Also the Cheapest Time to Visit Florida

If you want to avoid the tourist crowds (and the inflated tourist prices!), November is the calmest month, followed by September and October.

When to Visit Orlando

Because Orlando is in the interior of the state, it has even higher temperatures during the summer than the coastal destinations. The best time to go to Orlando is November through May because of lower chances of rain and of course comfortable temperatures for standing in line for rides.

Orlando Weather and Rainfall by Month

Month
Average Low (˚F)
Average High (˚F)
Rain (Inches)
Jan
50
71
3
Feb
53
73
3
Mar
57
77
4
Apr
62
82
2
May
68
88
3
Jun
73
91
9
Jul
76
92
7
Aug
76
92
8
Sep
74
89
6
Oct
68
84
3
Nov
60
78
2
Dec
54
72
3
The above chart is a 30-year history of weather averages for Orlando from the National Weather Service. Notice the spike in temperatures and rainfall during the summer.
Late fall is one of the best times to visit Universal Studios, above, or Disney World in Orlando because of comfortable temperatures. Source: public domain
Late fall is one of the best times to visit Universal Studios, above, or Disney World in Orlando because of comfortable temperatures. Source: public domain

Florida Weather in the Fall

The period of September through November shows a common pattern for almost every location in the state—more rain in September and then less rain for the rest of the fall season.

The east coast of Florida sees continued high rainfall, especially Miami and West Palm Beach, because September is the worst month of the year for the Caribbean hurricane season. As a result, the east coast is susceptible to bad remnant weather.

Average temperatures drop about 10 degrees over the three-month period. A glance at each of the climate charts in this article will show that October is a good month to visit Florida because of a combination of lower rainfall and comfortable daytime temperatures.

Rainfall is even lower in November, but temperatures drop another five degrees or so, meaning ocean swimming will be uncomfortable at best.

Miami Weather and Rainfall by Month

Month
Average Low (˚F)
Average High (˚F)
Rain (Inches)
Jan
63.1
74.6
2
Feb
64.9
75.8
2
Mar
67.0
77.2
3
Apr
70.1
79.9
3
May
74.4
82.8
5
Jun
77.1
86.2
8
Jul
78.9
88.3
4
Aug
79.0
88.4
6
Sep
79.0
86.9
8
Oct
75.2
83.7
5
Nov
70.5
79.5
3
Dec
65.9
75.9
2
The above chart is a 30-year history of weather averages for Miami from the National Weather Service. Notice the spike in temperatures and rainfall during the summer.

Florida Weather in Winter

Winter is the worst time to go to Florida beaches and among the best times to go to Orlando for Disney World and Universal Studios. Northern destinations like Jacksonville see average daytime high temperatures in the 60s Fahrenheit, while destinations as far south as Key West see daytime temperatures in the mid-70s.

In winter, no Florida destination is likely to have weather warm enough for sunning on beaches, let alone for swimming.

But winter also is one of the best times of the year; with the least rain, it is ideal for land activities such as visiting theme parks, golfing and other recreational sports. During the winter, avoid northern locations such as Jacksonville and Daytona and instead focus on the southern locations—Miami, Tampa and the Florida Keys. But don't expect Caribbean-like temperatures.

Beach destinations such as Sanibel Island, above, are likely to be less crowded but much cooler during the spring and fall. Source: public domain
Beach destinations such as Sanibel Island, above, are likely to be less crowded but much cooler during the spring and fall. Source: public domain

Florida Weather in Spring

The same could be said about rain in the spring, except for the fact that it stays low only during March, climbs in April and climbs again in May. Likewise, temperatures get warmer in March and climb for the next two months. March remains too cool for sunbathing and swimming on most days, while April and May do better.

It’s worth pointing out that rainfall is still moderate for most places in May except for Miami and West Palm Beach, both of which see a slightly higher jump. Virtually every major destination in Florida sees average high temperatures rising into the 80s Fahrenheit during May.

Keep in mind that nighttime temperatures still average in the 60s during this time, which will make ocean waters cool in the mornings until the afternoon sun heats them back up.

The graphic above shows the tracks of tropical cyclones (storms or hurricanes) that had effects on Florida between 1975 and 1999. Source: National Hurricane Center
The graphic above shows the tracks of tropical cyclones (storms or hurricanes) that had effects on Florida between 1975 and 1999. Source: National Hurricane Center

Florida Hurricane Season

Florida has a hurricane season because the Caribbean has a hurricane season. The season officially runs from June 1st to November 30th every year. Bad weather usually forms in the eastern Atlantic and moves west. Sometimes that bad weather evolves into a tropical storm and may grow with intensity into a hurricane. These weather patterns also tend to travel in an arc that heads toward the Caribbean and then turns up along the U.S. coast. Sometimes the arc has little impact on the U.S. and other times it does.

