Whether planning a quick getaway or a week-long family vacation, the time of year is sometimes the most crucial factor. The time you select sometimes depends upon other obligations, such as work, community, and family. Especially if you are traveling with small children, and have their schedules to maneuver around. But, assuming all of those can be worked around and you could pick any time of the year to take a vacation when exactly is the best time to go to Florida? Are you looking for a time of year when there are fewer crowds or when the weather is best? Or are you looking for a more festive season, or when there are special activities going on? Sometimes the time of year you go depends upon what activities you plan to do. Whatever your priorities, some careful planning may benefit you. We will go over each season and discuss some of the pros and cons of each so that you can make your travel plans better informed.
Each season has its own unique attractions and benefits, as well as cons. We will go over the weather, activities, and interests that may appeal, as well as some of the drawbacks to each season individually. Most of these points will be geared toward families with small or school-aged children that may have a school schedule to work around.
Winter in most of the United States means cold, and often wet weather. The cold, dampness is often accompanied by precipitation, such as snow or sleet, or freezing rain in some of the northern areas. So is it any wonder that a state nicknamed the Sunshine State holds such appeal? Winter weather in Florida is typically its “dry” season, so it is pleasant to escape from the snow and ice elsewhere. Also, the moderate, temperate climes remain throughout the winter, with only a few cold weeks at night, sometimes in January. But beyond that, the weather is nearly perfect, if sweating in the heat of summer and the sun isn’t for you. The crowds vary, though during the winter. At the holidays, the crowds grow exponentially, partially because of school breaks, and partially because of all the activities that the large theme parks such as Walt Disney World and Universal Studios plan during this season. Most of their holiday activities start around the Thanksgiving holiday and extend to the New Year. Nothing is more magical than the decorations at the theme parks for Christmas. The rest of the winter, the crowds are not as bad though, although you will have to contend with the “snowbirds,” or those who move to Florida temporarily from the north to escape the winter weather. Also, if you are just considering a short trip, the weekends are always the busiest time of year. Make sure you check the places you want to go to and see if they have shortened their attraction hours of operation for the winter as well, so you won’t be disappointed.
Spring is the time of year when everything is blooming and there is new life everywhere. Which isn’t necessarily a good thing if you have severe allergies. You may want to avoid being outside at theme parks all day if you have seasonal allergies, although winter is the least severe season for them, and spring is the worst. The allergy seasons probably last longer in Florida due to the longer-lasting warm weather, although the tree pollen can cause allergies in the winter. Either way, bring the allergy medicine and plan accordingly. The temperature in spring is in the 70s to low 80s and moderate, without the chilly nights of the winter. There is the religious holiday of Easter and many spring breaks during this season, so be prepared for heavier crowds during this season, especially around the beaches and theme parks. The water everywhere is finally starting to become warm enough to swim in, and tourism starts to increase during this season. In May, the weather becomes even warmer, but not yet the unbearable heat of middle summer.
Summer can be one of the most popular times of the year in Florida, so it may also be one of the busiest. The temperature is hot and it is sunny, but it is also the beginning of hurricane season, so be prepared for daily, and sometimes intense, storms. The humidity is high and the hours of sun are long and it is scorching outside! But it is also the time of year when a lot of people’s schedules mesh and they can all get time off together for the family vacation. Some people get the entire summer off and choose to take summer-long vacations to Florida. The water is warm, all the water parks are open, and the beaches are full. This is the time of year when most theme parks hold a variety of events, celebrating Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and all the way to Labor Day. July and August are often considered the worst months to visit Florida, mostly because of the hot, hot weather, and because August is the start of the aforementioned hurricane season. September is back to school for many, so after Labor Day, you may see a decrease in crowds and temperature, but hurricane season is in full force now, so you have to be wary of the weather.
Fall starts at the beginning of cooler, but still moderate temperatures, and dryer weather as hurricane season passes later in the season. Almost all little ones are back in school, but Fall Break brings crowds back to the area. Also, later in the fall is Halloween, another time of decoration, festivals, and frivolity, not only at the theme parks but in local areas as well. Late in the fall, it may grow cooler at night, but mostly during the day, the temperatures are comfortable still.
So if you are worried about the weather, perhaps November or even late Spring would be the best time of year for you to visit Florida. If crowds are your concern, then perhaps January/February, between Christmas break and Spring Breaks, or September after Labor Day, would work out best. Deals can be found year-round, but the prices are almost sure to be higher during the holidays and the breaks, so you may want to avoid them. Planning properly around the weather, crowds, and breaks/holidays is sure to make your vacation less stressful and more enjoyable. Here’s to great planning and Happy Vacationing!