Last Updated April 26, 2022 4/26/2022

Top 9 Florida Vacations in the Fall

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Florida’s pleasant fall weather means it is still warm enough to go to the beach in many parts of the state, without having to put up with the summer’s extreme heat and humidity. The season brings comfortable days and cooler nights, making it a great time to enjoy outdoor activities without all the crowds. There are plenty of fun-filled seasonal festivals, while November also marks the beginning of manatee season. One of the best times to visit the Sunshine State, read on to discover some of the best fall getaways in Florida.

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Destin
Destin, Florida

Destin

Located on Florida’s Emerald Coast, Destin is a fantastic family-friendly destination that sees fewer crowds in the fall. Fishing is the most popular activity in the area, while water enthusiasts can also go boating along Destin’s turquoise waters. Take a stroll on the Destin Harbor Boardwalk during the annual Destin Seafood Festival, and you’ll find fresh seafood served by local restaurants, live music and fun activities for the entire family. You can also attend the 30A Craft Beer & Spirits Festival, or head to the Festival of the Arts to admire work of over 65 artists from across the nation.

Mount Dora
Credit: Mount Dora
Mount Dora

Mount Dora

A charming lakefront town in Central Florida, Mount Dora is one of Florida’s most beloved small-town treasures. Its historic downtown district makes for a lovely exploration of the area, where you’ll find antique stores, galleries and outdoor cafes. While shopping is plentiful in Mount Dora, fall means it is time for the annual Mount Dora Craft Fair that showcases the talents of more than 400 local vendors. For some fall-themed fun, take the kids to Scott’s Maze Adventures to enjoy a maze through the 7-acre corn field, hay rides and a 60-foot slide that ends in a massive pillow.

Orlando
Universal, Orlando

Orlando

The theme park capital of the world, Orlando still boasts beach-worthy weather in fall. Orlando’s best fall events include Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival, where you’ll find 30 unique global marketplaces that allow you to sip and nosh on cuisine from around the world, while Disney After Hours Boo Bash is perfect for the kids. If you’re looking for a thrill, Universal has you covered with their Halloween Horror Nights and an array of scary haunted houses, scare zones and live shows. For an afternoon in nature, take a day trip north to Orange City to Blue Springs State Park to capture a glimpse of Florida’s famous manatees.

Tampa
Tampa skyline

Tampa

With access to ZooTampa at Lowry Park, Adventure Island and Clearwater Beach, Tampa boasts a long list of family-friendly attractions that are great to visit in fall. It’s the best time of year to enjoy the outdoors, where a short drive will land you in the manatee-filled Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River and plentiful hiking opportunities in Little Manatee River State Park. Get rowdy at the Top of the Bay Oktoberfest with a pint of German beer, or take a drive out to Gulfport to attend the popular GeckoFest, a quirky event that showcases local art, music and street performers along Beach Boulevard.

Ocala
Juniper Springs in Ocala National Forest, Fl

Ocala

Often referred to as the “Horse Capital of the World”, Ocala boasts fewer tourist crowds and plenty of natural beauty in fall. The city’s crown jewel is the impressive 360,000-acre Ocala National Forest, considered one of the best hiking spots in Florida. There are over 100 miles of natural habitats, littered with pine forests, gum swamps and cypress. An ideal time to take advantage of the area’s outdoor recreation, you can also go on paddling adventures in Juniper Run and take a dip in Silver Glen Springs.

Fort Walton Beach
Fort Walton Beach

Fort Walton Beach

An underrated gem on Florida’s Emerald Coast, Fort Walton Beach boasts a tranquil shoreline that is easy to enjoy in the autumn months. A year-round fishing and beach resort community, this family-friendly area offers a fuss-free holiday with easy access to parks, museums and aquariums. The ideal weather will allow you to spend your days relaxing on the beach, dining on delicious Gulf-to-table seafood and enjoying a glass of wine sitting around a fire pit in the evening. November brings plenty of festive fall events and things to do.

Amelia Island
Amelia Island

Amelia Island

If you’re looking for a quiet place to relax in the fall, Amelia Island is the place to be. Just 30 miles north of Jacksonville, this charming barrier island has warm days, cool nights and a slower pace of life, and its natural beauty is highlighted by wide Atlantic beaches, serene marshes and moss-draped oak trees. Take a tour of the quirky historic downtown area, where you’ll find art galleries, locally owned boutiques and the oldest operating saloon in Florida. You can enjoy horseback riding on the beach, go paddleboarding or sit and watch the dolphins frolicking in the waters.

Siesta Key
Siesta Key Beach

Siesta Key

Fall is one of the nicest times to visit Siesta Key, one of Florida’s most beautiful beaches. With comfortable, mild temperatures and silky white sand made of quartz, you can spend your afternoon lounging on the beach and soaking up the cool Gulf breezes or engaging in exciting watersports activities. This stunning eight-mile barrier island offers easy access to Sarasota, where you’ll find unique attractions that are great to visit in the fall, including The Ringling, Myakka River State Park and Marie Selby Botanical Garden.

Sanibel Island
Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island

The offseason is a great time to explore Sanibel Island, where the kids will delight in the array of colorful shells that have been washed up on the beach. Its 15 miles of shoreline is often quieter in the fall months, which means you can stretch out on the sandy beach, book a private charter boat or sample the local seafood cuisine. The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge holds its weeklong “Ding” Darling Days in October, where the 5,200-acre refuge celebrates with a week of eco-activities that include bird watching, kayaking and paddleboard adventures.

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