When is the Best Time to Visit Key West?

With constant sunshine, warm weather, and turquoise waters, Key West offers an incredible year-round vacation destination. Deciding the best time to visit Key West depends on your personal preferences and what you want to do during your visit. Whether you are looking to escape the cold or want to enjoy fewer crowds during the slower seasons, Rent Key West Vacations has the perfect property waiting for you!

Winter (December-March)

Month High / Low (°F)

December 77° / 70°

January 75° / 67°

February 76° / 68

  Photo: The Florida Keys & Key West

Winter is the most popular time to visit Key West, attracting snowbirds from around the world looking to escape the cold. The average winter high is a beautiful 75 degrees and the low temperatures usually only fluctuate down 10 degrees, and winter offers minimal rainfall. Celebrate the holidays in Key West with annual events like the Key West Holiday Parade, Lighted Boat Parade, and New Year’s Eve at various countdowns and celebrations around the island. Discover more information about Events Welcoming the New Year with Rent Key West Vacations!

Keep in mind that the influx of tourists also makes this the most expensive season to plan your visit. Accommodations, tours, and experiences fill up fast in the peak season. Advanced reservations are highly recommended during our winter season of perpetual summer. 

People from around the globe descend upon the island in January for delicious delectables during the internationally acclaimed Key West Food and Wine Festival. January also gathers a multitude of readers and writers for the Key West Literary Seminar which always garners the highest reviews! In addition to tepid temperatures, February offers the longstanding Old Island Days Arts Festival featuring fine arts and crafts at events, galleries and openair street markets.

Spring (March-June)

Month High / Low (°F)

March 78° / 70°

April 82 ° / 74°

May 85° / 77°

Spring is a beautiful season to visit Key West, with warmer weather, and fewer crowds than the winter. The exception to this is spring break, usually around March, when many families, young professionals and some college students plan their visits. Spring is a popular time for swimming, fishing, snorkeling, visiting gardens, and wildlife watching. St. Patrick’s Day in Key West offers a myriad of activities from bar strolls, 5 & 10K walk/runs, to themed boat excursions and more.

A visit during April or May enables you to enjoy all your favorite activities without the spring break crowds! The annual Conch Republic Independence Celebration at the end of April offers a fun glimpse into how “Key West Seceded Where Others Have Failed”. Learn more about planning your Spring Getaway in Key West.

Summer (June-September)

Month High / Low (°F)

June 88° / 80°7 days

July 90° / 81°8 days

August 91° / 81°10 days

Key West summer is the hottest time of the year and the start of hurricane season, so be prepared for the possibility of some passing rain showers. Summer is the second most popular time to visit Key West, welcoming an influx of families enjoying school breaks. Water is at its clearest and warmest in the summer, ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. 

Summer is the best time to visit Key West for travelers who want to join us for festivals! Key West Pride and MangoFest both occur in June. July 4th includes the traditional fireworks, festivities and The Mermaid and Key Lime Festivals; and Hemingway Days later in the month. Also, the very popular  Lobsterfest is held in August. 

Fall (September-November)

Month High / Low (°F)

September 89° / 80°

October 85° / 78°

November 79° / 72°

Photo: Tripadvisor

Fall is the low season in Key West and the best time to visit for travelers looking for fewer crowds, lower priced accommodations, and travel incentive flight pricing. The beginning of September offers the annual Key West BrewFest with tastings and pairings on the beach and at venues around the island.  The island also welcomes thousands of women for the event-packed annual WomenFest!   Fantasy Fest is at the end of October and is the most popular fall event, welcoming up to 75,000 travelers each year! Join us for ten days of costumes, parades, libations, and excitement this October!

November kicks off with the Race World Offshore Key West Championships featuring the world’s top power boat racers vying for the prestigious title, prizes and more.  Each November, also attracts film aficionados to the island for the highly praised Key West Film Festival. It always receives two thumbs up!

We all have a lot to be thankful for on this island of Key West, especially all of us who are fortunate enough to be able to celebrate Thanksgiving here in paradise.  Plan a Thanksgiving getaway with Rent Key West Vacations and celebrate the holiday island style!

