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First, let us get started with the term “Florida Keys.” What are the Florida Keys? A 120-mile stretch of tropical islands makes up the Florida Keys, the southernmost point of the continental United States.
This destination is prominent for boating, fishing, and scuba diving. Visitors of all ages and interests can enjoy these activities as these Florida Keys islands are the best point for a classic vacation mode.
The five islands of Florida Keys are – Islamorada, Key Largo, the Lower Keys, Marathon, and Key West. You can unwind and enjoy a tropical island life with notable landmarks.
Being the southernmost city of the USA, Key West is Florida’s island to the north of Cuba. Statistical research from the USA Census Bureau reveals that the population in Key West is nearly 26,500. Key West connects Florida’s Mainland and Florida keys via the Overseas Highway.
Key West, the Continental United States Southernmost point, is notable for lively nightlife, historic spots, beaches, water sports activities, and conch house architecture. Hence, it is also called the Conch Republic.
Convenient public transport, taxis, cabs, tour trains, and bicycles are the best ways to visit the attractions. Also, it attracts tourists with tropical gardens, hotels, and resorts.
So, are you fascinated to see Key West Florida, a romantic island of South Florida? When is the best time to visit Key West? This place provides you with all the facilities and necessities to visit at any time of the year. Let us dive in to know its seasons and features to plan a journey in visiting Key West.
1. Spring Break in Key West
Key West is a year-round admiring destination for all visitors. In spring, from March to May, the end of June beginning is the best time to visit Key West. Spring is the peak season or shoulder season in Key West. Enjoy pleasant, warm weather and minimum crowds. Hence, the Florida Keys and Key West are the best springtime fun for tourists.
1.1 Key West Weather and Temperature in Spring
The average Key West Florida temperature ranges from 70°F to 80°F. So you can escape the heat in search of shade or air conditioning. Also, there is no rainy season, fewer winter crowds, great deals, and affordable flight and hotel prices.
1.2 Events and Activities in Key West Florida Spring
Water activities are the best way to have fun in spring. You will experience cooler water at warm temperatures and feel quite refreshing to enjoy sailing, scuba diving, and snorkeling.
Colleges provide a week of vacation in the spring semester, in Easter. Many college students fly to South Florida to have fun in the spring, for which this holiday season in Key West is also called Spring Break.
Many clubs conduct events such as the Annual House and Garden Tour. The Garden Tour event showcases the beautiful gardens of the island.
1.2.1 Conch Shell Blowing Contest
The Annual Conch Shell Blowing Contest is a tradition of Key West that has been going on for over 50 years. It is the Florida Keys’ March special event held at Duval Street.
Participants show off their musical abilities by blowing conch shells. This event depicts the historical significance of conch shells.
1.2.2 Conch Republic Independence Celebration
The Conch Republic Independence Celebration is a 10-day fun annual event in April. People celebrate and honor the eccentric community of Key West and the Florida Keys.
The event includes bar crawls, a hat contest, an arts and crafts fair, a dog festival, a drag show, and a performance of the show Conch Republic’s “Great Sea Battle.“
1.2.3 Seven Mile Bridge Run
The 7 MB Run is an annual event held in April by the Marathon Runners Club since 1982. It is a breathtaking road race on a raised bridge running miles over water through the Florida Keys. The race is for 80 minutes, and after 80 minutes is up, entrants are back at the starting point.
1.2.4 Key West Songwriters’ Festival
The Key West Songwriters Festival is May’s largest 5-day annual event, with fans, performers, and locals gathering to enjoy live music, concerts, and artists at beaches, resorts, or historic theatres.
1.3 Things to Enjoy and Visit Key West Florida in Spring Break
1.3.1 Fort Zachary Taylor State Park and Beach
Fort Zachary Taylor State Park is an excellent place to visit while visiting Key West in spring. It is a historical park where you can learn more about Key West’s history and the Florida Keys. Being an ideal place for a picnic, kids can enjoy fishing, swimming, sunbathing, and much more.
