Clearwater Beach enjoys a humid subtropical climate, which means that our summers are sultry hot and our winters dry and sunny. And we are blessed with 361 days of sunshine per year, due to our idyllic location hugging Florida’s West Coast on the Gulf of Mexico. (We are not called the Sunshine State for nothing.)
While our small slice of paradise is sure to delight you anytime of the year, there are certain periods you are better off avoiding. As we like to keep things real, we’ve compiled this ultimate breakdown of what you can expect from the weather gods. Find out what the weather will be like, so you can shape your Clearwater Beach stay around it.
When is the best time to visit Clearwater Beach?
That, dear traveler, depends on what your priorities are for your vacation, (and whom you ask).
Weather by season
- Generally, the best time overall to visit Clearwater Beach is between October and December. “Why?,” we hear you asking. Because it is less humid with fewer crowds, not to mention a string of holiday events to experience. And as an added bonus, the fall months October and November are in shoulder season, and you can find great rates in this period.
- Winter transitioning into spring is our peak season and the most popular time to visit. The busiest month is March, when you can expect to pay top dollar. Whilst weather is mild during the first months of the year, come spring and the heat is on. May, in comparison, offers a slower pace as the crowds have thinned out, with better rates, and is a great month to visit.
- Summer is our off-season and fairly slow for tourism due to the sweltering weather and high humidity. If you have nothing against hot, sticky temperatures and afternoon showers, then you can secure a bargain during these months.
- August and September are in the peak hurricane season and the wettest months in Clearwater Beach. Again, temps are high, and the prices are low during these months with little tourism.
Sidenote: The Atlantic hurricane season technically runs June – November. But we are in the least hurricane-prone area in the whole Sunshine State (being on the Gulf Coast and all), and are not directly affected.
Water temperatures in Clearwater Beach remain pleasant throughout most of the year and rarely dip under 70, save for January to March. By comparison, the January water temperatures in Clearwater Beach are equivalent to Malibu’s water temperatures in August. Pretty groovy.
“… January water temperatures in Clearwater Beach are equivalent to Malibu’s water temperatures in August.”
Monthly weather breakdown
From a local’s perspective, January is pretty terrible, with average highs of 71°F (21°C), and lows of 52°F (11°C). (We generally consider anything below 55 degrees freezing cold and cover up in jackets and furry hats in these temps.)
But, to visitors traveling in from colder places – like Ontario, or most of Europe – these are still considered mild-borderline-warm and generally pleasant temperatures. Most oversea travelers don’t mind gallivanting around the sights and beach during this time because it beats the monthly averages in any other corner of Europe.
It’s a bit of a paradox. While we are bundled up in our Eskimo suits, some of you are swimming in the Gulf. The bonus for visiting during this time of year is that the beach is really slow, and that pools are heated this time of year. WIN.
February starts off a little cold but gets beautiful pretty quick, and mid-February is a great time to visit Clearwater Beach. The beach is still quiet from our Floridian winter, and you can expect sunny weather with average high-temperatures of 71°F (21°C). Lows drop to around 53°F (11.5°C), which is just up a few notches from January, but makes a big difference.
If you like California weather, this is more or less what you can expect from Clearwater Beach this time of year. Although rates get dearer this month, we rate this as one of the best times to visit, right before Spring Break, as you can have the beach almost all to yourself. (The crowds start returning toward mid-February.) Winter is also a great time for outdoor pastimes like hiking and biking.
March to April
March and April enjoy the most beautiful weather with tons to do, like the Sugarsand Festival. High temps sit in the mid-70s°F and 80s°F (24°C to 38°C) with rates through the roof, and the place is buzzing with spring breakers, snowbirds and just about anyone trying to get some quality beach time in. If you haven’t been yet, you have missed out on some top-notch people watching. It’s also a good time to observe seas turtle nests on the beach.
May to June
May is definitely up there on the must-visit list, as it’s after Spring Break but before summer vacation, when you can enjoy tropical weather and inexpensive rates. If you can, book your Clearwater Beach visit during this month.
June is the last month when the weather is tolerable, with temps skimming 90°F during the day (32°C).
July is fun and 4th of July is awesome. (We are arguably one of the most patriotic states in the country.) It is hot and humidity is high, and you will be wearing your bathing suit everywhere – also to the grocery shop. High temps reach 91°F and low temps 76°F (33°C and 24°C), but sometimes feel hotter.
August to September
Without beating around the bush: August and September are peak hurricane months, and it rains. A lot. Temperatures are hot, ranging between 90°F (32°C) and 74°F (23°C), and the Gulf of Mexico is warm and smooth as glass with barely a breeze. You can expect thunderstorms with short-lived downpours in the afternoons, that usually result in some spectacular sunsets.
If you are thinking to visit to Clearwater Beach for the first time, we will break it to you now: do not fly across the country or the world to visit during this time. Unless you are a storm chaser, that is.
Or, if you don’t mind sweltering heat during the first half of the day, followed by taking cover during the second half of the day. (For example, getting respite from the heat with a nap and a sundowner on the balcony.)
Mid-October to end of November
October is another warm fall month, and as it trailing off into November, it is a beautiful period to visit. Especially round Thanksgiving. As it’s shoulder season, you can count on great rates and fewer crowds on the beach. And the weather is ideal, with high temps fluctuating between 83°F and 76°F (28°C and 24°C), and low-temps coming in between 66°F and 58°F (19°C and 14°C).
The only thing you need to pack is your beach gear and maybe a light jacket for the evenings – unless you are from Ontario, that is. (If you happen to be from Ontario, chances are you’ll be just be wearing your bathing suit all day long.) And don’t forget sunblock. Anyone not used to the sun should apply sunblock regularly, lest you want to get burned to a crisp.
December has a few cold spells but is genuinely a pleasant time to visit, with nice weather especially leading up to Christmas. High temps usually come in at around 72°F (22°C) and low temps at around 53°F (12°C). (Although, there was that record-breaking Christmas back in 2015, when temps flirted with an un-Christmassy 84°F (29°C).)
Christmas on the beach is truly something magical. What better way to celebrate Old St. Nick than to raise a glass of your favorite beverage with your feet buried in the milky-white sand? Just know that Christmas week can be very busy, so plan your travel accordingly.
We hope that this breakdown will help you plan your Clearwater Beach stay to get the most out of your visit!