When Is the Best Time
Florida’s wildlife-rich Everglades is an incredible region of subtropical wilderness, with over 1.5 million acres of wetland to explore.
The best time to visit the Everglades is in the dry season, from early December to April. Pleasant temperatures, fewer mosquitoes, and higher possibilities of wildlife spotting make this an excellent time. However, during the dry season, it can get jam-packed at popular areas in the Everglades.
On the other hand, the wet season (late spring to early fall) is the best time to avoid crowds and plan activities like kayaking tours in the morning or thrilling airboat rides.
Make sure to read our 7 Must-Know Everglades Tips at the end of this article.
The dry season in the Everglades lasts from November/December until April and is often the most pleasant time of year. Temperatures drop to comfortable levels, and the lack of rain and humidity makes it a great time to visit. Mosquitoes and other biting insects are less common, with the dry season being very popular with visitors.
Along with the favorable weather, there are some excellent chances to see wildlife. Mammals such as bobcats and white-tailed deer gather around water holes, and many migratory birds visit the Everglades to breed.
The rain returns to the Everglades in May, often falling during heavy showers accompanied by afternoon thunderstorms. These conditions last until November, and the humidity during this time is usually very high. Although uncommon, the Everglades are sometimes affected by hurricanes from June until October. Insects such as mosquitoes thrive in the wet weather, however other animals disperse with the rising water levels, and wildlife watching becomes more challenging. Some sightings are less common than in the dry season, but there are good chances to see birds and reptiles such as turtles.
Visiting in the Wet Season | Is Summer a Bad Time?
While most agree that the dry season is the most pleasant time to visit, do all Everglades experts admit that summer is a ‘bad’ period to visit? Definitely not! While it’s not the best time in terms of enjoyable weather conditions or for a walk or hike during the midday heat, a visit in the wet season can be a great experience. Here is why:
- Wildlife: While there is less wildlife in certain areas during summer, you can still spot so many fascinating animals — just different ones: manatees, sea turtles, unique birds, and more, especially on boat tours! Alligators? Not so much in Shark Valley or on the Anhinga Trail, for example, but indeed on a kayaking tour or airboat ride.
- Heat: The heat and humidity can be a challenge. Planning your activities for the morning hours (until around 11 am) or in the late afternoon is the best thing you can do. During these hours, it’s less hot, which makes being outdoors bearable.
- Insects: Mosquitoes can be annoying, but you can protect yourself against them. During an airboat ride or on a kayaking tour, you won’t have to worry that much about them anyway because airboat rides are windy, and on a kayak tour, the guide won’t take you near dense vegetation.
- Landscape: The area is a lot more scenic during the wet season: full of water, lush and green. Perfect for great photos.
- Boat Tours: Summer is the perfect time for a boat tour, a kayaking experience, or an airboat ride. You will see magnificent wildlife in the waters or at the shorelines.
Just consider a few things when visiting in the wet season. Here is a quote from visitors who are there every summer:
‘We go into the Everglades and visit Shark Valley many times every summer and rarely have problems with the heat or the bugs. However, we understand what to avoid. We go early each morning (we are at Shark Valley by around 8:00 and get out by 11:00) and take lots of water and wet towels to stay cool.’
How Long to Spend in Everglades National Park?
Spending between two and three in the Everglades is the perfect amount to see the best spots. Within that time frame, you will be able to cover the Anhinga Trail, the Pa-Hay-Okee Trail, the Tamiami Trail, and Shark Valley.
If your schedule allows staying three days, we highly recommend an airboat tour and a kayaking tour (see below). Those are must-do activities you’ll never forget.
Best Time to See Alligators
The best time to see alligators up-close in the Everglades is in the dry season from December to April, as you can spot them at the popular boardwalks during that period. The best time of day is in the afternoon when it’s sunny. You may see plenty of alligators then. On a cloudy day, it’s less likely to spot them.
The above is valid for a visit in the dry season at boardwalks like the Anhinga Trail or in Shark Valley. Whereas, in the wet season, it’s more likely to spot them in the morning or around sunset when the gators are sunbathing at the shorelines (Tip: Book a kayaking tour for the best wildlife experience in the summer!)
Best Time for a Kayak Tour | Is Kayaking Safe
Visit the banner above for the best kayaking tour at any time of the year. We haven’t experienced anything like this in the Everglades before. These tours are just sensational! The meeting point is easily accessible: Everglades Area Tours Kayak Tour Meeting Point. From Miami Beach, it’s a 1 hour and 20 minutes drive. From Everglades City just 10 minutes, and about 30 minutes from Marco Island. Use a rental car or an Uber. Check our tips below for accommodation deals.
