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Best Time to Visit Key West (Including when is hurricane season!)

Best Time to Visit Key West (Including when is hurricane season!)

Wondering when is the Best Time to Visit Key West?

The best time to travel to Key West is a subjective opinion that can differ from one person to the next. Different seasons will meet different needs of different types of travelers. If you are needing to escape the harsh winters where you live and don’t mind paying higher accommodation rates or waiting longer for a table at a restaurant, then the winter months are a perfect time for you to visit.

If you are traveling on a tight budget and want to get the absolute best bang for your buck and get to experience Key West in its quietest season, summertime is the time for you to visit this tropical paradise.

The heat, humidity, and regular afternoon storms make summer in Key West a rough time for those who can’t tolerate heat and humidity well. The fall and spring seasons offer a nice middle ground between winter and spring. I believe the best time to travel to Key West taking cost, fewer crowds, weather, and events into account, is in the spring, toward the end of April.

I will break down what traveling to Key West means in each month of the year, and let you decide when the best time to go to Key West is for yourself.

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Best Time to Visit Key West (Also When NOT to Travel there!)

Winter Months

The winter time is the most popular time to travel to Florida, the weather is often the warmest and most mild out of the entire USA during these months.

It is dry season, particularly in the tropical area of the Florida Keys, so the humidity is down and you aren’t plagued with everyday thunderstorms. There is typically a constant breeze from the tradewinds and it is sunny with an average temperature in the high 70s.

In the months of December through February in Florida the weather is near perfect. This delightful weather also causes the winter to be the most crowded and most expensive time to travel to Key West for accommodations, experiences, and food. Some of the most popular events and festivals are held during the winter months that attract people from all over the world.

Travelers who are interested in a rowdier holiday, believe that crowds add to the charm and excitement of Key West. You can easily achieve a party-filled holiday during this time of year. There are parties at almost every bar and venue that you walk into at night, especially on Duval Street.

Tip: Many people visit Key West as part of a Miami to Key West road trip. The best time to drive from Miami to Key West is when there is less traffic on the roads.

best time to go to key west

December:

December tends to be one of the most expensive times of year to visit Key West. Because of this, I did some research on fun free activities in Key West that are available to you and fun for the whole family if you decide to take your holiday in December.

You can pack a picnic and find a good spot on Duval Street to watch the annual Key West Holiday Parade. Every year, it is hosted on December 3rd at 7 pm. The parade kicks off at the corner of Truman Avenue and Eisenhower Drive and comes to a close at the corner of Duval Street and Front Street.

For those with an interest in history and mechanics, there is a Holiday Classic Car Show hosted on December 18th from 11 am to 3 pm at Historic Seaport. It is held in the main parking lot on Caroline and Margaret Square.

The Holiday Boat Parade is held on December 9th and offers you a view of an armada of vessels and ships decorated to the fullest with lights, tinsel, and more.

If you want to get a little closer to the action, you can get a ticket with Classic Harbor Line Charters and get to ride on their impressive pirate-ship-like schooner known as Schooner America 2.0. Tickets cost $104 and will give you three hours onboard this beautiful ship. You will get a front-row seat to over 25 boats decked out to the fullest while sipping hot cider and conch soup provided by the Classic Harbor Line Crew.

See more: 7 day sailing itinerary of the Florida Keys

sloppy-joes-bar-key-west

January:

The weather in Key West in January is extremely mild compared to pretty much everywhere else in the country during that time.

There is an average low temperature of 65℉ and an average high temperature of 75℉. You can expect around 4 days of rainfall, although it is typically relatively dry for the most part. Because of Key West’s lovely weather in January, some of the most fun and popular events are held in January.

For the foodies of the group, a visit to the Florida Keys Seafood Festival is a must. The festival is held on January 13th and 14th, and tickets for general admission cost $10 and grant you access for both days, and children 12 and under get in for free. It is held in Bayview Park, and the purchase of a ticket enters you into a raffle for $250 worth of seafood. Proceeds from the event go to sustainable fisheries management and youth scholarships.

If you aren’t fulfilled with one food festival, be sure to grab tickets to the Key West Food and Wine Festival. The 2024 festival has a Spanish theme, offering culinary delicacies and cultural staples. The event is held from January 23rd-28th. Tickets go on sale October 1st, I would recommend getting your tickets in advance to ensure entry.

If you and your family are country music fans, then you will have to grab tickets to the Mile 0 5-Day Red Dirt and Americana Music Festival. Tickets start at $500 per person for general admission and guarantee you a hootin’ and hollerin’ time.

key-west-when-should-I-visit

February:

February is one of the coldest months of the winter, causing it to be one of the most popular times to travel to Key West. It is the best month to visit Key West if you hate the extreme heat. February is also one of the most expensive times of year to visit this quaint island town.

