10 Small Florida Towns With Great Festivals

These festivities draw thousands to quiet communities

Daytona beach with road and trees
••• Jason Ganser / Getty Images

While the Florida towns in "Small Towns, Big Surprises" host some impressive festivals, they also have other intrigues that make them appealing getaway destinations any time of the year.

Then there are these small towns, which open their quiet communities at least once a year for some pretty amazing (and unusual) festivals, but you won't find much for visitors any other time.

Apalachicola
Florida Seafood Festival, November

Florida's oldest maritime exhibit, The Florida Seafood Festival, draws thousands to this small river port city at the mouth of the Apalachicola River.

Delicious seafood and seafood-related events and displays are offered in Battery Park in downtown Apalachicola. This is a family affair, with events for just about everyone: the 5,000-meter Red Fish Run, oyster eating and shucking contests, a parade, the King Retsyo Ball. Plus, there's plenty of delicious seafood to sample, numerous arts and crafts to complete your holiday shopping and musical entertainment to enjoy.

Brooksville
Florida Blueberry Festival, April

Held in charming and historic Downtown Brooksville the annual Florida Blueberry Festival draws thousands of festival-goers who enjoy live entertainment (from jugglers to stilt-walkers), crafters and plenty of blueberries. Admission is inexpensive; save your money for the vendor booths. Adults can enjoy blueberry wine or beer and kiddos can enjoy the free ice-skating rink. Yes, in April. In Florida. 

Fellsmere
Frog Leg Festival, January

Fellsmere isn't the busiest tourist town.

It is located about 25 miles south of Melbourne, off of I-95. In 1990, members of the community of Fellsmere were looking for funding for children's recreational programs. They came up with the idea of selling frog leg dinners.

Since then, the free, annual Frog Leg Festival has turned into a major event, attended by thousands and featuring a midway, crafters, and live entertainment.

The Guinness Book named this the world's largest frog leg festival (not that there is a ton of competition). If frog legs don't exactly make your stomach hop with anticipation, then try the gator tails or some of the other more traditional culinary treats.

McIntosh
McIntosh 1890s Festival, October

Visitors to the McIntosh 1890s Festival is set among Victorian and Florida cracker homes and century-old live oak trees. Residents of the small town, located between Gainesville and Ocala, welcome visitors to the popular arts and crafts festival dressed in 1890s clothing. Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch to enjoy the entertainment while the children romp in the park, or sample the delicacies of the many concession stands while you stroll the booths shopping for those on your holiday list.

Moore Haven
Big "O" Birding Festival, January

Situated on the western side of Lake Okeechobee in the middle of the state, Moore Haven is in the perfect location to watch a variety of Florida's native birds. It isn't a surprise then that it would host the Big "O" Birding Festival. The festival features lectures, eco-tours and arts, and crafts.

Ruskin
Ruskin Seafood Festival, November

Rural Ruskin rests on the Little Manatee River and is the southernmost community of Southshore that stretches along Highway 41 and the shores of southeastern Tampa Bay.

While residents enjoy fishing and boating throughout the year, every November they open their quiet town to one of Hillsborough County's largest community events, the Ruskin Seafood Festival.

The seafood festival draws more than 25,000 people to eat seafood, listen to live music and hang out by the water. There are exhibits, kids games, arts and crafts and more.

San Antonio
Rattlesnake Festival, October

Floridians in this small town, located just a few miles northeast of Tampa, have celebrated the rattlesnake for 40 years. The Rattlesnake Festival and Run features the obvious snake shows along with gopher races, entertainment, food and arts and crafts. Free parking, free admission, and free entertainment make this a fun find for the family on a budget. (Expect a small admission charge to the "Snakes Alive" snake show.)

Umatilla
Florida Black Bear Festival, October

Black bears in Florida? You bet. Every year Umatilla hosts an annual festival to educate people about these furry mammals that roam Florida's forests. The family-friendly Florida Black Bear Festival includes plenty of fun activities, hands-on activities, a book corner, presentations by environmentalists and field trips.

Williston
Central Florida Peanut Festival, October

Williston, a tiny farm community just outside Ocala, invites families to enjoy a day of peanut fun at the Central Florida Peanut Festival. It's a day of fun, food, games, and entertainment featuring horse-drawn trolley rides, crafts and of course a large assortment of peanuts and peanut products.

Yulee
Yulee Railroad Days, June

Much of Florida was built on the back of the early railroads with some towns owing their very existence to them. Yulee was just one small stop on the route of the historic cross-state Florida Railroad and today is just one small town of several to celebrate Yulee Railroad Days that honors the great David Levy Yulee, Florida's first U.S. Senator. The festival features many events over a week of festivities stretching from Fernandina Beach on Florida's east coast to Cedar Key on Florida's west coast.