If you go camping in Florida with any regularity than you may already know what the best and worst months for camping in Florida are. What I share here may prove without a doubt that you are indeed correct. Even so, you may learn some things about why you are correct that you didn’t know. However, if you’re new to Florida, or new to Florida camping, this information may help you avoid some relatively unpleasant camping experiences.

My wife and I have lived in Florida for 6 years and knew the summer months were indeed toasty. But because of Covid-19, we decided not to take a trip north this summer as we usually do. Instead, we bought a camper and booked several camping trips from June to the end of the year. I am writing this in early October 2020 and after taking 5 camping trips in Florida over the summer.

Our Excuses for Camping in the Worst Months

One important note is that we live in Largo near Clearwater on the Gulf of Mexico. Our area for meteorological reasons that I don’t quite understand, avoids a lot of the weather that those just south, north, and east of us experience. So, one reason for our decision to venture out into Florida nature in the summer months is that we didn’t think it would be quite as extreme as it was.

The other reason, and I know it sounds like an excuse, is that personally, I need to look forward to trips. I get cranky when I don’t have a trip in my near future. And the Coronavirus messed that up for me this year. So, camping trips were the best alternative we could think of. We both love nature and we love Florida. So, it seemed like a good idea at the time. And it still is because now that we’ve experienced camping in the worst months, we can appreciate camping in the best months that much more. I think that I have now completely justified our decision to go camping in Florida during the summer. At least to myself anyway.

Summer is the Worst Time But Not Just Because of the Heat

So, why are the summer months the worst months to go camping in Florida? You might immediately conclude it’s because of the heat and humidity. Although it’s true that it gets into the 90s and “feels like” 107, that actually didn’t completely stop us from enjoying our camping trips. Don’t get me wrong. There were some moments for both of us that were touch and go from being overheated. We like to bike and hike and do that often. And the Florida sun and heat can sneak up on you pretty fast.

The real issue that we had to contend with, however, is the rain. We would set up our campsite with our awning, tables, outdoor carpet, privacy tent, cooking gear, and zip-up shade tent for eating. And, then it would rain. No just a mist or sprinkle mind you. We’re talking torrential downpour. At times for well over an hour. It would soak everything in our campsite and sometimes result in a flooded site for a couple of hours afterward.

Camping in the Rain at Fort De Soto
In the rain at Fort De Soto Campground

The worst incident is that we had purchased a new 12 x 12 canopy to give us more shade. It worked great. We were ready for whatever heat the Florida sun beat down upon us. We drove away from the campground to visit a local park and stop by to see some friends. It poured while we were gone. We came back to a mangled canopy. The sheer weight of the water buckled the seemingly strong metal structure holding up that canopy like a beer can in a recycling plant.

Not only does this type of rain make everything you own sopping wet, but you can’t do anything but sit inside your trailer and wait. However, the worst part is that if the rain comes within 24 hours of you breaking down your site, you are heading home with the prospect of drying out everything the next day so it won’t get moldy or rust. It really dampens the enjoyment of your trip. Do you see how I did that right there?

Canopy destoryed by the rain
Canopy after being crushed by the rain at Jonathan Dickinson State Park

The Best and Worst Months for Camping in Florida

OK, so what are the best and worst months for camping in Florida? We can quickly get to that answer by looking at monthly temperatures and rainfall. Below are graphs for the average monthly temperature and rainfall in Tampa, FL. If you are a Floridian, you know that our averages may be somewhat different than in other parts of the state. Therefore, you’ll want to look those up. Good websites to do that is RSSWeather.com and US Climate Data.

Average Monthly Temperatures in Tampa, FL

Average Monthly Rainfall in Tampa, FL

Month Average Low Average High
January 52.4 70.1
February 53.8 71.6
March 58.5 76.3
April 62.4 80.6
May 68.9 86.3
June 74.0 88.9
July 75.3 89.7
August 75.4 90.0
September 74.3 89.0
October 67.6 84.1
November 60.7 78.0
December 54.7 72.0

Month Rainfall in Inches
January 2.27
February 2.67
March 2.84
April 1.8
May 2.85
June 5.5
July 6.49
August 7.60
September 6.54
October 2.29
November 1.62
December 2.30

You’ll see that pretty much all over Florida the heat spikes upward in May and tapers off in October. The rainfall spikes upward in June and tapers in October. Therefore, you might determine that the best months for camping in Florida are October through April. However, we have a hurricane season here. According to the State of Florida, the hurricane season runs from June through the end of October.

October Should Be Good, Right?

Nonetheless, we thought October would be a good month to camp because the temperature is very nice. However, we just canceled a camping trip this week (1st week in October) to Manatee Springs State Park because Tropical Storm Delta, which is predicted to evolve into a hurricane, is going to be coming up the Gulf Coast just as we were to arrive at the campground.

So, given everything to be considered, the best months for camping in Florida are November though April. With the best month being April. While the worst months for camping are May through October with July and August tying for the top spot.

So, there you have it. You thought you were right but now we just proved it because we were brave or naive, or both, and camped in June, July, August, and September in Florida. We will never do that again. The good news is that we’ll appreciate the good months even more.

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