Thinking of visiting Key West and wondering what is the best time to visit the Florida Keys? You are in the right place.
In this article, we will walk you through when to go to the keys and give you all the information you need so you can make a decision that is right for you. However, whenever you choose to visit you will have an amazing time.
Planning your trip to Key West last minute?
Make sure to book ahead! Hotels and tours often sell out the closer you get to your trip. Here are our top picks for Key West!
Top Experiences And Tours In Key West:
- Dolphin Watching And Snorkeling Eco Tour (Top pick!)
- Schooner Sunset Sail (2 hours)
- Reef Snorkel From Key West (Includes breakfast and mimosas)
- Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tour (Great way to see the city)
Top Places To Stay In Key West:
- Margaritaville Beach House Key West (Modern mid-range)
- Blue Marlin Motel (Affordable in downtown)
- Hampton Inn Key West (Waterfront with pool)
- Wicker Guesthouse (Great location!)
This tropical string of Floridian islands never fails to deliver. Laying 120 miles off the southern tip of Florida the Florida Keys beaches are some of the best in the world and the snorkeling and scuba diving in the Keys are fantastic.
However, the highlight of any trip here is the vibrant southernmost city of Key West. There is so much to do and see in Key West and is a place not to be missed.
So when is the best time to go to The Florida Keys? Pull up a chair grab a pen and paper and let us walk you through our guide to visiting the Keys.
Make sure to check out our master post on the Best Time To Visit Florida including a breakdown by month, weather, events, and more!
When is the best time to visit The Florida Keys?
The answer to this question is somewhat of a challenge, mainly because it depends so much on what makes a good holiday for you.
The best month to visit the keys really is a personal choice that depends on your budget, what you want to do, your tolerance to heat, and whether you prefer things to be quieter or busier.
From November through February the temperatures are not too hot but everything is busier. March through May things are a little hotter and there are a lot of festivals to enjoy.
June through October tend to be the cheapest time to visit the Florida keys but it is very hot. It’s also a little quieter this time too. September and October are also hurricane season in the keys so you need to be more vigilant of the weather.
As you can see the best time to vacation in the Florida Keys is really dependent on the type of holiday you want.
High And Low Season For Key West And The Keys
The high season in the Florida Keys tends to be from Christmas through to mid-April. Christmas in the Florida Keys really is a treat and lots of people go to spend the festive season there. The temperatures are very warm and tolerable at this time of the year but it is much more expensive. It’s also much busier.
The low season in the Keys runs from June to November. During these times the temperatures can become so hot and it’s very humid. If you are looking for a bargain though it’s the summer months you want to visit as hotels can be half the price of the more popular months.
The off-season in Key West allows those on a tighter budget to enjoy these islands without breaking the bank.
When to go to the Keys is so dependent on your personal circumstances and your likes and dislikes.
Visit The Keys In Summer If You:
If you can tolerate heat well and want a bargain then the summer months are the cheapest time to visit the Florida keys. The average highs are 90°F, 32°C.
Those beautiful Key West Colonial-style hotels do not come cheap and in the summer months, you are likely to pay half of what you would in more popular months. The low season in the Keys is the time you will get the best bargains.
It’s also less crowded and you will find it easier to get restaurant tables, the best seats in cafes, and tickets for attractions like Dry Tortugas are easier to come by.
You will also find you have more daylight hours and the water is really warm almost like a bath. The off-season in Key West is a brilliant time to visit for those who don’t mind being hot and sweaty.
You will find that it’s muggy and thunderstorms are common. Hurricane season in the keys also spans this period with most storms occurring in August and September. It’s rare for the Florida Keys to get hit though.
Visit The Florida Keys In Winter If You:
Most feel that the best time to vacation in the Florida keys is winter. At this time the Keys offer some of the warmest weather in the U.S.A. The weather is an average of 75°F (24°C) and there is a nice breeze making sure you don’t get too hot.
As well as it not being too hot it is also outside hurricane season and there are very few storms or rainy days. You are pretty much guaranteed perfect weather during the winter months. So if you are thinking about when to go to key west this might be the season.
It is consequently more expensive in fact the most expensive time to visit and the busiest. Restaurants are fuller, beaches more packed and attractions often booked out.
However, the crowds only seem to really add to the vibe and many believe it’s the best time to travel to key west to see it at its best.
Winter also tends to be the time when most of the food art and music festivals happen.
