The Insider’s Guide to Florida in May

May is an underrated month to visit Florida. If you visit then, you will be treated to low crowds and perfect beach weather. And because of the commonly low amount of tourism, you can often find deals and special events going on around May.

Whether you’re looking for tranquil beaches, thrilling theme parks, or engaging cultural experiences, Florida in May has something for everyone. Let’s dive into what makes this month a great time to explore this diverse destination.

guide to visiting Florida in May

1.   Florida’s May Climate

As Florida transitions from late spring to summer, the state begins to warm up, offering plenty of sunshine and increasingly warmer days across its regions. Here’s what visitors and residents can generally expect weather-wise in North, Central, and South Florida during May.

North Florida

The Northern part of the state warms up to beach season in May with daytime highs typically in the low to mid-80s°F (around 27-30°C) and lows in the 60s°F (around 15-20°C). While the weather is predominantly sunny, May also sees an increase in humidity and the frequency of afternoon showers and thunderstorms, characteristic of Florida’s approaching wet season.

corgi and girl in front of st augustine lighthouse

Central Florida

Central Florida, home to Orlando, Tampa, and Daytona Beach, experiences similar weather patterns to the north but with slightly higher temperatures. Daytime Highs are typically in the 80s°F (around 29-31°C), but can reach the 90s°F (above 31°C).

Expect sunny mornings with occasional afternoon storms, providing a welcome cool-off. Though these temperatures are nice for beach days, expect it to feel quite hot at the theme parks.

South Florida

South Florida, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and the Florida Keys, becomes notably warmer and more humid in May. Frequently, daytime temperatures climb into the high 80s to low 90s°F (around 31-34°C), with nighttime lows in the 70s°F (around 21-25°C).

By mid-May, rainstorms become more frequent as the wet season begins. The ocean is an ideal temperature for swimming in and provides a comfortable place to cool off.

2.   May Vacation Packing Tips

Visiting Florida in May means gearing up for warm weather, occasional rain showers, and a plethora of outdoor and water-based activities. Essentials for packing this month include bathing suits, coverups, waterproof electronic holders, and a reusable water bottle. This will make sure you can relax by the beach or pool!

local st augustine hotel pool

In case of rain storms, I also recommend bringing a rain jacket or an umbrella. And bug spray or wipes are a must. I have been eaten up by No See Ums this time of year frequently. If you want to make sure you have packed smartly, you can get a free PDF packing checklist from my blog post here.

3.   The Best Florida Places to Visit in May

Florida’s beaches are famous worldwide and May offers warm waters and fewer crowds before the summer rush. I recommend taking advantage of the beaches or popular tourist attractions when visiting in May. Personally, here are the places I think are best to visit this time of year.

  • The Palm Beaches: For a dreamy beach vacation, The Palm Beaches offer an exquisite blend of luxury and leisure with perfect weather in May. The city also hosts its annual Month of Shows, Art, Ideas, and Culture (aka Mosaic), where you can find special offerings at community attractions.
west palm beach museums
  • St. Augustine: Another place ideal for being outside in the May weather is St. Augustine, where you can explore historic forts and beautiful beaches. This is also a great time of year for spotting exotic Florida birds, and you can see so many at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm & Rookery during May.
  • Panama City Beach: Along the panhandle, Panama City Beach is a haven for sun-seekers and water sports enthusiasts in May. The weather is warm enough for swimming but not oppressively hot, and with the summer crowds yet to arrive, visitors can enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere.
  • Miami: To experience South Florida without the crowds, check out the beaches and vibrant city of Miami, as well as its neighbor Fort Lauderdale. From boat tours along Fort Lauderdale’s canal to pool parties in South Beach, there are plenty of outdoor thrills to experience. If you have time, also check out the Everglades for some wildlife sightings!
  • Orlando: May is a sweet spot for visiting Orlando’s world-famous theme parks, including Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. The weather is pleasant, and the summer vacation crowds have not yet peaked, meaning shorter lines for attractions and a more enjoyable experience overall.
mako coaster at seaworld orlando

4.   Florida Festivities in May

May in Florida is not just about enjoying the sunshine and pristine beaches; it’s a month brimming with diverse and vibrant events that cater to all tastes. From cultural festivals to sports events, here’s your ultimate guide to experiencing the best experiences this time of year

MOSAIC: Month of Shows, Art, Ideas & Culture

Throughout May, Palm Beaches celebrate the arts with the MOSAIC festival. Attendees can enjoy special offers on exhibitions, performances, and art shows across various venues, showcasing the rich cultural tapestry of the area.

Theme Parks Experiences

May can be a quiet month at the theme parks, but there are still some events and parties to look out for. Be sure to add these to your calendar!

  • Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival: This spring festival continues at Epcot until May 27th. Don’t miss your opportunity to see the special topiaries, blooms, concerts, and themed kitchens, included with park admission.
  • Cinco de Mayo at SeaWorld: Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a splash at SeaWorld from May 2nd through May 5th. This festive event is filled with Mexican culture, from traditional music and dance to delicious Mexican cuisine and it’s included with admission. The Seven Seas Food Festival will also continue through May 19th!
  • Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival: For a culinary Journey at Busch Gardens, the Food and Wine Festival continues every weekend until May 19th.Following this, Summer Nights begins with extended park hours and fireworks on select nights.
seaworld manta coaster

Miami Formula 1 Grand Prix

Experience the adrenaline of Formula 1 as top drivers compete on the Miami circuit. The event is not just about racing; it encompasses a festival celebrating speed, technology, and lifestyle, making it a must-visit for motorsports enthusiasts.

