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Florida Tourism Statistics for 2021

By James | Last updated August 23, 2023

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Florida Tourism Statistics for 2021 and early figures for 2022 show that visitor numbers have nearly recovered to their pre-pandemic 2019 numbers despite a very slow recovery from international visitors, especially from Canada.

According to statistics from VISIT FLORIDA Research , record numbers of visitors came to Florida for nine consecutive years in a row between 2011 and 2019, crashed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the various global lockdowns and then started to recover in 2021.

*In 2009, VISIT FLORIDA changed its Florida visitor study estimation methodology; therefore, estimates made prior to that year are not directly comparable. In 2022 they further refined their estimating for Canadian and other overseas visitors

Florida Tourism Statistics in 2021 and 2022

The latest data from VISIT FLORIDA Research has shown that visitor numbers to Florida in 2021 and the first three quarters of 2022 are recovering back towards their pre-pandemic 2019 figures despite a slow recovery from international visitors. Many international markets were prohibited from entry into the USA until November 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the USA.

In fact, Columbia which was not subject to any travel bans with 0.71 million visitors came out on top for all international visitors, beating Canada with just 0.58 million (down from over 4 million in 2019).

Domestic visitor numbers surged with over 117 million (a new record) up 55% on 2020 whilst total visitor numbers increased to 122 million.

Top out-of-state domestic US visitors were from Georgia 9.5%, New York 9.3% and Alabama 6.4%.

The international breakdown by country showed the only gains were from South American countries that were not subject to travel bans (2020 figures in brackets):

  • Canada 0.58 million (1.36 million)
  • United Kingdom 0.14 million (0.18 million)
  • Brazil 0.13 million (0.29 million)
  • Columbia 0.71 million (0.17 million)
  • Argentina 0.23 million (0.15 million)

Preliminary figures for the first three quarters of 2022 are showing further improvements:

  • In quarter 1 of 2022, total visitor numbers were up 38.3% on the same period in 2021
  • In Quarter 2 the figures were up 5.6% on 2021 and actually 4.5% up on 2019
  • In Quarter 3 total visitor numbers were up 15.3% on 2021

The last two quarters of 2021 also showed an increase on the same quarters in 2019.

Barring further problems, 2022 could well set a new record and put Florida back on top again.

The final 2022 figures are expected in May/June 2023.

How Many Tourists Visit Florida Each Year?

Florida’s great climate makes it a year-round destination for both vacationers and business and leisure conventions. It is also a great draw for college students on spring break and snowbirds during the cold winter months in the North Eastern seaboard.

Over the last 10 years, visitor numbers have for the most part continued to grow.

In 2013 an estimated 94.7 million tourists visited Florida in total, up 3.6% on 2012 and then in 2014 that number grew to 97.35 million, a 2.8% increase on 2013.

In 2015 despite a small fall in international visitors, overall growth was around 6.5% topping the 100 million mark and reaching a record near 105 million visitors. A further 5.9% increase in 2016 saw numbers reach nearly 113 million.

Though international numbers continued to fall, especially from South America, overall 2017 and then 2018 and 2019 were record-breaking years with over 131 million visitors in 2019, despite the impact of hurricanes like Irma and the red tide outbreaks.

Of the major international countries, Canada continued to show growth and Brazil had started to climb again.

These figures demonstrated that for the ninth year running, Florida was still the “Number One” US attraction for holidaymakers with year-round appeal and that it had bounced back following the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

In 2019, domestic visitors still made up the lion’s share at over 116 million, a 3.7% increase, with Canada in second place and the United Kingdom in third place. In 2020, there was a 29.7% drop in domestic visitor numbers, a 64.5% drop for Canada and a 70.4% drop for international.

The biggest change in the last couple of years is the drop in visitor numbers from overseas, particularly in South America, and specifically from Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela. This was partly due to economic and political turmoil coupled with a poor economy and not being part of the US Visa Waiver Program .

For most of 2020 and 2021, the biggest factor was when the global COVID-19 pandemic struck the USA and it effectively went into lockdown, though this varied by state.

Historical International Visitor Numbers to Florida

Orlando Visitor Numbers in 2021

With its multiple conference facilities and theme parks , Orlando hosts the largest number of visitors to Florida each year resulting in tourism being the largest private employer in the Orlando area.

In recent years theme parks have seen larger numbers of spring breakers wishing to spend time in the theme parks rather than the beach resorts. It is estimated that Walt Disney World receives over 50 million visitors each year, the most visited vacation resort in the world.

Visit Orlando produces annual visitor statistics and they estimated there were 59.3 million visitors to Orlando in 2021 which is a big increase on 2020 with 35.3 million but well down on the record over 75 million in both 2019 and 2018.

The figure of 59.3 million breaks down into 49.7 million domestic leisure visitors, 7.5 million domestic business visitors and about 2.1 million overseas visitors.

The Orange County Convention Center saw nearly 1 million visitors with over 40 million transiting through Orlando International Airport (MCO).

Visitors to Orlando bring in over $4bn in state and local taxes from hotels and businesses.

However, in 2020, that figure crashed to just 35.3 million visitors. International travel was down by 75%, not helped by the travel ban into the USA from so many countries.

Before the pandemic struck, in 2019 Orlando witnessed record-breaking numbers with 75.8 million visitors overall, 69.3 million domestic and 6.5 million overseas making it the most visited destination in the USA, beating New York.

Orlando International Airport maintained its position as the busiest airport in Florida, with 50.1 million travellers to the airport, a 6.7% increase on 2018.

Miami Visitor Numbers in 2021

Though Miami lacks theme parks it still has a lot to offer with great beaches, casinos, cruises to the Caribbean and beyond, culture and the lure of the Florida Keys.

The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau publish annual visitor numbers to Miami. In 2021, Miami played host to some 24.2 million visitors matching the pre-pandemic numbers of 2019.

Domestic visitors made up 8.7 million of the overnight guests and 3.4 million of the day trippers plus about 3.5 million Florida residents overnight and the same number of day trippers.

There were around 5.1 million international visitors, the largest group were from Columbia with 0.50 million.

Like Orlando and Florida as a whole, Miami was also hit badly by the COVID-19 pandemic particularly in 2020 with only 11.6 million visitors, 7.9 million overnight and 3.7 day trippers. This was 52% down on 2019.

In 2019, there were estimated to be a record 24.2 million visitors, 16.3 million overnight and 7.9 million day trippers.

In 2018, the figures were 23.3 million, 16.5 million overnight and 6.8 million day trippers.

Below you will find historical figures for Florida for the last couple of years.

Florida Tourism Statistics in 2020

VISIT FLORIDA Research figures for 2020 showed a significant decline compared to 2019, especially in the second, third and fourth quarters.

Overall, quarter 1 was down by 14.5%, quarter 2 by a massive 66.6% and quarter 3 by 31.4%. Quarter 4 figures showed a drop of 31.9%.

Total visitor numbers to Florida in 2020 were just over 79 million of which over 75 million were from the United States.

The international breakdown by country figures showed large losses (2019 figures in brackets):

  • Canada 1.36 million (4.09 million)
  • United Kingdom 0.18 million (1.33 million)
  • Brazil 0.29 million (1.30 million)
  • Columbia 0.17 million (0.55 million)
  • Argentina 0.15 million (0.56 million)

With the closing of the borders to many countries, there was around a 75% decrease in overseas visitors whereas domestic USA visitor numbers were only down by around 35%.

One of President Donald Trump’s last actions before he left office on January 20, 2021, was to rescind the overseas travel ban that came into effect in early 2020 but before it was due to take effect, new President, Joe Biden, reintroduced it and actually added another country (South Africa) to the list.

So the question “Is Florida open to visitors?” was a moot point as anyone who had been in the following countries in the last 14 days was still banned from entering the United States:

  • European Schengen area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City)
  • United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland)
  • Republic of Ireland
  • South Africa

These bans were finally lifted in November 2021.

Florida Tourism Statistics in 2019

Total visitor numbers to Florida in 2019 were over 131 million of which over 116 million were domestic travellers from the United States. This represented a 3.8% increase on 2018.

Looking at the 2019 international numbers (2018 figures in brackets):

  • Canada 4.09 million (3.55 million)
  • United Kingdom 1.33 million (1.50 million)
  • Brazil 1.30 million (1.22 million)
  • Columbia 0.55 million (0.60 million)
  • Argentina 0.56 million (0.65 million)

Overseas tourists showed a 0.1% increase compared to 2018.

In prior years, the United Kingdom (UK) was always top of the international tourist list behind Canada but in 2011 the UK at 1.3 million was knocked off the second spot by Brazil with 1.5 million visitors. Brazil has now slipped back to third place behind the UK.

Comparing these figures from as far back as 2010, the biggest gains in percentage terms came from emerging markets like Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela and Brazil reflecting the impact of the economic downturn in Western Europe.

Florida Tourism Statistics In Previous Years

The breakdown for 2009 was an estimated 71.2 million domestic (US) visitors plus a further 2.6 million from Canada.

Visitors from the United Kingdom were in third spot with 1.2 million down 12% on 2008 whereas Brazil was in fourth place with 0.7 million, up 29%. In 2010 Brazil’s visitor numbers topped the 1 million mark.

Tourists spend over $60 billion per annum in Florida bringing in nearly $4 billion in sales tax revenues (a quarter of all sales tax revenues) and creating over 1 million jobs in the tourist industry.

Another interesting statistic is the amount of money spent by foreign tourists and again Brazilians spent far more per person than say visitors from the United Kingdom, in fact, they spent twice as much, taking advantage of low prices and a favourable exchange rate at the time.

To cater for this increase in Brazilian visitors, all the main theme parks started employing Portuguese-speaking workers and launched websites in Portuguese.

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Key West Travel Guide

Key West Travel Guide - Visitor Information for Key West, FL in the Florida Keys

Complete guide for things to do & see in Key West. Plan to enjoy island life.

  • Where is Key West?
  • Getting to Key West
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What to Pack

  • Attractions and Tours
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FAQ’s – Frequently Asked Questions

  • Key West Tourism Statistics

Travel Planning Menu

  • – Key West Hotel Map
  • – Maps
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Answers to the most common questions about Key West

As the official Key West Travel Guide , we receive many often-asked questions about Key West.  Below are some of the most frequently asked questions with concise answers.

The small island of Key West can be a challenge for drivers looking for parking. Pay parking lots, both private and public, are available throughout the historic district known as “Old Town.” Many public streets have metered parking, as well. Neighborhood streets have street parking, but many spaces are designated “Resident Only” and visitors must not park in these or risk being ticketed. 

More detailed parking information can be found here

  • Do not park in spaces marked “Resident Only,” unless you have a City of Key West Residential Parking Permit, available only to residents of Key West.
  • Pay parking meters as per instructions on meters and electronic pay stations.
  • Recreational vehicles (RV’s), buses, and campers over 20-feet may not be parked on city streets.
  • Boats may not park on city streets.
  • Cars may not occupy the same parking space for more than 3-days in a row.
  • Parking regulations are enforced every day from 8am until midnight.
  • More detailed parking information can be found here .

There is free street parking on many residential Key West streets, although they are usually occupied as free parking is generally scarce.  However, do not park in the “Resident Only” parking spaces, each of which is clearly marked. 

Travel Questions

There are numerous options to get to Key West from Miami.