Key West’s Fort Zachary Taylor Beach is one of the best beaches. You will have the best swimming and snorkeling experiences at this coral beach. While snorkeling, you can witness the best tropical marine life, like yellowtail snapper, lobsters, different corals, and parrot fish in Fort Zachary Taylor Beach.
1.3.2 Nightlife at Duval Street
Enjoying the nightlife at Duval Street is fun and makes you feel alive; spring break is the best time to visit Key West. Since it is called the party point of Key West with bars, cafes, and clubs, bar hopping is the best recreation for people after sunset.
1.3.3 Relish Key Lime Pie
Key Lime Pie is a popular sweet American dish served during spring break. The ingredients of Key Lime Pie include lime, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk served with a meringue topping made of egg whites or whipped cream or with no topping. In Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe, you can enjoy delicious Key Lime Pie.
1.3.4 Glass Bottom Boat Tours
When traveling with kids, Glass Bottom Boat Tours is an excellent 2-hour tour to watch the coral reefs of Key West and marine life via the boat’s glass bottom. A boat tour agency called Fury Water Adventures Key West offers unbelievable deals on boat tours and other water sports during spring break.
1.3.5 Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
The Key West Butterfly is one of the best attractions to visit Key West during Spring break. It is a butterfly garden and a nature conservatory located on Duval Street that has 50-60 varied species of butterflies across the world. Children will enjoy the natural beauty of different colors and patterns of butterflies that keep fluttering freely.
1.3.6 Visiting Key West Smathers Beach
Smathers Beach is the most admiring and largest public sandy beach in Key West during spring break. The amenities to enjoy are volleyball courts, restrooms, jet ski rentals, and shower facilities. The beach provides a sense of tranquillity and peace with a lot of shade and swaying palm trees.
1.3.7 Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square
Mallory Square is a place located on the waterfront of historic Old Town Key West. You will find shops selling T-shirts or Souvenirs, restaurants, and other attractions at Mallory Square. Tourists and visitors gather at Mallory Square to enjoy and relax during the gorgeous sunset over the water called Sunset Celebration.
There are street performers, musicians, food carts, and arts and crafts exhibitions that add more fun to the Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square. Overall, there is a family-friendly atmosphere while watching nature’s beauty with street performers.
2. Winter in Key West
Key West is a well-liked destination during winter. During December and February, the winter season is at its peak. You can experience busy winter months with more crowds, costly flights, car rentals, vacation rentals, and high hotel rates. Overall, the island gets engrossed with a lively and fun atmosphere.
2.1 Key West Weather and Temperature in Winter
Winter is also a peak season and the best time to visit Key West. You will encounter the coldest temperatures on this island in winter.
The Key West Florida average high temperature lies in the 70s between 75°F to 78°F and decreases as low as 67°F—the coldest month after February is December, which marks the beginning of winter.
January is the year’s coldest month, with the average high temperature going 76°F and the average low temperature at 64°F.
2.2 Events and Activities in Key West Florida Winter
2.2.1 Key West Literary Seminar
The Key West Literary Seminar is a writers’ conference event in the coldest month of January for four days, where writers and readers worldwide participate in presentations and share their literary work. The festival brings together authors and book lovers for discussions, lectures, and readings.
2.2.2 Key West Half Marathon
The Key West Half Marathon is a picturesque marathon race sports challenge. It takes place in mid-January. It starts at 7 a.m. on the 13.1-mile half-marathon course where sporters race through the historic Old Town Key West and the coastline of Florida Keys.
2.2.3 Key West Food and Wine Festival
Key West Food and Wine Festival is a chain event of food and wine featuring a variety of wines and dishes. This festival attracts tourists from around the land who enjoy waterfront tastings, several local events, and winemaker and chef collaborations, providing a genuine taste of the southernmost point.
2.2.4 Key West Holiday Parade
The Key West Holiday Parade takes place in December. The parade goes through Old Town from Truman Avenue and White Street, down to Duval Street, and ends at Eaton Street.
This parade marks the feel of the holiday season in Key West, Florida. You will watch a lot of colorful artists and characters performing and entertaining the crowd, and Santa Claus will give an exceptional entry when the parade ends.
