While much of the northern U.S. begins to cool down in September, Florida is still hot and humid. Although schools are typically back in full swing by mid-August, temperatures average above 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius), so you can still enjoy the beach in the post-summer-vacation season.
September is also a great month to visit the theme parks, especially Disney World because it's one of the less crowded months of the year. Even with the tropical weather, Floridians still enjoy getting into the fall spirit and you'll find beer festivals and hayrides taking place at the same time as summery seafood festivals.
September is one of the busiest months for hurricanes in the Florida area, both on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. If you are planning on traveling during hurricane season, it's important to keep on top of the weather reports and look out for alerts. When you book your trip, always ask your hotel about a hurricane guarantee. If severe weather disrupts your plans, you'll want to make sure you can get your money back.
Florida Weather in September
Florida is a big state, so while average temperatures reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) in most places, you'll want to look up the specifics for the cities you plan on visiting. Here are some the average temperatures of the state's largest and most popular cities:
- Daytona Beach: 88 F (31 C) / 72 F (22 C)
- Fort Myers: 90 F (32 C) / 74 F (23 C)
- Jacksonville: 86 F (30 C) / 69 F (20 C)
- Key West: 88 F (31 C) / 79 F (26 C)
- Miami: 86 F (30 C)/ 78 F (26 C)
- Orlando: 90 F (33 C) / 72 F (22 C)
- Panama City: 87 F (31 C) / 67 F (19 C)
- Pensacola: 87 F (31 C) / 70 F (21 C)
- Tallahassee: 89 F (32) / 69 F (20 C)
- Tampa: 89 F (32 C) / 74 F (23 C)
- West Palm Beach: 89 F (32 C) / 75 F (24 C)
If you plan on hitting the beaches, you'll find consistent water temperatures wherever you go. Both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean are consistently in the mid-80s Fahrenheit (upper 20s Celsius) during September.
What to Pack
You can count on warm weather in the Sunshine State, so pack your summer clothes and bathing suit. 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. You'll also need sunscreen. It's still pretty damp and buggy this time of year, so don't forget the bug spray also.
If you are visiting Northern Florida, the temperatures may drop a bit more in the evenings than in the southern regions of the state and you'll want to have a light jacket on hand if you're going out at night. Be ready for the rain because even if there is no actual hurricane, heavy downpours are not uncommon, especially in the afternoons. An umbrella and light raincoat should be enough to keep you dry.
September Events in Florida
Most Halloween celebrations, especially at the popular theme parks get their start in late September and there are other annual festivals and events that you can look forward to in September. In 2020, many of these events may be canceled, postponed, or altered. Check the official organizer's website for the latest details.
- 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 the entire month of September and often on into November. You can 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. It is open on weekends starting in late September.
- Busch Gardens Tampa Bay's Bier Fest: On weekends from mid-September through mid-November, taste 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 from September into November, but the event is canceled in 2020.
- Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party: For families with younger children, 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. This event is canceled in 2020.
- Pensacola Seafood Festival: Every Labor Day Weekend, you can enjoy continuous live entertainment and bountiful amounts of seafood 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. In 2020, this was postponed until the first weekend in November.
- Miami Film Festivals: For those wanting to get away from the humidity and heat and relax in the A/C, the Brazilian Film Festival and the Miami Film Festival are held in September.
September Travel Tips
- September is an ideal time to visit theme parks such as Walt Disney World because the crowds have thinned and the weather is cooler at night than during the summer months.
- Look out for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, a popular attraction at the Walt Disney World Resort where you can experience the Star Wars story, fly in the Millennium Falcon, and explore a remote outpost in space.
- When you book your vacation, ask about a hurricane guarantee, which may offer some compensation or a refund if you are faced with severe weather during your stay in Florida. If there's no guarantee available, consider buying travel insurance.