The Florida Keys is a great place to vacation during the summer season, with activities ranging from relaxing on the beach to visiting a local attraction. Of course, a vacation in Key West during the summer often means visiting during the Atlantic hurricane season. With careful planning, you can enjoy the many activities in the area while still staying safe in the Key West weather.
A Brief History Of Hurricane Season In Key West
Hurricane season has been a part of Key West since the 1500s. The area has a 16 percent chance of being hit by a hurricane or tropical storm.
The first hurricane recorded as most likely hitting Key West took place in 1557. In 1588, Havana was recorded as being struck by a worse storm than the first.
Hurricanes were officially named in 1950, with Hurricane King striking the Upper Keys in the same year. Other storms include Hurricane Donna in 1960, Hurricane Floyd in 1987, and Hurricane Irma in 2017.
When Is Hurricane Season In Key West?
Hurricane season in Key West usually runs from June 15 through November 30, with the worst tropical storms hitting between August 15 and October 1.
The average high-temperature range is 89 degrees Fahrenheit, with August being the hottest month of the year. Hurricanes become more powerful in warm weather because heat is transferred from the ocean to the air.
Moreover, tropical cyclones are least likely to affect Key West from July to early August.
Planning Your Visit To Key West, Florida
It is better to visit Key West during certain times of the year, but this is also a matter of personal preference regarding money, crowds, and the weather.
The Best And Worst Time To Visit Key West
March through May is the best time to visit Key West, as this is known as the springtime shoulder season or low season. The weather is comfortable, prices are more reasonable, and there are fewer tourists. It is also the best time to visit Key West because you do not have to worry about the severe weather.
The worst time to visit Key West for those who like to save money is December through February. This is still peak tourist season, which is also known as its high season. Many tourists are visiting the Florida Keys to escape the winter weather in their hometown. Therefore, hotel prices are set to benefit from the peak season.
If the weather makes a difference to you, August through September is also the worst time to visit Key West. It is not only hot and humid during these months, but you are also in the middle of Key West’s hurricane season.
However, it may help to weigh the pros and cons of planning to visit Key West during hurricane season. You may find the season to be the ideal time for you, or you may decide to hold off until spring.
Pros Of Visiting Key West During Hurricane Season
- Hurricane season is the cheapest time to visit the Florida Keys because there are fewer tourists, which is ideal for anyone who wants to save money on hotel rates.
- The smaller crowds also make it easier to find a great spot on the beach, while restaurants that have remained open may not be as crowded as during tourist season.
- There are some people who love afternoon thunderstorms. If you are one of those people, this can add to the excitement of your vacation, as long as precautions are taken.
Cons Of Visiting Key West During Hurricane Season
- The safety risk is the number one con of planning to visit Key West during the season. Hurricanes can bring heavy rain and strong winds, and they can be especially dangerous on a beach vacation if precautions are not taken.
- You also run the risk of having your plans ruined, as those afternoon thunderstorms can cause items to become soaked and businesses to close early.
- Your flight back home may be delayed or canceled because of the hurricane warning.
5 Tips For Staying Safe In Key West During Hurricane Season
If a visit to Key West during the rainy season appeals to you, it is important to stay safe by preparing for what could be harsh weather.
1) Research Key West
The first thing you want to do is research Key West to learn the weather protocols and resources, from evacuation routes to shelters. Even if you think you do not need a resource, make a note of it anyway. It is better to have a list of protocols and resources in your bag than to be left wondering what your next step should be, especially during the Atlantic hurricane season.
2) Monitor The Weather
Monitoring the weather is an important part of vacationing during Key West’s hurricane season. You want to monitor Key West’s weather leading up to your vacation to ensure your travel plans do not need to be postponed. It is also crucial to enable mobile alerts for hurricane warnings while on vacation during hurricane season in Key West.
3) Consider Traveler’s Insurance
You should also consider traveler’s insurance when planning a trip to Key West during the rainy season. Traveler’s insurance is designed to cover incidents ranging from delayed luggage to injuries. This offers an extra layer of protection while visiting a region that is prone to hurricanes.
4) Pack The Essentials
The last thing you want is to be stuck in a rental without all your essentials. Pack an extra phone and charger for emergencies, and make sure all devices are charged before the hurricane is scheduled to make landfall. Additionally, you need to pack enough medication, a physical map, and supplies for children and pets who may be with you.
5) Remain Flexible
Planning a vacation during Key West’s hurricane season means remaining flexible. You may need to spend more time in your rental than planned, so be sure to pack enough supplies to last several extra days. If you have children or pets at home, make arrangements to ensure they are cared for if your return is delayed. Furthermore, you may need to follow safety guidelines to evacuate the area, even if those guidelines are not appealing to you.
5 Things To Do In Key West During Hurricane Season
You do not have to let the possibility of a hurricane put a damper on your travel plans. This is the cheapest time to travel to Key West, and there are still many attractions and events open to tourists.
1) Discover Sea Life At The Key West Aquarium
Whether you enjoy learning about marine life or want to visit Key West with your children, there is nothing like discovering sea life at the Key West Aquarium. The exhibits are thrilling for children and adults alike, from watching a shark feeding session to touching a sea star.
2) Get Down At Fantasy Fest
October may not be considered tourist season in Key West, but there are still many locals and tourists who enjoy Fantasy Fest. This 10-day event offers everything from costumes and parades to food and beverages. It is the perfect event for anyone who loves attending beach parties.
- Unforgettable Costumes
- Live Performances and Parades
- Building Decorating Competitions
- Karaoke Parties
3) Visit Key West’s Historic Seaport
There is always something to do when you visit Key West’s Historic Seaport, from checking out the local entertainment to enjoying the gorgeous scenery. You can go shopping, dine out, or visit a museum, or you can take part in fishing, sailing, or watersports.
Be sure to check the calendar for local events, such as the Key West BrewFest and Womenfest Key West.
4) Grab A Slice Of Key Lime Pie
Your visit to Key West is not complete without a slice of Key Lime Pie, which is very popular in the area. There is an old tale of a woman known as “Aunt Sally,” who invented the pie in the 1890s. She made the pies with sweetened condensed milk in the Key West’s Curry Mansion kitchen. Today, you can find a range of restaurants and bakeries that serve this tasty dish:
- Blue Heaven
- El Mason De Pepe
- Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe
- Limes and Pies
5) Schedule A Boat Tour Of The Florida Keys
Whether you want to relax by the water or gaze at wildlife, scheduling a boat tour of the Florida Keys is always a great idea. You can choose from a range of boat tours for your vacation, from a trip to the sandbars to a sunset cruise. Sit back and relax, enjoy your snack, and take in the beautiful scenery.
Stay Safe And Have Fun In Key West!
Whether you want to sunbathe on the beach in August, check out the Labor Day weekend activities in September, or attend Fantasy Fest in October, you do not have to let hurricane season in Key West bring down your vacation. If you stay prepared and flexible, you can still have an amazing trip to Key West.
When it is time to create your itinerary, consider adding Key West Boat Trips to your list. You can choose from seven private boat tours to enjoy with your family and friends. The tours range from the Mud Keys Mangrove Safari and Key West E-Foil Rides to the Boca Grande Snorkeling Tour and the Key West Sunset Cruise. In addition, you can treat yourself to a lunch or dinner cruise with fresh lobster and seafood.
Whether you want to check out the sandbars, plan a water adventure, or watch the sunset, Key West Boat Trips has you covered.