The 6 Best Fall Getaways in Florida (Because We Have Way More to See Than Just Beaches)
On the hunt for a fall getaway full of international sights without those pesky international flights? Good thing the Sunshine State has a little something for everyone. Even better, this season is the greatest time of year to explore Florida, 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. Behold, our six favorite fall getaways in Florida.
1. St. Petersburg
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.
2. 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 are two scheduled for October 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.
3. 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.
4. 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. 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. Ugh, could you ask for more?
5. 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 three 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.
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.
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