Best Time to Visit Tampa, Florida, for Weather, Prices, and Crowds

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Tampa is a tourist destination known for its beaches and family-friendly theme parks

Tampa, Florida, is a year-round tourist destination that's famous for its rich heritage, family-friendly theme parks, and proximity to some of the best beaches in the state. Situated along Tampa Bay on Florida's Gulf Coast, Tampa is also the state's third most populous city and attracts nearly 15 million visitors a year.

As with any popular travel destination, choosing the best time to visit Tampa, Florida, can mean the difference between large crowd levels and high prices or an enjoyable vacation with great weather and unforgettable memories.

This article will cover everything you need to know about the best time to visit the city so that you can make the most of your trip to Tampa.

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Best Time to Go to Tampa, Florida

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Tampa Vacation Planning Questions

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Tips and things to consider when planning a visit to Tampa, Florida
A city skyline next to a body of water with boats on it under a blue sky with clouds
The fall is the best time to visit Tampa, Florida, as the weather is comfortable

When is the best time to visit Tampa, Florida?

For most travelers, the best time to visit Tampa, Florida, is mid-October to mid-December. The weather is milder during these months compared to during the peak summer (June to September) travel season when rain is frequent and daily highs above 90 degrees Fahrenheit are typical.

Prices are also down, with lower airfares and some of the cheapest hotel rates of the year. Additionally, January and February are popular times to visit Tampa because of the city's temperate weather, although hotel prices are slightly higher than during the fall (September to December).

Peter Titmuss/
The best time to visit Tampa, Florida, is January or February to save on flight costs
If planning a budget-friendly trip, fly to Tampa in January or February

When is the cheapest time to fly to Tampa?

Because of its warm, subtropical weather, Tampa is a popular tourist destination all year. But the summer (June to September) months see the most visitors, resulting in higher flight prices.

The cheapest time to fly to Tampa is just after the beginning of the year. You'll find the lowest-priced flights to Tampa in January and February, no matter where you're flying from.

But be warned that hotel prices can be higher during certain weeks in the first few months of the year as some popular events are hosted, like Monster Jam in February. So if you're planning a budget trip to Tampa, check hotel rates for your dates before booking any low-cost flights.

A wooden walkway lined by trees in a park under an overcast sky
The rainy season in Tampa is from May to October, with peak rain in August

When is the rainy season in Tampa?

The rainy season in Tampa runs from mid-May until mid-October. The season peaks in August, when the city sees an average of nearly eight inches of rainfall.

Visitors planning to travel to Tampa over the summer (June to September) should prepare for wet weather. Savvy travelers get their days started early during these months, as storms are most common in the afternoon.

It's typical for daily temperatures to top 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the rainy season. This combination creates a climate that can be uncomfortable for many visitors, especially those unaccustomed to the heat and humidity.

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A sign with the words "Busch Gardens" next to grass and trees
If you want to go to Busch Gardens, visit Tampa between November and February

When is the best time to visit Busch Gardens Tampa Bay?

The best time to visit Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is from November until February. This period is when you'll find the area's most pleasant weather, with high temperatures being around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Rain is also an uncommon occurrence.

While the summer (June to September) may be the best time to visit Tampa for families planning around their kids' school schedule, frequent travelers consider it the worst time to visit Busch Gardens. Massive crowds, almost daily rain showers, and temperatures topping 90 degrees Fahrenheit can create an unpleasant theme park experience.

But regardless of when you're visiting Busch Gardens, you'll want to consider purchasing a Tampa Bay CityPASS, which includes entrance to the theme park and other family attractions, including the Florida Aquarium and ZooTampa.

A white, sandy beach with blue umbrellas lining the green ocean in the distance
Tampa's climate is warm all year, making it a popular vacation spot

What is the average temperature in Tampa, Florida?

Tampa's subtropical climate keeps it pretty warm throughout the year. During the summer months of June to September, the average daily high sits around 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

While the winter (December to March) provides a reprieve from the scorching heat, the average high remains above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Nighttime lows during these months average between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Many popular events, including Supercross Tampa, are held during the winter because of the moderate temperatures and low chance of rainfall. The spring (March to June) and fall (September to December) remain mild, with highs ranging between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

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For most travelers, flying will be the cheapest way to get to Tampa, Florida

What is the cheapest way to get to Tampa, Florida?

