Everyone should visit the subtropical Florida Keys at least once — but when’s the right time to go? See the best time to visit Florida Keys for warm, sunny weather, cheap hotel rates, and smaller crowds in our jam-packed travel guide.
Learn about the Keys and what each island has to offer, from world-class shipwreck diving and laid-back island vibes to colorful communities and costumed festivals.
We’ll show you the perfect time of year to visit the Florida Keys no matter what your goals for the trip are.
If you want sunny skies perfect for relaxing on the beach, off-season rates that make your stay cheaper, or smaller crowds with a little less hubbub, we’ve got you covered with the best time to visit the Florida Keys.
The Overall Best Time to Visit Florida Keys
- December-May is the best time to visit Florida Keys
- Highs in the mid 70s to mid 80s with very little rain
- Peak season for the Keys, so book early
The overall best time to visit Florida Keys is from December to May, which is the peak tourism season here. You’ll experience near-perfect weather conditions at this time of year with the stormy hurricane season finally at an end.
Expect glorious highs in the mid 70s to mid 80s and very little rainfall from December to April. In May, temperatures warm up a little more and the chances of rain increase slightly as hurricane season nears in June.
But you’ll still see mostly sunny skies with mild temperatures that make relaxing on the beach, biking and walking around the keys, and checking out local shops and restaurants perfect.
Events are hopping at this time of year with something going on nearly every week. The Key Largo Boat Parade (December), The Southernmost Regatta (January), Key Largo and Islamorada Food & Wine Festival (January), Key West Food and Wine Festival (January), and the Original Marathon Seafood Festival (March).
But wait — there’s more! There’s also the St. Patrick’s Day Parade (March), Conch Republic Independence Celebration (April), Afro Roots World Festival (April), and Key West Songwriter’s Festival (May), which are all fun events to look forward to during this period.
Prices on hotel rooms will be higher during this time (December-May) due to the big increase in tourists while the weather is perfect with negligible storm chances. But it’s worth the extra cost and crowded conditions to experience the Keys at their best!
Cheapest Time to Visit Florida Keys
- June-November is the cheapest time to visit Florida Keys
- Key West Pride causes rates to surge for a week
- Hot, humid, and rainy with highs in the 80s-90s
The best time to visit Florida Keys on a budget is from June to November. This is the summer and fall season, which are the off seasons in the Keys due to increased rainfall and sweltering temperatures from the low 80s to the upper 90s.
With the exception of the week-long Key West Pride celebration in early June, you’ll find some of the lowest hotel rates of the year during this period.
September and November are the absolute cheapest months to visit, but there’s a reason for that. Mid-August to October has the highest chance of hurricanes, and September is historically the rainiest and most active month for hurricanes in the Keys.
Visit in November for rock-bottom prices, lower chances of a hurricane during this stormy season, and more manageable highs in the low 80s. For festivals and events, there’s not as much going on during the steamy summer as you’ll find in the winter and spring.
But Key West Pride (June), Key West Brewfest (August-September), and adults-only Fantasy Fest (October) are all happening during this period if you’re looking for things to do.
Least Busy Time to Visit Florida Keys
- March-May, September-November are the least busy times
- Smaller crowds, lower prices, and mild temperatures
- Watch out for hurricane season and increased rain at times
The best time to visit Florida Keys without the big crowds of peak season is from March to May and September to November.
From March to May, winter’s boisterous crowds thin out as hotter temperatures and increased chances of rain hit the Keys. You’ll run into fewer tourists this far south during the spring, which makes hotel rates a little lower (though it’s still technically part of the peak season).
In fall (September-November), crowds are even smaller and better for those looking for a laid-back trip to the Keys. During the fall, the Keys are still in the hurricane season, which runs from June to November.
You’ll deal with a lot more rain at this time, especially in September (the rainiest month of the year here) and October.
If you can brave the increased chances of hurricanes, tropical storms, and major rainfall, the Keys are nice and uncrowded in the fall with cheaper hotel rates to sweeten the deal.
They host events like the Original Marathon Seafood Festival (March), St. Patrick’s Day Parade (March), Seven Mile Bridge Run (March/April), Conch Republic Independence Day (April), and the Key West Brewfest (August-September).
But they also have the Florida Keys Lionfish Derby and Festival (September), and adults-only Fantasy Fest (October). Each one is fun to check out while you’re here if you don’t mind the slightly bigger crowds at these events!
Worst Time to Visit Florida Keys
- July-September are the worst time to visit the Keys
- Hottest temperatures, lots of rain, and high humidity
- Hurricane season with increased storm chances
We’ve looked at the best time to visit Florida Keys, but what about the worst? That’s typically July through September, which are the hottest months of year down here and some of the rainiest and stormiest periods in the Keys.
The only saving grace of going at this time of year are the cheaper rates on hotels, but with so much rainfall and higher chances of destructive hurricanes and tropical storms, most will find it’s just not worth it to travel from July to September.
Highs surge into the upper 80s and 90s during this period, which is also the most active part of Florida’s hurricane season.
Since the Keys jut out into the ocean, they’re more vulnerable to hurricanes. You’re better off visiting outside of hurricane season (December-May) to enjoy better weather, fewer storms, and milder temperatures.
Florida Keys by Month: Climate & Activities
Still unsure about the best time to visit the Florida Keys? Take a look at our summary of the weather and climate by month below:
Winter temperatures in the Florida Keys range from 17 to 24°C (63-75°F). January is perfect for exploring the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, enjoying water sports like snorkeling, and attending the Key West Food and Wine Festival.
Similar to January, February maintains mild temperatures between 18 to 25°C (64-77°F). Visitors can appreciate the vibrant marine life, explore the Dry Tortugas National Park, and check out the lively events of the Key West Craft Show.