  • Drive:  the distance is approximately 160 miles and, without traffic, normally takes 3 hours. Use caution on the Overseas Highway, obey speed limits, and only pass other vehicles where permitted.
  • Fly:  American Airlines offers daily non-stop, direct service between Miami (MIA) and Key West (EYW) airports. Direct flight time is typically 45 minutes. Delta and United offer non-direct service between these airports.
  • Bus:   Greyhound and GO Bus offer affordable daily service between Miami and Key West airports.
  • Shuttle:  Keys Shuttle offers daily service between Miami and Key West, with six departures each day.

There are numerous options to get to Key West from Fort Lauderdale.

  • Drive:  the distance is approximately 187 miles and, without traffic, normally takes 4 hours. Use caution on the Overseas Highway, obey speed limits, and only pass other vehicles where permitted.
  • Fly:  Silver and United Airlines offers daily non-stop, direct service between Fort Lauderdale (MIA) and Key West (EYW) airports. Direct flight time is typically 1 hour.  Delta, Jet Blue, and American Airlines offer non-direct service between these airports.
  • Bus:   Greyhound and GO Bus offer affordable daily service between Fort Lauderdale and Key West airports.
  • Shuttle:  Keys Shuttle offers daily service between Fort Lauderdale and Key West, with six departures each day.

There are numerous options to get to Key West from Tampa.

  • Drive:  the distance is approximately 430 miles and, without traffic, normally takes 7.5 hours. Use caution on the Overseas Highway, obey speed limits, and only pass other vehicles where permitted.
  • Fly:  Silver and United Airlines offers daily non-stop, direct service between Tampa (TPA) and Key West (EYW) airports. Direct flight time is typically 1 hour 20 minutes.  Delta and American airlines offer non-direct service between these airports.
  • Bus:   Greyhound daily service between Tampa and Key West airports, but be aware that trip times are very long – at least 15 hours.

Since the island of Key West is relatively tiny, the first step in planning a trip to Key West is to secure a hotel reservation. Choices range from luxury resorts to quaint B&B’s.  Next, we suggest you find a flight to a South Florida airport.  Options include flying directly into Key West (EYW), or alternatively and usually more affordably, one of the regional airports (Fort Lauderdale (FLL), or Miami (MIA)) and drive down from there.  Last, make reservations for activities you would like to experience on your vacation.  Many activities sell-out in advance, especially trips to the Dry Tortugas National Park.

Yes, you can get to Key West by car via the Overseas Highway, a roadway that was originally built for trains a century ago. Part of US Highway 1, this two-lane road spans the Florida Keys for 113-miles and crosses 42 bridges and is considered one of the most memorable drives in the United States.  Typical driving times: Miami to Key West – 3 hours; Fort Lauderdale to Key West – 4 hours.  Please obey speed limits, especially in the Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine and nearby islands (from mile markers 29 to 35).  Also, drive defensively and do NOT pass except where permitted. 

More information about where Key West is located, including maps

In general, you don’t need to rent a car in Key West, especially if you are staying in Old Town, the historic district, where most everything you’ll want to see will be within walking distance. Plus, parking in Key West is a challenge.  Even if you don’t stay in Old Town, taxis, ride-share services (Uber & Lyft), rental bicycles, and city bus service make it easy to get around the small island. 

More information about getting around Key West

Key West cab and taxi fares are regulated by the City of Key West and are as follows:

  • Meter rates:  $2.95 for the first 1/5th of a mile; $0.70 for additional 1/5’s of a mile;  $0.70 for 50 seconds of wait time
  • Zone charges (4 or more passengers) : Zone 1:  $3.50; Zone 2: $4.50; Zone 3: $5.00; Zone 4: $6.50
  • Airport rates (multiple passengers) : Zone 1 (South of White Street) $9.00/pp; Zone 2 (White Street to Kennedy Ave) $8.00/pp; Zone 3 (North of Kennedy Ave) $7.00/pp; Zone 4 (Stock Island) $8.00/pp
  • Airport rates (single passenger):  $2.95 for the first 1/5th of a mile; $0.70 for additional 1/5’s of a mile;  $0.70 for 50 seconds of wait time
  • more information about Key West taxi services

Getting around the small island of Key West is easy with numerous options, including walking, bicycles, cars, mopeds (which we generally do not recommend), taxis, ride-share services, tourist trolleys, hotel shuttles, public buses, and pedi-cabs.  Locals often rely on bicycles – known as “Conch cruisers.” 

You do not need a car to get around Key West.  Bicycles are the most popular option, especially for locals, and let you experience authentic Key West life.  Other options include: walking, bicycles, cars, mopeds (which we generally do not recommend), taxis, ride-share services, tourist trolleys, hotel shuttles, public buses, and pedi-cabs. 

If you are staying within Old Town, riding a bicycle  or walking in the historic district is the best way to get around.  You’ll have the opportunity to see the charming neighborhoods and experience Key West at the slower pace locals are accustomed to and visitors seek.  If your destination is further, taxis, ride-sharing services, and buses are your best bet. 

Key West is located off the southern tip of Florida and at the end of the Florida Keys island chain.  Key West is the southernmost point in the continental United States and is the starting point for US Highway 1.  The island is considered between two bodies of water: the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, and is only 90 miles from Cuba.  The coordinates for Key West are: Latitude 24.5551° N, Longitude 81.7800° W.  

Mile maker 0 of US 1 is located in Key West at the intersection of Fleming Street and Whitehead Street. 

More information about mile marker 0

To travel to Key West, visitors have the choice of air, land and sea transportation. Daily flights are available to Key West International Airport, located directly on the island. Alternatively, many visitors fly into Miami or Fort Lauderdale and drive to Key West from there. Highway US 1 spans the Florida Keys and is the only road to and from mainland Florida.  Also, a high-speed boat ferry operates from Fort Meyers to Key West.  

More information about getting to Key West

Yes, you can drive to Key West from mainland Florida.  Highway US 1 spans the Florida Keys and is the only road to and from mainland Florida.  The distance is approximately 160 miles from Miami, normally a 3-hour, and 4-hours from Fort Lauderdale. Use caution on the Overseas Highway, obey speed limits, and only pass other vehicles where permitted. 

There is an airport located directly on the island of Key West, known as the Key West International Airport.  This is the only airport in the Florida Keys served by airlines. The airport code is EYW.  Other options include flights to Miami and Fort Lauderdale, a 3-4 hour drive to Key West. 

Nearly all the beaches in Key West are on the southern shore of the islands.  The two main beaches in Key West:

  • Smathers Beach, the largest, is located on South Roosevelt Blvd (address for navigation is 2601 S. Roosevelt Blvd)
  • Fort Zachary Taylor State Park’s beach is located at the end of Southard Street (it’s official address is 601 Howard England Way, although this address is locally unused).

More information about Key West beaches

Yes. Key West largest beaches are Smather’s Beach and Fort Zachary Taylor State Park.  Other beaches include Higg’s Beach, Simonton Beach, and Dog Beach.  

The beaches in Key West range from soft sand to coral rubble.  Smathers Beach is soft sand.  Fort Zachary Taylor is mostly coral rubble, with some sandy areas.  Most have snorkeling opportunities just offshore. 

Yes, there are public beaches in Key West, including Smathers Beach, Higgs Beach,  Rest Beach, Simonton Beach, and Dog Beach.  Fort Zachary Taylor State Park also has a nice beach, but there is an admission fee for the public to use it.  

In general, you do not need a car while in Key West.  The island is small, only 4-miles wide by 2-miles wide, and the historic quarter known as Old Town is all within a 1-mile radius.  Taxis, ride-sharing services, bicycles, walking, and city buses are plentiful and a convenient way to get around.  

More about getting around Key West

The drive time to Key West is 3-hours from Miami and 4-hours from Fort Lauderdale.  

Miami is 160 miles away from Key West, a drive of 3-hours without traffic.  

Depending on where you depart from, the following airlines offer direct flights to Key West:

  • Delta Airlines – direct flights available to/from Atlanta (ATL)
  • American – direct flights available to/from Miami (MIA), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Charlotte (CLT), Washington DC (DCA)
  • United – Chicago (ORD), Newark (EWR)
  • Silver Airways – Ft. Lauderdale (FLL), Fort Myers (RSW), Tampa (TPA), Orlando (MCO)

Key West International Airport (EYW) is only airport in the Florida Keys that is serviced by major airlines.  It is located on the island of Key West.  Private flights can also fly into Marathon Airport.  Many visitors to the Florida Keys fly into the mainland Florida airports and drive to Key West.  

Key West International Airport is located directly on the island of Key West. The Miami Airport is located 160 miles from Key West. The Fort Lauderdale Airport is located 188 miles from Key West

No.  Southwest Airlines no longer flies to Key West.  

Tourism Statistics

In 2016, approximately 366,000 tourists arrived in Key West by airplane, 700,000 tourists visited Key West by cruise ship, and 94,000 visited by boat ferry.  In addition, hundreds of thousands have arrived by car. 

More Key West tourism statistics

4 million tourists visited the Florida Keys in 2016. 

On any given day, there are typically between 10,000 and 15,000 tourists in Key West.  This compares to 29,000 residents of the island.  

With its warm and humid weather and laid back lifestyle, pack casual lightweight cotton clothing for a visit to Key West. Shorts, short-sleeved shirts, sandals, bathing suits, brimmed hat, and sunglasses are basic necessities. In the cooler winter months, also pack a pair of jeans or pants and a light jacket or sweatshirt. 

More suggestions for what to pack

Key West Travel Guide suggests the following for a seven-day trip to Key West: 7 short-sleeved shirts, 2 long-sleeved shirts, 7 pairs shorts, 1 pair of sandals, 1 hat, 1 sunglasses, 2 nicer shirts, 1 pair pants or jeans, sunscreen & toiletries. 

Key West is very casual and bohemian, and your dress can reflect that. Feel free to wear comfortable clothes, as you will be welcome in the finest restaurants in shorts and short-sleeves. If you do dress up, strive for an island-casual look, with linen, cotton, and other cool fabrics. Shoes should be comfortable and made for walking. 

Most residents and visitors to Key West wear comfortable, casual clothing at night. Dressing up often means switching from t-shirts to button-up shirts. Ladies will be most comfortable in loose fitting cotton clothes and lightweight sundresses. High-heels and heavy make-up are not comfortable or common in Key West, though if that is your preference, feel free; that is what Key West is all about. 

In December, January, February, temperatures in Key West typically average between 65-75 degrees(Fahrenheit). And, if a cold-front comes through, it can be ten degrees cooler. Key West Travel Guide suggests wearing shorts during the day and jeans at night. Also, bring a long-sleeved sweatshirt or jacket in case of a cold-front. Hats and sunglasses are always recommended. 

Budget at least $200 per day, per person for your visit to Key West. You can certainly have a smaller budget, but nice dinners average at least $50 per person. Most watersports cost $45-$150 per activity. Credit cards are accepted nearly everywhere, so feel free to bring only a portion of your budget in cash. 

Dry Tortugas National Park & Fort Jefferson

To get to the Dry Tortugas, our suggested method is by seaplane. Daily seaplane flights are available only from Key West, Florida. The journey is 70 miles each way. More information about the Dry Tortugas seaplane

The Dry Tortugas is a group of small, low-lying islands located 70 miles west of Key West in the Gulf of Mexico. These islands are the true end of the Florida Keys, a chain of islands extending off the southern coast of Florida. The Dry Tortugas are located at Latitude 24.6333° North, Longitude -82.9200° West.

More information about the Dry Tortugas

Fort Jefferson is located on Garden Key among the group of islands known as the Dry Tortugas, approximately 70 miles west of Key West. The navigational co-ordinates for Fort Jefferson are 24.627390 North, -82.872305 West.

