The Best Time Of Year To Visit The Florida Keys

The Florida Keys in winter and early spring are a snowbird's migratory paradise. If you're okay with (fun-loving) crowds, appreciate idyllic weather, and love attending an event or three, then fly the wintery coop for a visit. From the holiday season until May, the Florida Keys' weather and cultural atmosphere are hard to beat.

Unlike most of the continental U.S., the Florida Keys only have two seasons, per The islands experience a wet season and a dry season, similar to most tropical regions. During the wet season, which runs from June to October, the Keys can be hot, rainy, and clothes-clingingly humid.

Although the Florida Keys' subtropical climate keeps the area balmy year-round, the winter and spring months welcome clear skies and refreshing ocean breezes with temperatures hovering around 70s and 80s degrees Fahrenheit, reports U.S. News and World Report.

From December until May, the Florida Keys also host a number of acclaimed events. Whether you're a culinary connoisseur, literary nerd (think Hemingway), or just someone who enjoys a fair-weather flock of festival-goers, you'll find plenty to do during this time of year.

Only the sand is powder-white

The winter months in the Florida Keys are still warm enough to enjoy the area's most popular activities, such as boating, snorkeling, and scuba diving. The archipelago of tropical islands features some of the most unique ecologies in the world. The underwater worlds of tropical coral reefs and the shoreline's mystical mangrove forests are particularly worth exploring.

To discover the enchanting natural wonders of the Keys, consider visiting John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo. Here, you can take a scuba or snorkeling tour, explore the reefs on a glass-bottom boat ride, or kayak through the mangrove swamps.

If you're all the way south in Key West and prefer to stay, there are still plenty of snorkeling tours, fishing charters, and boating excursion available. Or, if you'd like, simply spend the day lounging, sunbathing, and people-watching on the snow-white sands of Smathers Beach. For a mix of rest and relaxation, you can also rent paddle boards, kayaks, and catamarans from suppliers on the popular public beach. 

Celebration is always Key

While the weather is ideal during the winter months, you will be sharing it. The Florida Keys welcomes the highest influx of annual visitors between December and March. But for good reason. A lot is going on.

If you visit in January, you can attend the Key West Food & Wine Festival or the Key West Literary Seminar. Both attract large crowds. While seafood lovers rejoice about fresh catches and wine-tasting soirées, writers and bibliophiles eagerly flock to workshop literature surrounded by Ernest Hemingway's old stomping grounds.

For visitors who'd prefer thinner crowds (and less expensive hotel rooms), March until May still provides great weather, and the harshest-winter snowbirds begin to migrate back on the prospect of spring. To cap off the dry season, the Key West Songwriters' Festival is also held in May.

Even if an event isn't scheduled, the Florida Keys are literally always ready to celebrate something. Each night, Key West holds its Sunset Celebration, an iconic tradition of the area. And each morning, the sun also rises on the birds of paradise.