Flaunting idyllic stretches of beach lapped by cerulean waters, Bermuda is somewhere people come for sun, sea and serenity.
However, this tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean is more seasonal than many of its Caribbean counterparts. While the summer is warm and dry, hurricane season and cooler weather keep away many visitors in fall and winter. For budget visitors, however, this is when prices plunge.
Whether you come for the sun, the sport, local festivals or the culture, here’s a guide to the best times to visit Bermuda.
May to October is high season and the best time for a beach vacation
Bermuda’s spring months quickly heat up both the air and ocean temperatures, heralding the arrival of the warm summer. Highs hover around 76ºF in May before spiking to hit the high 80ºFs from June to October.
Though this may not seem outrageously high, don’t forget to check the UV index and humidity levels during your trip. The sun is intense during peak summer, and you will want sunscreen on whenever you go outside. High humidity – usually 80 to almost 100% from June to September – can make even a short walk along the beach into an effort.
This period of exceptionally warm and dry weather draws crowds of tourists, so expect high hotel prices and busy beaches. In peak summer, sea temperatures are akin to bath water – you won’t get a cool, refreshing dip in July and August, but more of a thermal spa-like experience.
There are fewer people in March and April
Though short and unpredictable, the shoulder season runs from March through April. There’s plenty on the cultural calendar but anything goes weatherwise. Average daytime highs hang in the low 70ºFs, which is ideal for a quiet beach day when the sun shines, but can be less delightful on an overcast day.
If you’ve previously traveled to Bermuda during high season, the end of March or the beginning of April is worth taking a gamble on for a quieter island experience. You’ll likely have the beaches to yourself and the opportunity to stay at Bermuda’s most popular resorts at a discounted rate. For a first-time trip, though, it’s better to stick to the high season for those perfect sunny days that Bermuda is famous for.
Low season rates are on offer in November to February
Bermuda has a low season! This often shocks people who’ve never visited before and base their image of the island on photos of rose-flecked beaches perfectly juxtaposed between pastel-colored homes and turquoise waters. These photos were likely snapped in the summer because, yes, Bermuda has a low season, marked by cool temperatures and regular windy and rainy days.
Visitors from northern climes may not consider the temperatures at this time of year to be anywhere near “cold” – on average, daytime highs are between 60ºF and 70ºF, occasionally dipping into the high 50ºFs – but locals bring out parkas and sweaters. You may even catch wafts of wood smoke from the chimneys of island homes at this time of year.
The sun is still strong, however, so if you catch a warm front, you can still enjoy rum swizzles (rum, juice, grenadine and bitters) on the waterfront, putter out on a boat or take a walk on the beach. The biggest perk of the low season is the prices. Hotel rates plunge from high-season levels, so you may be able to snag a deal.
Crowds thin out, but most businesses inland operate regular hours, including restaurants and bars. You may have difficulty finding something on the beach that’s open, but the weather isn’t ideal for beach time anyway. Stick to activities inland, explore downtown Hamilton (or “town” as the locals like to call it) and enjoy the offseason, local vibe.
Hurricane season is officially June through November
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. Though Bermuda is officially within the hurricane corridor, the island is usually only affected by late-season storms in September and October, if affected at all.
Thanks to Bermuda’s northerly location and small size, direct hits are rare, so if you happen to be on the island during a storm, you’ll usually only need to prepare for heavy rains and winds. Of course, this differs each hurricane season, so keep an eye on the national weather service for the latest updates.
If the thought of a hurricane makes you nervous, aim for a trip at the start of the high season instead. Storms are very unlikely in May, June and July.
January is for undisturbed beach strolls
January can be so quiet that sometimes even locals don’t know what to do. This is the month for wrapping up and walking on undisturbed beaches, cozying up in one of the island’s English-style pubs or touring some of the island’s historic fortresses and museums. Athletic types come for the Bermuda Triangle Challenge – a series of marathons that attract athletes from all over the world.
Key events: The Bermuda Triangle Challenge, Bermuda Festival of Performing Arts, Bermuda Restaurant Week begins.
February is for foodies
This is usually a rainy month, with weather patterns similar to January. Luckily, Bermuda Restaurant Week is in full swing, so you can pass time enjoying culinary delights at Bermuda’s most popular restaurants. Don’t miss fish chowder with an extra splash of rum and sherry pepper at Harry’s, a fish sandwich at Art Mel’s, or fish and chips at Astwood Arms.
