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What's the Best Time To Travel To Florida: A Guide

The best time to visit Florida? Well, that depends on what you’re looking to do, who you’re traveling with, and where you’re headed. From the beaches in Daytona to the nightlife in Tampa, there are hundreds of places to explore and experience in Florida. 

If you’re traveling to Florida for the first time, consider suggestions and advice in this guide for the best experience possible. 

For Ideal Weather

If you head to Florida, travel when there’s ideal weather and don’t skip out on the sunshine. 

Florida is one of the largest states in the U.S. and the weather varies from one end of the state to the other. From North to South and East to West (or coast to coast) the weather changes drastically. However, the overall best time to visit Florida in terms of weather is the springtime—April is ideal for Florida weather! 

If you’re more of a sunbathe kind of person, with the right sunscreen, of course, June is when the weather starts to get hot. 

For Avoiding Crowds

If you’re trying to avoid crowds and have a peaceful vacation in Florida with your family, definitely don’t visit Florida in the summer and winter seasons. 

Florida is a hotspot for vacationing in the U.S. and is one of the most popular and traveled destinations in our country. During peak season, which typically falls from November to March, and then throughout the summer, the crowds and numbers are up. 

Traveling to Florida during this window of time is not as enjoyable as, say, September or October. 

For a popular city in Florida with a destination like Disney, Orlando is definitely a crowded place during the winter months. Between the warmer weather and all its amusement parks and attractions, people also flock to warm sunny Florida when it begins to get cold out in their home states. 

A good time to head to Florida is when school is in session and families are not frequenting as often. 

For Theme Parks

The best time to visit Florida if you’re heading to Disney World, Orlando Universal Resort, Epcot, SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens, Legoland, or one of the several other theme parks, is to once again visit during off-peak seasons. 

If you want to have an enjoyable experience with your family, without waiting in giant lines, or worrying about crowds, the months of September, October, May, and June, are a great time to visit! 

Try to avoid theme parks in Florida from the months of November to January. You will be waiting for hours to catch rides and your kids will get cranky. 

It’s important to keep in mind that the price of flights rise during this time too because of the holidays. If you’re able to take the time off and go to Florida during off-peak seasons, do it!

For Lowest Prices on Flights

Speaking of inexpensive flights, the cheapest times to visit Florida are early June before school gets out of session, the month of May, and the month of September. Depending on where you're flying from and what airport you're flying into always changes the price of your ticket. However, generally, these are the months that will provide you better values on flights, activities, and Hotel prices. 

There are specific areas in Florida that are also less expensive to visit than others. Orlando, Miami, and Tampa are always expensive places to visit. Daytona Beach is a city in Florida that changes in prices depending on the month, considering Bike Week and the NASCAR Daytona 500.  

During Art Basel in November, Miami is one of the most expensive places to visit. The price of hotels rise and the price of flights do too. Since Florida is such a big state, it always depends on where you're headed, but for the major cities, avoid any holidays and major events so that you can get the best deals on flights, hotels, and more.

For Best Beach Experiences

If you're heading to Florida for the beach experience of a lifetime, you can visit any time of year and have an incredible beach vacation

Florida is home to some of the most outstanding beaches in the world and there isn't necessarily a bad time to visit. Considering how large their beaches are, there is room for everyone on Florida beaches. Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit!

Just remember that the humidity levels rise intensely in the summer, and the UV index can grow to dangerous levels. 

Laying out on the beach in Florida for a week in the summer can be your moment to get that summer tan you've been waiting for. However, it can also be a time where you get very burnt or rained on.

Florida is also known for its thunderstorms in the summer. When temperatures rise into the 90s and above, Florida experiences thunderstorms like no other state. 

They arrive on beaches quickly and they sometimes don't leave for hours or they just pop in for the afternoon. Lightning is a very serious part of Florida thunderstorms and it’s to be taken seriously. 

When you hear thunder and see lightning in the distance, definitely get off the beach before there are any problems that could arise. 

As a safety tip, never go on a Florida beach without sunscreen. The sun is strong there and you will experience extreme sunburn.  If you're looking for a more mild experience on a gorgeous Florida beach, consider the month of May or September. The sun is not as hot during this time, but you can still get a tan and experience warm breezes throughout the day. 

For Wildlife Exploring

If you're heading to Florida with your partner or friends to experience Florida wildlife. like alligators, dolphins, or birds, there are various times and places to arrive. 

Since Florida is large, it really depends on what you want to see which then indicates the best time to head to Florida. 

Florida is very popular for birding, especially during the months of October through December. White pelicans and shorebirds can be seen during this time. Then from January through April, waterfowl and wading birds tend to be spotted! 

