If you are looking to visit Florida for sunny skies and beautiful beach weather, March is one of my favorite months to experience just that! Of course, many people also agree, making it one of the more crowded times of year for a trip.
In this post, I will lay out all the pros and cons of visiting Florida in March, as well as provide destination and activity ideas. As a local, I hope to provide an idea of just what to expect when taking a trip to Florida during this springtime month.
1. Weather in March
Florida is known for having very pleasant temperatures in March. This is when there is a respite from the extreme heat and humidity that is experienced most of the year, and also much less rainfall than other months.
However, being such a large state, it makes sense to compare the weather by region when determining what type of trip you want to take.
Visitors might be surprised to find that Florida can actually be cold in March. The Panhandle, Northeast coast, and much of the northern 1/3 of the state have average temperatures in the 60s and 70s most of the month.
Though this weather is great for hiking and camping, it is usually too cold for lounging on the beach or swimming in the ocean. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go for a stroll in the sand with the relaxing sound of gentle waves crashing at your feet!
Central Florida, aka Tampa Bay to Daytona Beach and everything in between, tends to be warm enough for unwinding on the beach this time of year. Orlando frequently reaches 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but can also drop to 60 degrees. Expect it to be less rainy than normal and cool in the evening.
For a typical beach vacation, South Florida is perfect for visiting in March. Both Miami and Naples tend to reach 80 degrees during the day but rarely reach the 90’s. Though many might find the ocean to still be a bit chilly for swimming, you can definitely enjoy water activities, especially at hotels with heated pools.
2. Packing Tips for March Trips to Florida
When packing for a trip to Florida in March, I would bring the usual items mentioned in my Packing Guide. It is wise to bring a mix of warm weather clothes and some more versatile cooler clothes, just because there is more temperature variation.
I always recommend packing at least a light jacket this time of year, especially if you plan to visit theme parks in the evening. It also helps to bring a wide-brim hat for the beach since this is an especially sunny time of year. And of course, if you plan to enjoy the moderate weather by being active, definitely bring some comfortable shoes that can support your feet walking, biking, or playing sports.
3. Top Destinations to Visit in March
Much of the Northern US will flock to Miami, Orlando, and other famous vacation destinations this time of year. Because of that, I have compiled my list of recommendations for where to visit. These areas give you a chance to experience the excellent weather without nearly as many crowds.
- The Everglades: Experience this natural wonder with much less mud and humidity than at other times of the year.
- The Space Coast: For beachgoers, Melbourne and Sebastian offer gorgeous beaches with less crowds than Tampa Bay.
- Southwest Florida Beaches: Another beach option is Venice or Bonita Springs which have tropical weather and the opportunity to see Spring Training games.
- Crystal River: For a unique vacation, visit the sleepy town of Crystal River and enjoy paddling with manatees, and exploring beautiful freshwater springs.
- Water Parks: If you are visiting Orlando, you can escape the crowds at water parks. Most are heated and much less busy than in the summer.
4. March Events and Festivals
Florida is bustling with events throughout March 2024, offering a wide range of activities suitable for all interests. Here’s a list of some notable events happening across the state:
One of my favorite things to experience in Florida in March is Spring Training! This is when the major league baseball teams play practice games in smaller stadiums around the state.
It typically starts at the end of February and goes until mid-March. Most stadiums are concentrated in South Florida, with Fort Myers and West Palm Beach hosting multiple teams. This is an amazing way to see your favorite ball players up close and often even meet them!
Theme Park Events
The Orlando theme parks are feeling festive this time of year with special Spring activities. Notable events at each of the resorts include:
- Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival: Over at Walt Disney World, Epcot is in bloom with topiaries, gardens, concerts, and themed kitchens. This event goes until May and offers so many extras that are free to experience with a park ticket.
- Universal Mardi Gras: Celebrate the thrill of Mardi Gras with concerts, a parade, and Cajun Dishes at Universal Studios. You can see a parade every night with your park ticket and concerts on select nights.
- SeaWorld Seven Seas Food Festival: Included with park admission, enjoy Seaworld’s foodie festival every Thursday through Sunday in March. Not only are there all sorts of unique dishes to try, but you can also enjoy live music!
