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Florida in August: Everything You Need to Know

August in Florida is starting to wave goodbye to it’s big Summer tourist crowds and welcoming back its fulltime residents in time for the new school year. This will make the first half of the month fairly busy and the second half of the month significantly less busy from a traveling standpoint.

Despite the fluctuation in crowd levels, August is a great time to get that last bit of Summer excitement in with some moderate traveling rates. One thing to look out for when planning a trip this month will always be the potential hurricanes and tropical storms.

There’s plenty to do in an August vacation to Florida if you’re willing to embrace the heat and explore the attractions.

This article is part of Roundtript’s series of expert Florida travel guides for every month of the year.


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Florida Weather in August

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

August weather in Florida is very hot and muggy. While July often takes first place for hottest month of the year, August is always a close second. We’re well into hurricane season at this point, so tropical storms and hurricanes are always likely this month. Aside from the major storms, expect random showers and thunderstorms to occur daily.

Typically, rainfall in the Summer months in Florida will happen in the afternoons for about an hour or so and then taper off in the evening. But some days will have thunderstorms lasting all day through the night.

Speaking of rainfall and thunderstorms, Florida is often called the lightning capital of the world, so it’s important to protect yourself during a storm. While most visitors aren’t in danger, boaters especially need to pay attention to the weather when they’re on the water.

Even though the weather can be overcast and rainy, the sun still shines brightly and often in the month of August. It’s important to prepare yourself with plenty of protection and sunblock because sunburn and heat rashes can happen quickly with even a little sun exposure in Florida. It’s extremely important to stay hydrated, too.

Florida is the only place in the United States that maintains a subtropical to tropical climate all year round. Based on where you’ll be traveling, temperatures are likely to vary and the warmest temps will be farther South. Most of the state will average about 90°F (32.2°C) in the month of August. Humidity levels are always fairly high, with August reaching over 75% humidity.

Florida Affordability & Crowds in August

Mike Focus / Shutterstock

August crowds in Florida are fairly low. Many tourists like to travel to Florida at the beginning of the summer when the weather isn’t unbearable and the kids are out of school. Even though August is ghastly hot and rainy and most families are heading back to school, the theme parks can still have decent crowds this month.

There are plenty of beautiful white, sandy beaches around the state, so most visitors will spread out, with more favorable conditions in the Northern part of Florida up through the panhandle. The Southern beaches, especially those on the Atlantic side can be dangerously hot and more susceptible to bad storms.

Most travelers will experience moderate rates for Florida’s best hotels in August. Decent accommodations in Orlando will range from $200 – $400 per night, hotels in Tampa will range from $200 – $300 per night, and the more populous city of Miami will see rates from $200 – $400 per night.

Best Things to Do in Florida in August

Visit Gainesville

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, home University of Florida Gators football. Bryan Pollard / Shutterstock

Gainesville is home to University of Florida, the first university established in the state. It’s known as a college town, but has a great group of permanent residents that make the city thrive. The university campus is the center of Gainesville, which is set on swampland that spans over eight state parks in Alachua County.

There’s plenty to explore on a trip to Gainesville, whether you bike the trails of Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, educate yourself at the Florida Museum of Natural History, catch a show in the beautiful Hippodrome Theater or dive into a sea of butterflies at the Butterfly Rainforest. So many natural parts of Gainesville offer an unexpected glimpse into Florida’s historic scenery, landscapes and home life from centuries back.

Most people will be going to Gainesville at the end of the month to see the Gators play their first home football game. Whether you watch the game live in the Swamp or view it on the tv screens at the Social at Midtown, you’ll want to make a trip downtown when it’s over.

Downtown Gainesville is a charming area that comes alive on game nights with restaurants and shops in close walking distance once you find a parking spot. Win or lose, the crowds will be enjoying the rollicking nightlife all the same.

Explore Tallahassee

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

Tallahassee is the state capital of Florida and home of Florida State University. The blend of historic beauty and modern marvels make Tallahassee worth the visit, and it makes a great vacation for the whole family, especially if you have a college student in town. Since Tallahassee isn’t quite as big of a destination as the Florida cities of Orlando and Miami, it won’t be overly crowded this time of year, but football games and the start of the college semester will make things exciting.

If you plan on traveling with kids, there are plenty of activities to choose from that will be fun for the family. Tallahassee has loads of different bowling alleys with various themes, swimming facilities and outdoor recreation that will interest young and old. Check out the Tallahassee Museum or the Florida Historic Capitol Museum to gain some knowledge or stop by the North Florida Wildlife Center to see many species in a rehabilitative habitat.

