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Best Time to Visit Florida for Warm Weather and Low Rain

Updated on April 24, 2017
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Scott Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled extensively throughout the Caribbean.

Hurricane Sandy was the most destructive hurricane in 2012.
Hurricane Sandy was the most destructive hurricane in 2012. | 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 avoiding the cooler northern part of the state during the winter and the sometimes intense heat and humidity of the summer.

It also depends on the risk of tropical storms and even an occasional hurricane during the late summer and fall.

The Best and Worst Times to Visit:

  1. April and November have the lowest rainfall
  2. June has the most rain, followed by July through September
  3. May and October have the best combination of low rainfall and warm but not blistering hot temperatures for Orlando

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

Hurricane Season

Florida has a hurricane season because the Caribbean has a hurricane season. That season officially runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 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.

That doesn’t stop hordes of tourists from visiting during the summer, the most popular time of the year to visit Florida.

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.

Orlando Climate Chart

Month
Average Low
Average High
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.
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

Florida in Summer

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.

A more recent visit to Fort Myers Beach in August had similar hot and humid weather -- sometimes with the heat index nearing 100 degrees Fahrenheit -- except for a thunderstorm that passed by every afternoon without fail. They came from the east, the remnants of Tropical Storm Cristobal.

The second vacation was better than the first simply because the second one was on a beach and not at the much hotter interior part of the state.

The heat isn't the only problem with vacationing in Florida during the summer. The heaviest rainfall of the year usually occurs from June through August, according to 30 years of data from the National Weather Service.

The reality is that many families vacation in Florida during the summer and especially in Orlando because kids are out of school. But it is not the best time to go for good weather.

Miami Climate Chart

Month
Average Low
Average High
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
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

Fall Season

The period of September through November shows a common pattern for almost every location -- more rains 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 will show that October looks attractive for a combination of lower rainfall and comfortable daytime temperatures.

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

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Florida 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 Studio.

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.

No destination is likely to have weather warm enough for sunning on beaches or especially for swimming.

But winter also is one of the best times of year with the lowest rainfall, making it 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

Rainfall is still moderate for most places in May except for Miami and West Palm Beach.

Spring Season

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 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.

When to Go

For beach goers, May is the best choice.

The best time to go to most beach destinations in Florida for warm weather is May through September.

Keep in mind that a mix of heat and humidity will be at its worst from June through August -- also the same months with the highest average rainfall.

Without a doubt, the month with the best combination of warm weather and low rain for beach goers is May.

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.

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 best time to go to Orlando is November through May because of lower chances of rain

© 2014 Scott Bateman

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    • promisem profile image
      Author

      Scott Bateman 7 weeks 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 7 weeks ago

      Is Key West dog friendly?

    • promisem profile image
      Author

      Scott Bateman 22 months ago

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

    • the rawspirit profile image

      Robert Morgan 22 months ago from Hutchinson Island, FL - Myrtle Beach, SC - Scottsdale 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 image
      Author

      Scott Bateman 22 months 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 22 months ago from Hutchinson Island, FL - Myrtle Beach, SC - Scottsdale 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 image
      Author

      Scott Bateman 2 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 2 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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