Visit Key West

Year-Round with

Rent Key West Vacations

So, when is the best time to visit Key West? Anytime! Rent Key West Vacations offers excellent rental properties to host your getaway year-round. Browse over 60 Key West vacation rentals and let our knowledgeable staff help you customize your vacation. Please call our reservation specialists at 1-800-833-7368 for more information!

The Best Snorkeling While Visiting Key West

Key West offers some of the best snorkeling in the Florida Keys with a variety of shore entry snorkeling spots, reefs and shipwrecks accessible by boat.  The area’s clear, shallow waters and colorful marine life provide a great experience for snorkelers at all levels.

Key West is home to North America’s only living coral barrier reef! The Florida Reef stretches over 350 miles and is home to more than 6,000 species of marine life. Discover a magical underwater world of coral reefs, tropical fish, and shipwrecks at the best snorkeling spots around and nearby the island of Key West!

Let our team at Rent Key West Vacations help you find the perfect snorkel excursions.

Call us at 305-294-0990 to start planning your Florida Keys retreat today!

Shore-Entry Snorkeling Spots

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park Beach

This beach is considered one of the best shoreline snorkeling places in Key West. It’s located at the end of Southard Street in the Truman Annex. There are a variety of tropical fish species and living coral that will captivate your senses. Bring your own equipment or rent there. There is a per car, pedestrian/ bike entry fee.  Parking is included and the park offers beach rentals, concessions, showers and restrooms. In addition to snorkeling, explore the nature trails and the historic civil war era fort.

Higgs Beach & Key West Marine Park

The Key West Marine Park offers easily accessible snorkeling stretching from Higgs Beach to South Beach. Bring your snorkeling gear or rent on the spot.  This beach is located along Atlantic Boulevard close to White Street Pier. It features the only shore-accessible underwater marine park in the United States. These reefs are brain coral, sea fingers, sea whips, sea fans and more. It’s an excellent spot to see an abundance of butterflyfish, angelfish, and parrotfish around the pier. This is a great place for beginner snorkelers of all ages.

Smathers Beach

This large, family-friendly public beach with convenient vendors, water sports operators, umbrella/chair rental and restroom facilities also offers snorkeling from the shore.  Although the marine life is not as lively as at the outer reefs, it is a good option for snorkel beginners.  The shallow, current-free waters make it easy to get comfortable using your gear and you can encounter fish and some other sea creatures.

Off-Shore Snorkeling Excursions

Dry Tortugas National Park – Fort Jefferson

This park is worth the extra trip just 70 miles west of Key West. It is accessible by ferry, seaplane or private charter.  Here you will find the best snorkeling at the only living coral reef in the country! Over 100 unique corals make up the reef and more than 500 species of tropical fish call it their home. There are several snorkeling spots here, from the moat wall surrounding the fort to shipwreck sites.

The most cost-effective way to get there is by taking the Yankee Freedom III ferry. They include snorkel gear, beach picnic and tour of the historic fort. The seaplane excursion offers a faster and unique experience to get there and back more quickly and provides a bird’s-eye-view of the beautiful turquoise waters and tiny islands along the way.  There are a limited number of private charters available to the National Park and they customize day, overnight and longer trips.

Cottrell Key

Cottrell Key is 9 miles northwest of Key West. It was named after a captain of a lightship that was anchored there in the early 19th century. It is known for a unique sponge garden and large coral reefs. It’s also not unlikely to see dolphins, sharks, stingrays and Goliath groupers there. Cottrell Key is suitable for kids and families.

Little Africa Reef – Loggerhead Key

Loggerhead Key is the largest island in the Dry Tortugas and home to Loggerhead Lighthouse. Since this key is not reachable via public excursions and even private boats need a permit before entering the area, very few people come to this spot, so it remains a snorkeler’s paradise!

Little Africa is the name of the untouched reef on the north side of the island where you can explore fantastic aquatic life in calm, shallow waters. This is a very beginner and kid-friendly snorkel spot with many soft corals such as sea rods and sea fans, hard corals like brain and fire corals as well as juveniles of various fish species.