2.3 Things to Enjoy and Visit Key West in Winter
2.3.1 Lighted Boat Parade
Christmas is a prevalent festival that you can see in December and sail with lighting on the Lighted Boat Parade. It is a holiday tradition and the best time to visit Key West, where they serve the public appetizers, wine, and other drinks with live music.
2.3.2 Conch Train Tour
Besides, you can enjoy Christmas lights on the Conch Tour Train. It is a 90-minute tour through Old Town. You can see historic buildings, meet fellow people along this tour, and learn more about Old Town history. It has three stops with one 10-minute break where you can opt for refreshments. Also, you can stare at the palm trees decorated with sparkling lights.
2.3.3 New Year at Sloppy Joe’s Bar
New Year’s Eve is the most awaited event and best time to visit Key West, with community gatherings from December 31st to January 1st. You can enjoy fireworks and find magnificent restaurants and bars on Duval Street where you can chill with great drinks. The Sloppy Joe’s Bar is one of the renowned bars on Duval Street. This bar offers live music, dancing, and a discrete tap room for watching sports.
2.3.4 Key West Lighthouse
Key West Lighthouse is one beautiful site you can add while visiting Key West. It is a historic landmark built in 1825, about 20 m in height, with 15 lamps to protect the ships entering the port from damage against any barrier reefs. You can climb 88 steps upstairs to get a view of past lighthouse keepers.
3. Summer Months in Key West
Summer is the next busiest tourist season in Key West after winter. The summer season in Key West starts from June to August. The rates of hotel rooms are lower in summer compared to winter. It is the next shoulder season next to winter for families and kids for activities such as beaches, hiking, and fishing in the open air.
3.1 Key West Weather and Temperature in Summer
The summer season in Key West arrives in May, and June forms the heart of summer. July is the hottest month, while August is the most humid month, with more precipitation. You will experience the effect of the rainy season with afternoon showers in Key West Florida.
The average Key West Florida temperature lies in the range of 80°F – 90°F. June averages 88°F and 79°F for highs and lows. The average high temperature in July goes up to 89°F, and the average low temperature goes up to 80°F.
3.2 Events and Activities in Key West Florida Summer
3.2.1 Key West Pride
Key West Pride event takes place every year in June. This 5-day celebration has pool and beach parties, snorkeling, kayaking, street fairs, night drag shows, bike tours, water excursions, glass bottom boat tours, and other fun talent shows. Also, this pride event elects Mr. and Miss Key West Pride.
3.2.2 The Key Lime Festival
The Key Lime Festival is a classic annual fest conducted for five days in June and July. It has an alternative name called America’s Favorite Citrus Celebration.
It is a celebration and the best time to visit Key West to honor the island’s favorite Citrus fruit with a tasty Key Lime Pie dessert. The events include tasting the favorite Key Lime Cocktail Sip and Stroll, Key Lime Pie Hop, cooking classes, dancing, and other dining events.
3.2.3 Key West Mermaid Festival
The Key West Mermaid Festival is another 5-day family-friendly event organized in July. The native Mermaid of Key West, Kristi Ann, performs various adventures and mermaid-themed activities in water with her Pod and her crew.
3.3 Things to Enjoy and Visit Key West Summer
3.3.1 Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum
Key West’s Shipwreck Treasure Museum is a glorious historical attraction and the best time to visit Key West during summer. It discovers the 19th-century history of shipwreck artifacts with a lookout tower and audio-visual presentations of the past shipwreckers.
3.3.2 Key West Aquarium
Key West Aquarium is the best attraction for people of all ages. There are over 100 species of fish, turtles, birds, and sharks that kids and parents can enjoy and experience with a Touch Tank. It is the best time to visit Key West, as you will witness marine creatures like stingrays, eels, sharks, tarpon, lobsters, seahorses, and colorful tropical fishes.