You can book a kayaking tour year-round. Even in the summer months, it’s a fantastic and safe experience. If there is only one thing you do in the Everglades, go on a kayaking tour with experienced guides:
- You’ll see plenty of intriguing wildlife regardless of the season!
- You’ll be much closer to wildlife compared to an airboat ride
- You don’t need any kayaking experience
- You won’t get near heavy vegetation so that mosquitoes won’t be a big problem
- You can spot herons, stilts, ducks, sea turtles, wood storks, spoonbills, alligators, manatees, otters, and so many exciting fish
Are you worried about mosquitoes or not spotting enough wildlife when visiting in the summer? Don’t be! The tours are safe, and you’ll just spot different wildlife during the wet season: Manatees, sea turtles, or even an alligator mother with her children!
Best Time for an Airboat Ride
The best time of day for an airboat ride during winter – in the dry season – is in the afternoon. You don’t have to deal with thunderstorms, the temperatures are pleasant, and Alligators tend to sunbathe as much as possible before sunset.
The best time for an airboat ride in the Everglades during the hot and humid summer months is in the morning or in the late afternoon. That way, you avoid the extreme midday heat. It’s also more likely to spot alligators since they try to avoid the heat as well and tend to sunbathe at the banks in the morning and around dusk.
The only possible downside in the morning hours and at sunset in summer is the more active mosquitoes. However, it’s very unlikely on an airboat to get bit by mosquitoes: It’s windy, and the boats never get near dense vegetation.
3 Best Airboat Tours
An airboat tour in the Everglades is a thrilling adventure. You should know that being on an airboat is more about the ride in stunning nature than about the park’s wildlife. For the best wildlife viewing experience, we highly suggest a kayak eco-tour (see above). However, the chances are good that you spot alligators and other animals, even from an airboat. The captains know the best spots for sighting gators, birds, fish, and other wildlife.
The big advantage: All three airboat tours are very close to Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach, or Downtown Miami. Everglades Holiday Park tours even pick you up from meeting points there. Tip: Book in advance to make sure you get your desired spot! You get a mobile voucher on your phone or can print it. Very easy and comfortable.
Monthly Guide | Weather – Crowds – Wildlife
Everglades has only two seasons. While most visitors prefer the months in the dry season, the wet season has a few advantages, like cheaper rates and less crowds.
January in the Everglades has the lowest temperatures of the year. However, it’s still very pleasant with an average high of 76°F (25°C) and an average low of 62°F (17°C). Rainfall is very uncommon, and there are a high number of sunny days, with 12 on average.
This is an excellent time of year to visit the Everglades, not least because the low temperatures keep the mosquitoes and other biting insects at bay. The low water levels mean wildlife congregates around watering holes, making it easy to see a diverse range of species, particularly at popular walking trails like Anhinga Trail or in Shark Valley.
In February, the Everglades remains warm and sunny, with an average high of 76°F (25°C) and an average low of 64°F (18°C). There are very few rainy days this month, and the humidity begins to decrease, averaging around 69%.
With the pleasant weather, this is often one of the busiest months in the Everglades, as tourists seek to make the most of the cooler temperatures and lack of insects. Visitor centers and guided activities in the Everglades National Park will all be in full swing, and this makes it a great time for outdoor pursuits like walking or biking.
During March, the Everglades’ weather is changeable, with many cloudy days and occasional strong winds. The temperature starts to increase, but it remains comfortable with an average high of 80°F (26°C) and an average low of 66°F (19°C).
The windy days in March can be especially good for keeping the biting insects away while also taking the edge off the temperatures. Keep an eye out for breeding birds and alligators, which will be common sights during this time.
April in the Everglades is a comfortable month, with average humidity levels at 65% – the lowest of the year. Precipitation averages at just 11mm, and the temperature is usually hot, with an average high of 83°F (28°C) and an average low of 70°F (21°C).
As the final month of the dry season, this is often your last chance to enjoy pleasant temperatures and low insect numbers in the Everglades. With peak season over, some guided activities in the Everglades National Park will start to close. However, it is still a good time for pursuits such as hiking, walking the trails, or biking. April is usually the mating period for alligators.