Avanti Dutch Wreck

The Avanti (AKA Dutch Wreck or Windjammer) is also situated in Dry Tortugas, a mile southwest of Loggerhead Key and it rests shallow enough to offer excellent snorkeling. Actually, some parts of it are even exposed at low tide and the maximum depth is 22’/ 6.7m.

This wreck is in amazing condition.  The ship split into two parts and those parts are scattered across the seafloor with healthy corals growing on and around them attracting huge schools of fish and many sea creatures.

Marquesas Keys

Marquesas Keys is a chain of 10 uninhabited islands west of Key West that were formed by a meteorite millions of years ago. In 1622, a Spanish Treasure Fleet sank in the area; the commander of the fleet was Marquis de Cadereita and this is why the island group was named Marquesas Keys.

Today Marquesas Keys is one of the most popular diving and snorkeling sites around Key West. Expect to find untouched reefs with large coral pinnacles and coral heads, interesting caves (Only Accessible by Scuba Diving) and crystal-clear waters. The strong currents attract larger pelagic species to the area so there is a high chance of spotting jackfish and sharks there.

Sambo Reef & The Western Sambo Ecological Reserve

The Sambo Reef system offers fantastic conditions for underwater adventurers at all levels. Situated near Boca Chica Key, it includes 3 large reef structures (Eastern, Middle, and Western). The Western Sambo Ecological Reserve contains the greatest diversity of habitat in the Lower Keys. It offers the best snorkeling because of its shallow waters (between 3-30’/0.9-9m). 

While snorkeling Western Sambo you will see healthy hard and stony coral structures (branch, brain and one of the last remaining stands of living elkhorn corals in the FL Keys). Anemones, crabs, starfish, sea cucumbers, sand dollars and sea urchins live in nearshore waters.  Huge gray angelfish, hogfish and a vast variety of fish live in the shallow waters of Western Sambo.

Sand Key Lighthouse Reef & Rock Key

Just seven miles west of Key West, Sand Key Sanctuary Preservation Area (SPA) is marked by an old red iron lighthouse that was completed in 1853. This protected area is a favorite among snorkeling enthusiasts. Thanks to its remote location and the strict no-take policy (no fishing, spearfishing or lobstering), the Sand Key Lighthouse Reef is one of the healthiest coral gardens of Florida.

The seas are often flat and calm which creates an optimal snorkeling experience for the entire family. Sand Key provides varying depths of 1’ to 15’ surrounding the lighthouse. You will see a variety of tropical fish species, sea turtles, sharks and more!

A little east of Sand Key Reef, lies Rock Key, an under-the-radar spot to go snorkeling while visiting Key West. It is part of the Sanctuary Preservation Area and Key West National Wildlife Refuge so it is well-protected. A variety of reef fish and sea creatures can be seen around the shallow bank reefs (the depth range is 5-35ft/1.5-10.6m) while the deeper and larger crevices provide habitat for morays, groupers and octopus.  You can also encounter turtles and sharks while snorkeling at Rock Key. In addition, the area has many shipwrecks to explore.

Snorkel Tours in Key West

Tours include all necessary equipment, knowledgeable guides, professional instruction, and complimentary beverages. Here are just a few offerings:

  • Fury Key West offers early trips to North America’s only living coral reef on a 65-foot catamaran with a seated sundeck, stairway to the sea, shaded lounge area, and restrooms.
  • Danger Charters: This tour allows you to sail, snorkel, and kayak with morning and afternoon tours to Key West National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Sebago Watersports: Join a small group for an epic snorkeling tour at the Florida Keys Reef!

Our team at Rent Key West Vacations is here to help you find the best snorkeling in Key West with our concierge services. We are happy to help you personalize your stay with the best Key West activities, from dinner recommendations to water adventures. Discover our collection of over 60 Key West Vacation Rentals and find your perfect home away from home in Florida’s southernmost city! Also, after you have booked your trip, you will have access to your Guest Portal with suggestions for private charters, water and land activities, restaurants, shopping and more!

