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What’s the Weather Like?

Deciding which month is your best time for a Miami Vacation

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Ah, the great dilemma: which season is best for a visit to Miami? Fortunately, Mother Nature made it simple for everyone: she only gave us two! Summer and Spring.  Choosing which one is best for you is a matter of figuring out your priorities while you’re down here.  Do you want your beach time to be completely uninterrupted by afternoon downpours? Or is getting a bargain rate worth a daily afternoon sunshower? Do you like to bask in bathwater-warm seas? Or do you like your water a little nippy? Do you enjoy the energy of events like Spring Break and Ultrafest? Or do you prefer a slower-paced ambience—one with more parking?  Here’s the lowdown on what you can expect during each time of year:

The Low Season in Miami

Summer, also known as the low season, stretches from May through October.  This is when it rains the most—pretty much every afternoon, starting about 3 or 4 pm.  The good part is that although the sky can turn an ominous dark grey and the thunder may fiercely rumble, it’s all over in about an hour.  Sometimes, the sun even shines while it’s raining! While an inconvenience, the rainy season can create some of the most striking sky and seascapes you’ll ever see.  The juxtaposition of the bright turquoise surf and the grey clouds provides a dramatic visual aesthetic.  Also, the pelting rain provides a great deal of relief from the summer heat and humidity.  In like a lion, and out like a lamb just a short time later, the skies are often clear again for sunset!

It is during this time that you most feel like you’re in a different country.  The weather feels so different from the rest of the US.  While in January you might only expect about 1.88 inches of rain, in August, the wettest month, that total averages 8.63 inches! And the humidity, while intense enough to soak your shirt to your skin during the worst moments, is generally less severe here than it is in the inland areas, due to the presence of near-constant ocean breezes.

The summer also marks the beginning of hurricane season, which begins in June and lasts until October.  It’s very rare to actually have a hurricane in June, though, as the season doesn’t get active until the middle of July into September.  By October, storms are beginning to wane.  While hurricanes can potentially affect your travel plans, unlike many natural disasters, you can see them coming several days in advance, so you generally have time to reschedule.  Hotels and tour companies will allow you to cancel or reschedule your reservations if a hurricane watch is imminent.

It’s during this period that you’ll find the best deals on hotels!  Often, they’ll give you an extra night free if you’re staying a week or longer.  Be sure to ask about any specials when you book.  Since the crowds are less intense during the summer months, the atmosphere is also less harried.  There are less cars on the road, fewer snowbirds lined up outside the restaurants, and parking tends to be much easier!

Although it’s easy to remember to bring the sunscreen and hats during those dog days of summer, few think to bring along a sweater or a wrap, not realizing just how chilly the air conditioning can be, especially to women.  If you’re sensitive to the cold, bring one along, just in case.  You’ll be glad you did.

By mid-October, the rain levels and heat begin to decrease dramatically, and with the advent of November, we’ve now arrived at the high season!

The High Season in Miami

In November, you can expect an average daily rainfall of only about 3.43 inches, a significant contrast to the 5-8” you’ll get during the summer.  The humidity subsides a great deal, and it’s more enjoyable to be outside in the sun.  This is Miami at its most comfortable.  Daily highs, even in February, typically make it into the low to mid ‘70s.  Lows might hover in the low 60s to upper 50s during the colder moments.  And while freezing weather is not unheard of in Miami, it generally lasts only for a day or so, tops, during the whole season.  To avoid those rare frigid days, be sure to check the weather forecast about five days before your trip.

The ocean water averages about 72 degrees during the winter months, much nippier than the summer, when it can easily get to 85.  But even during the winter, the water is warmer than California’s Pacific is in the summer!

Naturally, all this comfort comes with a price: the hotels are at their busiest, and their rates increase a great deal.  Traffic is heavier, lines are longer, and the atmosphere is most energetic.  Winter is when most of the big events happen, like Ultrafest, The Boat Show, the Winter Music Conference, Spring Break, and Art Deco Weekend.  It’s the time to see and be seen in this tropical playground!

Although the time you visit is largely a matter of personal preference and priorities, there is no really wrong time to come to Miami.  There are pros and cons no matter when you visit.  Of course, there’s only one way to know for sure which season you’ll like better—spend some time here during each of them!

Photo by Carlos Miller

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About the Author:

Douglas Eames is a freelance writer, homespun philosopher and budget bon vivant who divides his time between Southern California and South Beach.

See more articles by Doug.

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Updated for 2017. If you looking for more information, check out our Weather Charts with air, water and rainfall averages.
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