Best Time to Visit Key West (Also When NOT to Go!)

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Key West is a gorgeous, laid-back, and extraordinary seaside haven where the adventure never ends. With its spectacular sunset celebrations, crystal turquoise waters, and year-round sunshine, there’s actually not a bad time to visit the southernmost city in the continental US. 

Furthermore, the city has a bevy of outdoor pursuits, indoor attractions, and restaurants to satisfy travelers of all stripes. 

If, however, you’re searching for a specific kind of vacation, like water sports, festivals, or fishing, this travel guide will help you pick the best time to visit Key West.

After numerous visits, Key West & The Florida Keys have become one of our favorite places to visit in the USA. We’re excited you’re interested in visiting and look forward to helping you plan your trip!

Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Miami & the Keys (Travel Guide)

Uncover the Best Time to Visit Key West, Florida

First things first! Taking a vacation is an investment of your hard-earned money and the last thing you want is to risk a cancellation that ends with you losing that investment. This is one of the reasons we never leave home without travel insurance.

This is especially important if you’re planning a trip to Key West during the fall season. Strong tropical storms or even a hurricane, can crop up really fast causing trip delays, cancellations, or if you’re already there, the need to leave sooner than you planned.

There are a lot of options out there for insurance, but we use and stand by Allianz Travel Insurance. Full disclosure, we receive financial compensation as ambassadors for their company.

That said, we’ve been purchasing plans through them for the past 7 years and they have never let us down. Canceled flights, delayed flights, lost luggage, and a global pandemic, they’ve been there for us.

When people are standing at the counter fighting with the airlines over hotels or new flights, we don’t stress anymore because we know that we will be reimbursed for any out-of-pocket expenses caused by the delay.

We always renew their AllTrips Premier annual plan that covers all of our trips over a 12-month period. If you take more than 2 trips a year, it’s worth considering an annual plan.

For single trips, we recommend looking at their OneTrip Prime or OneTrip Premier plans.

Winter in Key West

One of the most photographed spots in Key West - The Sothernmost Point buoy without a person.
You cannot visit Key West without getting a photo at the Southernmost point buoy

The winter season runs from December to February and is, no doubt, the peak tourist season and the most popular time to visit Key West. We can’t blame vacationers for flocking to Key West in winter. 

While the rest of the US is bleak and cold in winter, Key West enjoys warm and pleasant weather with an average high temperature that peaks at 74°F. Expect hotel room rates to skyrocket during these months though to coincide with peak season. 

December in Key West

Sunset cruise in Key West Florida
A sunset cruise is a must when visiting Key West

With the holiday season coming to sunny Key West, expect cooler and breezier nights and warm days in December. Since the city is packed with tourists during this month, we recommend booking your accommodation and flights in advance before they’re all gone. 

Don’t forget that most schools across the USA have 1-2 weeks off for Christmas and New Year breaks. This means many families head for warmer weather.

December temperatures in Key West

  • Average high: 76°F (24°C)
  • Average low: 67°F (19°C)

Key events and attractions

  • You’ll love the Key West City Home Holiday Parade. As you experience this jovial festivity, you’ll see a live Santa Claus, floats, and marching bands parading on Truman Avenue. 
  • The Schooner Wharf Bar Lighted Boat Parade is a fantastic tradition in this city. Take a seat at an oceanfront bar or rent a boat to watch festive boats, holiday-inspired tall ships, and rowboats set sail around the harbor areas. 

January in Key West

Fort Zachary Taylor Beach is one of the best beaches in Key West
Fort Zachary Taylor Beach is stunning

Although the city never gets chilly, January is by far the coldest time of the year in Key West. It’s also the time of the year when people living in colder climates head to the Florida Keys to enjoy South Florida’s warmth. 

Of course, hotels in Key West quickly fill up, and room and flight rates are higher during the city’s peak tourist season. 

While December sees a lot of families, it’s the snowbirds and corporate adults seeking sunshine after the December holiday season. So you can expect a lively crowd, full beaches, and busy eateries.

January temperatures in Key West

  • Average high: 74°F (24°C)
  • Average low: 64°F (18°C)

Key events and attractions

  • The Key West Half Marathon and 5K Run are often ranked as one of the best half marathons in winter. 
  • Contemporary authors and book lovers come together in January to partake in the Key West Literary Seminar which features book discussions, lectures, and readings. 

February in Key West

Shipwreck Museum in Key West Florida
Key West has a rich pirate history, a must-visit is the Shipwreck Museum.

February wraps up the busy peak season in Key West. Prices for hotel rooms and flights are still a little steep, but crowds tend to be thinner compared to December and January. 