Shop Local: Key West Farmers Market Guide

During your next Key West getaway, we encourage you to support our local community by shopping locally! Find a fantastic selection of locally grown produce and handcrafted goods at the farmers markets of Key West & The Florida Keys. Whether you are looking for fresh ingredients to prepare meals in your vacation home or want to find the perfect souvenir, you can find it all at our local, open-air markets. Choose Rent Key West Vacations to host your getaway and stay close to everything our slice of paradise has to offer!

Key West Farmers Market

When: Every Thursday, 2 pm – 7 pm

Where: Truman Waterfront

The Key West Farmers Market offers something for everyone! Shop for fresh produce grown in Homestead, gorgeous orchids & native plants, artisan selection of meats and cheeses, pickles, honey, nuts & dried fruits, natural soaps and so much more. You’ll find Key West crafts, gifts and the perfect souvenir to take home.  While browsing, fuel up with something from one of the food trucks with varying weekly options, like fresh seafood, Mediterranean, Indian, smoothies, and freshly brewed coffees and teas. There is ample parking, bike racks or take the FREE Duval Loop which conveniently stops close to the market. The entire park, market area, restrooms and parking lots are wheelchair accessible.

What else is there to do at the Truman Waterfront Park?

The USCG Ingham is a self-guided maritime museum open Tuesday – Saturday 10 am to 4 pm. $10 adults/$5 kids/$5 active military.

Truman Waterfront park features a splash park, playground and lots of grass to spread out a picnic. Restrooms & shower rinse stations are available.

The Quay faces the Gulf and often cruise ships and Navy cutters on duty will be docked nearby. There’s plenty of park benches to enjoy the view (but little shade, umbrella recommended),

Fort Zachary Taylor Beach & State Park is a National Historic Landmark on 54 acres and houses a civil war fortress and the best beach on Key West. Entrance fees start at $2.50 and up.

Florida Keys Eco Discovery Center is a kid-friendly & adult interesting educational exhibit open Tuesday – Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm. Admission is FREE.

Key West Artisan Market

When: Select Sundays, November-April, 10 am – 2 pm

Where: Key West Wildlife Center parking lot across from White Street Pier & Higgs Beach

The Key West Artisan Market, celebrating its 10th season, is a unique open air bazaar filled with artists, authors, chef-made cuisine, craftspeople, performers and fresh produce representing diversity, creativity, ingenuity and locally made products. Participants must live and also create/curate in the Keys in order to qualify for booth space.

Local artisans include culinary, textile, jewelry, wood, art & crafts, curiosities, fresh produce and lots of great, fresh food. Each week is a different theme focused on island living and local charities. Guests are encouraged to go green and ride bikes. There is limited free parking and marked handicapped spots at the park. Please BYOB (bring your own bags). Find your beach reading material at the Local Authors Nook and enjoy live entertainment at the weekly variety show. 

What else is there to do at Higgs Beach?

Higgs Beach offers a Civil War Era Fort, Fort West Martello home of the Key West Garden Club that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a beachside café, the African Refugee Memorial and burial site, and an AIDS memorial. Activities available include swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing, beach volleyball, tennis, pickleball, and a children’s playground. 

Higgs Beach Park also hosts the only shore-accessible underwater marine park in the United States and is the end of the Florida Overseas Heritage Trail, one of only 31 nationally designated All American Highways in the United States.

A beach concessionaire offers beach items for rent including chairs, umbrellas, kayaks, and paddleboards, among others. The Key West Garden Club offers free self-guided tours at Fort West Martello and its nearly two acres of beautiful gardens. The park also hosts a large dog park with separate runs for small and large dogs.

Florida Keys Farmers Market

When: Every Sunday, Year Round, Rain or Shine, 10 am – 3 pm – 305-432-6900

Where: Islamorada Gardens Plaza parking lot, 81001 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL 33036

Local, Fresh, Organic & Sustainable Shopping just under a two hour drive from Key West. Walk through an outdoor oasis featuring colorful artwork and murals by Miami artist DaveL @davel_art on Instagram. Each week features a rotating line up of vendors passionate about their craft. Find Artisan cheeses, select meats, fresh and local seafood, delicious baked goods, farmstand fresh juices, natural and organic produce, local art, orchids and so much more!