In recent years, Florida has had few hurricanes hitting landfall or even coming close. But over the last 30 years, the state has the highest average rainfall from June through September because the impact of these tropical storms and hurricanes can spread over a wide area.

Most anyplace one lives is essentially dangerous. There are floods in the Midwest, and tornadoes. There are hurricanes along the Gulf. In New York, you get mugged.

— John Gregory Dunne

Florida Vacation Poll

What attracts you the most to Florida?

See results

Sources

  • Gonzalez, L. (2019, May 15). Florida's Rainy Season Gets Underway (CBS).
  • Florida, USA: Annual Weather Averages. (n.d.).
  • The Best Time to Visit Florida, United States for Weather, Safety, & Tourism. (2018, January 31).
  • Florida Keys Weather Data (1981–2010) National Weather Service Forecast Office

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

  • Best time to go to Disneyworld in Florida?

    If you don't have kids, I would go any time schools are in session between November and April. If you do have kids, then winter break or spring break will have better weather than summer. But the crowds will be much bigger too.

  • When is the best time to visit Saint Petersburg, Florida?

    The best months for rain in St. Petersburg are the worst months for temperatures and vice versa.

    The dry season goes from October through May and the rainy season from June through September. Rainfall averages just around 3 inches a month during the dry season, according to the National Weather Service. It peaks at 9 inches in July.

    Average daytime temperatures drop toward 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter and climb to 90 in the summer.

    To cut to the chase, I would go in late spring or late fall for the best combination of warm temperatures and lower risk of rain.

  • Would October, especially around the beginning of the month, be a good time to visit Florida?

    April, May and October are among the better months for warmer temperatures and lower risk of rain. It also depends on what part of Florida you plan to visit.

    Another factor is whether you want to go to the beaches or simply get away from northern winters. November through April have the least rain of the entire year, but they also have lower temperatures that aren't great for swimming and tanning on beaches.

  • I have scheduled a vacation to Disney World in Florida during 10/22-10/29. Is this a good decision weather-wise?

    Yes. The odds are in your favor. The end of October is the beginning of the dry season for Orlando.

  • When are all of the Spring break times?

    Most schools have different dates for their spring breaks, but most of them have a break during one of the first three weeks of March.

© 2014 Scott S Bateman

Comments

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    • promisem profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott S Bateman 

      5 weeks ago

      If you like the beach but don't care about swimming, I would go in April or early May. The risk of rain is low and daytime temperatures often reach about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. But the water may feel a little cool for swimming, especially in the mornings.

      If you like to swim, you might be OK in May. If you wait until summer, the water of course will feel fine, but the risk of rain is much higher.

    • profile image

      Ken Brandel 

      5 weeks ago

      When is the best time to go to DelRay Beach?

    • promisem profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott S Bateman 

      7 weeks ago

      The odds are pretty good that daytime temperatures will be in the mid to upper 80s Fahrenheit with low risk of rain.

    • profile image

      matthew moore 

      7 weeks ago

      .been to florida about 8 times in diferent months but never in may.going this month 9th what will the weather be like.

    • promisem profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott S Bateman 

      7 weeks ago

      Hello, Vic! Thanks for your question. If you are coming in September, you might have better luck with Tampa on the west coast than Miami on the east coast.

      Historically, the risk of rain is slightly lower in Tampa during September than places such as Miami. It rains on average 12 days during the month in Tampa versus 15 in Miami.

      Even though Florida has more rainfall in September than any other month, it's often the result of periodic Caribbean storms and hurricanes. You could go many days without any rain, then get heavy downpours for a few days.

      You also might get lucky with rain and not have any or very little during your visit.

      The attached link gives you some ideas about the local Tampa attractions.

      https://www.visittampabay.com/things-to-do/tampa-a...

    • profile image

      Vic Lamberty 

      7 weeks ago

      Hi Scott, Greetings from Melbourne, Australia.Thank you for your informative article. My family and I are planning to visit Florida late September, most likely the second last week of the month. Given that September has the highest rainfall where would recommend we stay? (By the way we love the beach). Is there much to do if it does rain with kids? Does it rain for days on end?

    • promisem profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott S Bateman 

      4 months ago

      I suggest you don't go to Miami Beach in September. Historically, September has the highest rainfall of the year. It's also the peak month of the Caribbean hurricane season, which often sends bad weather to Florida during that time of year.

      That said, you might get lucky and avoid the rain. Otherwise, you might consider going in July or August when the risk of rain is a bit lower.

