Best Time To Visit Key West For Your Ultimate Getaway

Best Time To Visit Key West

Key West knows how to throw a party! From its early days of speakeasies and rumrunners to the present, Key West has had a wild reputation. But there’s more to the island than Heineken and hangovers. Even during Spring Break, you can explore its natural beauty, feast on mouthwatering seafood, absorb the local culture, and swim or snorkel in its crystal-clear waters.


Sail Away With Us To Amazing Sandbars

When in Key West, what are some of the best bars to visit? Sandbars! Key West Sandbar Tours will treat you to an unforgettable tour of postcard-perfect sandbars. Our destinations include sandbars, enchanted mangroves, and shimmering aquamarine water perfect for snorkeling and frolicking with dazzling tropical fish.

Be sure to bring your appetite – we’ll be pampering you with delectable fresh fish and lobster. Book your excursion with Key West Sandbar Tours now, and we’ll raise the bar for an amazing adventure.key west florida sandbar


When Is The Best Time To Visit Key West?

Key West, the Southernmost Point in the continental United States, has five seasons:

  • High Season (Peak Season)

  • Shoulder Season

  • Low Season (Off Season)

  • Rainy Season

  • Hurricane Season

It’s best to be informed about the island’s seasons and weather before visiting Key West. Its subtropical location in the Florida Keys, aquamarine waters, sparkling sand, and endless fun make it a prime vacation spot.

However, some seasons are more hospitable than others. Florida Keys weather can influence crowd sizes, travel expenses, food costs, availability of lodging, and even souvenir prices. Decide what the best time to visit Key West is for you and enjoy!

visit key west

High Season (Peak Season)

Although this season varies from island to island in the Florida Keys, November through April is Key West’s high season. Thanksgiving week officially launches high season. Daytime temperatures top off in the balmy mid-70s with low humidity and little rain. However, this great weather also magnetizes scores of winter crowds who want to thaw out from colder regions.

This warmer weather also transforms the island into a raucous playground for thousands of spring break partiers. Unless you want to join the debauchery, it’s best to avoid Key West when the carousing peaks in March and April.

You may also want to avoid the island during peak tourist season because it’s usually teeming with tourists.

With larger crowds come premium prices, restaurants are more expensive, traffic in and out of Key West escalates, and flight costs defy gravity. Make sure you book hotels, rental cars, and flights in advance of the winter months of high season.

But don’t give up on the winter season! There are plenty of fun and enriching things to do away from the madness, including:

Indulge In Tangy-Sweet Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie isn’t an ordinary pie. In Florida, it’s an icon. Named Florida’s official pie in 2006, it’s so adored in the Sunshine State that it’s honored on its own holiday. Aunt Sally, millionaire William Curry’s cook, is believed to have invented the confection in the late 1800s.

Have A Purr-Fect Visit To Hemmingway House And Museum

Hemingway House is where Ernest Hemingway famously penned legendary classics including For Whom the Bell Tolls and To Have and Have Not. It’s also where he kept company with dozens of six-toed cats (polydactyls) whose offspring still reign supreme.

Enjoy The Island’s Rich Past In The Historic District

History and architecture buffs – as well as anyone who appreciates exceptional craftsmanship – will delight in Key West’s Historic District. Also called Old Town, some of the area’s attractions include:

  • Southernmost House – The Mansion On The Sea

  • Key West Museum Of Art & History At The Custom House

  • Key West Lighthouse

  • Old Town Manor

  • Harry S. Truman Little White House

This district contains 2,485 historic buildings and four structures. It’s bordered by Whitehead, White, Emma, and South Streets, Mallory Square, and the Atlantic Ocean.

time to visit key

Shoulder Season

Shoulder season in the Florida Keys is the period of time between the island’s high and low seasons. In Key West, this is March through May and November to December. The Keys still have great weather and tourists have dwindled. During this period, you can enjoy outdoor fun such as fishing, snorkeling, and festivals without enduring oppressive heat and humidity.

Other reasons why shoulder season is the best time to go to Key West:

  • Lower hotel rates and cheaper activities due to fewer visitors. Some hotels offer savings of up to 30 percent.

  • You’ll be able to enjoy restaurants, leisure activities, tours, special events, and attractions with fewer crowds. Restaurants and other establishments will be more peaceful now that children are back in school and college students are gone.

season in key west

Low Season (Off Season)

Can Key West be expensive? Yes. Can you find good deals to make it more affordable? Definitely. If you visit the island during the low season (low season in Key West runs from September to November), hotels will have minimal occupancy, and you can score a room for as much as 50 percent off. In addition to cheaper hotel prices, you may also be able to get deals at restaurants and stores, as well as Key events and attractions.

During low season, Key West morphs into a sleepy town with half the activity of peak season. This makes it nirvana for visitors who don’t want to deal with many families and wall-to-wall people at the beach – or anywhere else.

This season has many other perks, including:

  • No lines

  • Better service

  • More interaction with locals

  • Upgraded accommodations

  • Cheaper flights

  • More authenticity of destinations when they aren’t overrun by tourists

season in key west

Rainy Season

Key West is prized for its pleasant weather, but it also has a rainy season. May through October it receives about 65 percent of the yearly total of tropical storms and showers. Despite the wet weather, however, cold days in the Florida Keys are scarce and showers are brief in this tropical paradise.