Bahia Honda State Park is on the drive and one of the most popular state parks in the Florida Keys. This is where you will find another icon of the Florida Keys, the Old Bahia Honda railway bridge. You can see the old bridge if you continue your drive without stopping at Bahia Honda State Park. But if you do stop at Bahia Honda State Park, you can get a classic view of the old bridge.  Bahia Honda State Park also has picnic tables so it can provide the perfect stop for a picnic with views! There are snorkel gear and kayak rentals at Bahia Honda State Park as well.

You will also drive across the iconic Seven Mile Bridge! There are parking areas on either side of the bridge for amazing views and photo opportunities.

Enjoy the Amenities at Our Key West Vacation Rentals 

Shop local at our Key West farmers markets during your Florida Keys getaway and keep money within our communities! Discover Rent Key West Vacations collection of vacation rentals complete with fully equipped kitchens, linens, and laundry facilities. Many of our properties also come with private pools, hot tubs, and tennis courts. If you need help customizing your Key West vacation, please get in touch with us at 1-800-833-7368. 

Key West Brewery and Distillery Guide

After a day at the beach, we invite you to cool down with a refreshing drink at a Key West brewery or distillery, and/ or bring your favorites back to your Rent Key West Vacations home-away-from-home. Whether you want to sip on island-inspired brews while overlooking the water or sample rum inspired by the exploits of Ernest Hemingway, you can find it all in Key West! And Rent Key West Vacations puts you within minutes of the best drinks on the island with our impressive collection of vacation rentals in Old Town’s historic district

The Waterfront Brewery

Visit The Waterfront Brewery for fantastic brews, views, and food. Overlooking the Key West Historic Seaport, kick back and relax as you watch the boats pass by during daily happy hour from 4:00 – 6:30. They feature beers like their world-famous Crazy Lady Honey Blonde Ale, which is brewed with local water and honey. They are passionate about using local ingredients to capture the essence of island life in every sumptuous sip!

First Flight Island Restaurant & Brewery

Enjoy delicious brews in this historic birthplace of Pan American World Airways. Pan-Am’s first tickets were sold out of this very building in 1927. Pan Am was the principal and largest international air carrier in the United States from 1927 until its collapse on December 4, 1991.

Accessing the brewery is an adventure in itself; stroll through the red-bricked garden and head through the French doors to be greeted by the unique bar area. A seaplane plunges through the ceiling, offering a one-of-a-kind drinking surface. We recommend their Sunset Clipper brew, which uses fresh Florida citrus peels for the perfect refreshing drink.

Key West First Legal Rum Distillery

Stop at the first-ever legal rum distillery on the island and try their collection of home-brewed rum. Join their free tours and learn about the process of distilling sugar cane into rum. They are also known for having the best pina Coladas and mojitos on the island, and they will even give you the recipe so you can perfect the making of the drinks at your vacation home so you can impress your friends when you get back to reality!

Papa’s Pilar Rum Distillery 

Taste the rum inspired by the life and exploits of beloved local author Ernest Hemingway. Their rum is named after his boat, Pilar, expressing a bold and well-traveled blend of maple, dark chocolate, fig, and candied orange. While you are here, we also encourage you to sign up for a tour, cocktail class, or haunted ghost tour!

Old Town Tavern & Beer Garden

Although not technically a brewery, Old Town Tavern offers one of the largest selections of craft beers in Key West. They host happy hour twice every day and whiskey Wednesdays, where you can enjoy 50% off whiskey, bourbon, and scotch. Head to the outdoor beer garden and pair your drink with a homemade dish from their expansive menu for a very satisfying meal!

Key West Vacation Rentals in Historic District

Discover our collection of over 60 Key West vacation rentals, and take advantage of amenities like private pools, hot tubs, and tennis courts. Whether you want to stay near the action in Old Town or in a gorgeous oceanfront property, we have the perfect rentals for your getaway!