There is no cheap way to get to the Dry Tortugas. Distance alone, 70 miles from Key West, makes getting to the Dry Tortugas costly.  Daily seaplane flights from Key West, again the only departure point, costs $342 per person, plus park admission fee.

More information about the Dry Tortugas seaplane

Key West’s calendar is packed with events throughout the year, including these monthly highlights:

  • Key West Literary Seminar (January)
  • Old Island Days Art Festival (February)
  • Conch Shell Blowing Contest (March)
  • Conch Republic Independence Celebration (April)
  • Key West Song Writers Festival (May)
  • PrideFest (June)
  • Hemingway Days (July)
  • Lobsterfest (August)
  • Womenfest (September)
  • Fantasy Fest (October)
  • Key West World Championship (November)
  • Lighted Boat Parade (December) More Key West Calendar of Events

The table below displays the Key West sunset times throughout the year.

Key West’s has more than one gay-pride week. These include Key West Pridefest, scheduled for June 6-10, 2018; Tropical Heat, scheduled for August 15 – 19, 2018; and Womenfest, scheduled for September 5 – 9, 2018

More Key West Gay Travel Information

Key West does not have a true Mardi Gras celebration, although a few bars mention it. But Key West is famous for a Mardi-Gras-style celebration, known as Fantasy Fest. This week-long party culminates the last Saturday of October and features a large parade with revelers throwing strands of beads.

More Key West Calendar of Events

Fantasy Fest occurs at the end of October, culminating with a large parade on Duval Street on the final Saturday of the month.

More about Key West Fantasy Fest

Famous People

There were seven cast members of the MTV show Real World Key West, which originally aired in 2006, including Svetlana Shusterman, John Devenanzio (aka Bananas), Paula Meronek, Tyler Duckworth, Zach Mann, Jose Tapia, Janelle Casanave. Today, Svetlana is an artist after her attempts at modeling and acting. John Devenanzio continues to appear on MTV challenge shows and also owns an online t-shirt business. Paula Meronek appeared on nearly a dozen Challenge shows, and today is busy as a mom. Tyler Duckworth appeared on numerous The Challenge TV shows, and today is a freelance-digital consultant. Zach Mann currently works in radio and also as an executive producer of films. Jose Tapia is now an actor and cinematographer. Janelle Casanave is a vegetarian body builder who continues to compete in MTV challenge shows.

More about MTV’s Real World Key West

The Hemingway House, the Key West home of writer Ernest Hemingway, is located at 907 Whitehead Street. This is on the corner of Whitehead Street and Olivia Street, in the historic quarter of Key West known as Old Town.

More about the Hemingway House

Approximately 75,000 people are buried in the 160-year-old Key West cemetery. Some of the most notable people buried here include: two-dozen sailors that died when the ship USS Maine was sank by explosion in Havana Harbor; Sloppy Joe Russell, Hemingway’s fishing guide and barkeep; William Curry, Florida’s first millionare; B.P. Pearl Roberts, who tombstone declares I Told you I was Sick; and numerous others. 

More about who is buried at Key West Cemetery

Mel Fisher was a marine salvor who for decades searched for the wreckage of the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Atocha, laden with gold, silver, gemstones, and treasures. The ship sunk off Key West during a hurricane in 1622. Mel Fisher famously declared each morning of the search, Today’s the day. Finally, in July of 1985, Mel Fisher’s team discovered the shipwreck and its bounty, today known as the most valuable shipwreck discovery in history. In July, a celebration of the man and his discovery, Mel Fisher Days, is held in Key West. 

More about Mel Fisher and the museum documenting his discovery

The average air temperature in Key West in December is: 77°(F)/25°(C) high, 67°(F)/19.5°(C) low. The average ocean-water temperature in December is 72°(F)/22°(C). 

More about average Key West air and sea temperature, rain, and climate

Tourist Traps

Key West is a very safe and fun community. Nevertheless, we suggest you avoid the following businesses that unscrupulously prey upon tourists: the crass t-shirt shops famous for overcharging customers; the cruise-ship-port jewelry shops with their overpriced and low-quality gemstones; the shady factory art galleries with high-pressure sales; and most of all, the cosmetic shops on Duval Street – known for their high-pressure sales tactics and wildly-overpriced, over-promised merchandise. 

More about tourist traps to avoid in Key West

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The Best Times to Visit the Florida Keys for Great Weather, Low Prices, and Fewer Crowds — According to a Floridian

These are the best times to visit the Florida Keys for every type of traveler.

how many tourists visit the florida keys each year

Growing up, I thought my childhood summers spent snorkeling and sunbathing in the Florida Keys were unique, that my family had unearthed paradise and settled in. When my Miamian great-grandparents purchased our family “Keys house” in the 1970s, they set in motion a legacy of love for the seas and salty breezes of this sun-drenched island chain.

The house has since been sold, and family gatherings beneath the tiki hut are now a distant memory, but my love for the Florida Keys endures. Of course, as an adult, I now realize we weren’t alone in recognizing what a special place the Florida Keys is — more than five million people visit these 1,700 islands each year. While the archipelago is pretty buzzy year-round, some months are more popular than others:

  • High Seasons: Varies by island; generally January to April (through May for Key West ), July, August, and December, plus holidays
  • Shoulder Season: May and June
  • Low Season: September to November

These are the best times to visit the Florida Keys, depending on weather, crowds, prices, and more.

Frederic Prochasson/Getty Images

Best Times to Visit the Florida Keys for Smaller Crowds

Popular months to visit can vary from the Upper Keys to the Lower Keys, and there are months, like August, that are desirable for some reasons (read: lobster season) while undesirable for other reasons (read: hurricane season and sweltering heat). If you're looking for lighter traffic and thinner crowds, you’ll find the sweet spots in the quieter seasons: between the winter throngs and the summer rush, and as kids go back to school in the fall.

In late spring, crowds are smaller than they are throughout the holiday and spring break seasons, but temperatures haven’t heated up to their full furnace level yet. Crowds are lightest in the fall toward the tail end of hurricane season. Both are nice times to visit the Florida Keys.

Just remember that fall in the Keys isn’t the cool, breezy, leaf-tinged dreamscape you may be used to in northern climes; here, the weather is hot, muggy, and prone to rain.

Artur Debat/Getty Images

Best Times to Visit the Florida Keys for Good Weather

Each month in the Florida Keys has weather pros and cons, so the best time to visit may depend on your vacation goals.

Summer is one of the most popular times to visit, but the weather is as hot as it gets, and hurricanes are a constant threat from June 1 to November 30, with most storms popping up from mid-August to mid-October. Still, this is when the water is warmest and boating season is at its prime.

Florida Keys weather is at its mildest during the winter months, from about November to February. That doesn’t mean it’s chilly: January sees the lowest average temperature of any month, but that low is a mild 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Wintertime weather in the Keys is pleasant, but the water is also at its coldest during these months, so you may need to work a shortie wetsuit into any diving or snorkeling plans.

For many people, late spring in the Florida Keys offers the best of all worlds: the weather is pleasant but not too hot; hurricane season hasn’t yet arrived; the water is warm; and the summertime crowds have not yet descended in full force.

VisionsbyAtlee/Getty Images

Best Times to Visit the Florida Keys for Lower Prices

Because there’s not really a bad time to visit the Keys, finding a low price can be a challenge no matter what month you try. However, you’ll likely have the best luck in “off” months like September and November. 

Prices are usually highest in the depths of winter and the height of summer because that’s when the destination is in highest demand; in the shoulder season months of May and June, you can sometimes score deals as good as they get.

Best Times to Visit the Florida Keys for Being Out on the Water

Beaches in this palm-lined island chain may be few and far between ( though plenty delightful ), but reefs are not — the Florida Keys is, undoubtedly, more of a boating than a beach destination. Most people go with plans to get out on the water and dive, snorkel, fish, or just boat from reef to sandbar and back again.

You won’t catch a lot of Floridians diving into the water in the winter — the water is (subjectively) much too cold. On the flip side, summer promises warmer waters but sweltering temperatures (and quick sunburns). You’ll also need to dodge daily afternoon thunderstorms. Spring begins to heat up in and out of the water but can be windy; early fall sees both temperatures and crowd levels fall but can be rainy.

Floridians love going to catch lobster during “mini season,” or the two-day time frame when lobstering is allowed just before the main season (which runs from early August to late March). Lobstering is best done from your own boat, though some companies offer charters as well. Keep in mind that traffic along the single-lane Overseas Highway can be heavy during this short season.

Worst Times to Visit the Florida Keys

Choosing when to visit the Keys can be a double-edged sword; some of the best times to visit the Keys are also the worst times. 

For example, everybody loves to go for mini season, but that’s exactly the problem: You’re not the only one with the bright idea to visit the Keys during these lobster-laden days. In the same way, nothing sounds better than Christmas in the Keys — but don’t expect to find any good deals on hotel rates at this festive time of year. In fact, all holidays tend to draw crowds and drive up hotel prices.

If you melt in extreme heat, avoid the Keys in the summertime. On the other hand, if you hope to dive and snorkel but hate cold water, don’t go in the winter.

And, of course, a violent hurricane (which can hit between June and late November each year) can really dampen your plans, but at least you’ll get several days' notice to make other arrangements.

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Coral Restoration Ecotourism in the Florida Keys

By Dalia Colón

A road trip through the Florida Keys is its own reward: a 113-mile journey across islands with some of the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous scenery you’ll ever lay eyes on. But amidst the topaz waters, diving pelicans and lush mangroves are a treasure trove of attractions that are educational, historical or just plain fun.

Here are a dozen of the best things to do in the Florida Keys, from top to bottom.

Two words: Underwater park. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is the first undersea park in the country… and the first place you should go when you arrive in the Florida Keys. There are endless ways to explore this aquatic attraction, including kayaking through the mangroves, snorkeling or scuba diving and setting out on a glass-bottom boat tour.

The African Queen Canal Cruise is another fun way to explore Key Largo. Hop aboard the famed vessel—yes, it’s the one made famous by the 1951 movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn—and embark on a 90-minute sightseeing cruise departing from Marina del Mar. Dinner cruises are also available. 

Video Thumbnail - youtube - Florida Travel: Family Fun at Theater of the Sea, Islamorada

Theater of the Sea combines the pizzazz of a marine park with the charm of a family-owned attraction.

Theater of the Sea combines the pizzazz of a marine park with the charm of a family-owned attraction. Watch a sea lion show, hold a parrot and enjoy a bottomless boat ride. The park’s animal interaction programs—including swimming with dolphins—are sure to make a splash. (See what we did there?)

Although your vacation may last only a few days or weeks, the history of the Keys dates back thousands of years. Get up to speed with a visit to the Keys History and Discovery Center , located on the grounds of the Islander Resort. In addition to rotating exhibits, the museum’s permanent collection of photos and memorabilia highlights the area’s Native American life, shipwrecks and more with photos, models and artifacts.

Love dolphins? Do a deep dive into the life of the aquatic mammals at the Dolphin Research Center on Grassy Key, near Marathon. Watch the dolphin and sea lion shows, chat with trainers and cool off at the sprayground. For next-level fun, enroll your tween or teen in Dolphin Camp, or splurge on a Fantasy Dolphin Day to live out all your swimming-with-dolphins dreams.


Secluded Bahia Honda State Park , located on Big Pine Key, is home to more than 150 species of rare flora and fauna. But its three unspoiled beaches aren’t only for the birds; they’re also a great place for shelling, geocaching, snorkeling and other low-key activities. The park is also sought after for camping, with accommodations ranging from primitive camp sites to glamping cabins.

