When considering the best time to visit Florida Keys, travelers rarely need to take the weather into account. Perched between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, the Keys are blessed with ocean breezes and moderate temperatures. However, expected rainfall can factor into when to plan a trip to Florida Keys. There are two seasons, the dry season and the wet season, also known as winter and summer. Winter is the kindest season, with clear blue skies day after day. In the summer, anyone choosing to travel to Florida Keys can expect brief and refreshing afternoon showers.
Depending on when they arrive, those who travel to Florida Keys can often join in a festival. There’s hardly a weekend or a day that goes by without some reason to celebrate. Old Island Days brings several months’ worth of special events, including music, theater performances, tours, and even a conch-blowing contest between November and May. The month before this festival begins, Fantasy Fest and its revelers gather together to celebrate Key West nightlife. This outrageous ten-day masking and costuming festival in October incorporates lavish costume balls, a Masquerade March through Old Town, a street fair, the Pretenders in Paradise costume contest, and other fun events for those who have made the trip to Florida Keys.
Each June, many plan Florida Keys travel to attend PrideFest Key West, honoring the openness of a place known as one of the top destinations for gay and lesbian vacations. Also in the summer, the July birthday of author Ernest Hemingway is a cause for celebration, with a look-alike contest, short story contest, and a party at the Hemingway Home.
Most people who arrange Florida Keys travel include some time in the water on their itinerary. With a consistent water temperature, swimming, diving, and snorkeling can be enjoyed no matter what the calendar says. Eco-tours, both in the water and on land, are available in all seasons, though the experiences will vary throughout the year. If travelers time their trip to the Florida Keys in the spring and fall, they’ll have the chance to see migrating birds. At Dry Tortugas National Park, the spring migration brings colonies of black-and-white sooty terns and majestic frigate birds in amazing numbers—it’s not only people who travel to the Florida Keys.
Anglers can plan a trip to Florida Keys to coincide with the fishing season for the species of their choice. The waters surrounding Islamorada have been dubbed the sport fishing capital of the world. A fleet of charter boats and local guides are filled with details about the best place and time to catch what’s in season. April through July is blue marlin season, while the sailfish season extends from November through February. Dolphin fishing (not the mammal, but the fish also known as mahi-mahi) begins in April and continues throughout the summer. For backcountry fishing, temperature-sensitive bonefish can be caught all year, but the prime season stretches from September to November. Tarpon do their own Florida Keys travel from April through July, swimming close to the bridges.
No matter when vacationers plan travel to Florida Keys, they will be sure to see excellent sunsets. The time varies throughout the year, but whenever the sun drops, crowds gather in Mallory Square on Key West for the nightly arts festival.
Image: Visit Florida