Annual Key West Festivals & Events Guide

As one of the longest-standing and most trusted vacation rental companies in Key West, we are proud to be your local experts during your Key West getaway. Rent Key West Vacations’ knowledgeable staff is here to introduce you to the best Key West festivals and events our beautiful island has to offer! Keep up to date with local happenings on our Events page and plan your Key West vacation around one of our exciting annual festivals. No matter when you decide to visit us, our beautiful Key West Vacation Rentals offer the perfect homebase to enjoy events on the island!

January: Key West Food and Wine Festival

Escape the cold this winter and dive into the warmth of our unique culinary scene during the Food and Wine Festival. This festival includes over 20 special events, including wine tastings, innovative culinary creations, and chef collaborations. 

February: 58th Old Island Art Festival

This is an artistic Key West tradition not to be missed!  Thousands of original pieces of artisan made arts and crafts will be displayed and available for purchase.  This is the perfect opportunity to bring home a piece of paradise!

March to April: Key West Spring Break

Some students, young professionals, working grown-ups and retirees recoup and rejuvenate on the beaches and around the island of Key West!  Please come take a break with us this Spring!  

April: Conch Republic Independence Celebration

Celebrate the founding of the Conch Republic and the brief secession of the FL Keys from the United States. This ten-day festival features parades, reenactments, art fairs, bar crawls, costume contests, drag (Queen) races, bed and boat races, and even more fun in the Conch Republic. 

May: Key West Songwriters Festival

This Key West Festival is the largest of its kind in the world! Experience five days of live music with over 150 performers during the Songwriters Festival.  From intimate gatherings to large concerts, there is something for every music aficionado at this annual festival.  

June: Key West Pride Week

Key West is known worldwide for being an LGBTQ+ friendly destination, and we invite you to spend pride month on our tropical island! Pride Week will be full of events like parades, pool parties, drag shows, talent shows, fun nightlife, sunset sails, and diverse entertainment! 

July: Key Lime Festival, Key West Mermaid Festival, July 4th Celebrations and Hemingway Days!

Plan your vacation around the 4th of July and join Key West’s Independence Day parties and fireworks.  The Key Key Lime & Mermaid Celebrations also happen during the long weekend holiday. Later in the month, plan your getaway around Hemingway Days and celebrate the author with look-alike contests, poetry readings, imbibing and fishing tournaments.

August: Key West Lobsterfest

Visit Key West during the opening of lobster season and join the biggest party of the summer with mouthwatering lobster dishes, live music, and refreshing drinks.  Folks from around the world will enjoy Florida spiny lobster on Duval Street, beaches, poolside and in most of Key West’s excellent dining establishments.  

September: Key West Womenfest and Key West BrewFest

This famous global event invites all women to celebrate their gender.  Lesbians, straights, trans and allies gather to socialize, soak up the sun, and dance the night away with fellow like-minded women and their friends!  Beer lovers can enjoy Key West craft beers which are celebrated during BrewFest each year with this festival celebrating all things grain, hops and fun!

October: Goombay Caribbean Festival & Key West Fantasy Fest

Fantasy Fest is the biggest annual event in Key West, attracting over 75,000 visitors each year! This ten-day festival features parades,costumes, competitions, and parties.  Come early for the pre-festival, Goombay Caribbean Festival.  It runs the weekend before the start of Fantasy Fest and is full of great food, music and culture on the streets of Bahama Village in old town Key West. 

November: Key West Film Festival and Thanksgiving on the Island of Key West

This Film Fest has become world renowned and is part of the beginning of the annual awards circuit!  Of course, there is nowhere better to be grateful during Thanksgiving than Key West, so please join us at our bountiful, island table!

December: Key West Holiday Events & New Year Celebrations!

Visit Key West for the holidays and enjoy seasonal activities, including parades, concerts, Santa visits, festivals, light displays, fun on the water, and much more!  And, nothing beats ringing in the New Year on the island of Key West.  We drop drag queens, giant conch shells, pirate wenches and have all types of parties and celebrations!

Stay in Our Key West Vacation Rentals

There is always something happening on our slice of paradise; plan your getaway around one of our Key West festivals today! Whether you are looking for a Key West vacation rental near the beach or in the historic district, Rent Key West Vacations has you covered! To customize your Key West vacation, please call our reservation specialists at 1-800-833-7368.