There’s no shortage of animal encounters in the Keys. But for one of the most peculiar, you’ll have to visit the National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key. The endangered creatures stand no more than 32 inches tall and are found only in the lower Florida Keys, so hike, bike or kayak through the preserve and keep your eyes peeled for these beautiful creatures.

Pay your respects to one of Key West’s most legendary residents with a visit to the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum . As you stroll through the gardens and pet the six-toed cats—descendants of the writer’s own pets—imagine the Nobel Prize winner working on manuscripts when he lived in the house during the most prolific decade of his career, the 1930s. In the bookstore and gift shop, take home a souvenir to serve as your own muse.

The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is located on Duval Street, but it’s about as far away from the famous thoroughfare’s excesses as you can get. Whether you’re looking for family-friendly fun or you just need someplace to catch your breath, a few hours inside this glass-enclosed conservatory surrounded by butterflies and birds should do the trick.

When the sun goes down, the fun heats up at Mallory Square , home of Key West’s nightly sunset celebration. Jugglers, tightrope walkers, sword swallowers, buskers and other colorful characters put on a family-friendly show for your entertainment—and hopefully, for your generous tips.

Sure, it’s touristy. But no visit to Key West would be complete without a photo op at the Southernmost Point . The oversized buoy landmark represents the lowest spot on the map of the Continental United States.


Just when you thought the Keys were as remote as you could get, there’s Dry Tortugas National Park . This conglomerate of islands 70 miles west of Key West is accessible only by boat or seaplane. But not to worry; even if you don’t have your own transportation, you can ride the Yankee Freedom ferry from Key West to Garden Key and still explore the park’s historic Fort Jefferson; snorkel, dive or swim in the clear waters; enjoy breathtaking birdwatching; and pitch your tent under the stars.

For more fun things to do in the Florida Keys, check out .

Stargazing in the Florida Keys

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Florida Keys

Christ of the Abyss, John Pennekamp State Park


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The best time to visit the Florida Keys

Jesse Scott

Dec 18, 2021 • 6 min read

A pair of pelicans gliding over the ocean.

With consistent temperatures and a full calendar of events, the Florida Keys is a great year-round destination © Matt Munro / Lonely Planet

Composed of hundreds of islands (or keys) that stretch nearly 200 square miles, the Florida Keys is ripe for exploration. But when should you make your tropical journey happen?

Compared to other corners of the United States , the Florida Keys has consistently warm temperatures, with highs rarely dropping below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. While the pleasantness of its climate and the vibrancy of its residents are constants, factors – spanning quirky cultural attractions to the likelihood of weather-related events – will help you nail down your plans. So, let’s find that perfect time for your next trip to the Florida Keys. 

Two people at a food stand with signs reading Key Lime Pie

Go November through February to feel the energy and heat

As much of the rest of the country combat cold temperatures, snow or a mix of the two, the Florida Keys remain delightfully sunny. In fact, there's a name for those that opt to hibernate for months on end or own a seasonal residence in South Florida (or other traditionally warm locations): Snowbirds.

During these snowbird-filled months, things feel noticeably busier in some of the bigger towns and popular places to visit (e.g., Key Largo , Islamorada , Tavernier, Marathon and Key West ) – there is a bit more traffic, restaurant waits are longer and the bar scene is, well, just as crazy as it is any other time of year. With a primed climate – high temperatures are typically in the mid- to upper-70s – and a unique tropics-meets-winter holiday charm, it’s no wonder so many opt to hit the Florida Keys this time of year.

A band playing in a bar under colorful lights

Enjoy festivals and parties before the heat arrives from March through May

If you want to sneak in a Florida Keys adventure before the thermostat reads a very humid 90 degrees, this is the time to do it. March through May is optimal for a number of activities: fishing, spring festivals and a wonderful balance of locals and tourists.

Throughout the Florida Keys, you can visibly notice the snowbirds heading back north. But, between raucous St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, the Conch Republic Independence Celebration in Key West and an influx of Spring Breakers, there's plenty to keep folks heading here, too.

A man and woman kayak in calm waters

Get a bargain travel deal from June through October

Those dreamy waterside resorts and cottages that the Florida Keys are known for certainly aren’t cheap. For those looking for a bargain , the summer to early fall time frame is the time to make it happen. These bargains come with a few asterisks.

It is typically super-humid and hot during the summer months, so you’ll want to pack accordingly. Also, June 1 through November 30 is the Atlantic hurricane season, with September and October typically being the most active. So, you’ll want to keep an extra-close eye on the weather this time of year. But, for many, these caveats are easily worth the extra dough you’ll save.

Enjoy cultural events in January

With divine temperatures and cultural events galore, it’s no wonder so many folks opt to ring in a new year in the Florida Keys.

Key events: Art Under the Oaks (Tavernier), Coconut Crawl (Key Colony Beach), Florida Keys Celtic Festival (Marathon), Florida Keys Seafood Festival (Key West), Key West Food & Wine Festival.

Head to the art festivals in February

Love may be in the air on Valentine’s Day. But, art is in the air throughout the Florida Keys for much of the month, with two of the islands’ biggest annual attractions for art lovers.

Key events: Coral Head Music Fest (Marathon), Old Island Days Art Festival (Key West), Pigeon Key Art Festival (Marathon).

A large brown pelican on a dock

Experience the energy of Spring Break in March

South Florida is a Spring Break hotspot and the Florida Keys are certainly a part of the mix starting in March and running through mid-April. If you’re not a college student, St. Patrick’s Day is always an all-ages spectacle with festivities throughout the islands.

Key events: Islamorada Seafood Festival, Key Colony Beach St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Marathon Seafood Festival, St. Patrick’s Day Bar Stroll (Key West).

Go fishing in April

For fishers, April is one of the best months of the year for snagging a big one. Mahi mahi, tarpon, wahoo, blue marlin and yellowtail are in their prime, so plan for a fishing adventure or two.

Key events: Conch Republic Independence Celebration (Key West), 7 Mile Bridge Run (Knights Key to Pigeon Key ).

May brings the start of the heat

You can feel the spring temperatures slowly starting to shift to summer heat. With this, the snowbirds and masses of tourists that had taken advantage of cooler temps start to taper off.

Key events: Cuban American Heritage Festival (Key West), Key West Songwriters Festival, Queen Mother Festival (Key West).

Cannons under a brick fort hallway

June is the start of hurricane season

The heat is on and so is hurricane season. June through November, you’ll want to keep an eye on weather systems developing in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico that may affect your trip.

Key events: Florida Keys Guitar Festival (Marathon), Key West Pride Week, Mango Fest (Key West).

July celebrates one very famous pie

A darling of dessert menus everywhere, you can celebrate your love of key lime pie at the Key Lime Festival this month. You’ll want that slice of pie extra cool as the weather is scorching throughout July.

Key events: Hemingway Days Festival (Key West), Key Lime Festival (Key West), Spirit of Islamorada 4th of July Festival, Underwater Music Festival ( Looe Key ).

Get your lobster fix in August

The ocean water is at its hottest in the Florida Keys in August, so dive in. You can celebrate a fellow ocean swimmer – the lobster – at the Key West LobsterFest, too.

Key events: Key West LobsterFest, Kilts in the Keys (Marathon), Tropical Heat (Key West).

An old-fashioned typewriter in an office

Enjoy less crowds in September

Family road trips come to a screeching halt and the islands have a noticeably less family-filled vibe. 

Key events: Florida Keys Birding & Wildlife Festival ( Big Pine Key ), Womenfest (Key West), Key West Brew Fest.

Get dressed up for an ultimate Halloween celebration in October

For Halloween fans, if getting creatively bedazzled for just one day isn’t enough, you can dress up and party for 10 consecutive days at Fantasy Fest in Key West. For the Halloween traditionalists, there is plenty to do throughout the islands on the big day and leading up to it.

Key events: Fantasy Fest (Key West), Goombay Festival (Key West), Reef Fest (Key Largo), Zombie Bike Ride of the Living Dead (Big Pine Key).

Enjoy the slower pace and cooler temperature of November

Wedged between Halloween and a holiday-filled December, November feels somewhat quiet. High temperatures hover around a pleasant 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Key events: Key West Film Festival, Taste of the Islands (Marathon).

Bring in the holidays in December

The holidays are celebrated on land, by boat and via seemingly every mode in between. As colorful as The Florida Keys are year-round, things feel that much more cheery and vibrant to close out the year.

Key events: Big Pine & Lower Keys Island Art Festival, Key West Holiday Parade, Key West Lighted Boat Parade.

You might also like: The best things you can do for free in Key West 12 best things to do in Florida, from rockets and rollercoasters to the Everglades Plan your next vacation to one of these top destinations in Florida

This article was first published September 2021 and updated December 2021

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How many tourists visit the Florida Keys each year?

how many tourists visit the florida keys each year

Table of Contents

  • 1 How many tourists visit the Florida Keys each year?
  • 2 What is the population of the Florida Keys?
  • 3 How do most people get to Key West?
  • 4 How many hotel rooms are in the Florida Keys?
  • 5 What is there to do in Key West for gays?
  • 6 What is Key West most known for?
  • 7 Where are the Florida Keys located in Florida?
  • 8 Who are the original inhabitants of the Florida Keys?

✓ Overall visitation to the Florida Keys was up 1.5% in 2018 to 5.13 million trips; this follows a -0.3% decline in 2017. Of the 5.1 million visitors to the Keys in 2018, 74% traveled from domestic origins for leisure purposes, 6% from domestic origins for business purposes, and 20% from international origins.

What is the population of the Florida Keys?

Florida Keys is an area in Monroe County,Florida with a population of 13,046. There are 6,729 male residents living in Florida Keys and 6,316 female residents. The employment numbers show that there are 78.35% white collar employees and 21.65% blue collar employees in Florida Keys..

Are there a lot of gays in the Florida Keys?

Key West is internationally known as a gay mecca, attracting more than 250,000 visitors to this top LGBTQ vacation spot that celebrates openness and pride — the entire destination is renowned for its welcoming and accepting attitude.

Which Florida Key is the most popular?

Key West Key West. Easily the most famous of the Florida Keys, there’s a reason why Key West is the most popular destination in the Keys.

How do most people get to Key West?

Key West is an island located many miles off Florida’s south coast. To get to Key West, visitors have the choice of air, land and sea transportation.

How many hotel rooms are in the Florida Keys?

The Keys have a total of 15,000 lodging units, which includes hotel rooms, RV spots and short-term vacation rentals. One of the first in this new batch to open is The Marker Resort in the waterfront area once known as the Key West Bight.

How many people live in the Florida Keys 2021?

The current population of Key West, Florida is 23,342 based on our projections of the latest US Census estimates.

How many full time residents are in Key West?

With only 25,000 full-time residents, people from across the country and the world have made Key West home.

What is there to do in Key West for gays?

Walk down Duval Street toward what the locals call the Pink Triangle. Rainbow flags are easy to spot on Duval. Many of the establishments in Key West are gay-owned or gay-friendly, and they let you know it. If you’re in the mood for a fun night outing, check out the nightly drag show at a nightclub called Aqua.

What is Key West most known for?

Key West, the southernmost point in the United States, is famous for watersports, lively nightlife, beaches, historic sites and its pastel, conch-style architechture.

Should I go to Key Largo or Key West?

Key West is a party town filled with nightlife and activity, while Key Largo is more laid-back and relaxed. But if you’re looking for more things on the natural side, Key Largo has more to offer. In other words, if you’re looking for a laid-back, relaxing vacation with outdoor activities, Key Largo is the way to go.

