Best Time of Year to Visit the Florida Gulf Coast Beaches
Of course everyone has their favorite time of year in the area where they live. After having lived on the Florida Gulf Coast for more than 50 years, I certainly have figured out my favorite times of year. For me, the last two weeks of April, the entire month of May, and the first two weeks of June are the best time to visit Florida during the spring. Of course if it's 10 below zero where you live, any time is a good time to visit Florida.
Before April, the water is still usually below 70 degrees, and there is still the risk of a late cold front bringing several days of cool rainy, windy weather. By mid April this risk is greatly diminished.
By mid-June, the daytime temperature is well into the upper 90's and the daily rains and lightning storms have usually started, creating a high likelihood that your day at the beach will turn into a half-day at the beach, since it will be raining by early afternoon. Also the bugs are out in full force, particularly at night on the islands, and by mid-June the water is starting to have less clarity.
October and November are also my choice for being at the beach. The daily summer rains are over by early October, the water is still warm, and the sun isn't so unbelievably scorching, although the daytime temperatures are still in the upper 80's to low 90's. True, the daylight hours are a bit shorter this time of year, but the sunsets in October are breathtaking.
November is also a great time of year, but there is the chance of an early cold front coming through, although they are very mild during the fall and bring welcome relief from the summer heat. Generally a cold front in the fall will only bring temperatures down into the mid 70's for a few days.
By December the days are getting quite short and the water is starting to get much cooler, though it is still likely we will have sunny days with temperatures in the low 80's.
The best sunsets tend to be in September and October when there are still enough interesting clouds in the sky, but not enough haze to obscure the sun. Often, during the summer months, the heavy clouds from the afternoon thunderstorms linger until after sunset and block the view of the sunset. And sometimes, the best color display comes during the half-hour after the sun sets.