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The Best & Worst Times to Visit Tampa (Updated for 2024)

The Best & Worst Times to Visit Tampa (Updated for 2024)

What's the best time to visit Tampa?

The best times to visit Tampa are October through December. You’ll escape the sticky summer heat and still enjoy all the outdoor fun, like the lively Oktoberfest and the sand sculpting exhibition. Plus, the festive season brings its own magic with events like Enchant Christmas and the dazzling lighted boat parade, making for a very unique visit.

Tampa is a favorite vacation destination for many. And while some travelers believe it’s best to go in summer, get the necessary vitamin D boost, and face the horrific humidity like a warrior, others suggest going in winter for a pleasant Christmas celebration and cooler temperatures.

Neither group is wrong. However, ultimately, the best time to visit Tampa depends on your personal expectations, preferences, availability, and budget. Here’s our take on the best times to visit Tampa.

The Overall Best Time to Visit Tampa

Streetcar in downtown Tampa pictured from the balcony of a building with clear skies in the background

TAMPA, FL, USA – JAN. 26, 2019: TECO Line Streetcar in Ybor Center in Ybor City Historic District in Tampa, Florida FL, USA/Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock

The best time to visit Tampa is between October and December. In October, the temperature is in the range of an average low of 70°F and an average high of 83°F.

December, although officially the first winter month, is still quite pleasant, with an average temperature fluctuating between 72°F and 58°F. While large parts of the US take out their winter boots, coats, and sweaters, Tampa residents and visitors are still fairly comfortable with lightweight jackets and close-toed shoes.

Visiting Tampa this time of the year means skipping the uncomfortable humidity and hot weather conditions common for summer, and enjoying some of the clearest skies of the year.

If you happen to be in Tampa in October, visit the annual Oktoberfest (check out last year’s event here). This event is where American and German cultures meet; there’s a lot of beer, live music, Bavarian games, and dirndls.

This annual sand sculpting exhibition is worth checking out as well. It gathers sand sculptors from around the world with ambitions to create stunning, larger-than-life sand masterpieces.

Organizers promise visitors an “outSANDing” time. Many festive events take place during the holiday season too. We recommend the Enchant Christmas in St. Petersburg for a truly enchanting winter wonderland.

Another great event worth attending is Tampa’s largest lighted boat parade, which usually takes place the Saturday before Christmas on the Hillsborough River. The Tampa Bay Festival of Lights features a plethora of immersive activities, holiday displays, and many opportunities for Insta-worthy snaps.

Cheapest Time to Visit Tampa

Photo of Ybor City pictured during the cheapest time to visit Tampa

Ybor City Tampa Bay, Florida. January 19 , 2019 People enjoying La Septima (7th Ave) in Old town/Viaval Tours/Shutterstock

The cheapest time to go to Tampa is during the months of January and September. January marks the end of a busy Christmas season, winter break is over, so people go back to school and overall winter travel plans seem to wane.

This is why in this period, hotels offer attractive packages and finding good flight deals is a piece of cake. Plus, the weather is still enjoyable in January — temperatures are in the range of an average high of 67°F and an average low of 53°F.

September notes a similar situation — the summer season is coming to an end and schools are ready to welcome kids back, which allows for enticing accommodation deals and airfare discounts.

The temperature fluctuates between 88°F and 76°F. Although seemingly slow months, January and September still have their share of dynamic events and things to do.

For example, in January, Southwest Florida’s Largest 10-day Cultural Arts & Music Festival takes place, known as Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival. If you’re traveling with kids, then Children’s Gasparilla is a free event worth adding to your list.

Established back in 1947, Children’s Gasparilla is the largest children’s event in the United States. September notes the easy-going GeckoFest event.

It features a street celebration with numerous activities, live music, more than 200 vendors, costume contests, street performers, and a parade. A proper way to mark the end of summer.

Least Busy Time to Visit Tampa

Photo of the downtown area pictured during the best time to visit Tampa, as seen from the trees looking out toward the waterway

Henryk Sadura/Shutterstock

The least busy time to visit Tampa is in February, the windiest month of the year. During this time, there are far fewer crowds, events, and activities.

But if you want to visit Tampa when it’s least busy, don’t let a bit of wind stop you! Plus, humidity is low, the air is fresh, and the temperature varies between 56°F and 71°F.

This month is when the Florida State Fair takes place — guaranteed fun for everyone. Runners will be pleased to hear about the St. Petersburg Distance Classic annual race and the Gasparilla Distance Classic event.

Also, this month is perfect for visiting art centers, theme parks, museums, and other major attractions — not only can you expect reduced prices, but also fewer queues.

Restaurants and bars and less busy too. Finally, if you decide to hit the beach and bask in the sun, don’t let the wind fool you — you still need an sunscreen.

Worst Time to Visit Tampa

Photo of people lounging around at Sparkman Wharf in Tampa, pictured for a piece titled Best Time to Visit Tampa

Tampa, FL USA – 7-4-2021: Crowd of people enjoying themselves at Sparkman Wharf in downtown Tampa/Noah Densmore/Shutterstock

The worst time to visit Tampa includes the months of June, July, and August. June marks the beginning of summer and, with that, large crowds of travelers, prices over the roof, and an influx of beach-goers. The average temperature varies between 88°F and 76°F.

July is also warm — the temperatures are in the range of an average high of 89°F and an average low of 78°F. August is the hottest summer month, with the average temperatures ranging between 79°F and 90.3°F.

Consistent humidity is another “summer bonus”. Even if you don’t pay attention to it in the weather forecast, you’ll definitely feel it.

Yet, these months are probably the best months for the most enjoyable beach experience. Going to water parks can also help you fight the heat. However, know that whatever it is you do, there will be big queues and high prices.

If you happen to be in Tampa for the Boom by the Bay event (which is Tampa Downtown Partnership & the City of Tampa’s official annual 4th of July event), get ready for social media-worthy fireworks, marvelous 2.5 mile-long activities, food trucks, drinks, kid games, live entertainment, and a waterfront boat parade.

Mid-August marks the beginning of Bier Fest, where beer devotees can enjoy seasonal offerings from well-known breweries, try new recipes, and attend live music events.

The bravest are also welcome to try out the epic coaster rides in the park. The not-so-brave can stick to the brews and simply enjoy the event.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Tampa?

Tons of people crowded into a park in Tampa

Tampa, Florida: January 3, 2022: The Tampa Riverwalk shops in the city of Tampa, Florida. The population of Tampa is 407,104/Michael Gordon/Shutterstock

On the whole, the best time to visit Tampa is in the October-December period. The temperatures are comfortable, humidity isn’t an issue, and there’s a lot going on in the city.

That said, it’s up to you to analyze the pros and cons of going to Tampa in each season, and see what works for you and your fellow travelers. And now that you know everything about the best time to visit Tampa, you’re ready to book your exciting trip!