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The 18 Most Florida Things You Can Do in the Sunshine State This Fall

Ah, fall in Florida: Time to transition from tank tops to…short sleeves. Just because the temperature hovers between 75 and 86 most days doesn’t mean you can’t have an autumnal experience. In fact, this season may be one of the best times to explore the Sunshine State, since places tend to be less crowded (snowbirds don’t arrive until December-ish and kids are back in school). Here are some of the top things to do in Florida this fall, from seasonal events to uniquely FL fun. So go ahead, order that PSL—just make it iced.

An underwater look at the Memorial Reef in Key Biscayne, FL
Chandan Khanna/Getty Images

1. Haunt an Underwater Cemetery

  • When: Ongoing
  • Where: Neptune Memorial Reef off Key Biscayne, FL

Spooky season is prime time to visit a graveyard, but this year, don’t explore any old cemetery—make the trip to Neptune Memorial Reef. The 16-acre underwater “lost city” is guarded by stone lions, featuring a mix of concrete, bronze and steel architecture designed to serve as an artificial reef. It’s also a final resting place for some, and while visitors are allowed, the memorial reef staff asks that you’re respectful of the ashes preserved there. You can visit by boat or plan a dive trip with one of the company’s partners.

The marine debris cleanup truck at the Tour de Trash event in South Florida
Loggerhead Marinelife Center

2. Take Part in the Tour de Trash

  • When: Kickoff party on Sept. 2 at 4 p.m., additional beach cleanups every Saturday from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.
  • Where: Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach, FL

One of the big draws of visiting Florida is taking in its beaches—so why not lend a hand with keeping it clean? And enjoy a mini party while you’re at it? On Sept. 2, visit the Juno Beach Pier for the Tour de Trash Kickoff Beach Cleanup and Blue Market, for a festival on the pier, featuring local vendors specializing in sustainable goods, as well as a beach cleanup. The first 50 or so guests will score a free t-shirt too. After the kickoff, there will be different beach cleanups along the east coast of the state. Contact conservation@marinelife.org for more information.

A beer stein held high during Wynwood Marketplace's Oktoberfest party
Swarm

3. Experience Oktoberfest, Miami-Style

Wynwood’s known for its street art (and art in general), but in early September, the area turns into a three-day party for Octoberfest. Held at Wynwood Marketplace, the event features seasonal beers, live music, games and all kinds of Bavarian food (giant pretzels included). It’s also dog-friendly, so bring your pup too.

An overhead shot of a Halloween-themed corn maze in Mt. Dora, FL
SOPA Images/Getty Images

4. Find Your Way through a Corn Maze

  • When: Dates vary throughout September/October
  • Where: Throughout FL (see our picks below)

What, you thought Florida was all orange groves and strip malls? There are plenty of farms throughout the Sunshine State offering pumpkin patches, hayrides and corn mazes to traipse through. If you’re in the northern part of the state, check out these top spots in and around Jacksonville. Central Floridians, check out Hunsader Farms’s Pumpkin Festival in Bradenton; and Southerners, plan a trip to The Berry Farm in Miami and revel in all of the sunflowers.

A man walking near Castillo de San Marcos in St Augustine at night
Fitopardo/Getty Images

5. Make Dearly Departed New Friends During a St. Augustine Ghost Tour

  • When: Ongoing
  • Where: St. Augustine, FL

If you’re going to go on a ghost tour, why not do it in the nation’s oldest city? St. Augustine has tons of options to choose from, whether you prefer a walking tour, a lighthouse visit, a pub crawl or a 1920s-inspired adventure in a retro buggy. You’ll get a dose of history—and maybe a glimpse or two of something otherworldly.

An orange and white shark float at Fantasy Fest in Key West, FL
Getty Images

6. Get Wild at Fantasy Fest in Key West

  • When: October 21 through 30
  • Where: Key West, FL

Drop the kids off at their grandparents, because this 10-day costume party is strictly for adults (and yes, body paint counts as a costume, as long as you wear pasties). There are parades, boozy pool parties, hero-and-supervillain-themed races, burlesque parody shows, even a musical about Bum Farto, the infamous drug-running Fire Chief who mysteriously disappeared in the 1970s.

A medium's office in Cassadaga, FL
Education Images/Getty Images

7. Meet with a Medium in Cassadaga

  • When: Ongoing
  • Where: Cassadaga, FL

Often referred to as the “psychic capital of the world,” Cassadaga is an unincorporated community in Volusia County. The town is home to several mediums, spiritual teachers and healers, including many who allow walk-in appointments. You can also visit the Southern Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp Meeting Association, though beforehand, you may want to scope out the events calendar to take part in other activities, like going on a historical tour of the area, joining a meditation circle or taking part in a séance.

The Belgium Booth at EPCOT Food & Wine Festival 2022
Harrison Cooney/Walt Disney World Resort

8. Hit Up the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival

  • When: Now through November 19
  • Where: EPCOT at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, FL

While the Food & Wine Festival started on July 14, let’s be real: You’re better off waiting until the summer travel crowds calm down and the weather turns a smidge more favorable. Now is your chance to eat around the world. We have it on good authority that the Schinkennudeln (a cheesy ham and noodle bake) from the Germany booth, teriyaki chicken bun in Japan and crispy paneer with mango-curry ketchup at the India booth are all must-tries.

