What do gorgeous beaches, historic towns, and the best waterfront hotel in the country have in common? They’re all some of the best places to visit in Florida this fall. After all, autumn is the greatest time of year to explore the Sunshine State, thanks to the perfectly chilled weather that’s just cool enough to keep you comfortable all day long without forcing you to throw on a jacket. So, without further ado, here are the eight best places to visit in Florida in fall.
The 8 Best Fall Getaways in Florida (Because We Have Way More to See Than Just Beaches)
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- Why We Recommend It: great beaches, museums, family-friendly
- Where to Stay: Tampa Marriott Water Street, Bay Lake Cottage
Tampa has got all the fixings to make it one of the best places to visit in Florida in October and November. This bustling metropolis boasts stunning beaches, favorable temperatures, family-friendly attractions (like Busch Gardens), restaurants galore, and a buzzy nightlife and live music scene. Walk along the Tampa Riverwalk, spend the day museum hopping from the Tampa Museum of Art to the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts and enjoy all sorts of water activities, like jet skiing, kayaking or boat tours along the river.
- Why We Recommend It: relaxed retreat, not too crowded
- Where to Stay: Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa, Condo in Stuart
As snowbirds prepare to descend on South Florida for the fall and winter, Hutchinson Island somehow remains a quiet, hidden gem. It’s the perfect refuge for native Miamians to escape for a quick fall getaway. Comprising two, secluded barrier islands off the coast of Martin County, this picturesque beach town offers wide-open, white sand beaches, adorable seafood shacks and nature-driven activities like bird watching and trails through preserves. If you’re staying overnight, the Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa was ranked among the top 30 resorts in Florida by Condé Nast readers in 2021.
- Why We Recommend It: mix of arts and culture, stunning backdrops, great beaches
- Where to Stay: The Don CeSar, Condo in Madeira Beach
Looking for an overseas-inspired escape right in your backyard? Two words: St. Petersburg. About four hours north of Miami, this city is a magnet for cooler weather, delicious restaurants and top-notch art museums. You’ll want to stop at the Dalí Museum, which houses the largest collection of the Spanish surrealist’s work outside of Spain. Plus, make some time to explore the city’s seven unique arts districts, eat a Cuban sandwich at Bodega and visit Dunedin, Florida’s oldest microbrewery.
- Why We Recommend It: great for science buffs, family-friendly
- Where to Stay: Radisson Resort at the Port, Condo in Cape Canaveral
If you haven’t made the trek up to the Kennedy Space Center yet, fall is the best time of year to take the plunge. Spend the day at NASA, see the Rocket Garden and, if you’re lucky, catch a live rocket launch—there’s one scheduled for November already. (Check out the schedule.) Plus, Cape Canaveral has a handful of pretty cool things to do besides the Space Center. (Scenic state parks! Quiet beaches! Parasailing!) Check out Exploration Tower, a funky seven-story structure detailing the history of Port Canaveral. Then walk toward the water and nosh on some fresh seafood at one of the area’s local fish spots.
5. Key West
- Why We Recommend It: lively beach town, seafood eats
- Where to Stay: Southernmost Beach Resort,Condo in Key West
Peruse colorful pastel-painted beach houses, hang at Ernest Hemingway’s historic home and drink your way through the rowdy bars of Duval Street. Oh, and indulge in some freshly caught seafood and zesty key lime pie. You may even want to spend an afternoon out at sea and try out fishing. Though it may not be your first time in Key West, spending a weekend down here during the fall is arguably the best. The slightly cooler weather is ideal for boating and fishing, as well as sitting al fresco at your favorite haunt and watching the sunset without feeling hot and sweaty.
- Why We Recommend It: golf, close to St. Augustine
- Where to Stay: Omni Amelia Island Resort, Condo in Fernandina Beach
Any golfers around here? If you get a kick out of a day on the course, Amelia Island is your ideal fall getaway. With historic roots dating back to 1562, this timeless city is known for some of the state’s most beautiful golf courses. If you fancy a spooky ghost tour, the area’s historic district hosts a few every night. There’s also art museums and waterfront restaurants. Plus, you’re only an hour and 15 minutes from St. Augustine, which makes for a fun day trip.
7. Sunny Isles
- Why We Recommend It: close to Miami, home to the best waterfront hotel in the country
- Where to Stay: Acqualina Resort & Spa, Condo in Sunny Isles
Sunny Isles is quite literally in our backyard, making this a perfect getaway for those who would rather pass on a long drive. But hear us out: Home to the best waterfront hotel in the country for four years in a row (hi, Acqualina Resort & Spa), Sunny Isles one of our favorite local towns. Just under two miles long, this slice of paradise offers great places to dine, a healthy dose of adventure and plenty of things to do. The best part? One block north of Sunny Isles, escape towering skyscrapers for acres of open shoreline. Set up shop with a chair, a cooler and a stylish umbrella at Haulover Beach Park, which is one of the only areas in Miami-Dade County with a stretch of public sand and not a building in sight.
- Why We Recommend It: unique nature, wildlife, adventure
- Where to Stay: Condo in Miami, Apartment in Miami (We recommend staying in downtown Miami and driving to the Everglades, which is about one hour without traffic.)
If you’re in search of a fall day trip instead of a full-on getaway, may we suggest visiting the Everglades? We promise the experience will be magical. After all, it’s one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems hidden in plain sight. Scope out alligators, manatees and panthers on an hour-long airboat ride, which begins and ends at Everglades National Park. You’ll journey deep inside the area’s tree-canopied landscapes, stopping every few minutes to spot wildlife and get some history from your local tour guide. Fall and winter are the best times of year to visit (less mosquitos) but make sure to wear sleeved clothing, long pants and stock up on extra bug spray.