The cheapest way to get to Tampa, Florida, will be by air for most travelers from outside the state. Flight prices are usually at their lowest during January and February, with fares picking up in March as students are off school for spring break.

Driving may be a practical option for large families or groups, especially those within Florida or the surrounding states. Driving is especially recommended, if possible, during the peak travel months of July and August when kids are out of school, and flight prices are at their peak.

A road with a city bus next to large buildings under a blue sky
There are many cheap hotels in and around the Tampa downtown core

What are the cheapest hotels in Tampa?

Tampa is a large city with many attractions scattered throughout the area. But most travelers plan to stay downtown due to its central location and proximity to the nearby historic Ybor City district.

With higher demand, hotel prices downtown tend to run more than in other regions. There are, however, plenty of great values to be found if you know where to look. For a great stay at a reasonable price, check out the Aloft Tampa Downtown, which offers luxurious rooms and waterfront views of the Hillsborough River.

The Hilton Tampa Downtown is another excellent option offering top-notch accommodations within walking distance of the Tampa Riverwalk and Tampa Convention Center. Finally, if you want to stay within Ybor City, opt for the Hampton Inn & Suites.

Weather, Prices, and Crowds in Tampa

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Weather, prices, and crowds are things to consider when planning a vacation to Tampa

January in Tampa

Considered by many to be the best month to visit Tampa, January offers travelers great weather, reasonable prices, and a variety of local events to attend.

The average high temperature sits around 70 degrees Fahrenheit in January, while cooler evenings see lows between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Rain is infrequent during the month, with the city experiencing just over two inches most years.

Notably, Gasparilla Pirate Fest, inspired by famous Florida pirate Jose Gaspar, is held every January. The multi-day festival, which features parades, boat shows, and plenty of rum, has been a local favorite since 1904.

If you're visiting in January, you can also take advantage of the great weather and soak in local history and culture by booking a Ybor City food tour.

February in Tampa

Visiting Tampa in February offers a terrific opportunity to explore the waterfront city with minimal crowds and pleasant weather. Most travelers will find flights to Tampa at some of the lowest prices of the year, with hotels cheaper than during the peak travel months of June through August.

Rainfall is scarce, and the temperature averages around 75 degrees Fahrenheit in February. By the end of the month, however, it's common for days to reach above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Florida State Fair also occurs every February in Tampa. The multi-week event offers something for everyone: fun rides, delicious food, and exhibits showcasing Florida's nature and history.

March in Tampa

The weather begins to warm up during March in Tampa, with average daily highs around 80 degrees Fahrenheit towards the end of the month. Rain, while slightly more likely than in January or February, is still uncommon as the city remains in its dry season.

March offers the perfect opportunity to get out on the water, for example, by experiencing a Tiki bar boat cruise! In addition, the Gasparilla International Film Festival occurs every March as part of the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, and Tampa Bay Beer Week is also hosted in March.

April in Tampa

The weather starts to feel warm in Tampa in April, with daily average highs ranging from 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. But that doesn't bother travelers who come in large numbers for the Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival, the theme park's most popular event of the year.

Festa Italiana and Winefest of Italy also take place in Tampa every April, showcasing the city's rich Italian heritage. At the festivals, you can enjoy cultural events, a bocce tournament, and no shortage of delicious Italian food and wine.

With many popular events and students on break from school, April sees visitor numbers rise along with flight and hotel prices.

May in Tampa

May is the best time to travel to Tampa if you want to experience warm, beach-friendly weather before the multitude of summer (June to September) crowds begin to roll in.

The average high reaches 90 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the month. Rainfall is scarce early in May, but the likelihood of showers rises as May progresses.

May hosts Tampa Riverfest, an annual occurrence along the scenic Tampa Riverwalk. The event features fireworks, a boat parade, and the Florida Weiner Dog Derby! Memorial Day weekend is the most popular time for travelers to visit Tampa in May, with the Sunset Music Festival being he weekend's biggest draw.

June in Tampa

The rainy season officially kicks off in June in Tampa, with frequently occurring afternoon showers. However, the summer (June to September) heat is also in full swing, with daily temperatures averaging 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher most days.

Despite the weather, June is also the beginning of Tampa's tourist season. With schools on break, families pour into the city to visit area beaches and famous theme parks like Busch Gardens and Adventure Island.

