The 9 Best Fall Getaways in Florida (Because We Have Way More to See Than Just Beaches)

Our pick of autumnal destinations features rocket launches, ghost tours, panthers and more

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Best beach towns in florida Hutchinson Island
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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 nine best places to visit in Florida in fall.

The 24 Absolute Best Beaches in Florida

Fall Getaways in Florida - A photograph of the Tampa skyline in the evening. It is brightly lit with pink and orange lights. You can see the reflection of the buildings in the water at the front of the frame.
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1. Tampa

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 Henry B. Plant Museum and enjoy all sorts of water activities, like jet skiing, kayaking or boat tours along the river.

Best beach towns in florida Hutchinson Island
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2. Hutchinson Island

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.

Fall Getaways in Florida - An aerial shot of the shoreline in St. Petersburg, Florida.
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3. St. Petersburg

  • Why We Recommend It: mix of arts and culture, stunning backdrops, great beaches
  • Where to Stay: The Don Cesar (from $451/night), Condo in Madeira Beach (from $258/night, sleeps 6)

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.

Fall Getaways in Florida - A photo of a large rocket ship taking off at the Kennedy Space Center. There are tons of big gray clouds billowing up from underneath the rocket ship.
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4. 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. (Check out the schedule—there’s an exciting launch happening in October!) 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.

Fall Getaways in Florida - A sunny moment on the main street in downtown Key West. It's a tree lined street with lots of shops.
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5. 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, we love spending a weekend down here in October or November. 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.

Fall Getaways in Florida - A photo of the shoreline of a rocky beach in Amelia Island at sunset.

6. Amelia Island

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. But even if golf isn’t your thing, there’s plenty to do on beautiful Amelia Island. 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.

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7. Sunny Isles

Sunny Isles is quite literally in Miami’s 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.

Fall Getaways in Florida - An aerial shot of a person driving a boat through the Everglades in Florida. It's a body of water with lots of green marshes and land masses.
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8. Everglades

  • Why We Recommend It: unique landscape, interesting wildlife, adventure activities
  • Where to Stay: Condo in Miami (from $125/night, sleeps 4), Apartment in Miami (from $63/night, sleeps 3)

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. When it comes to accommodations, we recommend staying in downtown Miami and driving to the Everglades, which is about one hour without traffic.

best-fall-getaways-in-florida: a shot of lake eola in orlando.
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9. Orlando

As the scorching Florida heat starts to break in the fall, consider it the perfect time to explore tourist hotspot Orlando. Of course, you’ll want to hop into some of the theme parks, from Legoland to Disney. But beyond the rollercoasters, don’t miss out on wandering through Lake Eola Park and exploring neighborhoods like Thornton Park and Winter Park. (Psst:These areas are known for their chef-driven restaurants like Michelin-starred Soseiki). Plus, thanks to the cooling temperatures, you can also enjoy outdoor activities like kayaking in Wekiwa Springs State Park or roaming the scenic landscapes of Harry P. Leu Gardens. Whether you're an amusement park enthusiast, a nature lover, or a die-hard foodie, fall is the prime season to revel in all that Orlando has to offer.   

clarissa buch

Miami Editor

Clarissa Buch Zilberman is a writer and editor based in Miami. Focused on food, lifestyle, and travel, her work has appeared in Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, Bon Appétit, and...