It is likely that you will need dinner reservations for every restaurant that you plan to eat at, if you would like to be seated at a reasonable hour.

For those who appreciate the arts, I recommend visiting the annual Old Days Art Festival in Key West which is held from February 25th through 26th in the Truman Waterfront Park. The event is hosted by the Key West Art Center.

Spring in Key West

In my opinion, springtime is the most pleasant time of the year to visit the Keys. Seasonal crowds have begun to subside, giving you a bit more space and freedom.  Prices are not at their lowest out of the year but also are not as high as they are in the winter months.

Although, Key West is a popular spring break spot between between March and May. Be sure to expect families with children and rowdy college students. The spring break college crowd can make for a lively stay if you are staying close to Duval Street or some late-night bars.

From March to May you may be blessed with seeing some migratory birds, including the Least Tern and Antillean Nighthawk as they make their way through the keys during the spring.

Key West in March:

Key West weather in March is still relatively mild, which is why accommodation and excursion prices are still on the high end. March in Key West has an average high temperature of 78℉ and an average low temperature of 68℉.

It is still very dry out and you can expect about 3 days of rainfall on average. One of Key West’s local traditions, the “Conch Honk” occurs on the first Saturday of every March. It is a Conch Shell Blowing Contest in the garden of the Oldest House Museum at 322 Duval Street. In 2024, the event falls on March 5th.

It is free to participate and there are conchs available for sale for those who didn’t come equipped with their own.

If you are interested in getting an inside look into some of Key West’s most incredible homes and gardens, you can join the annual Key West House and Garden Tour hosted on March 17th-18th. The event is held by the non-profit Old Island Restoration Foundation. It is recommended that you purchase tickets in advance, as spots fill up quickly.

least busy time to visit key west

April:

The end of April is the best time of year to visit Key West. The heat and humidity have risen just enough to scare off the majority of tourists, and you will find that accommodations, food, and activities are all slightly more affordable.

April will bring you an average high temperature of 82℉ and an average low temperature of 71℉.  It is still technically dry season, but you can expect about 3 days of rainfall.

If you plan to visit towards the end of April, you will be able to make it to the Conch Republic Independence Celebration, April 23rd is the big day of celebration for the Conch Republic’s “secession”. The act of secession was merely satire, and came about in 1982 when the US military held a border control blockade of the Florida Keys.

Citizens of Key West organized a “secession” and declared war against the United States, only to surrender after 1 minute and after asking for 1 billion dollars in foreign aid. The Conch Republic lives on mostly as a tourist attraction. 2024 will be Key West’s 42nd annual Independence Celebration and the activities will begin on April 20th and conclude on April 29th.

For the foodies of the group, you can visit A Taste of Key West, on April 24th from 6-9 pm located at Truman Waterfront Park. General admission is free to walk around and check everything out.

There are also different tiers of tickets that are available for purchase that will grant you a different amount of goodies according to the price. If your family is interested in seeing a Naval Air Show, there is one hosted in Boca Chica Field on April 15th-16th. Admission is free for all ages.

Key West in May:

May brings slightly warmer temperatures and the slowing of tourism becomes more noticeable. Afternoon thunderstorms start to creep their way into the daily routine towards the end of the month.

Throughout the month of May, you will get an average high temperature of 88℉ and an average low temperature of 78℉. May also typically has around 5 days of consistent rain. Later in the month, you will experience more storms and precipitation as hurricane season approaches.

If you or someone in your party is a musician, you all may enjoy the 28th annual Songwriters Festival that is held from May 1st to May 6th, 2024.

The festival will host over 30 performances and 150 performers located throughout Key West. This festival has been accredited with giving many big names their start, including Florida Georgia Line, Maren Morris, and Jake Owen.

worst-time-to-visit-key-west

Summer Months in Key West

If you plan your trip to Key West during the summertime, you will be blessed with the lowest rates of the year and get to experience the island in its least crowded state. However, it is Key West hurricane season, so be sure to keep an eye on the weather in case any rescheduling is necessary.

It can be extremely humid, so be sure to schedule some beach or pool time on your trip to help you cool off a bit. A lot of the tourism consists of families with children on their summer vacation, so if you are especially adverse to being around children, this might not be the time to visit Key West for you.

The heat and humidity are also very prevalent during these months, and summertime in the Keys is not for the faint of heart.

June:

June begins the hottest portion of the year in Key West. You will typically see an average high temperature of 88℉ and an average low temperature of 80℉. Although, the peak temperatures in the summer seem to be rising every year. There are typically around seven days of consistent rainfall.

Hurricane season has officially begun and it is common to see an afternoon thunderstorm nearly every day. Key West is an accepting place for all, and you will see people from all walks of life celebrating Key West Pride, with festivities from June 5th to June 9th, 2024.