Key event: Bermuda Restaurant Week.
March is for whale watching
The winter chill usually dissipates during the first two weeks in March, just in time for the start of the annual humpback whale migration. Take a boat trip offshore to witness these mammoth creatures breach so close that you might be sprayed by the splash. Alternatively, set up a picnic at the beach and scan the horizon – you can usually see whales breaching just offshore with the naked eye.
Key event: Bermuda International Film Festival.
April brings Easter festivities
Whenever Easter happens to fall, the island is abuzz with hot cross buns and pastel-colored piles of tissue paper lining storefronts. Follow the locals’ lead and make a colorful kite to fly on Good Friday. The festive atmosphere is usually amplified by the sunny, warm weather.
Key events: Easter, The Annual Peppercorn Ceremony.
May is the official start of summer
May 24 (Bermuda Day) is the official start of summer, and many locals won’t take a dip in the ocean before this date. For tourists, though, May 1 marks the start of the high season. Outdoor activities abound, and Hamilton’s Harbor Nights kick off and continue through to October, with stalls and live entertainment every Wednesday evening on Front St.
Key events: International Race Week, Bermuda Day, Harbor Nights in Hamilton begin.
June sees peak sunshine and prices
Expect warm, dry days from here on out, with the humidity slowly climbing to reach 80% or more for the remainder of summer. Hotel rates increase, beaches start to get crowded, and the docks empty at weekends as locals and tourists hit the water for boating activities, from tubing to diving and drinking on “raft-ups” (groups of boats tied together or anchored in a line at a sandbar). Sailors gather for the annual Newport Bermuda Race, while landlubbers hit the Bermuda Carnival.
Key events: Bermuda Heroes Weekend, Newport Bermuda Race, Bermuda Carnival.
July is all about the beaches and the fishing
Summer festivities continue with locals and visitors spending as much time outside as they can. The sun is warm during these months, but nothing a frosty rum swizzle can’t cool off. Sport fishers come for the three-leg Bermuda Triple Crown Billfish Championship, starting with the Bermuda Billfish Blast.
Key events: Cupmatch (if not in August), Bermuda Billfish Blast.
August is Bermuda’s Emancipation
Bermuda’s Emancipation is marked by a four-day holiday weekend that’s the peak of the summer celebrations. The annual Cup Match cricket match attracts spectators of all ages, while beach trips and boat parties such as the Non-Mariners Water Raft-Up in Mangrove Bay lure those who are more enthused by the time off work. If you’re visiting during the holiday, do your grocery shopping early, as most stores and businesses shutter up for the celebrations.
Key events: Bermuda Cup Match & Emancipation Day (can sometimes fall in late July), Non-Mariners Water Raft-Up.
September is the time to celebrate Gombey culture
While Labor Day marks the end of the summertime stateside, Bermuda still sizzles during September. This month is a good option for visitors seeking smaller crowds, as tourism tends to quiet down, though locals are still buzzing, enjoying every last bit of sunny weather. The island celebrates Gombey culture this month with dances, stilt walkers, festival food and music from Gombey bands.
Key events: Bermuda Gombey Festival, Sand Sculpture Competition.
October is great for quiet beaches
Beach lifeguards are still on duty through October, which means that beach days are still perfectly viable, though beachgoers start to thin out by the end of the month. While there’s a threat of storms, you’ll still find a few sunny days if you come on an off-season getaway.
Key events: City Food Festival, end of Harbour Nights.
November is a good month for cheap deals and golfers
You might hit a pleasantly sunny November, or you might have a wet, rainy vacation. The weather is always a gamble during November, but low flight and hotel prices make this a perfect month for a budget getaway. Keep an eye on the weather a week in advance, and if things look favorable, see if you can find a last-minute deal. For golfers, the Butterfield Championship rolls into town.
Key events: Butterfield Championship, World Rugby Classic.
December sees low temperatures and prices
If you’re visiting in December, be ready for cooler weather but a fun, festive atmosphere. Christmas lights adorn palm trees, and inflatable Santas decorate the bows of boats. The weather is typically sunny and pleasant, though sometimes with a chilly breeze in the evening.
Key events: National Trust Christmas Walkabout, Christmas Boat Parade, Goodwill Golf Tournament (sometimes held in November).