One of the best ways to have fun while seeing the city and learning about it’s old Florida history is to take a tour. We love the many different experiences offered, from segway tours to helicopter rides. If you’re less adventurous but still want the fun, try the Brew Bus for a tour of the city’s best restaurants, bars and nightlife. You’ll finish the night out living it up in a great atmosphere with friendly people.

See Anna Maria Island

bonandbon / Shutterstock

Anna Maria Island is a charming beach town that Florida locals have called their summer home for decades. Summertime is one of the best times to be in Anna Maria since a lot of the winter visitors are gone, leaving the beaches and waters less crowded than they are at peak season.

Some of the best things to do in Anna Maria involve leisurely yet adventurous activities. For instance, there are plenty of rental locations on the island for recreational sports like jet skiing, paddleboarding and sailing for on-the-water fun, but there are also bike, golf cart, and beach buggy rentals for getting around on land.

For the most part, the island is filled with local restaurants and shops, favoring a hyper-local atmosphere for residents and tourists to enjoy. Our favorite eateries to frequent when visiting AMI include the Waterfront Restaurant, French Table, Poppo’s Taqueria, Duffy’s and our #1, Old Hamburg Schnitzelhaus. Their overall laidback approach to vacationing provides the ultimate relaxation experience for anyone looking for a casual beach trip.

Visit Panama City Beach

Christoph3rW / Shutterstock

Panama City Beach also experiences a small lull at this point in the Summer when the heat becomes unbearable for non-locals and more sensitive guests. This allows the beaches and waters to be a bit clearer for your vacation and for hotel and rental rates to come down a bit. With over 27 miles of coastline to enjoy, there’s no shortage of fun for tourists of all types.

In addition to the sandy beach activities and water recreation, Panama City Beach has several state parks that visitors can explore. Places like Camp Helen State Park and Conservation Park are great for hiking, while St. Andrew State Park is good for water sports like snorkeling, diving, kayaking and fishing. The city also has several attractions for both adults and children like the Shipwreck Island Waterpark and Coconut Creek Family Park.

Off the beach, check out the many different local shops, restaurants and bars that PCB has to offer. They proudly proclaim their title of “Seafood Capital of the South”, so it’s safe to say that the majority of the seafood restaurants are worth visiting. After dinner, the nightlife continues with hot spots like Club la Vela, which is the biggest nightclub in the U.S. Pier Park is also a great destination for restaurants and shopping while in town.

Best Beaches in Florida in August

Florida is surrounded by great beaches you can visit all year. Below we’ve listed the best beaches in each of Florida’s coasts and what the experience will be like in the month of August. August ocean temperatures are often compared to “bath water”, which is what feeds the impending hurricanes that rack the state from year to year.

Emerald Coast: Best All Around

An aerial shot of Destin. pisaphotography / Shutterstock

The Emerald Coast makes up Florida’s panhandle from Pensacola to Tallahassee and is a perfect combination of the American South and the Florida Coastline. This coast will maintain some of the more mild temperatures over the Summer, and August will have average water temperatures of 85.5°F (29.7°C).

Our top beach recommendations in this area are Pensacola, Destin and Panama City. The Emerald Coast is ideal for families, couples and friend groups, with lots to accommodate all types of vacationers. It’s also the closest beach area to Tallahassee. Tourists love the sugar-white sands and turquoise water of the Emerald Coast, as well as the homey beach town atmosphere. This area is farthest outside the hurricane zone, but no part of Florida is completely in the clear.

First Coast: Calm and Quiet

St. Augustine has an extremely vibrant city alongside its beaches. VIAVAL TOURS / Shutterstock

The First Coast is Florida’s oldest coast located on the Atlantic side. It features the historical cities and beaches of St. Augustine, Jacksonville and Amelia Island. The water temperatures in the month of August will be some of the coolest in the state at 84.2°F (29°C).

St. Augustine is a great spot to visit year round and it’s got lots of great historic tours and delicious restaurants to indulge in. Flagler Beach and Amelia Island will both offer a more secluded feeling with pristine, less crowded beaches and Jacksonville Beach is a nice getaway for the whole family. The First Coast is farthest North in the state, so it’s a little less likely to get hurricanes than the Southern areas.

Sun Coast: Hot but Cool

Pass-a-grille Beach in St. Petersburg. Kevin J King / Shutterstock

The Sun Coast is a popular place with tourists across the country, featuring Tampa Bay’s best beaches. It’s on the Gulf side of the state, with warm weather and water temps at 86.7°F (30.4°C) in August. Our best recommendations in this area include Clearwater Beach, St. Pete Beach and the islands off Dunedin. This area is best for those looking to vacation in Tampa or St. Pete with access to the beach.