Central to Northern Florida are great places to see alligators. Spotting an alligator in Florida is not tough and they tend to show up in areas like Gainesville and other Swampy locations.

Alligators sometimes end up in man-made ponds and in residential areas throughout Florida, too, so be careful, especially at night. 

Dolphins are another spectacular animal to see in Florida! Dolphins tend to pop up from late May through August and they find themselves in Crystal Beach, Miramar Beach, and Henderson Beach State Park. However, they are also spotted in Daytona, Miami, and other popular beaches in the summer.  

If you're looking to spot dolphin pods, head to Florida in the summer.

Best Months To Visit Florida

As mentioned previously, the best months to visit Florida are definitely the months of April, May, June, September, or October. For their moderate weather, comforting temperatures, low pricing, and relatively low crowding, Florida in these months is ideal for families traveling to this sunny state for the first time. 

Best Time To Travel to Popular Cities

If you're less interested in the beach and the wildlife and more interested in Florida cities, head to Tampa, Miami, Sarasota, Naples, or Jacksonville for a city experience.   

Tampa in the spring is a really incredible place to visit. It might be slightly crowded with college students, but the weather at this time is beautiful. Home to Busch Gardens, Tampa is an amazing cultural center developed originally by Cuban and Spanish workers. Tampa is known for its dining and nightlife and has some of the most incredible food known to any Florida City. Once again, try to head to Tampa during the off-season when colleges are not in session.

Miami in the fall is gorgeous, the prices are slightly lower, and this coastal metropolis is home to some of the most incredible art, food, and nightlife culture. Miami is a place that is great for the whole family, and there's plenty of activities and experiences to have in this major Florida city.   

Sarasota is a smaller city on the western coast of Florida, but it is home to some of the most beautiful views and home to several modern art museums. It’s a less populated area and lends itself to some of the quietest beaches in Florida. With completely white sands and warm shallow waters, Sarasota is a city and beach destination for all. 

With a population of almost one million, Jacksonville is the most populous city in the state of Florida. Jacksonville is known for its incredible art walks, shopping centers downtown, and its memorial parks and theaters. Located on the Atlantic coast of Florida, the weather in Jacksonville is pleasant, until the humid summer months. 

With only a population of 19,000, Naples is one of the smallest cities in Florida and one of the most popular on the Gulf of Mexico. 

It is a very common dolphin-spotting destination, and home to golfing, fishing, and white sands. Naples is a beautiful Florida destination, with high prices. Try to visit Naples before the month of July, and never in the winter. Temperatures skyrocket in Naples in the summer, and the price to travel rises exponentially during the winter holiday season.  

Best Time To Travel During the Holidays

If you must travel to Florida during the holiday season,  try to give yourself week-long brackets before and after holidays.  

For example, if you're heading to Florida for Christmas, try to leave a week early. The prices will drop and the airports will be less crowded. After you spend your time in Florida for Christmas and the holidays, consider spending a little more time there and leave a week after New Years Day. 

If you work remotely, it's best to consider staying even two weeks longer, so that you can get the best deals on flights. It also depends if you're traveling with family or traveling alone, but if you are alone or able to take your time getting back home, consider staying in the sunny state of Florida for as long as you can after the holidays, to save money. 

Remember, besides California, Florida is the number one most frequented vacation destination in the United States. Airline companies are aware of this and so are hotels. Don't get ripped off on high holiday prices if you don't have to. 

The Worst Time To Visit Florida

For a quick recap, the worst time to visit Florida is during the holiday season. From Thanksgiving to New Years Day, hotel and flight prices rise, and your chance of experiencing crowds, long lines, and booked restaurants is during the holiday season. 

Florida is a state that remains crowded throughout the summer months too. The beaches are packed and amusement parks, especially water parks, are swarmed with children and families. If you’re trying to head to Florida on a family vacation and have a chance to head there on an off-season, definitely take advantage of the opportunity. 

Start Planning Your Trip

There is a lot to explore in the state of Florida. Whether you’re on the beach basking in the sun in your favorite swimsuit, visiting theme parks with your family, or heading to Miami for nightlife and food with friends, don’t skip out on the chance to visit. 

This state is popular and has a lot to offer, and really has an activity and experience for everyone to enjoy. Travel in the off-season, consider the early fall and spring times for weather, and never head to Florida without sunscreen and water. 

Sources:

The Most Visited States in the US | WorldAtlas

Best Time to Visit Florida | Tripping.com Rentals

These are the best times to visit Florida | The Points Guy

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