3.3.3 Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum
The Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum is one of the best attractions when visiting Key West. It was the residence of an American Writer, Ernest Hemingway, who moved in 1931 with his wife. The place is built in a Spanish Colonial style and features items and antiques of European type they collected and preserved during their trips.
4. Hurricane Season in Key West
Hurricane season forms a part of the summer season, from June to November in South Florida. Near the Gulf of Mexico’s entrance to the Atlantic, tropical storms hit the Florida Keys each year. Hence, it is called the Atlantic Hurricane Season.
The storms in hurricane season are very intense in August, September, and October, causing immense damage to the island. Hence, many tourists fear planning a trip during the hurricane season. It results in the landfall, leading to a mandatory evacuation order by the government.
In case of a storm during hurricane season, you can expect discounts on hotel rooms. With evacuation, they refund payment of guests’ stay. Hence, there are chances to save some bucks on the trip.
5. Lobster Season in Key West
Starting from August to March is the Lobster season in Key West. People do Deep fishing in the sea or scuba diving techniques to hunt lobsters in water with a fishing net and harvest them. The Hawks Cay Marina Resort provides experienced guides and crew to divers and helps them find the best lobster hunting spots in the water.
6. Fall in Key West
During the Fall season, the temperature starts to cool down gradually. The fall lasts from September to November. With a pleasant breeze atmosphere, you will also experience the storm effects of hurricane season. Furthermore, September is a shoulder season; there will be fewer crowds, and hotel room and flight prices tend to be cheaper.
6.1 Key West Weather and Temperature in Fall
The weather will be sunny, and a spell of rainy season due to the effect of hurricane storms. So, you can expect about 170 mm of rainfall in September. In October, temperatures are chilly, with average highs of 85°F and lows of 76°F on average. The average temperature in November lies between 80°F and 70°F.
6.2 Events and Activities in Key West Florida Fall
6.2.1 Key West Musicians Festival
The Key West Musicians Festival is an event organized in September. It is a 2-day event featuring dozens of musicians and songwriters at one place where you can enjoy live music effects on-stage performance.
6.2.2 Goombay Festival
The Goombay Festival is a lively festival held in October in a historic neighborhood of Bahama Village in Key West. Visitors can enjoy island-style meals, live entertainment, arts and crafts, and street dance performances.
6.2.3 Key West Film Festival
As a November event, the Key West Film Festival carries the tagline ” Passion meets Paradise.” This 4-day event showcases Florida’s best independent filmmakers, showing films from different genres and categories. This festival depicts Key West’s creativity, diversity, beauty, and sustainability.
6.2.4 Fantasy Fest
Fantasy Fest is one of the most famous October events and the best time to visit Key West, with a 10-day celebration in creative costumes. There are parades where a Conch King and Queen lead the parade around Duval Street, music performances with a costume contest, and various celebrity guests from a fantasy film.
The guests can meet their favorite actors and artists and chat with them at Fantasy Fest. Further, they can participate in karaoke contests.
6.2.5 Key West Brew Fest
The Key West Brew Fest is an annual beer festival held in September. The event features beer dinners to sip more than 200 varieties of beer, pool parties, beer brunches, and signature tasting events.
6.2.6 Key West WomenFest
The Key West Womenfest is a 5-day celebration of lesbians in Key West. It also welcomes transwomen and thousands of women from all over the world with plenty of land and water activities day and night.
6.3 Things to Enjoy and Visit Key West Fall
6.3.1 Bird Watching
During September and October, many birds migrate to Key West Island. It is the best time to visit Key West, as you can observe various bird species at the National Key Deer Refuge, Dry Tortugas National Park, the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuge, and much more.
This activity is fascinating for those who love to catch fish or go on a boating excursion. Easy Day Charters, a boat agency, offers boating and fishing options, from snorkeling, dolphin cruises, and eco tours to fishing.
7. Final Note
Key West is a perfect destination at any time except for hurricane season. Also, it depends on one’s travel preferences and interests. The pleasant and warm weather of spring makes Key West the perfect time to visit.
So, why the wait? Set your packing list, plan the journey accordingly, and enjoy!! Good luck!!