USA: Florida & The Keys

North America

About Florida & The Keys

Sara and John say...

Florida and The Keys:

There’s a good reason why Florida is the Sunshine State, but there’s a lot of rain in addition to that hot sun. In fact, Florida has double the rainfall of most of ‘rainy old England’, the difference is, it often comes in short, sharp bursts. Many parts of the state see a monthly average of nearly 200mm of rain in the summer, mostly from afternoon downpours. Despite all that rain Florida has more than twice the average hours of sunshine than the UK.

Tropical storm season aside, there’s no bad time to visit Florida and The Keys, but some activities might be better suited to certain times of the year. To beat the oppressive summer heat, with temperatures typically in the low 30sºC and high humidity, coastal resorts are often best. For those keen to get their ride on at the parks of Central Florida, be prepared for long lines in the hot sunshine if you opt to go in July and August, with an almost guaranteed late afternoon downpour. The Keys see the fewest tourists in the summer months, but the humidity and downpours will be high and with sea temperatures at their peak of 31ºC, there’s little difference between the air temperature and that of the ocean.

The spring months of March to May offer great weather; warm, sunny and much drier, similar to winter. December and January can be cooler than one might imagine in Central Florida, with temps typically just in the low 20s. It’s a good few degrees warmer further south around Miami and in The Keys. The day length is on the short side in winter, at around 10 hours over the Christmas period, but you can pretty much count on the days to be sunny and pleasantly warm. The winter school-holidays are a popular time to visit, and consequently can be more expensive.

The hurricane season officially runs from June to November, but it’s later in the summer when the likelihood of impacts from storms ramps up in the state, with September the most active month. In average terms, one or two hurricanes make landfall on the Eastern seaboard every year, and 40% affect Florida. Even if the state doesn’t take a direct hit, the outer bands of a storm can bring damaging winds and lashing rain for a time. That being said, hurricanes are predicted well in advance, so there is always time to move to safety. If you are likely to travel to Florida in late summer or early autumn, it’s worth checking your travel insurance, or upgrading it, to ensure you’ll be covered for cancelled travel plans.

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