During the Pride Fest, you will have access to a 4-day party consisting of drag shows, wine tastings, theater performances, dance parties, and more. All of that partying can really make you work up an appetite.

If you stay for a couple of more weeks, you can get the pleasure of experiencing the 7th annual Mango Fest held June 27th through June 30th, 2024 to experience all things mango, including culinary delicacies, educational speeches, and an assortment of different demonstrations.

ATTACHMENT DETAILS best-time-to-visit-key-west

July:

The temperature and humidity continue to rise in July and the month has an average high temperature of 90℉ and an average low temperature of 81℉. There are typically around eight days of rainfall. At this point in the year, you can expect regular afternoon thunderstorms from the higher temperatures. However, it’s very rare that these storms will develop into a hurricane this early in the season.

July is also one of the most humid months of the year, rivaling with August. July also offers some of the warmest water temperatures of the year. The water temperature can get up to 90℉, which is an especially warm water temperature.

This past year the ocean around Key West got higher than 100℉, a startling temperature for the sea. If the heat is getting to you, there’s no shortage of icey cold beverages to cool you off. You can grab a famous Key Lime Colada at Island Dogs Bar.

If you’re a key lime fan and you’d like to learn more about Key West’s most famous fruit, you can visit the Key Lime Festival, held from July 3rd to July 7th, 2024. At this festival, you will find culinary events and intricacies for the whole family, a sip & stroll, pie drop, mini pie making, key lime tree master classes, and even a scavenger hunt.

If you are in town for Fourth of July and are hoping to see some amazing fireworks, the best place to watch them is arguably the White Street Pier. Every year, the fireworks display continues to get better and better.

weird attractions in key west

Key West in August:

August is often the hottest month of the year with an average high at 91℉ and an average low of 81℉ and there are usually at least 10 days of rainfall. The heat and humidity are a doozy this time of year.

This can guarantee you some of the lowest rates and least crowded times of the year in Key West. It is the cheapest time to fly to Key West. Although, the cheapest rates in Key West occur in August, these rates still might not seem very inexpensive for most.

If you are there between August 8th and 11th, you can celebrate the kickoff of lobster season at the Key West Lobsterfest. 2024 will be the 27th annual celebration. The festivities typically include lobster boils, music performances, pool parties, and more.

If you can manage to be outdoors in the heat, you can visit the West Martello Tower, which is home to Key West Garden Club’s Botanical Gardens. It is a Civil War-era fort that was never completed. Construction began in 1863 and ceased in 1873. In 1949, the West Martello Tower ruins were considered an eyesore and many Key West residents wanted it gone.

It offers a fantastic view of the Atlantic Ocean and Higgs Beach, so many wanted to put something there that highlighted the great view. There used to be a huge strangler fig that offered a wide shadow coverage, but it was unfortunately blown over during Hurricane Irma that passed through in 2017. The gardens are usually riddled with butterflies and it is almost guaranteed that you will see some.

After finishing at the West Martello Tower, you can check out the African cemetery located between the tower and the White Street Fishing Pier. In 1860, 294 enslaved Africans were rescued from three slave ships and brought to Key West. Due to the extremely inhumane conditions that they were subjected to, many passed away upon arrival to Key West and were laid to rest here.

Sunset Celebration At Mallory Square

Sunset Celebration At Mallory Square/ Flickr

Fall in Key West

During these fall months, you will experience a slight temperature drop, however, humidity is still pretty high. The hurricane season becomes more active later in the season, so if you plan a trip during the fall, be sure to keep your eyes on incoming storms that may grow into a hurricane.

Key West is most definitely not the place you want to be during a hurricane, as there is only one road on and off the island, and evacuating can be an arduous and stressful process.

September:

September has an average high temperature of 89℉ and an average low temperature of 80℉. You can expect at least 11 days of rainfall. September and August tend to be the slowest months of the year and will offer you the most quiet vacation away from the rush of tourists.

However, September is also the month that your vacation is most likely to be canceled due to a hurricane. Hurricane Irma came through Key West in September 2017, and it was an especially devastating storm.

If you are a lover of hops, you have to visit the Key West Brewfest. At this beer-filled event, you will get to experience pool parties, bingo, a belly flop contest, beer pairing dinners, and of course a huge selection of beer.

The event is hosted by the local nonprofit, The Rotary Club of Key West, and proceeds from the event are dedicated to local scholarships and the Take Stock in Children program.

key west in september

October:

Once October rolls around, the afternoon thunderstorms become less prevalent. You still have to be wary of incoming storms, because hurricane season runs through November. The last hurricane that hit Key West in October was Hurricane Irene. It made landfall on October 15, 1999, as a Category One intensity hurricane with winds at 104 mph.