This is a great time to visit Key West if you’re trying to escape colder locales before the spring break season ramps up in March.

February temperatures in Key West

  • Average high: 76°F (24°C)
  • Average low: 66°F (19°C)

Key events and attractions

  • The Key West House and Gardens Tours, managed by the Old Island Restoration Foundation, celebrate the city’s cultural and architectural heritage. 
  • More than 100 craft artists head to the Key West Art Center to join the Old Island Art Days Festival. 

Spring in Key West

Fort Zachary Taylor photographed from the air with views of Key West.
Fort Zachary Taylor and its amazing beach

The spring season in Key West runs from March to May and it is truly the best time to visit Key West, especially if you’re traveling on a budget. Not only are the hotel rooms cheaper, but it’s less crowded. Plus, the weather is heavenly, making it an ideal time for water sports and other outdoor pursuits. 

Worth noting, though, is that Key West is a popular destination for Spring break. You can expect it to be full of families and college students.

March in Key West

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog at mile marker 0 in Key West Florida.
Everyone visiting Key West must get a photo or two at mile marker 0.

March is such a wondrous time to visit Key West. It’s the end of the city’s peak season, so prices for flights and hotels are a whole lot cheaper. Not to mention, the winter crowds have dissipated and the temperatures are still mild. 

Personally, the last time we visited in March we didn’t care for it. The partying is intense with all the college kids around spring break. You can, however, offset this by staying outside of downtown Key West, like at The Perry Hotel.

March temperatures in Key West

  • Average high: 78°F (26°C)
  • Average low: 68°F (20°C)

Key events and attractions

  • For over 50 years, the Conch Shell Blowing Contest has been entertaining locals and visitors with its one-of-a-kind, friendly music competition. 
  • Experience a ton of exhilarating water sports and underwater adventures in March, from snorkeling to banana boat rides. 

April in Key West

Cuban Coffee Queen - Key West Post Card
Cuban Coffee Queen is a popular spot to grab a cup of coffee and some classic Cuban eats in Key West

April visitors will start to feel the switch to summer from spring. At the end of the month, temperatures will begin to rise in the 80s. Still, the nights are mild and cool, thanks to the breezes from the Gulf of Mexico. 

April can be a real sweet spot for visiting Key West, and honestly, our favorite time to visit! The crowds are lower, the days are warm, sunny, and the evenings cool off enough to enjoy being out.

April temperatures in Key West

  • Average high: 81°F (27°C)
  • Average low: 72°F (22°C)

Key events and attractions

  • Watch the exhilarating competitions of the Key West Paddle Classic. 
  • The Conch Republic Independence Celebration is a lively and eccentric multiple-day party with drag shows, hat contests, and bar crawls. 

May in Key West

Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square with a sailboat in a Key West sunset
Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square is a must!

May, the last month of spring and the start of summer is pretty sunny and warm with temperatures jumping up the 80° range. That’s why we recommend packing a ton of sunblock and light clothing. 

Prices for accommodations are still relatively low during this month. It’s also the last few weeks before schools let out for the summer. So you can enjoy some quiet times and island vibes in Key West during May still.  

May temperatures in Key West

  • Average high: 85°F (29°C)
  • Average low: 76°F (24°C)

Key events and attractions

  • The Key West Songwriters’ Festival is the largest and most fascinating annual gala of its kind. A showcase of the best songwriters in America, this festival features five nights and days of concerts, artist talks, and meet-and-greets. 
  • Check out Fort Zachary and Smathers Beach. 

Summer in Key West

David Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog standing on a brake-wall off Fort Zachary Taylor Beach in Key West
No, you cannot see Cuba from Key West!

The summer season in Key West runs from June to August. Surprisingly, summer isn’t all sunshine and sandy fun in Key West. With frequent showers and hurricanes, summer may not be the best time to visit Key West for those who want to get a nice tan. 

However, guess what? Summer attracts travelers with its ridiculously affordable room states. If you don’t mind the occasional showers, you’ll have a summer blast in Key West without breaking the bank. 

June in Key West

Conch Train Tour in Key West Florida on the streets of Key West
The Conch Train Tour and get yourself acquainted with the island.

June isn’t just the heart of Key West’s summer, but it’s also the beginning of its tropical storm season. Thunderstorms in the afternoons, sunny mornings, and tropical storms are quite common in June. 

The weather is still warm meaning you need to bring an umbrella and wear light clothes. 

June temperatures in Key West

  • Average high: 88°F (31°C)
  • Average low: 79°F (26°C)

Key events and attractions

  • True crime fans, aspiring authors, and mystery writers gather together in the city for the Mystery Fest Key West. The event includes lectures, panel discussions, workshops, book signings, and meet-and-greets. 
  • Mango Fest Key West beautifully celebrates the favorite fruit of the state with a one-day festivity that includes culinary competitions, mango daiquiris, and mango tastings. 