Don’t let the weather rain on your parade. You can enjoy Key West year-round with plenty of indoor activities, including:

  • Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy – This indoor attraction is a wonderland of flamingos, tropical birds, turtles, and constellations of dazzling butterflies.

  • Mel Fisher Maritime Museum – The museum displays sunken treasure ship artifacts recovered by Mel Fisher.

  • Waterfront Brewery – The Waterfront Brewery is the sole brewery in Key West.

  • Key West Aquarium – Located in famed Mallory Square, Key West Aquarium is a must-see attraction for all ages. It’s home to the island’s underwater inhabitants, including sharks, moray eels, and barracuda. There’s even a “touch tank” that includes sea stars, conchs, sea cucumbers and more.

If you want to avoid sweltering heat and stifling humidity, avoid the summer season of June through September.


Hurricane Season

Hurricane season is from May through October. The most dangerous storms hit the Florida Keys between mid-August and early fall. Highs are typically in the 80s, creating more powerful tropical storms because heat shifts from the ocean into the air.

Although visiting Key West during hurricane season could be unsafe, many people see this as the best time to visit Key West. You may decide that the perks outweigh the risks. These benefits include:

  • Fewer crowds

  • Lower prices for hotels, flights, food, and activities

  • Dramatic thunderstorms, if that’s your thing

  • Warm temperatures

Hurricanes that have hit or come close to the island include:

  • Irma – 2017

  • Mitch – 1998

  • Andrew – 1992

  • Donna – 1960

  • Labor Day Hurricane – 1935

season in key west

One More Exciting Season – The Lobster Season

Florida lobster season is an annual, two-day event that takes place during the last Wednesday and Thursday of July. Called a mini-season, or sportsmanship weekend, it enables regular people to catch spiny lobsters before the commercial lobster fishermen cast their traps.

The official season starts on August 6 and ends on March 31. You can still catch lobsters recreationally, but you’ll be in competition with professional harvesters. Key West has the largest population of spiny lobsters in Florida.

People who harvest lobsters during the mini-season must follow strict rules:

  • Use a diver down flag – All divers and snorkelers must prominently display a diver down flag. You must stay within 100 feet of the flag.

  • Don’t go over the bag limit – The bag limit is six lobsters per person per day.

  • Lobster must be of legal size – You cannot remove a lobster with a carapace smaller than three inches. The carapace is the armor-like part of the crustacean. You must use a special gauge and know how to measure.

  • You must have a license – Recreational harvesters are required to have a valid Florida Saltwater Fishing License with a spiny lobster permit.

  • Egg-bearing lobsters must be released unharmed – Stripping female spiny lobsters of eggs is strictly prohibited. Eggs are a yellow, brown, orange, or red mass underneath the crustacean’s tail.

Key West throws a Lobsterfest every year honoring this ten-legged critter. For many lobster fans, this is the best time to visit Key West. The three-day bash includes:

  • Lobster boil

  • Pool party

  • Lobsterfest Duval pub crawl

  • Street fair and free concert

  • Lobster brunch

season in key west

Get Ready To Experience The Best Sandbars In Key West

Seasons come and seasons go, but any season is perfect for visiting Key West. Leave the tourist traps and teeming masses behind as you set the course for bucket-list adventures.

Our knowledgeable guides will introduce you to a magical world of sandbars, mangroves, and marine life. Ready for the best sandbar tours in Key West?

Then book your excursion with Key West Sandbar Tours today!

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3 to 4 hours
Group Size
Up to 12

Sandbar Tour For Large Groups

If your group is larger than 6 and you have a hard time finding a boat ride to the sandbars because of the 6 passengers limit, we are here to help. You can book our 2 identical Hurricane 27 foot deck boats and our captains will drive them side by side so you can take cool photos and they will raft up the boats on the sandbars so you can enjoy and share this amazing time together.

3 to 4 hours
Group Size
Up to 6

Hopping Sandbars In Key West

What a perfect day to take a boat ride! You will see not one but several different sandbars on this tour! It will only take 25 minutes to get there on our epic adventure, and we can stop as long as you want at those sandbars that interest you the most. This is something you cannot miss!

Experience the mangrove trails of Mud Keys and hang out with locals at Snipe Point after. You won't want the day to end.

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2 hours
Group Size
Up to 6

Key West Sunset Cruise

Ocean, meet our captain! One of the best things about the backcountry waters is how it’s never too crowded. So jump in and enjoy the peacefulness and remoteness as you stand in the "middle of the ocean" with nothing but water around you. Optionally, bring some champagne to enjoy with the sunset as a backdrop. Then, just sit back and relax as you cruise on out into the middle of nowhere, leaving behind any stress or worries.

2 hours
Group Size
Up to 6

Mud Key Mangrove Safari

It's time for some adventure and excitement with a boat trip through the backcountry. After only a short ride, we'll take you on a leisurely cruise down to Mud Key Sanctuary, where you can enjoy the countryside and take in all the wonders of nature that surround you. Stop by the sandbar for a refreshing dip or just stroll around and soak up the sun. Capture your memories and cherish them forever.