Spooky trees and jack-o'-lanterns at Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando, FL
Universal Orlando Resort

9. Scream Your Face Off at Howl-O-Scream *and* Halloween Horror Nights

  • When: September through October
  • Where: Busch Gardens in Tampa, FL and Universal Studios in Orlando, FL

If you enjoy being pee-your-pants terrified, hit up Busch Gardens’s Howl-O-Scream and Universal Studios’s Halloween Horror Nights this year. Both feature over-the-top haunted houses, scare zones and creepy shows, though pop culture junkies may appreciate Universal Studios’s Michael Myers-themed house, as well as the chance to be stalked (and terrified) by The Weeknd in his “After Hours Nightmare” house.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party parade, featuring a Haunted Mansion float
Walt Disney World Resort

10. Or Take the Kids to a Not-So-Scary Party at Disney World

  • When: August 12 to October 31, from 7 p.m. to midnight
  • Where: Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, FL

There are trick-or-treat trails where kids can load up on sweets, Disney characters donning their own Halloween costumes, a Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular show, Halloween-y riffs on classic park rides and, naturally, an All Hallows Eve-inspired take on Disney’s famous parade and fireworks display. All of it, as the title suggests, not-so-scary, so even your littlest ones can take in the fun. (Psst: They can wear their costumes, too.) The only nightmare to be had is creeping down I-4 after the park closes.

A pride flag on Miami beach
Alexander Spatari/Getty Images

11. Celebrate Orgullo

  • When: October 1 through 8
  • Where: 7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33140

This eight-day festival celebrates Greater Miami’s Hispanic and indigenous LGBTQ+ communities, featuring everything from Caribbean dance workshops to art exhibits and a formal gala. As fun as the events are, they also reveal how Hispanic and indigenous art has evolved and shaped South Florida.

The sign outside of the Skunk Ape Headquarters in FL

12. Track the Elusive Skunk Ape

You’ve heard of Sasquatch, Bigfoot and Yetis—what about the Skunk Ape? The massive, hairy creature matches descriptions of Bigfoot, only it gets its name from the pungent odor some say accompanies sightings. While its existence has yet to be substantiated, it’s fun to visit the Skunk Ape Research Headquarters to search for the creature yourself (and take in the Everglades). You can also go camping at the Trail Lakes Campground, where the HQ is located, and visit the animal sanctuary.

A yellow Harley Davidson motorcycle in Daytona Beach, FL
SOPA IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES

13. Catch the Motorcycle Races During Biketoberfest

  • When: October 13 through 16
  • Where: Daytona Beach, FL

Jump on your Harley and head to Daytona Beach for three days of motorcycle shows, races, scenic rides and live music. This year marks Biketoberfest’s 30th anniversary, and bars and restaurants throughout the city are holding events to celebrate. Don’t forget your leather jacket.

Batty Manor, a Halloween-themed cottage for kids at The Gardens Mall in Florida
Courtesy of Batty Manor/The Gardens Mall

14. Get Crafty at Batty Manor

Looking for a festive-yet-not-frightening way to entertain the kids around Halloween? Head to The Gardens Mall to visit Batty Manor, a semi-spooky cottage featuring arts and crafts, restaurant pop-ups and photo ops. Pro tip: Visit on the weekend between 1 and 4 p.m. to catch the Halloween stilt walkers.

Spook Hill's sign and roadway in FL
Candace Davison

15. Watch Your Car Defy Gravity on Spook Hill

  • When: Ongoing
  • Where: 600 N Wales Dr., Lake Wales, FL 33853

If you’re visiting Central Florida—say, to take in the beauty of Bok Gardens or visit a certain mouse—it’s worth a detour to Spook Hill. Park your car on the white line at the base of the incline, put it in neutral and marvel at how your ride seems to creep uphill on its own. Spook Hill is one of the country’s oldest gravity hills (aka magnetic hills), where the landscape creates an optical illusion that a downhill slope is actually upward. Trippy. 

A look at the crowds and tents during the UF vs GA football game
Bill Frakes/Getty Images

16. Catch the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party

  • When: October 29
  • Where: TIAA Bank Field Stadium in Jacksonville, FL

Technically, this is a college football game, and technically, both schools would probably prefer you didn’t call it the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, but University of Florida and University of Georgia fans are clinging hard to that moniker. It’s fitting, too, considering an estimated 150,000 people flood TIAA Bank Field Stadium in Jacksonville—a halfway-ish point between the two schools—and many never make it into the stadium. They’re just there to tailgate, and tailgate they do. People hire DJs, bring their own private Port-a-Potties, don costumes and grill all kinds of food.

orange groves
Mojo Studio/Getty Images

17. Pick Your Own Citrus

While Florida does have its share of pumpkin patches, it’s far better known for its citrus. You’ll get the widest range of options in December, but late November is great for scoring red and yellow navel oranges, Early Pride tangerines, pomelos, lemons and both Persian and Key limes at U-Pick Citrus Farm and Park. It’s 25 minutes from Disney, and you can tack on a monster truck tour of the wildlife preserve there (where you can see zebra, water buffalo and alligators, among other animals) to really make a day of it.

The booths at the Miami Book Fair in Florida
Jeff Greenberg/Getty Images

18. Check Out the Miami Book Fair

  • When: November 13 through 20
  • Where: Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus in Miami, FL

More than 500 authors hit up Miami for lectures, readings and panels at Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus. There’s also a street fair, where you can pick up a few new reads—or that elusive first edition you’ve been searching for. (Or maybe just a snack, since there are plenty of food vendors there too.)