Prices for local hotels rise along with the crowd levels, making June one of the most expensive for accommodation in the downtown area or near the parks.

July in Tampa

Summer (June to September) weather remains consistent in Tampa in July, with the high temperature typically around 90 degrees and rainfall more common than not.

Crowds remain high as the summer travel period continues to bring families to the city, especially for the 4th of July celebrations. Visitors traveling to Tampa for Independence Day should take advantage of the Boom by the Bay event on the Tampa Riverwalk.

If you're planning to visit Tampa during July, consider taking a break from the heat and rain and plan some indoor activities, such as going indoor skydiving at iFLY Tampa.

August in Tampa

The rainy season is at its peak in August in Tampa, with the city experiencing an average of eight inches of precipitation. Coupled with daily highs teetering around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, this can make for uncomfortably humid weather.

Visitors in August should plan to check out some of Tampa's indoor attractions, such as the Florida Aquarium, the Tampa Museum of Art, or the Salvador Dali Museum across the bridge in nearby St. Petersburg.

Despite the less-than-favorable weather, August is still a popular time for families to spend a last-gasp vacation before school starts. Expect hotels to charge some of their highest rates of the year, and lines at Busch Gardens will be much longer than in September when travel begins to slow down.

September in Tampa

The weather in Tampa remains hot and humid in September, although both temperatures and the chance of rainfall begin to decrease as the month progresses.

Additionally, crowds quickly disappear during September, primarily after the busy Labor Day weekend at the beginning of the month. September is ideal for visiting Tampa if you want to avoid the prices and crowds found in the summer (June to September).

Notably, the Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream event kicks off in September. Although it runs through the end of October, savvy travelers visit during this month to avoid the larger crowds closer to Halloween.

October in Tampa

October is another optimum time to visit Tampa. The summer (June to September) crowds are gone, leaving behind lower flight and hotel prices and significantly shorter lines at the theme parks.

The weather is improving as well. The dry season officially kicks off in October, although afternoon showers are still likely early in the month. The temperature starts dropping, with some days peaking below 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures after the sun goes down average between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

You'll find no shortage of adult-friendly activities during October, such as Oktoberfest Tampa, considered one of the best Oktoberfest celebrations in the country. There are also plenty of things to do in Tampa for couples if you're planning a romantic getaway during October.

November in Tampa

It's hard to go wrong visiting Tampa in November. The temperature is perfect for most travelers, with the daily average high between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

November is also the driest month in the city, with the chance of rain at its lowest point of the year. Tampa experiences just 1.5 inches of rainfall on average during November.

Despite the pleasant climate, Tampa remains a relatively slow travel destination during November, with hotels offering some of the year's best rates. However, tourism picks up towards the end of the month with the Thanksgiving holiday.

For example, the Tampa YMCA Turkey Gobble, an annual charity event, attracts many participants to its casual one-mile fun run and five-kilometer and eight-kilometer races.

December in Tampa

Crowds pick up in December in Tampa as the holiday travel season brings more visitors to the area. However, prices are still lower than during the summer (June to September) travel season, although less affordable than in November or January.

Many travelers come to escape chilly weather at home and enjoy Tampa's subtropical climate, which sees most days above 70 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the month. While slightly more common than in November, rainfall is still at some of its lowest levels of the year.

This weather is perfect for enjoying holiday events around the city, including Christmas in the Wild at ZooTampa and the Victorian Christmas Stroll at Henry B. Plant Museum.

In Summary

If you've been wondering when to visit Tampa, this article should have helped you decide when to plan your trip. Most people consider the fall (September to December) and winter (December to March) months to be the best time of year to visit Tampa.

With the summer (June to September) season bringing more families to the area, prices can skyrocket, beaches become crowded, and wait times at theme parks like Busch Gardens can be excessive. Plus, the summer sees temperatures topping 90 degrees Fahrenheit most days, with rain more common than sunny skies.

The spring months of March through June see more temperate weather than during the summer, but higher prices and slightly more rainfall lead many visitors to prefer to visit in the fall. So with all this information, what are you waiting for? Start planning your Tampa trip today!

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Written by Jonathan Davis

JDavis WRITER Jonathan is a Florida-based travel writer who can't seem to stay in one place for long. With more than two decades of trips under his belt, Jonathan has a wealth of information to share about travel within the United States and abroad.

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