Most guests will be heading to St. Pete Beach and Clearwater because of the heavy tourist marketing in those areas, but Caladesi Island State Park and Honeymoon Island State Park are better, more secluded islands that are highly recommended by residents. Tampa Bay is often one of the last areas for hurricanes to come through. When they do end up here, they are generally a lower category after coming across the state.

Cultural Coast

An aerial shot of Longboat Key. bonandbon / Shutterstock

The Cultural Coast is just South of the Sun Coast and is our personal favorite place to be in the Summer. In August, the water and weather will be warm and sunny with ocean temps at an average 86.7°F (30.4°C). The overall feeling in this area is a bit more beach town than big city, though you can get more of the city vibes in nearby Sarasota.

Our best suggestions for visiting the Cultural Coast are Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key, Sanibel Island, Captiva and Siesta Key. Anna Maria Island is a quaint beach town while Longboat Key has luxurious accommodations and wider beaches. The islands surrounding Sarasota have many different amenities and styles to suit different travelers. Same as the Sun Coast, it’s less likely for hurricanes to make it this far, but will typically have a lower impact when they do.

Paradise Coast

The Paradise Coast is on the Southwest side of Florida. It has a more relaxed and natural upscale vibe than the busy city feeling of Miami. The waters are warm and clear, averaging 87.3°F (30.7°C) and the top beaches on this coast are Marco Island, Naples, and Fort Myers.

Marco Island is great for families and active seniors, while Naples and Fort Myers are most appealing to retirees. Hurricanes can become an issue for this area, but it’s not quite as bad as neighboring Miami as far as likelihood from year to year.

Space Coast

The Space Coast is located slightly north of Orlando on the Atlantic side of the state. Aptly named the Space Coast for it’s landmark Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, this coast is also home to the famous Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach and the International Speedway in Daytona.

August will have water temperatures averaging 84.6°F (29.2°C) and the best beaches to visit are Daytona Beach, Melbourne and Cocoa Beach. If you’re looking for a nice beach vacation that’s less touristy, check out New Smyrna Beach or Merritt Island, which are better for a weeklong stay.

Since the Space Coast is on the Atlantic side of Florida toward the center of the state, it always has a chance of getting slammed with hurricanes, though the likelihood is a little lower than the Miami area.

Treasure Coast

The Treasure Coast is located just above the Miami and Fort Lauderdale beaches. While it’s not nearly as busy as South Beach, it’ll still share high chances of hurricanes with Miami. Despite this, it’s a beautiful place to vacation and August isn’t extremely busy with warmer waters at 85.6°F (29.8°C).

Our top beach recommendations in this area are West Palm, Delray, Pompano, Palm Beach, and Boca Raton. All feature slightly different styles, with West Palm and Palm Beach being the most popular. We suggest trying Pompano Beach, which has multiple diving sights to explore coral reefs and shipwrecks. Boca Raton is also great for recreational activities like golf and shopping and Delray has a booming arts district for culture seekers.

The Florida Keys

The Keys are an extremely popular destination all year round. August has fewer tourists, but it’s got a high chance of hurricanes. Luckily, August is the beginning of lobster season in the Keys, so residents and visitors will occupy their time snorkeling for the bugs when not dodging bad weather. The water averages 86.5°F (30.3°C) and our favorite spots include beaches on Key West, Key Largo and Marathon, as well as Bahia Honda State Park and the Dry Tortugas National Park.

The Keys have a lot of interesting scenery and things to do that you won’t find anywhere else in the U.S. There are many historical landmarks and island tours to take. Sportsman will love the fishing, diving and boating this time of year. Foodies will always find a great dive or popular restaurant to try.

Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is located in the southwest side of Florida, mainly encompassing the Miami and Fort Lauderdale area on the Atlantic side. Miami has the highest temperatures in Florida all year and the highest likelihood to get wrecked by hurricanes and tropical storms. The beaches are usually less busy in August with water temps at 84.9°F (29.4°C).

Our top recommendations for Gold Coast beaches in August include Miami Beach, South Beach and Fort Lauderdale. Expect the atmosphere to be energetic with decent lodging and a bustling downtown area with a culturally diverse crowd. While August is extremely hot and rainy in Miami, the city remains a popular destination all year, so crowds won’t differ too much from the cooler months.

Top Florida Attractions in August

Walt Disney World

A Mickey Mouse topiary at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival.

Walt Disney World is the vacation capital of the world, therefore it’s Florida’s biggest attraction and remains busy most of the year. Walt Disney World is comprised of four different theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom) and two water parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon). Disney is located outside of Orlando in Lake Buena Vista.

