Florida vacations can be great year-round. As a general rule of thumb, though, if it's cold up north, it's peak season in Florida, particularly around winter holidays. Florida travel drops in the hot and humid summer. However, Florida vacations might better be thought of in terms of "North Florida," "South Florida," and "Orlando" seasons.
A North Florida destination like Jacksonville would fall into a generally cooler temperate climate zone, while a South Florida destination like Miami would fall into a subtropical climate zone. Florida vacations to Orlando fall in the non-coastal interior that lacks the moderating effects of ocean breezes. (But unlike other Florida travel, trips to Orlando are often more affected by your children's vacation schedules than by climate.)
Shoulder seasons statewide occur in spring and autumn. Florida travel is great in springtime, except around spring break, usually in March (that is, of course, unless hordes of rowdy college students are the reason you're going).
Discounts and senior specials may be offered in autumn. However, hurricane season runs June-November, so be prepared. Such severe storms can potentially cause cancelled flights, disrupted local services, and even mandatory evacuations.
It may get crowded when traveling to a North Florida destination in summer, especially on the coast, when South Floridians head up to escape the heat. Winter temperatures fluctuate more widely in the North as well. Shoulder season travel is optimal.
When to visit South Florida
South Florida's peak season is October-April, when "snowbird" hotels are full and prices often double. Except for summer, though, the climate averages a pleasant, non-humid 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, ocean breezes and air conditioning can make travel to Florida destinations along the coast a bargain between June and September. Afternoon summer thunderstorms are common, so it's best to plan outdoor Florida tours in the morning, and indoor activities for later in the day. Florida receives more lightning strikes than any other state. A sudden severe lightning storm is no time to be caught on the beach or golf course.
When to visit Orlando
Planning a trip to Orlando depends upon whether or not your travel to Florida is scheduled by children's school holidays. If possible, avoid traditional school vacation times: between Christmas and New Years, Easter week, summer months (particularly holidays), and spring break. Thanksgiving, late May, and late August can be relatively somewhat less crowded.
Parks try to offset peak times with longer hours and increased staff. But if you must travel in peak times, expect to face crowds and long lines. Pack comfy shoes, water bottles, and extra sun block. To avoid disappointment, check online or call to find out if any favorite attractions are scheduled for closure during your visit.
If you travel to Florida in winter, Orlando temperatures can dip to near 50 degrees, so a sweater might be worth the baggage space. In summer, be sure to hydrate and dress accordingly if outdoors - it's a perfect time to hit the water park!