Visit Key West In Fall If You:
If you love Halloween then let’s just say nowhere does Halloween like the Florida Keys. Fantasy Fest is a 10-day party for grown-ups. This is the best time to visit The Keys if you are a Halloween junkie.
The festival has been running since 1979 and was started to bring people to the Keys during the quieter months. It takes place at the end of October and it is attended by close to 100,000 people. Each year has a theme and everybody dresses up making the island one big Halloween party.
Before the festival, there is somewhat of a lull in the Keys and it becomes quieter and much more tranquil. Soaking up the autumn sun is as close to bliss as it gets.
Fall also sees the start of the Keys’ Stone Crab Craw season so if you love crab this is the time to visit.
There is a possibility of hurricanes in early fall though so keep that in mind.
Visit The Keys In Spring If You
Many argue that spring is the best time to go to The Florida Keys in particular the best time to travel to Key West. The weather is still good, it’s not hurricane season and it is slightly cheaper.
In the spring you will avoid the stormy weather and the many tourists with the best months being April and May. Temperates are hot but bearable ranging from 72-82°F, 22-28°C in April to 86°F, 30°C in May.
Spring is a perfect time for scuba diving and snorkeling too.
Some of the attractions, local restaurants, and businesses might be closed or have different opening times though so check before you go.
Also note that the Keys, in particular, Key West are a favorite destination for spring breakers so stay away during that time if Spring Break is not your vibe.
Key West And The Florida Keys By Month:
If you still can’t decide when to go to the Keys, and when to go to Key West don’t worry. We’ve broken down all the events and information you need to know month by month.
This way you can easily pick exactly the right time for you to visit depending on the type of vacation you want to have.
When to visit the Keys is such a personal decision and we hope this list will help you make it easier for you to choose.
The Florida Keys In January
If you are wondering when is the best time to visit Key West and you don’t do heat well January is the month for you. It is the last month of winter and the coldest month of the year.
The average high will peak at 74°F,24°C and it won’t get colder than 64°F, 18°C so it’s still relatively warm. January in the Florida Keys is beautiful.
These lovely temperatures make it a popular place to see in the New Year and the celebrations are plentiful.
Key West in January is a perfect experience with the island hosting the Key West Food & Wine Festival and the Florida Keys Seafood Festival. There is also the Key Largo and Islamorada Food & Wine Festival. If you love food the Florida Keys in January are right up your street.
Other events include Art Under the Oaks in Tavernier, Coconut Crawl at Key Colony Beach, and the Florida Keys Celtic Festival Marathon.
January in Key West and in fact the rest of the keys is the perfect time to visit for great weather and foodie festivals. If you are wondering when to go to the Keys the winter might be the perfect time for you.
The Florida Keys In February
February in the Florida Keys is just perfect. The temperature tends to be between 76°F, 24°C, and 66°F 19°C. February is also the month with the lowest rainfall.
While Key West in February is perfect for a romantic getaway it tends to all be about art during this month.
The Pigeon Key Art Festival and the Coral Head Music Fest both take place in Marathon. And February in Key West sees the Old Island Days Art Festival.
If you love art February is the best time to visit Key West.
The Florida Keys In March
March in the Florida Keys sees temperatures rise a few degrees with the average high being 78°F, 26°C, and the average low 68°F, 20°C.
These hotter temperatures mean that Key West in Florida becomes a haven for Spring Breakers. The Keys can seem full of college students at this time.
St. Patrick’s Day is always a big deal in March in Key West and the surrounding Keys too. Key Colony Beach St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the St. Patrick’s Day Bar Stroll are notable events.
Other events include Islamorada Seafood Festival and Marathon Seafood Festival.
March is the best time to visit The Florida Keys for a younger crowd.
The Florida Keys In April
The temperatures in April in the Florida Keys start to creep into the 80s. The average high is 81°F, 27°C and the average low is 72°F, 22°C.
Mahi Mahi, Tarpon, Wahoo, Blue Marlin, and Yellowtail all pull those that love fishing to the island. The 7-Mile Bridge Run takes place from Knights Key to Pigeon Key.
Key West in April sees the Conch Republic Independence Celebration. Most believe April is the best time to visit the Florida Keys.
The Florida Keys In May
May seems temperatures rise to a high of 85°F, 29°C, and a low of 76°F 24°C. For most people May in the Florida Keys is the perfect time to visit.
As it gets warmer those here for the winter sun tend to leave and while it is busy it tends to be a quieter period.
