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Best Time to Visit Key West in 2022 | When to Go

Best Time to Visit Key West in 2022 | When to Go

Key West, Florida is a beautiful island located at Florida’s southern point, and lies smack in the middle of Florida and Cuba. It is part of a long chain of islands that branch off Florida’s southern coast and is home to only about 26,500 people.

Many tourists choose this island for vacation every year due to its tropical climate and fun atmosphere. Key West offers the perfect island getaway where you can relax and get a nice golden tan.

But, if relaxing on the beach isn’t your thing, Key West has plenty of entertainment options ranging from historic landmark tours to a lively nightlife scene. 

And don’t forget about all the great restaurants the island has to offer! Whatever you’re looking for during your trip to Key West, the island is sure to have it!

While you’re getting excited about booking your trip to Key West, you might be wondering when the best and worst times to visit are. There are some factors that you should consider when planning your trip based on weather, price, and how busy the island is.

Let’s take a look at some of these things so you can make an informed decision on when you should visit the stunning island of Key West!

Why You Should Visit Key West

Footbridge to Smathers Beach at sunrise for a piece on the best time to visit Key West

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Key West offers plenty of fun opportunities for both children and adults! One of the best parts of the island is that you’re surrounded by gorgeous beaches and amazing views of the ocean.

Sunshine, feet in the sand, and a light ocean breeze are the perfect combination to wipe away all that stress and worry!

Not only is Key West a great vacation spot, but it has some historical significance dating back nearly 200 years ago. Key West was a popular port for pirates back in the day and has some military significance.

Due to this, there are multiple forts, batteries, and museums situated around the island to explore. If history isn’t something you’re necessarily interested in, there are plenty of new-age things to do on the island as well!

You can visit the Key West Aquarium, go snorkeling, or visit Mallory Square to shop around and watch the sunset during the Sunset Celebration held every night since the 1960s. 

Taking a bike or boat tour is also a fun idea to get a sense of the beauty that the island holds.

Whatever activities you choose to do on your trip to Key West, you’ll have tons of fun, and you probably won’t want to go home by the end! But that means you’ll have to plan another visit!

Overall Best Time to Visit Key West

Big brown pelicans on a dock in the port of Islamorada during the best time to go to Key West

Irina Wilhauk/Shutterstock

Springtime, which is from March to the beginning of June, is the overall best time to visit Key West. This might sound strange since most people go on vacation to tropical places like this in the summer months.

But, there are a few reasons that the Spring months are the best. Weather is a huge reason why visiting Key West in the Spring is best.

The temperatures usually sit comfortably between the 70s and lower 80s in the Spring. This allows you to enjoy your vacation comfortably without needing constant shade or air conditioning breaks.

During this time, the water is the perfect temperature to have some water-related fun and do things such as snorkeling and sailing. In the summer months, the ocean water is just as hot as the outside air and feels as warm as bath water.

But, during the Spring, the water is a little cooler and feels quite refreshing. Traveling to Key West during this time also helps you beat the crowds of tourist season and allows you to enjoy a vacation before hurricane season hits.

It is quite literally, the perfect time to visit Key West. You’ll also get a great deal on hotels due to visiting outside of the tourist season.

Cheapest Time to Visit Key West

Sloppy Joe's bar pictured on Duval Street during the cheapest time to visit Key West

Daniel Korzeniewski/Shutterstock

The cheapest time to visit Key West is usually from the beginning of summer to the end of fall. Most people visit Key West in the winter because people want to get away from the cold and snow.

Because winter is their busy time, hotel and other rental rates are usually quite cheap during the summer and fall.

Summer and fall in Key West consist of surprise rain showers and thunderstorms, so people tend to stay away from Key West during those months. But that’s why everything is so much cheaper.

So, if you pack an umbrella and can handle some rain, you’ll get some pretty good deals on airfare, hotels, and other accommodations.

At the peak of summer, the temperatures can reach the 90s, making it difficult to stay outside in the sun without sunscreen or some shade. This is another reason people don’t tend to travel to Key West in the summer months.

High temperatures can make people quite uncomfortable, but if you take precautions you can still enjoy your trip to Key West in the summer. If you want the cheapest deals you can get, September is usually the best time to go to Key West.

By this time, kids and teachers are back at school, so there isn’t much traveling happening. The weather in Key West is also a tad cooler since summer is coming to an end.

Least Busy Time to Visit Key West

Street with little shops pictured outside the resorts for a piece on the least busy time to visit Key West

Deatonphotos/Shutterstock

Between March and May is Key West’s quiet time. Winter travelers will be home by then, and the island will be approaching hurricane season. These few months are like a diamond in the rough with beautiful weather and fewer tourists.

September is another time that the island tends to be less busy. September is within the range of hurricane season and is the month where storms are most likely to happen. 

Most people won’t take a chance with the iffy weather and choose not to travel to Key West. However, Labor Day is an exception. Make sure to go after Labor Day, as prices will be higher around holidays.

The temperatures between March and May tend to hover in the 70s, while the temperatures are in the 80s in September. The weather is gorgeous, minus some possible rain in September.

It is highly possible to still enjoy a vacation in Key West during their off-seasons. The island isn’t in high demand at these times, so beaches are much less crowded, and accommodations such as hotels and food prices are significantly lower.

With more room on the beaches, you’re free to relax in peace. And with lower prices, you can indulge a little more than usual by having a fancy dinner and dessert!

Worst Time to Visit Key West

Rainy day during the worst time to visit Key West pictured with a palm tree at the end of a wooden dock leading out into the ocean with a rain cloud above it

blue-sea.cz/shutterstock

The two worst times to visit Key West are the winter and during hurricane season. Key West is a winter hot spot since many people live in areas where season changes are significant. 