    • profile image

      Seth 

      4 months ago

      Hi, I’m thinking of going to Miami Beach in the 1st 2 weeks in September and wondering if this is a good time to go? Thanks

    • profile image

      Dianne Noble 

      4 months ago

      When is spring break in Florida and should we avoid these times to visit

    • profile image

      Rodney kitzan 

      5 months ago

      We are planning a trip to Orlando this April avoiding March Spring Break and ahead of kids and parents with school out in May.....wondering if it os warm enough to lay on the beach????

    • profile image

      JOHN SPOELMAN 

      5 months ago

      What is the weather in the Destin in Feb?

    • profile image

      Sandra Gugliuzza 

      5 months ago

      We are planning a trip to treasure island fl, oct 26 to nov2 is the weather good?

    • profile image

      Mimi 

      6 months ago

      Is december a good time to go to flordia on orlando

    • profile image

      faith 

      8 months ago

      i’m planning on going to florida this week and need to know where to go with little change of rain with great weather to get a tan without a hurricane

      please help

    • profile image

      Matt 

      8 months ago

      Would June be ok to go to Ft. Myers Beach?

    • promisem profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott S Bateman 

      9 months ago

      Hi, Oom. I think Miami in November is a better choice than most months of the year. The risk of rain is lower, although temperatures are usually a bit lower too. So if you are a beach lover, you might prepare yourself for spending more time on the sand than in the water.

      Thanks for the question!

    • profile image

      Oom 

      9 months ago

      Hi Scott,

      I was panning on visiting Miami in Novemeber during Thanksgiving breaks. Do you think it is a good idea?

      Great Article!

    • promisem profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott S Bateman 

      9 months ago

      Hi, Dred. I agree. We have started nearly all of our Caribbean trips from there. We usually spend a little extra time there before or after the trip to take advantage of what Florida has to offer.

    • dredcuan profile image

      Dred Cuan 

      9 months ago from California

      I used to visit Florida from December to April. I was able to enjoy its cold and summer season. I can consider it as one of the best places to start a Caribbean tour.

    • promisem profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott S Bateman 

      11 months ago

      Scott, percentage wise I would be happy with booking a Miami vacation in early May. It's right at the end of the dry season and the beginning of rainier months. But temperatures are warmer than the rest of the dry season.

      Good luck!

    • profile image

      Scott 

      11 months ago

      Hi was thinking early May to visit Miami, however have been reading that May this year was 4th wettest on record. I know you can't predict next years weather but percentage wise how happy would you be to book next May? Cheers

    • promisem profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott S Bateman 

      11 months ago

      M, August is a bit risky with rain in Miami. It rains on average 14 days during the month or once every other day.

      July is usually (but not always) a better month.

      The Caribbean hurricane season goes from June through November. That hurricane season also can bring storms and heavy rains to Florida. Rainfall gradually increases each month until hitting a high point in September.

      That said, you may get lucky. If you must go to Miami in August, then I would manage my expections, hope for good weather but don't be surprised if it rains.

    • promisem profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott S Bateman 

      11 months ago

      Bonnie, the weather even as far south as Miami is a tradeoff between rain and temperatures. The warmer the weather, the more it rains and vice versa.

      If I had to choose a winter or spring month, I would go in April when temperatures are warmer but the risk of rain is usually lower.

    • profile image

      11 months ago

      Hello! Our family is considering vacationing on Miami beaches in August. Is it worth it? What is your opinion please?

    • profile image

      Bonnie 

      11 months ago

      Hi! I am planning a trip to Seaside and wanted to go this fall/winter. We have a four year old and wanted to go at a time when it was still nice and hot but avoiding the hurricane season. What do you suggest?

    • promisem profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott S Bateman 

      11 months ago

      Sajan, the odds aren't good. Even Miami has temperatures that reach only into the 70s in December and January. That's great for land activities, but not so great for the water because you usually need daytime temps in the 80s.

      If it's warmer than usual, the water might be comfortable for swimming.

      If you want warm water in the winter, I suggest going to the Caribbean. The farther south the better.

    • profile image

      Sajan 

      11 months ago

      Are water activities still an option if i plan my trip around christmas and new years? My fiance loves water activities and beach time.

    • promisem profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott S Bateman 

      12 months ago

      Hi, Traci. I'm afraid I can't help you with villas, flights and cars because there are so many possibilities. For the best time of year, I recommend May if you are willing to take your daughter out of school. Otherwise, spring break is the best time to go for families who want warm temperatures and low risk of rain.

    • profile image

      tracitraci 

      12 months ago

      I am trying to arrange to go to Florida with my husband and 6 yr old daughter. Recommendations please for a villa/flights/car also what time of year would be good wanting it warm and dry ..