July in Key West

Snorkeling trip in Key West with bright blue ocean waters.
One of the top adventures in Key West is to go on a sailing and snorkeling trip, yes drinks are included!

July is certainly the hottest month in Key West with temperature highs hovering around the 90°F range. Afternoon thunderstorms are the norm during this month, and there’s a constant threat of hurricanes and tornadoes. 

On the bright side, crowds are thin and rates of rooms are extremely low in July. Plus, it offers a bundle of amazing festivals. 

July temperatures in Key West

  • Average high: 89°F (32°C)
  • Average low: 80°F (27°C)

Key events and attractions

  • The Key Lime Festival is one of Southern Florida’s tastiest summer events, featuring culinary contests as well as cooking and pie-eating contests. 
  • Join the festive activities of the yearly Hemingway Days festival. 

August in Key West

Dolphins swimming in Key West
Dolphin lovers must go on a dolphin-watching cruise.

Like July, August sees some thunderstorms and hot days. What’s more, August marks the hurricane season’s peak, so make sure that your hotel accommodations and flights are refundable during this month. 

Additionally, make sure you have travel insurance as we mentioned at the beginning of this article. You never can be too over-prepared if bad weather strikes during your visit in August.

August temperatures in Key West

  • Average high: 89°F (32°C)
  • Average low: 80°F (27°C)

Key events and attractions

  • Satiate your taste buds with mouth-watering lobsters cooked in a variety of ways during the four-day Key West LobsterFest on Duval Street.

Fall in Key West

Rest Beach in Key West at sunset
Looking for a beach sunset in Key West? Head to Rest Beach.

The fall season in Key West runs from September to November. You won’t see stunning fall foliage in Key West, but fall visitors will be rewarded with cool breezes and a more serene feel. Even though the temperatures are lower, it’s warm enough to snorkel its exquisite reefs and hang out by the swimming pool. 

September in Key West

Souvenir carts in Mallory Square, Key West Florida
Some of the best souvenirs are found in carts off Mallory Square

September is a wondrous time to visit Key West. Sure, the hurricane season is still in full effect, but at least it has pleasant and refreshing breezes. Not to mention, the temperatures in the city begin to slightly cool down during the start of fall. 

Did we mention that prices for flights and accommodations are cheaper as September is the shoulder season?

September temperatures in Key West

  • Average high: 84.4°F (29.1°C)
  • Average low: 82.2°F (27.9°C)

Key events and attractions

  • The Key West Brewfest dazzles the crowds with its first-rate craft beer samples, beer-inspired brunches, pool parties, and seaside tastings. 

October in Key West

Key West Ghost and Gravestone tour at night near the Key West Shipwreck Museum
Key West is haunted! Be sure to book a Ghost tour in Key West.

October is one of the busiest and most popular months to visit the city. The first two weeks are tranquil and ideal for a family-friendly or romantic retreat. At the end of October, the town turns into a party wonderland, thanks to the Fantasy Fest. 

Normally, days are sunny in October, even though it’s the tail end of the hurricane season. 

October temperatures in Key West

  • Average high: 85°F (29°C)
  • Average low: 76°F (24°C)

Key events and attractions

  • Fantasy Fest is a convivial, quirky, 10-day festival of kinky things, parades and carnivals. 

November in Key West

Hemingway House in Key West Florida
The Hemingway Home & Museum is a must-see landmark in Key West

The hurricane season finally ends in November. With the winter season just right around the corner, the city island gets breezy and cooler again. If you’re traveling on a budget, however, November isn’t the best time to visit Key West. 

The weather may be flawless, but prices for hotel rooms and flights start to surge during this time. Especially around the USA Thanksgiving holiday week. So keep that in mind if you plan to visit in November.

November temperatures in Key West

  • Average high: 80°F (27°C)
  • Average low: 72°F (22°C)

Key events and attractions

  • The Lighting of the Bight: Key West Harbor Walk of Lights brightens up the city and kick-starts the holiday season on a high note. 
  • The Key West Film Festival lures film buffs, actors, and filmmakers with its special events and screenings. 

More on Key West, Florida:

This article is sponsored by Allianz Travel Insurance. As ambassadors we receive financial compensation. However, all opinions, stories, advice, and insane love for Key West are 100% ours, as always.

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About Lina Stock

Lina is an award-winning photographer and writer that has been exploring the world since 2001. She has traveled to 100 countries on all 7 continents. Member: SATW, NATJA, ATTA, ITWA

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