After about a month or two of winter, people get annoyed by the snow and want a tropical getaway. Key West offers that perfect island oasis that people are looking for. People flood the beaches, and airfare, hotels, and food prices skyrocket.

The island is in high demand during the winter, so prices increase significantly. You might be able to shop around for some deals, but often there aren’t any available because of how busy the island is.

Hurricane season, which runs from June to November, is another time you might want to steer clear of traveling to Key West. Florida, in general, tends to get the brunt of the severe weather in the summer months because of its location in the tropics. 

The humidity, high temperatures, and warm ocean water make Florida a prime atmosphere for hurricanes. Quite frankly, the gulf area is like a magnet for hurricanes.

Although hurricane season can be a little off-putting, you can still travel to Key West during this time and have fun.

Just because it’s hurricane season, doesn’t mean there is going to be a damaging hurricane. Spend time on the beach, cool off in the water, and if it rains, plan some fun indoor activities. Don’t let hurricane season put a damper on your fun!

Things to Consider

Sloppy Joe's bar pictured on Duval Street during the cheapest time to visit Key West

Daniel Korzeniewski/Shutterstock

Before booking your trip and traveling to Key West, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Here are some tips to consider when taking your trip to the beautiful island of Key West:

  • Always pack accordingly. Key West has a tropical climate and plenty of sun. You will need sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and other protective items to protect you from the sun’s UV rays. The UV index is high in Key West and can reach 13. If you travel during the rainy months, bring raincoats and umbrellas. You don’t want to be stuck in a storm with no protective gear.
  • Keep an eye on the weather before your trip, especially if you’re traveling during hurricane season. If there is a hurricane heading for Key West right before your trip, it might be a good idea to reschedule. It’s also a good idea to get travel insurance for your trip during hurricane season, just in case things get canceled.
  • Do not go to Key West during holidays, as holidays are usually the busiest and priciest times of the year. If you’re looking for a quiet and cheap getaway, go to Key West during their off-seasons. Don’t go when everyone else is going. You’ll just be setting yourself up for aggravation and more spending.

Frequently Asked Questions

Giant red and black concrete buoy pictured during the best time to visit Key West, when the sun is out with limited cloud cover and warm water

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Here are some frequently asked questions that people have when planning a trip to Key West.

What is the rainy season in Key West?

Key West’s rainy season usually runs from May to October. Keep in mind that most of these months are in hurricane season, which has the potential to put a halt to your vacation.

However, hurricane season can be a good thing if you’re looking for a cheap vacation to Key West. Hurricane season has fewer tourists and cheaper rates for airfare and hotels.

So, if you’re willing to take the risk, traveling to Key West during these months can save you quite a bit of money. Who doesn’t love to save money? Just prepare yourself for possible flight cancellations and bring your raincoat and umbrellas!

How many days should I spend in Key West?

If you already live in Florida, a day is sufficient because you can technically visit any time you’d like. The car ride over to Key West is stunning as you glide over a highway just above the ocean. It truly is an amazing sight to see. 

Traveling over miles of water is exciting in itself, but relaxation awaits you on the other side of this ocean road.

If you don’t live in Florida and plan to fly to Key West, about four days is perfect for a little beach vacation on the island. Four full days of relaxing on the beach and eating some delicious food are the perfect pick-me-up.

However, if you plan on doing more exploring and shopping, you might need at least a week. It all depends on what you plan on doing while spending time in Key West.

If you’re just going to the beaches, four days is perfect. But, if you plan on visiting museums, going to events, and doing a lot of shopping, you might need a little more time.

Do I need a car in Key West?

Key West is a pretty small island, so you won’t necessarily need a car. You can walk around easily as the island is only a few miles long and wide. The island is four miles long and about 1.5 miles wide.

Yes, it is a very small island! But that just means that it is easier to explore and you can fit multiple activities into one day! With this in mind, it is understandable that some people would rather not walk a few miles to and from their destination.

Depending on when you visit, the heat can be exhausting, and most people would rather not be dripping sweat. During the summer months, when temperatures can hit the 90s, it might be wise to rent a car or take a taxi.

Walking in the sun with a high UV index can damage your skin and increase the chances of heat stroke and exhaustion if you don’t stay hydrated.

Heat stroke happens when your body can’t regulate its temperature anymore due to excessive heat exposure. However, you can prevent this by wearing sunscreen, staying hydrated, and keeping yourself out of the sun for long periods.

Is it easy to walk around Key West?

Again, Key West is a significantly small island, so walking to your destinations shouldn’t be a problem. You’ll be able to take in the stunning scenery around you while walking to each of your destinations. 

However, keep the temperatures in mind when you take your vacation. If you travel in the summer months and don’t tolerate heat well, other transportation options might be a better option for you.

Key West has transportation options such as:

  • Taxis or ride shares such as Uber
  • Car rentals
  • Bicycle and moped rentals
  • Buses

Is Key West worth visiting?

Key West is a gorgeous island that is worth at least one visit. It offers the perfect tropical getaway without traveling outside the United States. The outside air feels like a warm blanket and instantly transports you to vacation mode. 

The island offers lovely beaches filled with palm trees and sunshine, great restaurants, plenty of fun activities, and historical architecture. It is just an overall beautiful place to visit and admire.

So, What’s the Best Time To Visit Key West?

The overall best time to visit Key West, Florida is by far the springtime (March to June). Temperatures are comfortable, winter tourists are back home, and you’ll be sneaking in a vacation right before hurricane season kicks off.

Take a well-deserved vacation and book a trip to Key West today! You’ll be glad you did. Happy travels!