    • promisem profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott S Bateman 

      13 months ago

      Hi, Maggie. That depends on how much you like spending time on beaches. Personally, we would rather spend December in 75 degree weather (and hope for even warmer) than spend it in 40 degree weather up north.

      The other advantage to December in Miami is a low chance of rain.

      If you want warmer temperatures in December, I recommend the southern Caribbean.

    • profile image

      Maggie García 

      13 months ago

      Im planning my Miami vacation in December. Is it worth it ?

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      13 months ago from UK

      Same here. We've had some incredibly cheap holidays a little out of season.

    • promisem profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott S Bateman 

      13 months ago

      I agree completely about the balancing act. Now that our kids have grown, we like to travel during low seasons and save quite a bit of money.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      13 months ago from UK

      We found Disney Paris cheaper and cooler at Easter. Luckily we got good weather as well, but we could have had rain. It's a balancing act between price, school holidays and weather.

    • promisem profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott S Bateman 

      13 months ago

      Thanks, Liz. I fondly remember going to Disney World in the summer and standing in line for hours with a 3-year-old on my shoulders. The sweat poured off my body. But at least I got a nice tan. :)

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      13 months ago from UK

      This is an excellent guide that all travelers from the UK would be well-advised to read. Florida is the dream destination for most kids in the UK because of the theme parks. Ours felt a little deprived that we didn't get further than Disneyland Paris. We've had several friends, who have 'braved' it in the school summer holidays and endured the heat. humidity and queues, along with one family, who arrived in Orlando just in time for a hurricane!

    • promisem profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott S Bateman 

      13 months ago

      Sue, I've learned after dozens of beach vacations over decades that I try to make every one of them memorable even with bad weather.

      FYI, I'm at Virginia Beach right now while it's raining. We still have found ways to make it worthwhile.

    • profile image

      Sue 

      13 months ago

      Thank for the reply Scott

      Hopefully the vacation will have sunshine and good memories at the beach.

    • promisem profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott S Bateman 

      13 months ago

      Hi, Sue. Few people go to the beach during thunderstorms because of the lightning risk. The rainfall is usually brief, but the cloud cover tends to stay a while.

    • profile image

      Sue 

      13 months ago

      Going to Venice Florida first two weeks of July

      Do people go up the beach even if there is a thunderstorm and do the storms last for a large portion of the day?

    • promisem profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott S Bateman 

      13 months ago

      I agree, Debbie. It's the start of the rainy season.

    • profile image

      Debbie Spadavecchia 

      13 months ago

      Weather is horrible in Florida the month of may

    • promisem profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott S Bateman 

      2 years ago

      Hi, Carolyn. Yes for the most part, but of course you should check with individual beaches, hotels and businesses. They usually have to be leashed. The local ordinances below may help.

      https://www.municode.com/library/fl/key_west/codes...

    • profile image

      Carolyn Smith 

      2 years ago

      Is Key West dog friendly?

    • promisem profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott S Bateman 

      3 years ago

      Thanks for the tip! We'll definitely check it out.

    • the rawspirit profile image

      Robert Morgan 

      3 years ago from Hutchinson Island, FL - Myrtle Beach, SC - Gilbert AZ

      We use to live just north if Singer Island, in Jupiter. Great area. Check out Jupiter's new boardwalk. Best to you...

    • promisem profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott S Bateman 

      3 years ago

      Rawspirit, I'm glad to hear you love it there. My friends love it there for most of the year. We will be done there in a few weeks for another of our many visits -- this time at Singer Island.

    • the rawspirit profile image

      Robert Morgan 

      3 years ago from Hutchinson Island, FL - Myrtle Beach, SC - Gilbert AZ

      You touched on staying at the beach... We love it here. Summer, winter or fall. Living on the beach in Florida is past amazing. Thanks for writing this article.

    • promisem profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott S Bateman 

      4 years ago

      Yep, it got pretty hot the last time we were down there. On the other hand, we got good rates at our hotel and the beaches weren't crowded.

      Thanks for the great insights!

    • rebekahELLE profile image

      rebekahELLE 

      4 years ago from Tampa Bay

      August is by far the worst month to visit Florida. It's extremely humid and temperatures go into the high 90's with a heat index in the low 100's. April and May are both nice as far as temperatures and rainfall and the Gulf water is warm enough to enjoy. Personally I love October through December. The temps are starting to become more moderate, there is less humidity and at times there's a slight coolness in the evenings. Tourists still go into the Gulf, but it gets cooler by December and January. And despite what some may think, we do get cold weather in the winter, and it feels cold. But the next day may be light jacket weather. Leaves of some trees do change colors slightly in the winter. It's very beautiful. You've written an informative, helpful hub for those who are planning a trip to the Sunshine State.

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