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Reasons to Visit Florida in Fall
Is fall a good time to visit? As summer and the school holidays wind down, the sightseeing crowds in Florida get a little smaller, so if you’re hoping for a quieter trip, visiting from September onwards is perfect. While the sunshine state doesn’t have four seasons in the traditional sense, the weather does vary slightly throughout the year. There’s the rainy season, and the heat and humidity levels are lower in fall, but the temperature stays balmy and comfortable, so you can expect cooler evenings and mornings. Despite the subtle change in season, Florida doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to celebrating fall – there are heaps of fun harvest festivals and Halloween events in the lead up to Thanksgiving. Whether you want to visit the state’s iconic theme parks or soak in the diverse natural scenery, there’s no shortage of autumnal attractions.
Fall at Orlando’s Parks
Orlando’s amusement parks really come alive this time of year; everything gets a full fall makeover, and in true American style they go all-out for Halloween.
- Walt Disney World puts on a brilliant show – if you visit in August, September or October you can take your little ones along to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, which includes a spectacular spooky parade and fireworks show.
- If you’re a horror film buff, Universal has hosted its famous Horror Nights for 30 Halloweens in a row! In October, you can enjoy haunted houses based on iconic series and movies like Stranger Things, Ghostbusters and Hocus Pocus.
- Meanwhile over in Harry Potter World, you can watch Hogwarts light up with a special projection show based on the Dark Arts. Diagon Alley stays open late at Halloween too, so you can pick up all your potion ingredients and get your dress robes in time for Christmas…
Where to See Fall Foliage
Although it’s likely that the greenery won’t noticeably change in warmer parts of the state, there are plenty of places to visit if you’re keen to see the leaves turning.
- Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail is a beautiful stretch of road which takes you right through central coastal Florida. In the course of 30 miles, you’ll drive through some of the oldest forests in the state, spot idyllic lagoons and still see the sparkling coastline, which is full of marine life at this time of year.
- Just an hour away from Tallahassee is Torreya State Park, a world heritage site home to its namesake, the rare Torreya tree. Here you can camp, hike, go birdwatching or fishing, and even try the equestrian trail! The scenery in this part of the state is fantastic in fall, so you’re sure to get your fix of crunchy fallen leaves.
- Driving from Tampa on the I-75 right through to Lake City in Columbia County, you’ll see a plenty of trees in rich shades of red, purple and gold, along with the evergreens so common in Florida. Why not spend some time exploring when you get there? Lake City has its own unique history and culture to offer.
Fun Fall Celebrations
While the northern part of the state might be best for spotting festive foliage, fall is celebrated enthusiastically all over Florida. There are corn mazes to get lost in, pumpkin patches to visit and seasonal dishes to eat – you won’t have to go far to find autumn activities! Here are a few suggestions…
- Nothing says fall like a harvest festival! Small towns host great events during this period, like the annual Clermont Harvest Festival. Clermont is around 20 miles from Orlando, so you can take a break from the parks for a wholesome day sampling artisan foods and browsing handmade crafts. Mulberry’s Harvest Festival is a little further out but well worth the drive, with hay rides, laser tag, fall food trucks and live music.
- Pumpkin picking is an old American tradition, and a must if you’re in Florida this time of year! Find your perfect pumpkin at Gallagher’s Pumpkin Patch in St. Petersburg, Southern Hills Farms in Clermont or The Pickin’ Patch in Dunnellon if you’re further north.
- One of the best things about the lead-up to Thanksgiving is all the seasonal food. P is for Pie in Orlando is the perfect cosy spot to enjoy a slice or a bowl of cobbler, but if you’re in Tampa on the day, head to Cassis for the ultimate Thanksgiving dinner buffet – just make sure you book ahead!
From beautiful drives through scenic forests to Halloween adventures at Orlando’s amusement parks, Florida is a fantastic place to spend a week or two in fall. Not sure where to start? Browse our highly-recommended holiday destinations here.
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