How many people visit Florida in a year?

Where are the Florida Keys located in Florida?

Who are the original inhabitants of the florida keys.

Why are the islands in South Florida called key?

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How Many Tourists Visit Florida Each Year

Published: November 8, 2023

by Jaclin Lough



Florida, also known as “The Sunshine State,” is a popular tourist destination that attracts millions of visitors from around the world. With its beautiful beaches, vibrant cities, diverse wildlife, and thrilling theme parks, Florida offers something for everyone. Whether it’s enjoying the sunny weather, visiting world-class attractions, or exploring the unique ecosystems, tourists flock to Florida year after year to experience its abundant natural beauty and vibrant culture.

In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of Florida tourism, exploring the historical trends, current statistics, and the impact of tourism on the state’s economy. We will also examine the factors influencing tourist numbers and the challenges and opportunities faced by the tourism industry in Florida.

By understanding the significance of tourism in Florida, both for its residents and the local economy, we can gain insights into how this industry contributes to the state’s growth and development. So, let’s embark on this journey and uncover the wonders of Florida tourism.


In order to accurately analyze the number of tourists visiting Florida each year, extensive data collection and analysis methods are employed. The main sources of data include surveys, visitor centers, hotel occupancy records, airport arrivals, and other tourism-related entities.

State and local tourism agencies in Florida gather information through visitor surveys conducted at various points of entry, such as airports, train stations, and visitor information centers. These surveys collect data on visitors’ demographics, purpose of visit, length of stay, spending patterns, and more.

Additionally, hotels and other accommodation providers in Florida maintain records of guest arrivals, which are essential for determining tourist numbers. Hotel occupancy rates and reservation data are valuable indicators of the tourism industry’s performance and give insights into trends and demand fluctuations.

Another important data source is airport arrivals, which provide a snapshot of the number of tourists traveling to Florida by air. Airports across the state track and compile data on the number of passengers arriving on both domestic and international flights.

Furthermore, aggregated data from travel agencies, tour operators, and cruise lines is also utilized to estimate tourist numbers. These entities track bookings, itineraries, and passenger numbers, which provide valuable information about the flow of tourists to Florida.

To ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data, statistical methods such as sampling and extrapolation are employed. Sampling involves collecting data from a representative subset of the population, while extrapolation involves estimating the total number of tourists based on the collected sample data.

It is important to note that while these methodologies provide valuable insights into tourist numbers, they are subject to limitations. For instance, not all tourists may participate in surveys, and some may choose not to disclose certain information. Additionally, factors such as seasonal variations, economic conditions, and unforeseen events can influence tourist numbers and may lead to fluctuations in data.

Despite these limitations, the methodologies used in collecting and analyzing data on Florida tourist visits provide a comprehensive and reliable picture of the state’s tourism industry. By combining data from various sources and employing statistical techniques, researchers and policymakers can gain valuable insights into the trends, patterns, and economic impact of tourism in Florida.

Historical Trends in Florida Tourism

Florida has a long and rich history as a tourist destination. The state’s natural beauty, warm climate, and captivating attractions have been drawing visitors for decades. Understanding the historical trends in Florida tourism provides insights into the growth and evolution of the industry.

In the early 20th century, Florida began to see an increase in tourist numbers as advancements in transportation, such as the construction of railways, made it more accessible to travelers. The development of luxury resorts and the promotion of Florida’s sunny weather as a health benefit also played a significant role in attracting visitors.

One of the defining moments in Florida’s tourism history was the opening of Walt Disney World in 1971. This theme park revolutionized the tourism industry in the state and cemented Florida’s reputation as a top family-friendly destination. The success of Disney World spurred the development of other theme parks and attractions, including Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Orlando, further boosting tourist numbers.

Throughout the 20th century, Florida continued to evolve as a tourist hotspot. The state’s stunning coastline, including popular destinations like Miami Beach, Daytona Beach, and the Florida Keys, attracted beachgoers from far and wide. The Everglades National Park and the Kennedy Space Center also drew nature enthusiasts and space enthusiasts, respectively.

In recent years, Florida has witnessed a surge in international tourist arrivals. The state’s proximity to Latin America and its connection to major air hubs have made it an appealing destination for visitors from countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and Germany.

The impact of hurricanes and other natural disasters on Florida’s tourism industry cannot be ignored. The state has faced several devastating storms throughout its history, which have temporarily impacted tourist numbers. However, Florida’s resilience and commitment to rebuilding and recovery have allowed the tourism industry to bounce back.

Overall, historical trends indicate a consistent and steady growth in Florida tourism. The state’s ability to adapt to changing tourism preferences, invest in infrastructure, and capitalize on its natural and cultural attractions has made it a global destination that continues to attract millions of visitors each year.

Current Statistics on Tourist Visits in Florida

Florida remains one of the most visited states in the United States, with a robust tourism industry that contributes significantly to the state’s economy. Let’s take a look at some current statistics on tourist visits in Florida.

  • According to Visit Florida, the official tourism marketing corporation for the state, Florida welcomed a record-breaking 131.4 million tourists in 2019.
  • While the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on global tourism in 2020, Florida still managed to attract an estimated 86.7 million tourists, despite travel restrictions and reduced international travel.
  • In the first half of 2021, Florida saw a gradual recovery in tourism numbers, with approximately 58 million visitors, reflecting a strong rebound compared to the previous year.
  • Miami continues to be a top tourist destination in Florida, with over 23 million visitors in 2019. The city’s vibrant cultural scene, stunning beaches, and renowned nightlife make it a popular choice for tourists.
  • Orlando, home to world-class theme parks like Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort, remains a major draw for tourists. In 2019, Orlando welcomed over 75 million visitors, making it the most visited city in the state.
  • The Florida Keys, with their picturesque scenery, vibrant marine life, and unique island charm, also attract a significant number of visitors each year. Key West alone saw more than 5 million tourists in 2019.
  • Florida’s beaches, including popular destinations such as Clearwater Beach, Daytona Beach, and Siesta Key, continue to be major attractions for tourists, drawing millions of visitors annually.
  • International tourism plays a crucial role in Florida’s visitor numbers. In 2019, the state welcomed approximately 13.2 million international visitors, with Canada, the United Kingdom, and Brazil being the top three countries of origin.

These statistics illustrate the enduring appeal of Florida as a premier tourism destination. The state’s diverse attractions, including theme parks, beaches, cultural hubs, and natural wonders, continue to capture the imagination of travelers from around the world.

As the tourism industry gradually recovers from the challenges posed by the pandemic, Florida remains committed to providing a safe and enjoyable experience for visitors. By implementing health and safety protocols, promoting responsible travel, and showcasing the state’s unique offerings, Florida is well-positioned to attract even more tourists in the coming years.

Comparison of Tourist Numbers by Region in Florida

Florida encompasses several distinct regions, each offering its own unique attractions and experiences. Let’s explore a comparison of tourist numbers by region in Florida to gain insights into the popularity of each area.

1. Miami-Dade County: Known for its vibrant city life, stunning beaches, and diverse cultural scene, Miami is a top tourist destination in Florida. The county attracts millions of visitors each year, with Miami Beach being the main draw. In 2019, Miami-Dade County welcomed over 23 million tourists, making it one of the most visited regions in the state.

2. Orlando: Home to world-renowned theme parks, Orlando is a top choice for families and thrill-seekers. The region boasts attractions like Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld Orlando. In 2019, Orlando had over 75 million visitors, making it the most visited region in Florida.

3. The Florida Keys: Offering a unique island experience, the Florida Keys stretch over 120 miles of breathtaking beauty. Key West, the most popular island in the Keys, attracts tourists with its vibrant atmosphere, historical sites, and stunning sunsets. The Keys welcomed over 5 million visitors in 2019.

4. Tampa Bay Area: Located on Florida’s west coast, the Tampa Bay Area offers a mix of cultural attractions, waterfront activities, and professional sports. The region is home to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and the renowned Salvador Dali Museum. In 2019, the Tampa Bay Area saw over 34 million visitors.

5. Greater Fort Lauderdale: Known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant nightlife, Fort Lauderdale is a popular destination for sun-seekers. The region also attracts visitors with its world-class shopping, dining, and cultural events. In 2019, Greater Fort Lauderdale welcomed over 14 million tourists.

6. Southwest Gulf Coast: The Southwest Gulf Coast region, including destinations like Naples, Sarasota, and Fort Myers, offers pristine beaches, championship golf courses, and nature preserves. The region’s natural beauty and outdoor activities draw millions of visitors each year.

7. Daytona Beach: Famous for its wide, sandy beaches and high-speed racing events, Daytona Beach is a favorite among motorsports enthusiasts. The region also offers attractions like the Daytona International Speedway and the Daytona Beach Boardwalk. In 2019, Daytona Beach had over 10 million visitors.

These numbers provide an overview of the popularity of different regions in Florida. However, it’s important to note that tourist numbers can vary year to year due to various factors, including economic conditions, marketing efforts, and global events. Nonetheless, Florida’s diverse regions collectively offer an array of attractions and experiences that cater to a wide range of interests, ensuring that there is something for everyone in the Sunshine State.

Impact of Tourism on Florida’s Economy

Tourism plays a pivotal role in Florida’s economy, contributing significantly to job creation, revenue generation, and overall economic growth. Let’s examine the impact of tourism on Florida’s economy.

1. Job Creation: The tourism industry in Florida is a major employer, providing job opportunities for millions of residents. Directly and indirectly, tourism supports a wide range of sectors, including hospitality, transportation, retail, entertainment, and more. From hotel staff and tour guides to restaurant workers and transportation providers, tourism-related jobs have a significant impact on the state’s workforce.

2. Revenue Generation: Tourism brings in substantial revenue for Florida. Visitors spend money on accommodations, dining, shopping, attractions, and entertainment, contributing to the local economy. In 2019, visitors spent approximately $91.3 billion in Florida, generating tax revenues that support essential services and infrastructure development.

3. Small Business Growth: Tourism provides opportunities for small businesses to thrive in Florida. From boutique hotels and local restaurants to tour operators and souvenir shops, small businesses are vital contributors to the tourism industry. The influx of tourists creates a demand for unique experiences and products, benefiting local entrepreneurs and fostering economic growth.

4. Infrastructure Development: The revenue generated from tourism plays a crucial role in the development of infrastructure and amenities in Florida. Funds are invested in improving transportation networks, building and maintaining attractions, enhancing public spaces, and supporting cultural institutions. These developments not only cater to tourists but also enhance the overall quality of life for residents.

5. Ancillary Industries: Tourism stimulates growth in ancillary industries such as construction and real estate. As demand for accommodations and attractions increases, there is a need for the expansion and development of infrastructure. This results in new construction projects and opportunities for investment in real estate, further fueling economic activity in the state.

6. Promotion of Economic Diversity: Florida’s diverse tourism offerings allow for economic diversity. The state attracts visitors with its theme parks, beaches, natural wonders, cultural events, sports, and more. By promoting various tourism sectors and continually investing in new attractions and experiences, Florida reduces its dependence on specific industries and fosters a more resilient and diversified economy.

Overall, the impact of tourism on Florida’s economy is substantial. The industry contributes to job creation, revenue generation, infrastructure development, and the growth of small businesses. With its endless array of attractions and natural beauty, Florida continues to attract tourists from around the world, ensuring a steady and significant economic impact for the state.

