While much of the northern U.S. begins to cool down in September, Florida is still hot and humid. Although schools are back in full swing by mid-August, beautiful beach days and lots of lounging by the pool in temperatures averaging in the 80s can still be enjoyed by those who can take advantage of the post-summer-vacation season.
September is a great month to visit the theme parks, especially Walt Disney World because it's one of the less crowded months of the year.
Even with the warm weather, Floridians still enjoy getting into the fall spirit and you'll find a beer festival, hayrides, and Halloween haunted houses along with a coastal seafood festival.
Florida Weather in September
Along with warm weather, September is one of the busiest months for hurricanes in the Florida area, both on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. When traveling during hurricane season it's important to keep on top of the weather reports, listen for weather alerts, and ask about a hurricane guarantee when you book your vacation which may offer some compensation if you are faced with severe weather during your stay in Florida.
Average temperatures range from the mid-to-high 80s. Key vacation destinations with their average highs and low are:
- Daytona Beach: High 88 degrees F and Low 72 degrees F
- Fort Myers: High 90 degrees F and Low 74 degrees F
- Jacksonville: High 86 degrees F and Low 69 degrees F
- Key West: High 88 degrees F and Low 79 degrees F
- Miami: High 86 degrees F and Low 78 degrees F
- Orlando: High 90 degrees F and Low 72 degrees F
- Panama City: High 87 degrees F and Low 67 degrees F
- Pensacola: High 87 degrees F and Low 70 degrees F
- Tallahassee: High 89 degrees F and Low 69 degrees F
- Tampa: High 89 degrees F and Low 74 degrees F
- West Palm Beach: High 89 degrees F and Low 75 degrees F
The water temperature for the Gulf of Mexico (West Coast) and the Atlantic Ocean (East Coast) is consistently in the mid-80s.
What to Pack
Since it's still pretty warm throughout the state, you can pack mainly summer clothes including a bathing suit, of course. The ocean is still warm, perfect for swimming, and most public pools and water parks are open year round, or at least until mid-October.
It's still pretty buggy this time of year, so don't forget the bug spray, and sunscreen, of course.
If you are visiting Northern Florida, then the temperatures may drop a bit in the evenings so a light jacket is a good idea. Be sure to prepare for the rain because even if there is no actual hurricane, rain squalls can pass through, especially in the afternoons—an umbrella and light raincoat will do the trick.
September Events in Florida
The month of September is filled with fall-themed festivals and Halloween events at the popular theme parks. Look for harvest festivals and spooky events that last on into October. Some of the most popular events are at Walt Disney World and Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay.
- Epcot International Food & Wine Festival: At Disney's Epcot Center, a celebration of the world's greatest foods and cuisines combined with continuous entertainment, seminars, and food demos run through September and often on into November. Meet celebrity chefs and noteworthy Disney culinary superstars and enjoy their creative cuisine.
- Busch Gardens' Howl-O-Scream: One of Tampa Bay's most popular Halloween celebrations is a real scream with haunted houses, pitch black thrill rides, and heart-pounding horror. This event is recommended for guests over the age of 17 because yes, it's that scary.
- Busch Gardens Tampa Bay's Bier Fest: On weekends from mid-August through early September, explore beer from around the world at the Busch Gardens Tampa Bay's Bier Fest. Enjoy live entertainment at this event which puts a modern spin on Oktoberfest.
- Halloween Horror Nights: Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights is one of the country's largest and most elaborate Halloween events. The park is decked out for Halloween through September and into November—special hotel and ticket packages are available.
- Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party: For those who want something a bit milder, this special event on select nights through October at Disney World's Magic Kingdom features "Mickey's Boo-to-You Halloween Parade," Mickey's Mouse-Ka-Rade costume parties, Halloween storytelling, live shows and a special Halloween-themed fireworks display above Cinderella Castle. Families who purchase the event package enjoy a complimentary photo, unlimited use of the attractions and opportunities to trick-or-treat throughout the theme park.
- Pensacola Seafood Festival: Every September over Labor Day Weekend, enjoy continuous live entertainment and bountiful amounts seafood (and land food, too) in the Seville Square area of historic downtown Pensacola. Over 150 local and foreign artists showcase their work, from paintings to pottery. There are also lots of kids' activities on Saturday and Sunday of this feast from the sea.
- Film Festivals: For those wanting to get inside and away from the humidity and heat, the art of film is featured in Miami in September with two events: the Brazilian Film Festival and the Miami Film Festival.