The Florida Keys have a tropical savanna climate, which is also known as a wet and dry tropical climate. This means there are distinct wet and dry seasons of relatively the same duration. The hot and wet season in the Florida Keys lasts from June through October. The cold and dry season lasts from November through April.
The most rainfall in the Florida Keys is usually recorded between June and October. But the highest average rainfall comes in August and September during the hotter summer months. The driest months are January, February, March, and April, with February being the driest.
The average yearly rainfall in the Florida Keys is around 40 inches (1,016 mm).
The sea temperature in the Florida Keys is warm from May to October, making it a great place to snorkel during the summer months. Between the months of November through April, the average water temperature is not quite as warm. Between the months of May and October, the average water temperature is 83°F (28°C) and an average of 72°F (22°C) between the months of November through April.
The tropical savanna climate in the Florida Keys produces warm temperatures year-round with cool evenings in the winter months. January and February are the coldest months of the year with average maximum temperatures ranging between 74 to 76 °F (23 to 24 °C) and average minimum temperatures of 64 to 66 °F (17 to 19 °C).
July and August are considered the warmest months in the Florida Keys. The average maximum temperature is 89 °F (31 °C), and the average minimum temperature of 80 °F (26 °C).
BEST SNORKELING MONTHS
The best time to snorkel in the Florida Keys is in the month of May. During the month of May, the water is warm, calm, and the air temperatures are warm, but not unbearably hot like other summer months. Visiting the Florida Keys for snorkeling is a popular activity, especially during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, so traveling prior to that weekend is recommended to avoid higher accommodation and flight costs.
During the hottest months of the year, the humidity can be very high, and there is a higher chance of hurricanes during September and October. The air temperatures between November to April are much more pleasant, but the sea can be quite rough due to the strong winds from the cold fronts in Canada. These high winds can significantly reduce visibility for snorkelers. January and February are usually the windiest and coldest months with the highest surf from the winter winds.
Here are a few snorkeling safety tips to consider before diving in:
- Relax and be confident in the water. Being comfortable in the water is always essential. If you are new to snorkeling, wearing a mask and breathing through a snorkel can be a learning process. So, make sure you are a confident swimmer or have someone who can help you in the water.
- Watch the weather conditions. Wind and weather conditions can affect your snorkeling trip. So, if the waves are too big or the conditions are unfavorable, it may be a good idea to reschedule your trip for another day.
- Stay Hydrated. Don’t drink too much alcohol before snorkeling or participating in water activities; this can be dangerous. It is crucial always to drink water and stay hydrated before being in the sun and the sea.
- Familiarize yourself with the gear in advance. If you have your own snorkeling equipment, you should be comfortable with it. If the snorkel vest, mask, and fins are rentals, make sure you learn how to use them before jumping in.
- Be active and stay in shape. When you are in good physical condition, snorkeling is much more comfortable.
- Snorkel with a buddy. Having a buddy to snorkel with is always a plus. Make sure to talk about your plan before you go into the water so you can keep an eye on each other.
- Use SPF protection for your skin. The sun in the Florida Keys is hot even on a windy day, and being in the water, you may not realize how much sun you are getting. Always apply sunscreen, reef-friendly preferred.
- Don’t touch the marine life. You can frighten or injure marine animals or injure yourself. So, it is best to look and not touch.
- Stay close to the boat or shore. If you are snorkeling from shore, be on the lookout for rip currents and try to stay close to the beach. If you are snorkeling from a boat, keep your eyes on the boat to be sure you are not drifting too far away.
- Don’t overeat before snorkeling. If you have a big lunch, you may feel more tired and can get into trouble more quickly in the water.
Due to the landfall is Hurricane Irma in September of 2017, some snorkeling areas and marine parks may be under repair or temporarily closed. Visit the marine park websites before your snorkeling visit for more details.