The precipitation slows down to an average of 7 rainy days in October. There is an average high temperature of 85℉ and an average low temperature of 78℉.

If you want to enjoy a party on your holiday, you can visit Key West’s Fantasy Fest. A 10-day fun-filled festival that was begun in 1979 by Key West locals to attract more tourists to the then-sleepy island. Festivities for this event include pool parties, group bike rides, drag shows, a theater performance, body painting showcases, tons of music performances, an election of Fantasy Fest King and Queen, and so much more.

If you would like to spend your October holiday with some Halloween Spirit, you can take a haunted pub crawl with Bone Island Haunted Pub Crawl put on by Key West Promotions. Key West was originally named “Cayo Hueso”, which translates to “Bone Island”. The haunted pub crawl costs $24.95 per person and includes a two-hour guided pub crawl packed with ghost stories and a souvenir t-shirt.

For the non-drinkers and those there with their families, there is also a Bone Island Ghost Tour. This 90-minute walking tour includes chilling ghost stories at infamous spots including the Key West Cemetary, Original Key West Morgue, Fort Zachery Taylor, and so many more.

Admission for adults costs $17.95, and admission for children costs $15.95. Private tours are available for groups of 10 people or more and tickets cost $22.95 a person regardless of age. For those looking for more of an athletic challenge on their Key West holiday, they can sign up to run in the Southernmost 5K and 10K. The race begins and ends at the beautiful Higgs Beach in Key West.

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November:

As the temperature around the country begins to decrease, the amount of tourists traveling to Key West increases. This also means that hotel rates will get higher and wait times at restaurants in Key West will get longer. However, the weather is close to perfect, with an average high temperature of 79℉ and an average low temperature of 72℉ and around 3 days of rainfall.

It is the beginning of dry season so the afternoon thunderstorms will slowly come to a stop. Hurricane season ends in November and it is rare that you will have a strong storm that late in the season. The water temperature is around 79℉, so it’s the perfect opportunity for your water and beach festivities.

There is no shortage of activities to fill your time after you’ve arrived. If you and your family visit the island to celebrate a less traditional Thanksgiving Holiday full of sunny skies and a warm breeze, there are plenty of local restaurant gems to fulfill your Thanksgiving Day food cravings.

There is also a free Thanksgiving meal given out at Mallory Square every year to ensure that everyone has a place to be on the holiday. You can attend the event and have some dinner, or also donate or volunteer to help the locals of Key West serve the community.

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FAQs about When’s a good time to visit Florida Keys

When is the worst time to visit Key West?

The worst time to visit Key West is subjective but it in opinion it is during the hurricane season, which typically spans from June to November.

The region is vulnerable to severe weather conditions and potential evacuation orders. Planning a trip outside this period would offer a safer and more enjoyable experience of the beautiful island. It would also be less hot! In saying this, it is the cheapest time of the year to visit and when you will experience the least crowds.

When is hurricane season in Key West?

If you want to avoid Hurricane season, plan a trip to Key West outside of these dates – June 15 through November 30. The worst storms tend to hit between August 15 and October 1.

When is the rainy season?

June through October is considered the wet season, receiving approximately 65 percent of the yearly total in showers and thunderstorms.

When is the cheapest time to go to Key West?

The cheapest time to visit Key West is typically during the peak of hurricanes from August 15 and October 1. This is considered the off-peak season due to the higher likelihood of hurricanes and the hot and humid weather.

Many tourists avoid this time, leading to lower accommodation and travel costs. If you decide to visit during this time to save costs, it’s important to keep an eye on weather forecasts and potential storms during this period.

When is overall the best time to go to Key West?

We think April is the best time of year to visit Key West Florida. The heat and humidity have risen just enough to scare off the majority of tourists, and you will find that accommodations, food, and activities are all slightly more affordable.

When is off season in Key West?

Off-peak season in Key West tends to coincide with the worst time of year for hurricanes, from August 15 and October 1.

It is however, the best time to visit the Florida Keys if you want a cheaper price on lodging and tours.

key west sunset

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I hope that I have given sufficient background information for you to choose the best times to visit Key West.

I recommend visiting towards the end of April, for the best weather and prices. Whenever you decide to go, you will certainly have a great time in Key West’s tropical paradise.

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Author

  • Reilly Mulligan

    Reilly is a sailing enthusiast from Florida who has spent her life sailing and exploring the Sunshine State. A native Floridian born who raised in St. Petersburg, Florida, Reilly has spent her whole life going on interesting, off-the-beaten-path trips around the state of Florida and has a plethora of information and experiences to share! While she is not sailing her boat around the Sunshine State she is sharing her experience traveling around the State with the readers of Florida Vacationers!

    fl.orida.vacati.one.rs@gmail.com Mulligan Reilly

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