Speaking of food, Florida has a few famous festivals known for delectable cuisine In March. The Florida Strawberry Festival takes place in Plant City the first week of March, with fair treats, musical performances and all things strawberries. This is also a great time of year for picking fresh strawberries.
Another beloved annual event is the Grant Seafood Festival. This year, the 57th annual event will occur the first weekend of March. It’s always a fun way to try lots of seafood and listen to live music.
Daytona Beach Bike Week
Another annual event to look out for in March is Bike Week in Daytona Beach. Motorcycle enthusiasts gather here from March 1st to March 10th for beautiful biking weather. Expect to see lots of bikers on the road and events at local bars and breweries.
There is no shortage of ways to celebrate the arts during March in Florida! In addition to excellent concert and museum line-ups, check out one of these three regional art festivals going on this month.
- 49th Annual Tarpon Springs Fine Arts Festival (March 9-10) – Celebrates visual arts ranging from delicate drawings to monumental sculptures in Tarpon Springs.
- Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival (March 15-17) – Known for its high-quality art and historic community
- 73rd Annual Under the Oaks Fine Arts & Crafts Show in Vero Beach (March 8-10) – A highly respected juried show attracting over 200 artists nationally and internationally
Ultra Music Festival
One last event sure to draw crowds is the ever-popular Ultra Music Festival in Miami. This year, March 22nd through 24th, there will be all sorts of electronic music performers at Bayfront Park. Between this and spring break, be sure to expect crowds if you visit Miami this weekend.
5. Florida Crowds in March
Florida in March sees varying crowd levels across the state, influenced by events, holidays, and school breaks. The beginning of March generally offers moderate crowd levels, making it a pleasant time for visitors seeking to explore the state’s attractions without the hassle of long waits and difficult parking.
However, as March progresses, particularly starting from the middle of the month, crowd levels begin to rise significantly, peaking towards the end of March and into early April. This increase is largely due to Spring Break when many schools and colleges have their holidays.
The busiest places to visit in March are Orlando, Tampa Bay, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Panama City Beach. If you want to visit these destinations, weekdays tend to be less crowded at major attractions. Also, keep in mind, that there tend to be lots of snowbirds in South Florida this time of year, which can make traffic heavy and restaurants busy.
6. Vacation Affordability
Due to the popularity of visiting Florida in March, prices for hotels, flights, and attractions tend to increase significantly due to the influx of visitors during Spring Break periods. Expect flights and hotels, especially in the regions mentioned above to be more expensive than usual. Even theme parks now have a demand-based model that leads to higher ticket prices.
The best way to save money when traveling this time of year is to book your travel further in advance, especially when it comes to accommodations like Airbnbs and flights. Other than that, vacationing in less popular areas, can also reduce the cost of your trip.
7. Safety Tips for March
March is typically a safe month in Florida, free from natural disasters and environmental issues. However, to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip, here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
- It may not feel as hot as usual, but that still doesn’t mean you can’t get sunburned! Be sure to regularly apply sunscreen with a high SPF to avoid getting burned.
- If visiting during popular events like Bike Week, be extra cautious on the roads, whether you’re driving or walking. Follow all traffic laws and be aware of motorcyclists.
- Avoid swimming in bodies of water other than the ocean and freshwater springs, as retention ponds and lakes can be home to gators.
- Be careful when swimming in the ocean. If caught in a rip current, remain calm and swim parallel to the shore until you’re out of the current.
Know Before You Go
Whether you’re drawn to the vibrant festivals that dot the landscape, the tranquil beauty of its beaches, or the thrill of its world-renowned theme parks, March presents a unique opportunity to experience Florida at its most dynamic. I hope this blog post showed you just what makes March in Florida an unforgettable time to visit Florida!
Before you start planning, here is a summary of things to keep in mind for March vacations to Florida.
- Weather: Cooler and less humid than typical Florida weather.
- Destinations to check out: The Everglades, The Space Coast, Crystal River, and Southwest Florida
- Areas to avoid: Orlando, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa Bay
- Crowds: Higher than other months
- Affordability: More expensive than other months
Let me know what your favorite time of year to visit Florida is! And for more of ideas of things to do on your trip, be sure to check out my Ultimate Florida Bucket List!