Kentucky Derby Parties

With the Kentucky Derby on May 4th, you can count on watch parties occurring all across the state. Don your finest hat and join a local viewing party, like this one in Orlando, for a day of elegance, horse racing, and mint juleps.

Music Festivals

Start summer with a bang at concerts across the state. My favorites include Sunfest in West Palm Beach and Tampa Riverfest!

tampa florida

Sunfest is the first weekend of May with over 50 bands, including Third Eye Blind, Nelly, and Yung Gravy set against the scenic backdrop of the waterfront. Then over on the Gulf Coast, Tampa hosts the free Riverfest on May 3rd and 4th with tribute bands, a balloon glow, a wiener dog derby, and a water ski show! Both are wonderful ways to celebrate pre-summer.

The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival

The oldest non-juried Fringe Festival in the United States, offering a platform for artists to perform uncensored and unjuried works. Expect a diverse array of performances from theater to comedy and everything in between at this festival, from May 14th through May 27th.

Sunflower Season

May marks the start of sunflower season, with several farms opening their fields to the public, including Sweetfields Farm! It’s a perfect opportunity for beautiful photos, picnics among the flowers, and to take home a sunny bouquet.

Thunder on Cocoa Beach

For a thrilling spectacle, head to Thunder on Cocoa Beach for high-speed powerboat races! Going on May 16th through 19th, check out the races, parties, concerts, and meet-and-greets with the racers.

May Sporting Events

This time of year is my favorite for attending outdoor sports games before the summer heat gets too brutal. The following sports have games going on in May

  • Soccer: Enjoy a soccer game and watch Orlando City SC or Inter Miami CF with games all month long.
  • Baseball: The MLB season is in full swing and it’s a great time to support the Miami Marlins or Tampa Bay Rays.
sporty things to do in orlando for couples

5.   Florida Crowds in May

As May bridges the gap between the spring break rush and the peak summer vacation period, visitors can often find a sweet spot where popular destinations like theme parks, coastlines, and cultural sites are less congested. This period allows for a more relaxed pace of travel, shorter wait times for attractions, and greater availability of accommodations.

Particularly in the earlier weeks of May, the combination of pleasant weather and thinner crowds makes it an ideal time for those looking to explore Florida’s outdoor and recreational offerings, from the serene beaches of the Gulf Coast to the bustling streets of Miami. Though Memorial Day Weekend can see some theme park crowds, savvy travelers will benefit from planning around these specific events to maximize their enjoyment of what Florida has to offer during this month.

6.   Budgeting for a May Vacation

Florida in May presents a favorable scenario for travelers conscious of their budgets, as it falls outside the peak travel periods of spring break theme park season and the summer holidays. During this time, you can often find competitive pricing, ranging from hotels and resorts to airfare, especially if you book in advance or look for mid-week travel deals.

fenway hotel pool dunedin

However, it’s worth noting that prices can fluctuate based on specific events and local festivals happening throughout the state. For instance, special events like the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival or the Miami Formula 1 Grand Prix might lead to localized spikes in demand, affecting prices for accommodations and activities in those areas. Despite these variations, the overall trend for May leans towards more wallet-friendly travel.

7.   Florida Summer Safety Tips

Visiting Florida in May can be a delightful experience, offering warm pool weather, beautiful beaches, and a host of attractions. Before your visit, review these safety tips to guarantee an easygoing trip!

  • The sun in Florida can be intense. Wear a high-SPF sunscreen, reapply it regularly, and consider wearing a hat and UV-protective clothing, especially during the middle of the day when the sun is strongest.
  • Florida’s May weather can be warm and humid. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to avoid dehydration, especially if you’re spending time outdoors or at theme parks.
marco island tiki bar drinks
  • Use insect repellent, especially in the early morning and late afternoon, to protect against mosquitos and no-see-ums!
  • With the warm weather, food can spoil more quickly. Be cautious with food consumption at outdoor events or packing picnics.
  • When visiting natural parks or reserves, be mindful of wildlife. Keep a safe distance from animals, especially alligators and snakes, which are more active during warmer months.

Know Before You Go

Visiting Florida in May is an excellent choice for those looking to enjoy the state’s beaches, theme parks, and natural beauty with fewer crowds and pleasant weather. By planning a Florida trip in May, you can ensure a memorable and enjoyable trip to the Sunshine State.

fort lauderdale beach things to do

Save these tips for reference while planning!

  • Weather: Sunny and warm with occasional rain showers
  • Ideal Destinations: The Palm Beaches, Orlando, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, St. Augustine, Panama City Beach
  • Areas to avoid: None!
  • Crowds: Low beside Memorial Day Weekend
  • Affordability: Lower prices for hotels and flights

Have you been to Florida in May?! Let me know your favorite place to visit this time of year if you have one! For more attraction and experience ideas, be sure to check out my Ultimate Florida Bucket List!

tips for florida may vacation