As spring begins, temperatures range from 19 to 26°C (66-79°F). March is ideal for sailing in the Florida Keys, attending the Marathon Seafood Festival, and enjoying outdoor activities in Bahia Honda State Park.
Spring temperatures in the Florida Keys range from 21 to 27°C (70-81°F). It’s an ideal time for snorkeling in Looe Key, experiencing the Conch Republic Independence Celebration in Key West, and enjoying the beaches.
May sees temperatures ranging from 23 to 29°C (73-84°F). It’s a great month for exploring the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail, attending the Islamorada Fishing Tournament, and enjoying the warm evenings with outdoor dining.
In June summer arrives in the Keys, with temperatures between 25 to 31°C (77-88°F). June offers opportunities for diving in the Vandenberg wreck, attending the Key Lime Festival in Key West, and enjoying water activities like paddleboarding.
July maintains warm temperatures from 26 to 32°C (79-90°F). It’s a popular month for fishing tournaments, exploring the Dolphin Research Center in Marathon, and attending the Key West Hemingway Days.
Temperatures in August range from 26 to 32°C (79-90°F). It’s an excellent time for kayaking in the Florida Keys, participating in the Key West Lobsterfest, and enjoying the vibrant nightlife on Duval Street.
As fall begins, temperatures range from 25 to 31°C (77-88°F). September offers a pleasant transition, with opportunities for birdwatching in the Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge, attending the Key Largo Original Music Festival, and enjoying uncrowded beaches.
October sees temperatures ranging from 24 to 30°C (75-86°F). It’s a great month for exploring the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center, attending the Fantasy Fest in Key West, and enjoying the clear waters for diving and snorkeling.
Fall temperatures range from 21 to 27°C (70-81°F). November is perfect for exploring the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, attending the Key West Film Festival, and enjoying the relaxed atmosphere before the winter season.
In December winter returns to the Keys, with temperatures ranging from 18 to 24°C (64-75°F). This brings opportunities for holiday festivities, exploring the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, and enjoying water sports in the warm winter weather.
Things to Consider
What else should you know to make sure your trip to the Keys is as perfect as you’re imagining? Keep these travel tips in mind to make the most of your stay:
- Consider the 10 Keymandments while you’re there. From choosing eco-friendly transportation (walking and biking) to helping capture invasive lionfish (they’ll show you how) while you dive or snorkel the waters around the keys, the Chamber of Commerce requests that visitors take their 10 “keymandments” to heart while vacationing here. Check out the full list here.
- Check out events and festivals that will happen during your stay. With so many things planned throughout the year down in the Keys, you’ll want to find out what types of festivals and events will be going on where you’re headed. The Florida Keys Calendar of Events is a great place to start, and check back often as new events are added!
- Key West is generally more expensive. If you’re in search of a more budget-friendly getaway, you might want to consider Key Largo, Marathon, Islamorada, or the Lower Keys. They generally offer more affordable accommodations than Key West, where you can expect to pay upwards of $175/night. You can still find great deals in Key West during the off season in summer (except for June when Key West Pride takes place).
- The Overseas Highway drive is gorgeous. While flying directly into the Keys is faster, taking the scenic Overseas Highway in is cheaper and much more beautiful. This 113-mile highway takes you from the mainland all the way down to Key West, and if you drive the entire highway, you’ll cross 42 bridges along the way. It’s the ultimate road trip and we highly recommend driving in.
- Check out the only living barrier reef in the U.S. Off the shores of Key West, you can dive the only living barrier reef in the United States – talk about a bucket list activity! Take a quick boat ride from Key West, rent some diving or snorkeling gear, and get ready to be amazed at the colorful wildlife and reef formations underwater here.
- You’ll need at least a week to explore all the Keys. If you want to explore all 5 regions of the Keys (Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, the Lower Keys, and Key West), you need to plan at least a week-long stay. Preferably a week and a half, but if you plan your itinerary tightly, you’ll be able to see a lot in a week.
- Avoid Fantasy Fest if you’re bringing the family. Key West’s annual Fantasy Fest costume party takes place for 10 days in October – and it’s definitely adults-only. Expect some nudity, raucous drinking, a lot of loud partying, and a wild crowd that won’t be appropriate for families with kids or more conservative adults. Plan your stay another time if you’d rather avoid it, and know that Key West after dark anytime of year tends to get a little wild.
- Cell coverage is spotty in the Keys. Think about it – you’ll be in the middle of the ocean, so it makes sense that cell service is going to spotty while you’re in the Keys. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, and we think you’ll enjoy the chance to unplug and really enjoy the natural beauty and activities going on here! Make sure to download directions and maps you can access offline so you don’t get lost while traveling to and around the Keys.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Florida Keys?
Overall, the best time to visit Florida Keys is from December to May when the weather is perfect, hurricane season is behind you, and temperatures hover around 75F-85F.
It’s the absolute ideal time to relax on the beach, take in fun events and festivals, and spend time snorkeling and diving in the warm waters around the Keys. December-May is the peak tourism season, so prices will be higher and crowds are unavoidable.
The Florida Keys hold a special magic that the mainland just can’t compete with. The subtropical climate, island vibes, and colorful culture you’ll find down in the Keys make it truly unique and worthy of a visit.
Whether you’re heading down to relax and enjoy the laid-back side of the Keys, spend time with the whole family exploring the ocean and harbor towns, or are looking for a fun place to let down your hair in a tropical setting, the Keys has something for everyone.
Check out these helpful travel guides next to start planning your perfect Florida vacation!
- Where to Stay in Key West | Best Areas and Hotels
- 15 Things to Do in South Florida in 2022
- Best Time to Visit Florida | When to Go & Travel Tips