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Tampa Year Round: Which Season is Best For You?

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Tampa is blessed with a pretty temperate climate that allows for a good beach vacation any time of the year. Nevertheless, each season brings something different to consider when looking at taking a vacation here. Whether it is major sporting events, local festivals, optimal beach weather, or just trying to avoid a hurricane, there are plenty of things that could attract or repel you. If you've just so happened to find a cheap last-minute flight to Tampa and are wondering if it is a good time to go, read on as we break down the pros and cons of vacationing here in all four seasons.

Summer

A busy Tampa Bay beach

(Image provided by Adobe Stock)

Summer is the busy season for Tampa, running from May until August. During this time, you can expect temperatures in the high 80s°F with frequent afternoon rainstorms. While rain might seem like a downside for a beach vacation, it is often a welcome change from the unforgiving Floridian sun, offering a chance to cool down. Sports fans like to come during this time as NHL hockey and MLB baseball seasons overlap. Outdoor events are in full swing, like the Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival that is held every weekend. 

Despite this being the rainy season with the threat of a hurricane hanging over any long laid plans, the multitude of events like sports games and festivals attract many tourists during this time. This means that you are likely to pay hundreds of dollars per night for a decent hotel and you are less likely to find a good flight deal. If you are not a sports fan, you want to avoid rainy weather, or you want to get the best deal, then this is not the season for you. But if you like big crowds and a lively atmosphere, then the summer months will be right up your alley!

Fall

An old brick building with palm trees out front

(Image provided by Adobe Stock)

Autumn rings in the slow season for Tampa, which starts in October. That makes September one of the two months that qualify as shoulder season. During this time, temperatures start to drop ever so slightly, attracting people who are looking for a more temperate beach vacation. Tampa then enters its dry season, leaving the hurricane season behind and giving you a better chance at a rainless vacation.

Prices will be better in September and you can expect less crowds as well. The holiday season will bring some tourists back, as people are taking time off, but not as many people as there are in the summer. If you are interested in exploring Tampa’s local culture and historic sites, then September and October are ideal times to go. The temperate weather is unlikely to interfere and thinner crowds will allow you to see what the city is like when it isn’t catering to droves of tourists.

Winter

People lined up to board a festive pirate ship

(Image provided by Adobe Stock)

Tampa will receive some tourists who are vacationing for Christmas, New Years, or other holidays, but after that the real slow season hits. During the months of January, February, and March, the city is hit with cooler weather making the air feel crisp and dry. Temperatures will still be high enough for a beach visit during the day, but it won’t be as sweltering hot as in the summer. At night, temperatures cool down enough that you will probably want to pack a sweater or two.

While there aren’t going to be as many events going on during this time, there are still attractions like the Gasparilla Pirate Festival. This is also the best time for bird watchers, as many come from the north to escape the colder temperatures, meaning there are a number of species that you won’t see here during other times of the year. The NHL season also encompasses these months, so book a trip when the Bolts are playing if you want to see them, or book when they aren’t if you want lower hotel prices!

Spring

People riding a roller coaster at Busch Gardens

(Image provided by Unsplash)

The busy season is in full swing starting in May, meaning that April is the other month considered to be shoulder season. Hurricane season doesn’t start until June, so expect much less rainfall than in the summer. Here you will find a bit of the summer temperatures, but without the crazy high humidity, creating arguably the best climate for a beach vacation.

Notable events that occur during spring include the Florida Strawberry Festival which takes place in early March, as well as major league sporting events like the start of the baseball season. This is also a fantastic time to visit Busch Gardens, as the agreeable weather is a perfect fit for a day or two walking around a theme park. Whether you are sightseeing, thrill seeking, or sunbathing, it is hard to imagine a better time to visit Tampa than in the spring!

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