Factors Affecting Tourist Numbers in Florida

Several factors influence the number of tourists visiting Florida each year. Understanding these factors is essential for anticipating trends and making informed decisions to bolster the state’s tourism industry. Let’s explore some of the key factors that affect tourist numbers in Florida.

1. Weather: Florida’s climate, with its warm temperatures and abundant sunshine, is a major draw for tourists. Seasonal variations, such as hurricanes during the summer months, can impact visitor numbers. Mild winters attract visitors from colder regions, while hot and humid summers may deter some travelers. Weather patterns significantly influence the timing and volume of tourists visiting Florida.

2. Economic Conditions: Economic factors play a significant role in travel decisions. Strength or weakness in the global and domestic economies impacts consumer spending and travel budgets. During economic downturns, people tend to cut back on discretionary spending, including travel. Conversely, during periods of economic prosperity, more people have the financial means to travel, resulting in increased tourist numbers.

3. Travel Restrictions and Policies: Travel restrictions and policies imposed by governments have a direct impact on tourist numbers. Visa requirements, entry restrictions, and security concerns can deter visitors from certain countries. Additionally, changes in currency exchange rates can also affect travel decisions as affordability becomes a consideration for tourists.

4. Marketing and Promotion Efforts: Effective marketing and promotion strategies greatly influence tourist numbers. The state of Florida, along with regional tourism boards and local businesses, invests in marketing campaigns to attract visitors. The use of various media channels, digital marketing platforms, and partnerships with travel agencies can significantly impact the visibility and appeal of Florida as a tourist destination.

5. Major Events and Festivals: Major events, festivals, and conferences held in Florida attract large numbers of tourists. Events like the Miami Art Week, Miami Boat Show, Daytona 500, and Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights draw crowds from far and wide. These events have a significant impact on tourism by attracting visitors specifically during those periods.

6. Natural Disasters: Florida is susceptible to natural disasters such as hurricanes. Severe storms can result in temporary disruptions to tourism, affecting visitor numbers. While the impact is typically temporary, the perception of the state’s vulnerability to natural disasters can influence travel decisions for some individuals in the short term.

7. Changing Travel Preferences: The evolving preferences of travelers, including shifting interests, emerging trends, and new travel experiences, influence tourist numbers. Changes in consumer behavior, such as a growing interest in eco-tourism, adventure travel, or experiential tourism, can impact visitor numbers in specific regions or attractions.

It is important to note that these factors are interconnected, and their influence on tourist numbers can vary. Additionally, unforeseen events such as pandemics or geopolitical events can significantly impact tourism patterns. By understanding these factors and closely monitoring trends, stakeholders in the tourism industry can adapt and respond effectively, ensuring sustainable growth for Florida’s tourism sector.

Challenges and Opportunities for Florida’s Tourism Industry

The tourism industry in Florida faces both challenges and opportunities as it strives to attract and retain visitors. Understanding these factors is crucial for industry stakeholders to navigate the ever-changing landscape. Let’s explore some of the key challenges and opportunities for Florida’s tourism industry.


  • Pandemic Impact: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on global tourism, including the tourism industry in Florida. Travel restrictions, lockdowns, and reduced consumer confidence have disrupted travel plans and led to a decline in visitor numbers. The industry must adapt to new health and safety protocols and regain the trust of travelers.
  • Natural Disasters: Florida is prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes, which can disrupt travel and require extensive recovery efforts. The industry must have contingency plans in place to ensure the safety of visitors and the quick recovery of tourism infrastructure.
  • Competition: Florida faces competition from other popular tourist destinations both within the United States and internationally. To remain competitive, the state must continue to innovate, diversify its offerings, and invest in marketing and promotion efforts.
  • Sustainability: The tourism industry has a responsibility to promote sustainable practices to protect Florida’s natural resources and minimize its environmental impact. Balancing tourism growth with environmental conservation and addressing concerns such as waste management and carbon emissions is a key challenge.


  • Diversification of Offerings: Florida is not just about theme parks and beaches. The state has a rich cultural heritage, vibrant arts scene, and diverse ecosystems that can be further developed and promoted to attract a wider range of tourists.
  • Ecotourism and Adventure Tourism: Florida’s abundance of natural beauty, including its national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and waterways, provides immense opportunities for ecotourism and adventure tourism. By highlighting these unique experiences, Florida can attract nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and eco-conscious travelers.
  • Digital Innovation: Technology and digital platforms present opportunities to enhance the visitor experience. From mobile apps for attractions and virtual reality experiences to personalized marketing campaigns and data analytics, leveraging digital platforms can offer unique and immersive experiences for tourists.
  • Culinary Tourism: Florida’s diverse culinary scene can be a significant draw for food enthusiasts. Promoting culinary tourism by highlighting local cuisines, food festivals, and farm-to-table experiences can attract foodies and contribute to the local economy.

By addressing challenges proactively and capitalizing on opportunities, Florida’s tourism industry can continue to evolve and thrive. Collaborative efforts between government agencies, tourism boards, businesses, and local communities are essential to ensure sustainable growth while preserving the state’s unique attractions and cultural heritage.

Florida’s tourism industry holds a significant place in the state’s economy and cultural fabric. With its beautiful beaches, world-class theme parks, diverse wildlife, and vibrant cities, Florida has become a sought-after destination for millions of tourists from around the globe. Throughout its rich history, the industry has witnessed steady growth, with increasing visitor numbers year after year.

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Florida’s tourism industry is gradually recovering, with visitor numbers rebounding and the state continuing to attract travelers from near and far. The impact of tourism on Florida’s economy is undeniable, creating job opportunities, generating revenue for businesses, and supporting the development of infrastructure and amenities.

However, the industry is not without its challenges. Natural disasters, economic fluctuations, and intense competition from other destinations require constant adaptation and innovation. The industry must also address sustainability concerns and ensure that tourism growth is mindful of environmental conservation and community well-being.

Looking forward, Florida’s tourism industry has numerous opportunities to further flourish. By diversifying offerings, promoting sustainability, capitalizing on digital innovation, and tapping into niche markets such as ecotourism and culinary tourism, the state can continue to attract a diverse range of visitors and maintain its status as a global tourism powerhouse.

Ultimately, a collaborative approach involving government agencies, tourism boards, businesses, and local communities is crucial for a sustainable and thriving tourism industry in Florida. By collectively working towards balanced growth, fostering authentic and memorable experiences, and preserving the natural and cultural treasures of the state, Florida can continue to enchant and captivate visitors for generations to come.


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Things to Do in the Florida Keys

The 15 Best Things To Do in the Florida Keys

One of the perks of living in Miami is the sun, sand, and surf. But where do you go to get away from it all when you live in a palm-tree lined paradise like Miami? Only an hour’s drive south you’ll find the fabulous Florida Keys , a world apart from the pace of Miami life. Their beaches, diving, and fishing are among the best in the world. But there's more! Here's our list of the 15 best things to do in this idyllic slice of Florida. 

Experience an Underwater Park

As the nation’s first underwater park, John Pennekamp State Park allows visitors to experience a Jacques Cousteau-like world within a short drive from downtown Miami. The park is mostly underwater, located within the confines of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Have a Drink on Duval Street

No visit to the Florida Keys is complete without a stop on Key West's infamous Duval Street. This hotspot of partying offers access to famous drinking establishments like Sloppy Joe's at the corner of Greene and Duval. Be forewarned: It gets pretty raucous at night!

Have a Marine Adventure at Theater of the Sea

Located at mile marker 84.5, Theater of the Sea provides a marine mammal adventure where you can swim with dolphins, sea lions, and stingrays. They also offer marine performances, glass-bottom boat tours, and a beach.

Visit Everglades National Park

With 1.5 million acres of swamps, sawgrass prairies, and sub-tropical jungles, Everglades National Park is one of the most unusual public parks in the United States. Located on the southern tip of Florida, the park is home to 14 rare and endangered species, including the American Crocodile, the Florida Panther, and the West Indian Manatee. A significant portion of the park is primitive, explored only by adventurists and researchers but visitors have ample opportunity to walk, camp, and canoe.

Take a Drive

Traveling to the Keys, you’ll leave Homestead and Florida City down an 18-mile stretch of US 1 through the Everglades, known to locals as simply "The Stretch." In most places, it’s just a two-lane highway, which means you may get stuck behind the occasional slow-moving boat trailer. Be patient, as there are passing zones that widen to four lanes every couple of miles. The ride is quiet and serene, which puts you in a vacation state of mind! Continue your trip to Key Largo , Islamorada, over the Seven-Mile bridge, and through a tropical paradise to Key West!

Visit Dry Tortugas National Park

Located 70 miles west of the tropical paradise of Key West, Dry Tortugas National Park is made up of a cluster of small islands, coral reefs, and one impressive fortress.  While it’s certainly not advised to make an impulsive trip to Dry Tortugas, with a little planning you and your family can make a trip to one of America’s most unique and legendary national parks.

Check Out a Smaller, Quieter State Park

If you want to check out a more remote state park in the Keys, visit Bahia Honda State Park. This secluded island is part of the Lower Florida Keys, not far from the Seven Mile Bridge. Here you'll find quiet beaches and clear warm water, as well as plenty of opportunities to snorkel, hike, and camp.

Tour the Home of Ernest Hemingway

A must-visit for any bookworm, Ernest Hemingway's home is situated in Key West and incredibly well-preserved. The Spanish-colonial house was originally built in 1851. Hemingway and his wife purchased it decades later, restoring it and even adding a swimming pool. Visitors can take a guided tour and visit with Hemingway's beloved colony of six-toed cats. 

Learn About the History of Fort Taylor

This waterfront fort was part of active duty until 1947 and still contains the largest American collection of sea-coast cannons. Located near the southern tip of Key West, Fort Taylor is also home to a beach that is popular among locals for picnics and swimming. A guided tour of the fort is offered at 11 a.m. each day. 

See the "Little White House"

Did you know that Key West is home to a miniature White House? Well, not entirely, but it is home to a fascinating building that served as the naval headquarters for the Spanish-American War and later served as President Harry S. Truman's Winter White House when military and political figures visited. Now, the house is a museum containing Cold War relics and more. 

Stay in an Underwater Hotel

If you want to stay in a truly unique hotel during your time in the Keys, visit the Jules Undersea Lodge. This modest Key Largo hotel is the only underwater hotel in the U.S., featuring lodging that's 30 feet below the water's surface. You have to scuba dive to get to your room, which resembles a quaint retro submarine. 

Visit a Wild Bird Sanctuary

 If you visit the John Pennekamp State Park, you should also stop at the Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary, just a few minutes away. There is no admission (although donations are gladly accepted) to this incredible sanctuary, whose aviaries are home to formerly wounded birds who can no longer survive in the wild. On any given visit, you'll see owls, pelicans, hawks, and more.

Drink Local Beer in Islamorada

You'll find brews from Florida Keys Brewing Company at bars and restaurants throughout the islands, but why not visit them at the source? Their Islamorada tasting room usually has an assortment of 20 or more beers on tap at any given time. Try the Iguana Bait, a light Kolsch-style beer made with local honey and hibiscus. 

Visit the Dolphin Research Center

Located in Grassy Key, the Dolphin Research Center is one of the most unique attractions you can visit in the Keys, if not the whole state. The facility consists of 90,000 square feet of saltwater lagoons that house dolphins and sea lions who were either bred in captivity or rehabilitated. Admission includes meeting the dolphins as well as ongoing presentations and sessions to learn more about the facility and its mission.

Visit Mile Marker Zero

Finally, visit where it all begins! Key West is home to "Mile Marker Zero," where the 2,369-mile-long interstate, Highway 1, begins. This road connects most major cities along the United States' East Coast.