Key West in May sees the Cuban American Heritage Festival the Key West Songwriters Festival and the Queen Mother Festival.
If you are wondering when to go to the Keys and want to be on the hot side and a little quieter May is a great time.
The Florida Keys In June
June sees the start of summer and higher temperatures. The high spikes at 88°F, 31°C, and the lows give little relief at 79°F, 26°C. June in the Florida Keys is also the start of the hurricane season, from now through November.
While hurricanes are rare if you visit the Keys in the summer months please keep an eye on the weather.
The Florida Keys Guitar Festival takes place in Marathon and the Mango Fest in Key West. Key West in June also hosts the Key West Pride Week which is a big deal.
This is the best time to visit The Florida Keys if you want to celebrate Pride.
The Florida Keys In July
July is the hottest month in the Keys. Highs are around 89°F,32°C and climbing and it rarely gets below 80°F,27°C. It can feel very muggy and it can rain often, though not for long.
July in Key West is all about its famous pie namesake with the Key Lime Festival. The Hemingway Days Festival also takes place in July. Looe Key Reef Resort is host to the Underwater Music Festival.
4th of July celebrations are happening everywhere with the Spirit of Islamorada 4th of July Festival being the main event. There is so much to see and do in Islamorada so stay a while.
If you love the heat you will be rewarded with fewer crowds and tourists during this time. Remember we are still in hurricane season.
If you love things a little quieter this is the best time to visit the Keys.
The Florida Keys In August
The temperatures in August are the same as in July so both months are hot. It is much more likely to rain in August though so be prepared.
Key West in August is a mecca for lobster fans with the Key West LobsterFest and the Tropical Heat festivals taking place. Marathon is host to Kilts in the Keys which sounds very interesting. There is so much to do in Marathon and it’s a great place to visit.
August in the Florida Keys sees the warmest ocean temperatures making it perfect for swimming and watersports.
The Florida Keys In September
September in the Florida Keys sees the highest rainfall and is the time you are most likely to get a hurricane. The temperate drops a little bringing the average low down to 78°F,26°C so it’s still hot.
The vibe of the Keys tends to change in September with the families leaving and things becoming a little quieter before the winter sun guests arrive. This is the best time to visit the Keys if you want warmer weather but fewer people.
The Florida Keys Birding And Wildlife Festival take place at Big Pine Key. Key West in September hosts Womenfest and the Key West Brew Fest.
The Florida Keys In October
While we are still in hurricane season October sees less rainfall than September. The high temperature drops to 85°F 29°C and the low to 76°F 24°C.
October in Key West is all about Halloween with Fantasy Fest taking up 10 consecutive days. Key West also hosts the Goombay Festival.
Elsewhere the Reef Fest takes place at Key Largo and the Zombie Bike Ride of the Living Dead takes place at Big Pine Key. Big Pine Key and the Lower Keys have so much to offer and are well worth a visit.
October in the Florida Keys is really fun and a great time to visit. You are still in hurricane season though so keep an eye on the weather.
The Florida Keys In November
In November the highs are around 80°F,27°C, and the lows are 72°F 22°C. As the islands get slightly cooler everything tends to slow down and November is quite peaceful and quiet.
Key West in November is home to the Key West Film Festival and the Taste of the Islands takes place in Marathon.
November in the Florida Keys is a perfect time for a romantic getaway as the islands seem to lull a little between the frantic Halloween and Christmas celebration it is wedged between.
The Florida Keys In December
December in the Flordia Keys is quite an experience. It’s the third coldest month and the start of winter. Highs are around 76°F,24°C, and the lows are 67°F,19°C.
Key West in December seems to take on an atmosphere that’s hard to describe. It’s even more cherry and vibrant than it normally is. December in Key West sees the Holiday Parade, and the Key West Lighted Boat Parade two must-see festive events.
Big Pine Key and Lower Keys host the Island Art festival if festival celebrations are not your thing.
December sees the start of the high season so expect to see more crowds and high prices but it’s divine at this time so if you can take a visit.
As you can see when it comes to deciding what is the best time to visit The Florida Keys it really does depend on what you like and what you don’t like.
When to go to the Keys is a really personal decision and I hope in this article we have helped you make this decision. What we do know is that whenever you visit you will have an amazing time.
The Florida Keys are great whatever time of the year and we hope you love it.
If you traveling to the Keys by car take a look at our Ultimate Florida Keys Road Trip.