In May, the Everglades is generally hot, with an average high of 86°F (30°C) and an average low of 74°F (23°C). With the beginning of the wet season, rainfall becomes more common than in previous months, with 12 rainy days on average.
As wildlife starts to disperse with the rising water levels, the mornings and evenings are the best times to spot animals. Mosquitoes will usually start to become more of a problem during this month, and thunderstorms may build up late in the day. Although it’s getting less busy, weekends can get crowded, especially Memorial Day Weekend.
During June, the conditions in the Everglades become very wet, with frequent afternoon thunderstorms. Humidity starts to increase to an average of 73%, and temperatures are hot, with an average high of 88°F (31°C) and an average low of 77°F (25°C).
Although mosquitoes are more active, early morning is the best time of day to be out in the Everglades in June. It’s a good way to avoid the hot temperatures, as well as the afternoon thunderstorms. One benefit to a visit in June is that tourist numbers are usually low.
July in the Everglades brings tropical weather conditions, with the high temperatures and humidity combining to make it unpleasant on some days. The average high is 90°F (32°C), and the average low is 78°F (26°C), with rainfall levels averaging 50mm.
With the hot, humid conditions, it’s a good idea to come equipped with comfortable clothing and insect spray. Wildlife will be less common at popular spots, but there will still be chances to see birds such as anhingas and herons. Book a boat or kayaking tour for the best up-close wildlife experience in July and August.
During August, The weather in the Everglades is at its hottest, with an average high of 90°F (32°C) and an average low of 78°F (26°C). Thunderstorms are common in August during the afternoon.
Protection against insects is essential, so come prepared with bug spray and avoid dense vegetation areas. This is peak hurricane season in Florida, and although large storms are uncommon, it’s best to keep an eye out for warnings. It’s a great time to see different wildlife like manatees or sea turtles on a kayak tour. You can even hear baby alligators crying in late August or early September.
In September, the Everglades become slightly cooler than in previous months, with an average high of 89°F (31°C) and an average low of 77°F (25°C). Despite this, humidity is at its highest during this month – averaging at 75% – and this can make the conditions unpleasant on some days.
The humid conditions and hot weather in September can make it difficult to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking in the Everglades. However, airboat rides or boat tours are a great choice in September. Hurricanes are possible, although uncommon. Where possible, try to get out early in the day to enjoy the best weather.
October in the Everglades marks the end of the most unpleasant months in the wet season. Rainfall drops to an average of 35mm. As thunderstorms become less common, the humidity levels fall, but the temperature remains hot with an average high of 85°F (30°C) and an average low of 74°F (24°C).
As the wet season comes to a close in the Everglades, the number of biting insects starts to decrease. It also becomes easier to pursue outdoor activities, with guided tours and similar events starting to operate again in the Everglades National Park.
During November, the conditions in the Everglades are getting more pleasant. The average high is around 81°F (27°C) and the average low about 69°F (21°C). There is a meager chance of rainfall, and the lack of cloud cover makes for a high number of sunny days, with 12 on average.
November can be a great time to visit the Everglades, as the weather is far more comfortable than in previous months. The visitor numbers tend to pick up again for this reason, although crowds will not be as large as later in the season. Wildlife will also become more visible in popular areas like Shark Valley or at the Anhinga Trail, not only on the water.
In December, the Everglades are warm and comfortable, with an average high of 78°F (26°C) and an average low of 65°F (18°C). Some days reach humidity levels of over 70%, but this is rare, and the lack of rainfall makes this one of the driest months of the year.
With the dry season well underway, deer and other large animals will often be seen around areas of water, as these begin to dry up. This can make December a great time of year to explore the Everglades, especially as the weather will be good and mosquitoes will be uncommon.
7 Everglades Mosquito Facts and Tips
- Dry Season: In the winter months, mosquitoes are practically non-existing in most regions you’ll visit in the Everglades.
- Wet Season: They are abundant in the summer period, and at some spots, vast clouds of them are present.
- Time of Day: Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk.
- Airboats: Airboats drive through open areas, and it’s windy. You usually won’t notice any mosquitoes during a ride, even in summer.
- Boats/Kayaks: As mosquitoes rest in dense vegetations, your experienced guide won’t take you near those spots on a boat or kayak tour.
- Walking Trails: In the summer, they can be bad on the walking trails. Always bring repellant during that period.
- Repellent: It’s better to bring repellent, regardless of your visiting time. However, the visitor centers sell them as well in case you forgot it.