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The Worst Time to Visit Key West: A Guide for Travelers

Key West

Key West is an island at the southern tip of the Florida peninsula. Key West is a small island measuring only 4 miles long and a 2-mile width; the island has a land area of about 8  square miles.

Palm-lined streets with gingerbread mansions and tin-roofed conch houses were home to Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Frost and Jimmy Buffett, a few of the famous people who discovered solace and inspiration in the island city whose Bahamian and Cuban heritage in large part was inspired by Bahamian wreckers, commercial fishermen, spongers and Cuban cigar makers.

The city of Key West, which is part of the Florida Keys, is also the county seat of Monroe County, and the official city motto is “One Human Family.” According to Wikipedia, it is the southernmost city in the continental United States and the westernmost island in the Florida Keys. The city is accessible by major modes of transportation: cars, planes and boats.

True to the city’s motto, Key West is a subtropical heaven that attracts  scores of visitors annually. Tourists planning on visiting the city better be in the mood to party, as Key West, rich with culture and literary heritage, is also famously known for its fantastic nightlife. Many bars and  outdoor venues offering live music are open throughout the day and night. The community here is welcoming to everyone, including the LGBTQ community. Most people prefer to travel to Key West during winter and spring because the weather is sunny, breezy and warm.00:15

The Best and Worst Time to Visit

A great time to visit Key West is during spring, in March, April and May. These months will give you the heavenly combination of warm temperatures and  low rainfall.. Traveling to the Keys during spring  assures you comfortable temperatures between 70°F and 80°F.. You get fantastic weather clear waters for snorkeling, and you also get to attend the Conch Republic Independence Days, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in April this year.

Average Weather Conditions in Key West

The weather in Key West is subtropical, meaning it is warm throughout the year.  Typically, daytime temperatures range between 70°F and 80°F. Don’t forget to pack your sunscreen. Temperatures in summer can rise  to 90°F with  humidity, while winter offers  more comfortable daytime temperatures of 75°F and low humidity. Spring and summer temperatures are  typically are between 70°F and 80°F.

The Coldest Months in Key West

The coldest month in Key West is January, with daily average temperatures between 70°F and 75°F.  The lowest-ever recorded temperature for January was 41°F.

Hurricane Season in Key West

According to The Florida Keys and Key West, the hurricane season starts in June and ends in November. Even though hurricanes have no timeline and can appear anytime during these months, August and September are the months when Key West – and all of Florida -- is most susceptible to hurricanes.

The Most Expensive and the Cheapest Time to Visit Key West

The most expensive time to visit Key West is. typically during the winter between November and January, which is peak season. The prices go up significantly during peak season because of heavy demand.

The cheapest time to visit is during hurricane season.

Popular Activities in Key West

Visitors can go on sightseeing tours for different activities  such as  sunset cruises, sailing and  food and cultural walking tours, historical attractions  like the Harry S. Truman Little White House, Florida’s only presidential museum, and the Hemingway Home & Museum, go snorkeling or sailing, and or on a wildlife tour. Duval Street is trendy among tourists because of its many shops, galleries, bars and restaurants.

When it comes to snorkeling, May is a good  time. During this time, not only have the prices for hotels lowered, the temperatures are not so hot, and there typically are no huge crowds from the winter tourism boom. May is far from hurricane season, and the water is quite clear.

Safest Places/ Places to Avoid in Key West

Something to note is that the city of Key West is very inclusive, and diversity is well accepted. While walking through the streets, you will meet people from all walks of life and from throughout the world, with diverse backgrounds and different ways of life.

Duval Street

Duval Street, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, is the heart of the tourist district popular among visitors and home to historic bars, funky shops, art galleries and casual restaurants. Visitors can enjoy the ‘Duval Crawl,’ stopping at watering holes such as Sloppy Joe’s and Captain Tony’s Saloon. It’s also home to a fun-loving LGBTQ community with lively drag shows in the ‘pink triangle’ district surrounding 801 Bourbon Bar.

The Historic Seaport District

This is a fantastic place to enjoy the water. There are so many water activities here. Tourists can enjoy fishing, swimming, snorkeling, diving, and kayaking and be taken on boat rides, and experience watching sea creatures such as dolphins in the wild

Historic sites

The Harry S. Truman Little White House is Florida’s only presidential museum. Ernest Hemingway’s famous home, with six-toed cats, and theTennessee Williams Museum are great for literary fans. Visitors can enjoy environmental attractions and eco-experiences, a wide variety of watersports and excursions, lush public gardens, culinary tours and classes, historic sites and an overflowing calendar of festivals and special events. Popular stops include the intriguing Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory, the “vacation White House” of former President Harry Truman and the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, where visitors can discover artifacts and treasures from two Spanish galleons sunk off Key West in 1622.

Mallory Square

It is a fantastic location for viewing sunsets. Set on Key West’s historic waterfront, Mallory Square is home to the island’s famous Sunset Celebration. Tourists can shop here to pick up fun souvenirs. .  At day's end in Key West, crowds gather at Mallory Square to experience the nightly "sunset celebration," a tradition that locals share with visitors. While musicians, jugglers, acrobats and other performers provide entertainment, the sun sinks slowly below the horizon as sunset cruise boats sail by in Key West Harbor.

Safety Tips for Key West Travelers

  1. It is advisable to wear reef-safe sunscreen at all times during the day. Even though Keys breezes can sometimes make the island feel cooler, travelers must remember that Key West is located closer to Havana than it is to Miami in thetsubropics, and the sun can cause sunburn.

4. It’s always recommended to hire a Blue Star operator when booking fishing charters, snorkeling trips  or to scuba dive; You must be certified to dive.  Information for travelers

  • Visitors who plan on indulging in alcohol need to bring their IDs everywhere.
  • Currency – The U.S. dollar is the currency widely used here. There are  banks located throughout  Key West if you need to make a withdrawal or money transfer. Please let your bank know when you travel to Key West, so they do not issue a fraud alert when you start spending.
  • Transportation –People travel to Key West bywater, air, or road. There is an international airport in Key West as air transport is a popular way of arriving in the city. Six airlines provide nonstop flights into Key West International Airport.Other visitors visit  via cruise ships ,  but most drive the famed Florida Keys Overseas Highway to get here.
  • Travel Insurance – It’s always wise to purchase  travel insurance to avoid losing money if anything happens.

Our tips can help you decide the best times for you to visit Key West.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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