In the month of August, the weather will be hot and humid with a unpredictable rain showers that occur almost daily. The parks and resort crowds are starting to slow this month, but remain moderate. Resort rates will be fairly high, along with ticket pricing and even food pricing (which fluctuates with tourist volumes).

This month, Epcot will begin their popular Food & Wine Festival which lasts through November. The festival consists of countless stands dotting the World Showcase, featuring foods from many different countries around the world in small plate portions. Magic Kingdom will also start the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party this month.

Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando’s Volcano Bay waterpark. Mia2you / Shutterstock

Universal Orlando is Disney’s biggest rival, featuring two different theme parks (Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure) along with one water park (Volcano Bay). It’s located on the outskirts of Orlando and has it’s own resort accommodations for guests to enjoy. The parks are known for movie-themed roller coasters, rides and attractions for all ages.

August weather will be hot and wet with daily rain showers highly likely. This is a great month to hit up Volcano Bay, which will be just as crowded as the other parks in August, but will offer a nice reprieve from the hot Florida sun. Universal follows Disney’s lead and begins their Halloween Horror Nights this month, which is significantly scarier than Mickey’s party.

SeaWorld Orlando

A raft ride at SeaWorld Orlando. VIAVAL TOURS / Shutterstock

SeaWorld is most popular for it’s aquatic animals, shows and coasters. It’s very close to Universal Orlando and makes a great full day of entertainment. SeaWorld has recently added big roller coasters like Manta and Mako to up their thrill game for older audiences. There is plenty for people of all ages to enjoy inside this ocean-themed park.

In August, the weather is hot with a high chance of rain showers. The park will be fairly crowded and there will be no special events held this month, but the park hours should be longer giving vacationers even more time to play.

Busch Gardens

The Cheetah Hunt coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa. VIAVAL TOURS / Shutterstock

Busch Gardens is the biggest theme park in the Tampa Bay area, located in north Tampa. It’s a great option for a full day to add into your weeklong vacation in Tampa, St. Petersburg or Clearwater, about 15 miles from the Tampa International Airport.

Busch Gardens is known for it’s big coasters, like Cheetah Hunt and Kumba, along with it’s African themed animal habitats where guests can see wildlife in designated areas. August is a fairly busy month for the park, but will start to wane toward September.

Legoland

Legoland is one of Florida’s newest theme parks located in Winter Haven, right in the middle of Central Florida. As you can imagine, Legoland is entirely themed after these popular little toy blocks which have inspired movies, roller coasters and water rides. There’s even a Lego resort where you can stay on vacation.

August has hot weather with fun summer activities, and the park will have a decent crowd, especially on the weekends. August is also a great time to splash in the water area and little kids will love the toy-themed attractions all over the park.

Aquatica & Discovery Cove

August is a perfect month to visit the water parks. It will typically have busy crowds and warmer water temperatures, but this makes it more exciting than the cold Winter months.

Aquatica is an Orlando-based water park that’s great for kids and families. There are many different water features, slides and pools for all ages to enjoy, along with more relaxing areas with cabanas and umbrellas for those not seeking to get wet. They’ve even got manmade beaches and a wave pool. The most popular attraction is the Dolphin Plunge: a fast water slide with a clear tube that sends you through the dolphin exhibit.

Discovery Cove is near Aquatica and is best known for it’s dolphin encounter. The entire resort has a more relaxing atmosphere with a focus on getting you up close and personal with Florida’s native sea creatures. Discovery Cove offers multiple diving, snorkeling and swimming tours for each comfort level. It’s even got a Certified Autism Center and beaches for little ones to play.

August Events in Florida

Miami Spice

Miami Spice is a two month-long program dedicated to giving residents and tourists the best restaurant experiences that the city has to offer. It’s designed with the unique culture and cuisines of Miami in mind, giving guests special rates on multi-course meals at some of the best restaurants, cafes and bars.

Key West Lobsterfest

August is the beginning of lobster season in the Keys, so they celebrate with the Key West Lobsterfest. The event features fresh caught lobster cooked in various ways by Keys locals and renowned chefs, cold drinks and free entertainment. Each of the events in this four-day festival is separately ticketed.

Conclusion

The impending hurricanes and high heat and humidity will often drive families away in August, but younger couples and friend groups will enjoy the dropping travel rates and lodging prices this time of year.

August in Florida will be most ideal for those who can change plans easily if a hurricane makes it’s way through the state during their vacation, or for those who don’t mind bearing the heat to have some fun in the sun.

Let us know if you plan a trip to Florida in August and tell us how your experience was in the comments!

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