With summer humidity breaking and the Atlantic hurricane season starting to wind down, October is one of the best times of year to visit Florida for the weather alone. However, there are also plenty of things to do in Florida during the month, including a variety of festive fall events and Halloween celebrations across the state. Whether you're looking to spend a pleasant day at one of the state's many beaches or wandering through a unique cultural celebration, you'll have plenty of opportunities to discover Florida in October.
Atlantic Hurricane Season
Each year, the Atlantic hurricane season brings a series of tropical storms and hurricanes to the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States, including Florida. The hurricane season typically lasts from June 1 to November 30 each year, although mid-August to mid-October is considered the peak of the season. As a result, you should be prepared for severe storms during your trip if you travel to Florida during this period—even if the chances of a hurricane making landfall in Florida are slim.
Florida Weather in October
October brings relief to Floridians every year because the summer humidity and rain finally start to slow down. You can expect temperatures near 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius) throughout the state, though the northern parts of Florida may experience chillier evening temperatures, especially toward the end of the month.
|Average High Temp.||Average Low Temp.|
|Miami||85 F (30 C)||75 F (24 C)|
|Orlando||83 F (28 C)||68 F (20 C)|
|Tampa||84 F (29 C)||68 F (20 C)|
|Key West||84 F (29 C)||77 F (25 C)|
|Naples||85 F (30 C)||70 F (21 C)|
|Tallahassee||80 F (27 C)||59 F (15 C)|
Another great part of visiting Florida in the fall is that the water temperatures are still pretty warm, with ocean and gulf temperatures hovering in the low 80s all month long. There is always a possibility of rain, but much less than the rainy summer months and it shouldn’t ruin your plans. If rain does happen, it usually occurs in a short burst instead of a long and protracted storm. Overall, October's climate and weather in the Sunshine State make it a pleasant month to visit.
What to Pack
While October offers a welcome relief from the hot temperatures and high humidity of summer, you'll still experience hot, sunny days this month. Be sure to bring sunscreen and light clothing—as well as your swimsuit if you plan to hit the beach. You'll be comfortable in shorts during the day, but it may be necessary to add a sweater in the evening. This is particularly the case if you'll be near the water, such as taking a moonlit cruise. Bug spray is always useful in Florida as well to repel pesky mosquitos.
October Events in Florida
October is all about celebrating fall in Florida. From Halloween "spook-taculars" to autumnal festivals, there are lots of fun activities happening across the state. However, fall and Halloween events aren't the only things happening in Florida this month; you'll also find plenty of cultural celebrations and events dedicated to food, motorcycles, and even reptiles.
Many events in 2020 are scaled back or canceled, so be sure to confirm details on the individual organizer's webpage.
- Biketoberfest: Daytona Beach's must-attend fall tradition for bikers draws in over 100,000 visitors each year for food, live music, and lots of speed-worthy events over four days in mid-October. While most of the large scale events are canceled in 2020, several of the local businesses that make up the event are open.
- Busch Gardens' Howl-O-Scream: One of Florida's most popular Halloween celebrations, this annual spooky event at Busch Gardens in Tampa transforms the entire park with haunted houses, scare-worthy actors, and festive decorations for the entire holiday season. Howl-O-Scream is open on weekends from September 25 until November 1, 2020, but advance tickets are required to enter and the maximum capacity is limited.
- Epcot International Food & Wine Festival: Enjoy a celebration of the world's greatest foods and cuisines combined with continuous entertainment, live music, and celebrity chef appearances. The 2020 festival is a modified version without much of the hoopla that generally accompanies the festival, but guests can still enjoy delicious plates that are served in areas throughout the park. In addition, the 2020 version is extended until at least winter, so visitors have more time to have a taste of one of Disney's most popular events.
- Fantasy Fest: Experience Key West's wacky, adult-only Halloween celebration full of off-the-wall events, parades, nudity, and lots of drinking. Considered the Mardi Gras of the Keys, the 10-day celebration includes costume contests, body artists, and all-day drinking events throughout late October. Fantasy Fest 2020 is canceled but returns October 22–31, 2021.
- Halloween Horror Nights: Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights is one of the country's largest and most elaborate Halloween events wherein the entire park is turned into a frightening scare zone filled with haunted houses, ghoulish characters, and lots of screams. While Universal Orlando is open in 2020, Halloween Horror Nights is canceled until 2021.
- Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party: This special ticketed event on select nights at Disney World's Magic Kingdom features "Mickey's Boo-to-You Halloween Parade," Mickey's Mouse-Ka-Rade costume parties, Halloween storytelling, live shows, and a special Halloween-themed firework display above Cinderella Castle. During the event, families also enjoy a complimentary photo, unlimited use of the attractions, and opportunities to trick-or-treat throughout the theme park. Disney World is open in 2020, but Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is canceled until 2021.
- SeaWorld's Halloween Spooktacular: Halloween meets the sea during SeaWorld Orlando's underwater "fantasea," where youngsters trick-or-treat among friendly sea witches, octopuses, mermaids, and pumpkin fish. Kids can enjoy the event on weekends from September 19 until November 1, 2020. The event is included with park admission, but in 2020, advance reservations are necessary due to the limited capacity.
- Rattlesnake Festival: This annual festival in San Antonio, Florida—just outside of Tampa—celebrates local wildlife alongside a massive arts and crafts fair. Serpents are the main draw of the festival, and curious attendees can hold, touch, and learn about local rattlesnakes. Visit this unique Florida event at the Pasco County Fairground from October 17–18, 2020.
- With kids back in school, Florida theme parks are not too crowded during October. Each has its own Halloween festivities and celebrations—some requiring special after-hours admission. Order tickets to theme park Halloween events ahead of time for discounts and to avoid waiting in line.
- Expect bigger crowds at major attractions like Disney World on Columbus Day and Halloween weekends.
- While the summer humidity may have come to an end, mosquitos are still out in full force this time of year. Be sure to bring or buy bug repellant if you plan to spend a considerable amount of time outdoors during your trip.
- Due to the chance of hurricanes being higher in October—especially earlier in the month—prices at resorts, hotels, and even airlines will be cheaper this time of year.