Florida Keys: Planning Your Trip

Essentials for Your Florida Keys Camping Trip

Top Activities in Key Largo, Florida

Key West, Florida

An Overview of the Florida Keys

Maps of Florida: From the Panhandle to the Keys

The Overseas Highway: Miami to Key West

Top Florida Keys Attractions

The 8 Best Beaches in Key West

Guide to an Atlantic Coast Road Trip

Top Family Vacation Ideas for Kids of Every Age

Your Trip to Miami: the Complete Guide

Romantic Florida for Honeymoon Couples and Other Lovers

The Top 10 East Coast Winter Destinations

The 13 Best Day Trips From Miami

Where to Go Snorkeling Around Miami

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Florida Trippers

Learn how to easily plan your dream trip to Florida!

woman standing among the mangroves at one of the best times to visit the florida keys

Best Time To Visit The Florida Keys: When To Go And When To Avoid

September 16, 2022 //  by  Florida Trippers

Thinking of visiting Key West and wondering what is the best time to visit the Florida Keys? You are in the right place.

In this article, we will walk you through when to go to the keys and give you all the information you need so you can make a decision that is right for you. However, whenever you choose to visit you will have an amazing time.

Planning your trip to Key West last minute?

Make sure to book ahead! Hotels and tours often sell out the closer you get to your trip. Here are our top picks for Key West!

Top Experiences And Tours In Key West:

  • Dolphin Watching And Snorkeling Eco Tour (Top pick!)
  • Schooner Sunset Sail (2 hours)
  • Reef Snorkel From Key West (Includes breakfast and mimosas)
  • Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tour (Great way to see the city)

Top Places To Stay In Key West:

  • Margaritaville Beach House Key West (Modern mid-range)
  • Blue Marlin Motel (Affordable in downtown)
  • Hampton Inn Key West (Waterfront with pool)
  • Wicker Guesthouse (Great location!)

This tropical string of Floridian islands never fails to deliver. Laying 120 miles off the southern tip of Florida the Florida Keys beaches are some of the best in the world and the snorkeling and scuba diving in the Keys are fantastic.

However, the highlight of any trip here is the vibrant southernmost city of Key West. There is so much to do and see in Key West and is a place not to be missed.

So when is the best time to go to The Florida Keys? Pull up a chair grab a pen and paper and let us walk you through our guide to visiting the Keys.

Make sure to check out our master post on the Best Time To Visit Florida including a breakdown by month, weather, events, and more!

Picture of a girl in a white bathing suit walking on the broadwalk towards a beach at Key West. The article is about the  best time to visit the Florida Keys

When is the best time to visit The Florida Keys?

The answer to this question is somewhat of a challenge, mainly because it depends so much on what makes a good holiday for you.

The best month to visit the keys really is a personal choice that depends on your budget, what you want to do, your tolerance to heat, and whether you prefer things to be quieter or busier.

From November through February the temperatures are not too hot but everything is busier. March through May things are a little hotter and there are a lot of festivals to enjoy.

June through October tend to be the cheapest time to visit the Florida keys but it is very hot. It’s also a little quieter this time too. September and October are also hurricane season in the keys so you need to be more vigilant of the weather.

As you can see the best time to vacation in the Florida Keys is really dependent on the type of holiday you want.

Girl in a flower dress in front of a building in Key West. The building is a  colonial style and has blue shutters.

High And Low Season For Key West And The Keys

The high season in the Florida Keys tends to be from Christmas through to mid-April. Christmas in the Florida Keys really is a treat and lots of people go to spend the festive season there. The temperatures are very warm and tolerable at this time of the year but it is much more expensive. It’s also much busier.

The low season in the Keys runs from June to November. During these times the temperatures can become so hot and it’s very humid. If you are looking for a bargain though it’s the summer months you want to visit as hotels can be half the price of the more popular months.

The off-season in Key West allows those on a tighter budget to enjoy these islands without breaking the bank.

When to go to the Keys is so dependent on your personal circumstances and your likes and dislikes.

Beautiful Crandon Park Beach located in Key Biscayne. The picture shows an expanse of white sand, plan trees and a lifeguard station.

Visit The Keys In Summer If You:

If you can tolerate heat well and want a bargain then the summer months are the cheapest time to visit the Florida keys. The average highs are 90°F, 32°C.

Those beautiful Key West Colonial-style hotels do not come cheap and in the summer months, you are likely to pay half of what you would in more popular months. The low season in the Keys is the time you will get the best bargains.

It’s also less crowded and you will find it easier to get restaurant tables, the best seats in cafes, and tickets for attractions like Dry Tortugas are easier to come by.

You will also find you have more daylight hours and the water is really warm almost like a bath. The off-season in Key West is a brilliant time to visit for those who don’t mind being hot and sweaty.

You will find that it’s muggy and thunderstorms are common. Hurricane season in the keys also spans this period with most storms occurring in August and September. It’s rare for the Florida Keys to get hit though.

Couple standing in front of the southernmost point in Key West in an article about the  best time to visit the Florida Keys.

Visit The Florida Keys In Winter If You:

Most feel that the best time to vacation in the Florida keys is winter. At this time the Keys offer some of the warmest weather in the U.S.A. The weather is an average of 75°F (24°C) and there is a nice breeze making sure you don’t get too hot.

As well as it not being too hot it is also outside hurricane season and there are very few storms or rainy days. You are pretty much guaranteed perfect weather during the winter months. So if you are thinking about when to go to key west this might be the season.

It is consequently more expensive in fact the most expensive time to visit and the busiest. Restaurants are fuller, beaches more packed and attractions often booked out.

However, the crowds only seem to really add to the vibe and many believe it’s the best time to travel to key west to see it at its best.

Winter also tends to be the time when most of the food art and music festivals happen.

Amsterdams Curry Mansion Inn decoarated for Christmas. Historic bed and breakfast hotel in Old Key West downtown. The artilce is about the best time to visit the Keys.

Visit Key West In Fall If You:

If you love Halloween then let’s just say nowhere does Halloween like the Florida Keys. Fantasy Fest is a 10-day party for grown-ups. This is the best time to visit The Keys if you are a Halloween junkie.

The festival has been running since 1979 and was started to bring people to the Keys during the quieter months. It takes place at the end of October and it is attended by close to 100,000 people. Each year has a theme and everybody dresses up making the island one big Halloween party.

Before the festival, there is somewhat of a lull in the Keys and it becomes quieter and much more tranquil. Soaking up the autumn sun is as close to bliss as it gets.

Fall also sees the start of the Keys’ Stone Crab Craw season so if you love crab this is the time to visit.

There is a possibility of hurricanes in early fall though so keep that in mind.

A house in the Keys decorated in Halloween decorations. There is a large wolf in the foreground and gravestones in the background.

Visit The Keys In Spring If You

Many argue that spring is the best time to go to The Florida Keys in particular the best time to travel to Key West. The weather is still good, it’s not hurricane season and it is slightly cheaper.

In the spring you will avoid the stormy weather and the many tourists with the best months being April and May. Temperates are hot but bearable ranging from 72-82°F, 22-28°C in April to 86°F, 30°C in May.

Spring is a perfect time for scuba diving and snorkeling too.

Some of the attractions, local restaurants, and businesses might be closed or have different opening times though so check before you go.

Also note that the Keys, in particular, Key West are a favorite destination for spring breakers so stay away during that time if Spring Break is not your vibe.

Girl leaning against a palm tree looking out over the blue water. The sand is white and the beach is empty.

Key West And The Florida Keys By Month:

If you still can’t decide when to go to the Keys, and when to go to Key West don’t worry. We’ve broken down all the events and information you need to know month by month.

This way you can easily pick exactly the right time for you to visit depending on the type of vacation you want to have.

When to visit the Keys is such a personal decision and we hope this list will help you make it easier for you to choose.

Girl in a whute swimsuit in the water flanked by two trees. The article is the  best time to visit the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys In January

If you are wondering when is the best time to visit Key West and you don’t do heat well January is the month for you. It is the last month of winter and the coldest month of the year.

The average high will peak at 74°F,24°C and it won’t get colder than 64°F, 18°C so it’s still relatively warm. January in the Florida Keys is beautiful.

These lovely temperatures make it a popular place to see in the New Year and the celebrations are plentiful.

Key West in January is a perfect experience with the island hosting the Key West Food & Wine Festival and the Florida Keys Seafood Festival. There is also the Key Largo and Islamorada Food & Wine Festival. If you love food the Florida Keys in January are right up your street.

Other events include Art Under the Oaks in Tavernier, Coconut Crawl at Key Colony Beach, and the Florida Keys Celtic Festival Marathon.

January in Key West and in fact the rest of the keys is the perfect time to visit for great weather and foodie festivals. If you are wondering when to go to the Keys the winter might be the perfect time for you.

Islamorada Florida Keys Cheeca Lodge Resort Panorama at Sunrise. You can see an empty beach with a boat in the water and the sun setting.

The Florida Keys In February

February in the Florida Keys is just perfect. The temperature tends to be between 76°F, 24°C, and 66°F 19°C. February is also the month with the lowest rainfall.

While Key West in February is perfect for a romantic getaway it tends to all be about art during this month.

The Pigeon Key Art Festival and the Coral Head Music Fest both take place in Marathon. And February in Key West sees the Old Island Days Art Festival.

If you love art February is the best time to visit Key West.

Girl in a flower dress in front of a pink house in the Keys.

The Florida Keys In March

March in the Florida Keys sees temperatures rise a few degrees with the average high being 78°F, 26°C, and the average low 68°F, 20°C.

These hotter temperatures mean that Key West in Florida becomes a haven for Spring Breakers. The Keys can seem full of college students at this time.

St. Patrick’s Day is always a big deal in March in Key West and the surrounding Keys too. Key Colony Beach St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the St. Patrick’s Day Bar Stroll are notable events.

Other events include Islamorada Seafood Festival and Marathon Seafood Festival.

March is the best time to visit The Florida Keys for a younger crowd.

The Florida Keys In April

The temperatures in April in the Florida Keys start to creep into the 80s. The average high is 81°F, 27°C and the average low is 72°F, 22°C.

Mahi Mahi, Tarpon, Wahoo, Blue Marlin, and Yellowtail all pull those that love fishing to the island. The 7-Mile Bridge Run takes place from Knights Key to Pigeon Key.

Key West in April sees the Conch Republic Independence Celebration. Most believe April is the best time to visit the Florida Keys.

The Florida Keys In May

May seems temperatures rise to a high of 85°F, 29°C, and a low of 76°F 24°C. For most people May in the Florida Keys is the perfect time to visit.

As it gets warmer those here for the winter sun tend to leave and while it is busy it tends to be a quieter period.

Key West in May sees the Cuban American Heritage Festival the Key West Songwriters Festival and the Queen Mother Festival.

If you are wondering when to go to the Keys and want to be on the hot side and a little quieter May is a great time.

Girl in a red swimsuit on the beach in Dry Tortugas with the fort in the background.

The Florida Keys In June

June sees the start of summer and higher temperatures. The high spikes at 88°F, 31°C, and the lows give little relief at 79°F, 26°C. June in the Florida Keys is also the start of the hurricane season, from now through November.

While hurricanes are rare if you visit the Keys in the summer months please keep an eye on the weather.

The Florida Keys Guitar Festival takes place in Marathon and the Mango Fest in Key West. Key West in June also hosts the Key West Pride Week which is a big deal.

This is the best time to visit The Florida Keys if you want to celebrate Pride.

