An Inside Look at What to Do in Florida This Fall

VISIT FLORIDA’s Insiders, your guides to what to do and see in the Sunshine State, share what’s at the top of their fall to-do lists.

Get out there
For me, fall is all about getting back out on Florida's network of trails. During the summer, I stay pretty close to the water, but I can't wait to load up my backpack and do some hiking and camping on the Florida National Scenic Trail. A few long-distance bike rides are on the list, too – it's hard to beat an early morning ride on the Withlacoochee State Trail. – Kevin Mims, Outdoors & Nature Insider

HistoryMiami’s “American Sabor” Exhibit
The rhythm’s gonna get you. “American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music,” at HistoryMiami, 101 W. Flagler St., examines how Gloria Estefan, Daddy Yankee and other Latin recording artists influenced American pop culture. The traveling Smithsonian exhibit, in Miami through Oct. 26, features listening stations, a 15-foot dance floor, jukebox and exclusive artifacts from Cachao Lopez, the Celia Cruz estate and Willy Chirino. Let’s dance! – Jodi Mailander Farrell, Culture Insider

Magical Dining
Orlando's restaurant scene has really stepped up its game in recent years, and September is the perfect time I want to taste what all the fuss is about. Orlando Magical Dining Month serves up three-course meals from Central Florida's hottest chefs through September for just $33 -- that's up to 50 percent off. Need a post-meal nap? I’m looking at some hotel packages, too. -- Dalia Colón, Smart Travel Insider

Get Some Sand in Your Boots
There’s nothing quite like watching dolphins frolic -- from the back of a horse. I have choices for enjoying horseback riding on the beach in the Sunshine State: Kelly Seahorse Ranch on Amelia Island in the northeast, Beach Tours on Horseback in Fort Pierce on the central east coast, and Two-Bit Stables on Cape San Blas in the northwest.  Saddle up!  -- Lauren Tjaden, Beaches and Adventure Insider

EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival
Most fall food and wine festivals are held over a weekend, but this one is so big it goes on for 53 days.  With more than 25 global market places, I can can sip and taste my way around the world just by walking around EPCOT's World Showcase.  Take a look at my Visitor's Guide to The EPCOT Food & Wine Festival for some helpful planning tips and be sure to look for special events throughout the festival, including culinary demonstrations by celebrity chefs. -- Rachelle Lucas, Food & Dining Insider

Mad for Manatees
My kids love seeing manatees. I really want to take them back to Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park (4150 S Suncoast Blvd, Homosassa, Fla 34448). The waters are a constant 72 degrees and with the fall temperatures, it’s a perfect time to see these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat.  – Carrie McLaren, VISIT FLORIDA Family Insider

Paddle Upright
I’ve been reading so much lately about stand-up paddle boarding I think it’s time for me to experience it myself.  The folks at Kayak Amelia (13030 Heckscher Drive, Jacksonville, Fla 32226) have an introductory class that teaches the basics in a quiet lagoon. It sounds like the perfect way to spend an afternoon. – Carrie McLaren, VISIT FLORIDA Family Insider

A Real Blast
One of my fondest memories as a child growing up in Florida was watching a shuttle launch from the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex (SR 405, Kennedy Space Center, Fla 32899). I want my kids to experience that kind of excitement, too. There are quite a few launches scheduled for the fall – I can’t wait. – Carrie McLaren, VISIT FLORIDA Family Insider

Scott's Country Market & Corn Maze
The fall season brings with it a bounty of food harvests, making it the best time of year to visit local Florida farms.  One of my favorite things to do is to spend the afternoon at Long & Scott Farms in Mount Dora, getting lost in their corn maze and then stocking up on fresh fall vegetables and handmade jams and butters at their country food market. – Rachelle Lucas, Food & Dining Insider

Falling for South Florida
What marks the arrival of fall in South Florida for me (because there are no leaves to change colors or big drops in temperatures) is when the Lincoln Road Outdoor Antique and Collectable Market reopens in Miami Beach (800, 900 and 1,000 blocks of Lenox Avenue through Meridian Avenue on Lincoln Road). I can’t wait to stroll the outdoor mall for hours on end, taking in the booths of vintage jewelry and clothes, Art Deco furniture, American pottery, quirky art, retro cameras -- the finds are endless. Then, I like to grab a fresh-squeezed juice from the adjoining Farmer’s Market and stroll on until I locate that one-of-a-kind treasure I can’t live without. -- Ginger Harris, Shopping Insider

Brats and Beer
In downtown Jacksonville, they know how to throw a good party. This year's Jaxtoberfest is a fall celebration on the waterfront with activities like beer-barrel racing and a brat-eating competition. I’m getting ready to chow down on wiener schnitzel and drink steins of German beer at the shipyards on Oct. 10-11, 2014. – Kara Franker, Entertainment & Luxury Insider

The Keys to Fall Fun
If you need reasons to escape to The Florida Keys, October has plenty:  It’s jam-packed with entertainment, including these five fun fall events: Key Largo Song Fest (Oct. 11-12), Goombay Festival in Key West (Oct. 17-18), Stonecrab Eating Contest in Marathon (Oct. 18), Pirate Bash in Key Largo (Oct. 24) and of course, the much anticipated Fantasy Fest in Key West (Oct. 17-26). – Kara Franker, Entertainment & Luxury Insider

Mount Dora Craft Fair
When the summer weather fades away and autumn falls across Florida, a calendar of festivals shapes up throughout the state. One of the most popular is in the New England-style village of Mount Dora, about 30 minutes northwest of Orlando. The two-day Mount Dora Craft Fair showcases the talents of more than 400 crafters and – incredibly – attracts more than 250,000 visitors to this small town. This year's fair takes place October 25 and 26.  ­– Gary McKechnie, Off the Beaten Path Insider

Walk, Don’t Ride
Streamsong Resort, built on an old phosphate mine, has 36 miraculous holes with dramatic changes of elevation. The sites are so beautiful, Streamsong recommends each golfer walk instead of ride the course. I think this fall is the perfect time for an adventurous walk (and hopefully a few birdies!) at Streamsong Resort. – Carling Nolan, Golf Insider

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