With many gorgeous beaches, the water-filled wonderland of Everglades National Park and incredible theme park delights (including big-hitters Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Busch Gardens), Florida is always going to draw crowds.

It also has a tropical and subtropical climate, and a hurricane season to work around. So when is the best time to visit Florida? Use this seasonal guide to help you choose, with a month-by-month list of attractions and key events. Remember that some events straddle the months, and all events are subject to change.

It's hot and crowded in high season (March to August) 

South Florida beaches (and Daytona) hit their peak with visiting coeds from across the country during spring break. Panhandle and northern beaches are packed in summer, and the major theme parks are at their busiest. The weather is hot and humid from May to September.

Shoulder season (February and September) might be the perfect time to go

In South Florida, February has ideal dry weather and none of the craziness that spring break brings. Northern beaches and theme parks are less crowded, but it's still hot. Accommodation prices drop from peak times by 20% to 30%.

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A moody cloudy sky out at sea with the threat of rain or a storm
There tend to be thunderstorms in the afternoons in the high season © Rachelle Vance Photography / Getty Images

Low season runs October to December or January, and is perfect for outdoor activities

Beach towns are quiet until the winter snowbirds arrive. Hotel prices can drop from peak season by 50%. Beware, though, that rates will spike around public holidays. The dry season in November to April is best time to hike and camp in Florida.

January is Florida's midwinter

January falls in the middle of Florida's winter "dry" season. In northern Florida, cool temps make this off-season. In southern Florida, after New Year's, January becomes shoulder season.
Key events: College Football Bowl Games, Art Deco Weekend, Gasparilla Pirate Festival.

A float in a carnival has a large papier mache figure. People on the float are handing out mardi gras beads to revellers
Mardi Gras is a hugely popular event in Pensacola © Cheryl Casey / Shutterstock

February marks the start of Florida's festivals and events

February, just ahead of the start of high season, is an ideal time for less-crowded beaches in South Florida. It's still too cool for tourists up north. A series of festivals, street parties and fairs are kicking off across the state.
Key events: Art Wynwood, Edison Festival of Light in Fort MyersFlorida State Fair, Street Painting Festival, South Beach Wine & Food Festival, Mardi Gras.

March means spring break visitors descend

Spring break is in March to mid-April, making it high season at the beach resorts all over Florida, but particularly in the key destinations of Panama City Beach, Pensacola, Daytona, and Fort Lauderdale. Modest temps and dry weather make for an ideal time to hike and camp. This is probably your last chance to spot manatees before the waters warm up and they move on.
Key events: Spring break, Baseball Spring Training, Captain Robert Searle's RaidWinter Music Conference.

Two people cycling on a path lined with palm trees
Prices drop as spring-breakers head back home © Philip Lange / Shutterstock

There are some unusual events in April 

As spring-break madness fades, prices drop. It's the end of the winter dry season. From throwing fish across state lines to tongue-in-cheek independence celebrations, there are some slightly unusual events in the calendar.
Key events: Florida Film FestivalInterstate Mullet Toss, Conch Republic Independence Celebration, Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, SunFest.

May is when it starts to get humid

Summer's wet season begins as rain, humidity, and bugs all increase with the temperature. Northern beach season ramps up; southern beaches enter off-season. This is the start of the sea turtle-nesting season on Florida beaches; after two months (from midsummer through fall), hatchlings totter back to sea. Pensacola welcomes LGBTQIA+ visitors around Memorial Day for a three-day party.
Key events: Memorial Day Weekend Gay Party.

A profile shot of two people in a parade wearing white Storm Trooper masks with rainbow motifs. They're carrying rainbow flags
Join the celebrations of the LGBTQIA+ community throughout June in St Pete and Tampa © Nicholas Ribera / Getty Images

June marks the start of hurricane season

Oh my it's getting hot in Florida in June, with highs of 90ºF (32ºC). It's also the start of hurricane season, which peaks in September and October. School's out for summer, so theme parks become insanely crowded. Upwards of 40,000 members of the LGBTQIA+ community descend on the Magic Kingdom and other Orlando theme parks, hotels and clubs for Gay Days. 
Key events: Juneteenth, Gay Days, St Pete PrideFest, Miami Fashion Week.

July is hot and sticky

Northern-beach and theme-park high season continues through July. Swamp trails are unbearably muggy and buggy; stick to crystal springs and coastlines. America's Independence Day is cause for parades and fireworks, large and small, across the state. Miami draws the biggest crowd for the best fireworks and laser show. July marks the start of scallop season.
Key events: Fourth of July, Goombay Festival.

A pedestrianized street lined with restaurant tables
Restaurants in Miami draw visitors with special offers in August © Kamira / Shutterstock

August means hot, humid days and afternoon thunderstorms

Floridians do nothing but crank the A/C inside while foolish tourists swelter and burn on the beaches – and run from afternoon thundershowers. Miami's restaurants join together in August to offer prix-fixe lunches and dinners in an attempt to draw city residents from their apartments. 
Key events: Miami Spice, International Ballet Festival of Miami.

Listen out for hurricane alerts in September 

September is the most active month for hurricanes in Florida. Travelers should take all hurricane alerts, warnings, and evacuation orders seriously. 
Key events: Labor Day. 

Four pre-teen children having fun at pumpkin patch
There are events to mark Halloween across Florida in October © kali9 / Getty Images

October means lower prices as crowds leave

This is the end of the hurricane season. Temperatures drop, rains abate, school returns, and crowds leave. As a result, prices dip all over. Halloween-themed events and parties start running at theme parks and towns across the state. 
Key events: Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Universal's Halloween Horror Nights, Fantasy Fest, MoonFest, "Ding" Darling Days.

November sees a tourist spike during Thanksgiving

Florida's "dry" winter season begins. Northern "snowbirds" start flocking to their Florida condos. It's safe to hike again. Thanksgiving holidays spike tourism for a week.
Key events: White Party, Frank Brown International Songwriters' Festival.

Christmas parades take place all through December

High season begins for South Florida beaches. Manatees arrive in warm-water springs. Early December sees Art Basel Miami Beach – one of the biggest international art shows in the world – kick off with more than 150 art galleries represented and four days of parties. There are Christmas events and parades everywhere.
Key events: Tampa Cigar Heritage FestivalArt Basel Miami BeachVictorian Christmas Stroll.

You might also like: 
5 best Florida road trips for 2022   
From manatees to mermaids: the 9 best state parks in Florida    
Florida's best theme parks for year-round fun  

This article was first published July 2021 and updated March 2022

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