The Florida Keys In July

July is the hottest month in the Keys. Highs are around 89°F,32°C and climbing and it rarely gets below 80°F,27°C. It can feel very muggy and it can rain often, though not for long.

July in Key West is all about its famous pie namesake with the Key Lime Festival. The Hemingway Days Festival also takes place in July. Looe Key Reef Resort is host to the Underwater Music Festival.

4th of July celebrations are happening everywhere with the Spirit of Islamorada 4th of July Festival being the main event. There is so much to see and do in Islamorada so stay a while.

If you love the heat you will be rewarded with fewer crowds and tourists during this time. Remember we are still in hurricane season.

If you love things a little quieter this is the best time to visit the Keys.

Key West famous Duval street panoramic view, south Florida Keys. Colorful houses line the streets

The Florida Keys In August

The temperatures in August are the same as in July so both months are hot. It is much more likely to rain in August though so be prepared.

Key West in August is a mecca for lobster fans with the Key West LobsterFest and the Tropical Heat festivals taking place. Marathon is host to Kilts in the Keys which sounds very interesting. There is so much to do in Marathon and it’s a great place to visit.

August in the Florida Keys sees the warmest ocean temperatures making it perfect for swimming and watersports.

Girl sat down watching the sunset over the water in the Keys. The article is about the best time to visit the Florida Keys.

The Florida Keys In September

September in the Florida Keys sees the highest rainfall and is the time you are most likely to get a hurricane. The temperate drops a little bringing the average low down to 78°F,26°C so it’s still hot.

The vibe of the Keys tends to change in September with the families leaving and things becoming a little quieter before the winter sun guests arrive. This is the best time to visit the Keys if you want warmer weather but fewer people.

The Florida Keys Birding And Wildlife Festival take place at Big Pine Key. Key West in September hosts Womenfest and the Key West Brew Fest.

The Florida Keys In October

While we are still in hurricane season October sees less rainfall than September. The high temperature drops to 85°F 29°C and the low to 76°F 24°C.

October in Key West is all about Halloween with Fantasy Fest taking up 10 consecutive days. Key West also hosts the Goombay Festival.

Elsewhere the Reef Fest takes place at Key Largo and the Zombie Bike Ride of the Living Dead takes place at Big Pine Key. Big Pine Key and the Lower Keys have so much to offer and are well worth a visit.

October in the Florida Keys is really fun and a great time to visit. You are still in hurricane season though so keep an eye on the weather.

Girl sat on beach between two trees with the sun setting in the background.

The Florida Keys In November

In November the highs are around 80°F,27°C, and the lows are 72°F 22°C. As the islands get slightly cooler everything tends to slow down and November is quite peaceful and quiet.

Key West in November is home to the Key West Film Festival and the Taste of the Islands takes place in Marathon.

November in the Florida Keys is a perfect time for a romantic getaway as the islands seem to lull a little between the frantic Halloween and Christmas celebration it is wedged between.

The Florida Keys In December

December in the Flordia Keys is quite an experience. It’s the third coldest month and the start of winter. Highs are around 76°F,24°C, and the lows are 67°F,19°C.

Key West in December seems to take on an atmosphere that’s hard to describe. It’s even more cherry and vibrant than it normally is. December in Key West sees the Holiday Parade, and the Key West Lighted Boat Parade two must-see festive events.

Big Pine Key and Lower Keys host the Island Art festival if festival celebrations are not your thing.

December sees the start of the high season so expect to see more crowds and high prices but it’s divine at this time so if you can take a visit.

Hous in the Keya all dressed for Christmas with red and white decorations.

As you can see when it comes to deciding what is the best time to visit The Florida Keys it really does depend on what you like and what you don’t like.

When to go to the Keys is a really personal decision and I hope in this article we have helped you make this decision. What we do know is that whenever you visit you will have an amazing time.

The Florida Keys are great whatever time of the year and we hope you love it.

If you traveling to the Keys by car take a look at our Ultimate Florida Keys Road Trip .

woman in blue bathingsuit and white wide brim hat standing in the water just past a palm tree at Veterans Memorial Park! One of the best things to do in the Lower Keys!


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  1. Key West Tourism Statistics

    Key West Tourism Statistics | Key West Travel Guide - Visitor Information for Key West, FL in the Florida Keys Key West Tourism Statistics Includes data for cruise ship, airport, ferry passenger counts, and hotel occupancy and average-daily-room rates (ADR).

  2. Florida Tourism Statistics for 2021

    According to statistics from VISIT FLORIDA Research, record numbers of visitors came to Florida for nine consecutive years in a row between 2011 and 2019, crashed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the various global lockdowns and then started to recover in 2021.

  3. FAQ's

    How many tourists visit the Florida Keys each year? 4 million tourists visited the Florida Keys in 2016. More Key West tourism statistics. Key West tourist population? On any given day, there are typically between 10,000 and 15,000 tourists in Key West. This compares to 29,000 residents of the island.

  4. Florida Keys Packed With Tourists, Seeing Record Summer Crowds

    Last updated: 6:51 PM ET, Sun July 18, 2021 Typically, tourism in the Florida Keys is slower during summer months, before the snowbirds arrive, allowing many Floridians to enjoy a close-to-home escape that's easily accessible, budget-friendly and relaxing-but not this summer.

  5. Florida Keys

    The storm also ended the 23-year run of the ... (24 °C) and lows above 60 °F (16 °C), is the main tourist season in the Florida Keys. Key West is the driest city in Florida, and most of the Florida Keys can become quite dry at the height of the dry season. ... It is an international gathering that attracts 500+ people each year who enjoy ...

  6. Research

    Research You are here: Home Resources Research The VISIT FLORIDA research department studies global consumer trends and travel patterns to learn more about Florida's visitors and their preferences. Every year our Research Department prepares the industry leading Florida Visitor Study, in addition to many other useful studies.

  7. Research FAQ

    Canadian visitation increased 514.1% from 2021 (and decreased 31.7% from 2019), with Canadians making 2.8 million visits to Florida, representing 2.0% of the total visitors to the state. The decrease in visitation compared to 2019 was attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. How many domestic visitors choose Florida as a destination?

  8. Comparative Visitor Economic Impacts for Key West, FL

    In 2018, of the city's more than three million visitors, over one million arrived via cruise, including passengers and crew. Cruise visitors contribute about $73 million in visitor spending, or about 7% of the $1.2 billion of total visitor spending in Key West.

  9. Florida Keys

    The western terminus of the Florida Keys is sometimes considered to be Key West, the most populous and economically developed of the islands.The Overseas Highway, running from the mainland to Key West, connects all of the main islands and is one of the longest overwater roads in the world, with 42 bridges, including one 7-mile (11-km) span.. Completed in 1938, the highway was built over the ...

  10. Florida Keys Tourism Information

    If you find a spicy conch chowder on the menu try it. You should visit a park. The Florida Keys offer a treasure trove of parks all affordable. Bahia Honda State Park, Curry Hammock State Park and John Pennekamp State Park are but a few of the glorious offerings. You should enjoy nature and outdoor sports like biking hiking kite-boarding and ...

  11. Florida Keys Vacation Travel Guide & Tourist Attractions

    Get up close and personal with tropical fish on a snorkel trip, or dive to explore a famous Florida Keys ship wreck. Visit local art galleries and museums. Shop for only-in-the-Keys gifts. Feast on fresh seafood at fine Florida Keys restaurants. Hang with the locals or just hang on a hammock. Or, simply unwind and let go with the outgoing tide.

  12. Official Florida Keys Tourism Council Key West News

    Expanded Airline Capacity, Renewed Resorts and Attractions Among What's New in the Florida Keys & Key West for Fall 2023 September 11, 2023 Key West Stages Procession Remembering Jimmy Buffett September 4, 2023 Rehabilitated Loggerhead Sea Turtle Released Off Key West September 1, 2023 Divers Explore History on Florida Keys Shipwreck Trails

  13. Best Times to Visit the Florida Keys

    Of course, as an adult, I now realize we weren't alone in recognizing what a special place the Florida Keys is — more than five million people visit these 1,700 islands each year.

  14. Florida Keys: Planning Your Trip

    Each year millions of vacationers visit the Florida Keys.Moderate year-round temperatures that come from its unique geographical location nestled between the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico provide the perfect setting for limitless outdoor recreation including fishing, boating, scuba diving, snorkeling, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, biking, and camping.

  15. Welcome to the Florida Keys

    Welcome to the Florida Keys. One of America's most unique motor journeys, the scenic 110-mile Overseas Highway combines ocean views, 42 bridges, natural wonders and history like no other place. Each region of the Keys has its own unique character, worlds away from big cities and theme parks. Discover one of them, some of them or all of them.

  16. Florida Keys Tourism

    Tourism Today 112.8 million tourists visited the Sunshine State in 2016, up 5.9%. 68 million tourists visited Orlando Florida in 2016.

  17. Florida & Other State/City Tourism Statistics

    Florida Statistical Abstract. Rosen REF HA311 .F55. Florida Visitor Study. Rosen REF G155 .U6 F5. Orlando Business Journal Book of Lists. Rosen REF HC108 .O7 B4. Economic Review of Travel in America. Rosen REF G155 .U6 E32

  18. 12 Places You Should Visit in the Florida Keys

    May. 20, 2020 Coral Restoration Ecotourism in the Florida Keys By Dalia Colón A road trip through the Florida Keys is its own reward: a 113-mile journey across islands with some of the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous scenery you'll ever lay eyes on.

  19. The best time to visit the Florida Keys

    The best time to visit the Florida Keys. Jesse Scott. Dec 18, 2021 • 6 min read. ... As colorful as The Florida Keys are year-round, things feel that much more cheery and vibrant to close out the year. Key events: Big Pine & Lower Keys Island Art Festival, Key West Holiday Parade, ...

  20. How many tourists visit the Florida Keys each year?

    Of the 5.1 million visitors to the Keys in 2018, 74% traveled from domestic origins for leisure purposes, 6% from domestic origins for business purposes, and 20% from international origins. What is the population of the Florida Keys? Florida Keys is an area in Monroe County,Florida with a population of 13,046.

  21. How Many Tourists Visit Florida Each Year

    Whether it's enjoying the sunny weather, visiting world-class attractions, or exploring the unique ecosystems, tourists flock to Florida year after year to experience its abundant natural beauty and vibrant culture.

  22. Visitors

    This work helps to attract about 250,000 LGBTQ+ travelers here each year, earning Key West the well-deserved reputation as one of the most appealing gay-friendly destinations in the world. The Guild was formed in 1978 to encourage summer tourism and support Key West's gay community.

  23. Keys Traveler Introduces 'Locals' Choice'

    Fishing The 125-mile-long Florida Keys arc of islands creates a fishing environment unique in the world, and means a noteworthy catch is possible virtually any time of year. Arts & Culture The Florida Keys & Key West attract people interested in heritage and cultural tourism, exploring colorful art galleries and experiencing the vibrant arts ...

  24. The 15 Best Things To Do in the Florida Keys

    201 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040, USA. Phone +1 305-294-5717. Web Visit website. No visit to the Florida Keys is complete without a stop on Key West's infamous Duval Street. This hotspot of partying offers access to famous drinking establishments like Sloppy Joe's at the corner of Greene and Duval.

  25. Best Time To Visit The Florida Keys: When To Go And When To Avoid

    The best month to visit the keys really is a personal choice that depends on your budget, what you want to do, your tolerance to heat, and whether you prefer things to be quieter or busier. From November through February the temperatures are not too hot but everything is busier.