Fall in Florida: 18 Things to Do in the Sunshine State This Autumn

Seasonal activities perfect for sweater weather (or, you know, T-shirt weather)

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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). Whether you want something super kid-oriented (like Bedner’s Farm), something for the foodies (think EPCOT Food & Wine) or a romantic sunset sail (hey, Stiltsville), we've got you covered with the best fall things to do in Florida. So go ahead, order that PSL—just make it iced. 

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

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

1. Haunt an Underwater Cemetery

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.

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

2. Experience Oktoberfest, Miami-Style

Wynwood’s known for its street art (and art in general), but during the autumn months, 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

3. 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

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

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

5. Get Wild at Fantasy Fest in Key West

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

6. Meet with a Medium in Cassadaga

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

7. Hit Up the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival

While the Food & Wine Festival started on July 27, 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

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

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. As some of the best fall things to do in Florida, both feature over-the-top haunted houses, scare zones and creepy shows, though pop culture junkies may appreciate the Stranger Things-themed haunted house.

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

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

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

10. Celebrate Orgullo

This multi-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
Jeff Greenberg/Getty Images

11. 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

12. Catch the Motorcycle Races During Biketoberfest

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 31st anniversary, and bars and restaurants throughout the city are holding events to celebrate. Don’t forget your leather jacket.

Spook Hill's sign and roadway in FL
Candace Davison

13. Watch Your Car Defy Gravity on Spook Hill

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

14. Catch the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party

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. Yeah, this is definitely one of the best fall things to do in Florida.

orange groves
Mojo Studio/Getty Images

15. 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

16. Check Out the Miami Book Fair

It’s the 40th anniversary of the iconic Miami Book Fair—and this year, more than 500 authors will 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.)

things-to-do-for-fall-in-florida: a rocket shooting into the sky.
Getty Images

17. See a Rocket Launch in Cape Canaveral

Whether you’re a space buff or have little ones who are fascinated with rockets, one of the greatest fall things to do in Florida is trekking through Florida’s Space Coast to reach Cape Canaveral. Spend the day at NASA and stroll through the iconic Rocket Garden. Plus, check out the schedule and plan your visit around a rocket launch. (Psst: There’s an exciting launch happening this October!)

things to do for fall in florida stiltsville
THEPALMER/Getty Images

18. Take a Sunset Sail to Stiltsville

Perfect for both history-loving families or couples looking for a romantic date night, embark on a sunset sail to Stiltsville with a historian from HistoryMiami this autumn when the temperatures are just right. Located just one mile south of Cape Florida, this collection of charming, pastel-hued wooden houses traces its origins to the 1930s, during the era of Prohibition. Catch a glimpse of them during sunset, and you’ll immediately feel transported to another world. Afterward, make a reservation at Stiltsville Fish Bar in Sunset Harbour in Miami Beach for some of the best seafood you’ll ever taste.

candace davison bio

VP of editorial, recipe developer, kitsch-lover

Candace Davison oversees PureWow's food and home content, as well as its franchises, like the PureWow100 review series and the Happy Kid Awards. She’s covered all things lifestyle...

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...