The cooler weather that fall brings is a welcome relief from Florida's hot summers. Temperatures are pleasant both day and night so Floridians and visitors alike take to the streets in November for a variety of fall events and festivals. The state's theme parks don't usually get too crowded until Thanksgiving and offer many opportunities to kick off the Christmas holidays. Remember to bring jackets, comfortable walking shoes, and sunscreen, which is a year-round necessity in Florida—the sun can be intense enough to burn even in November.
Live musical performances, visiting chefs, and food and beverage seminars combine to make this festival a perfect event for foodies. It usually runs the entire month of October into the middle of November. You'll find international cuisines from African to Sushi at 35 kiosks at the Global Marketplace. Attend seven diverse cheese seminars to learn about European and domestic cheeses, plus wine and ale pairings, and meet celebrity chefs from around the world.
On select nights in November and December, the Magic Kingdom re-opens after regular park hours from 7:00 until midnight for the special holiday event, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. The theme park celebrates with fireworks, parades, sweet holiday treats, special stage shows, and plenty of Disney fun for the whole family. Special tickets are required.
This two-day event is usually held on the first weekend in November in the historic town of Apalachicola. The festival features delicious local seafood, arts and crafts, and seafood-related events, including oyster-eating and oyster-shucking contests, blue crab races, and a 5k redfish run. This popular event has been held for more than 50 years and attracts tens of thousands of visitors to Battery Park at the mouth of the Apalachicola River.
Polar Express Train Ride
Board the Polar Express ride at Tavares, near Orlando, for a journey to the North Pole. The hour-long train ride recreates "The Polar Express" movie with dancing chefs that serve cocoa and treats, characters from the film, and a meet-and-greet with Santa when you arrive at the North Pole. Santa and his elves come on board to greet the families, and each child receives a silver bell from Santa's sleigh.
Gaylord Palms at Marriott in Kissimmee presents ICE!, a Christmas event that features more than two million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures and tall ice slides—yes, ice in Florida. There's even a Nativity scene carved from ice. The show starts before Thanksgiving and lasts through the first week of January. Enjoy scenes of holiday celebrations from around the world and visit the Frostbite Factory to watch the artists make ice carvings live.
Nights of Lights in St. Augustine
From mid-November through the end of January, from dusk until dawn, the Nights of Lights festival turns the town of St. Augustine into a dazzling holiday display. Millions of tiny white lights twinkle everywhere in the downtown historic district. Businesses and restaurants stay open late, and trains and trolleys offer tours. The festival traces its origins to the Spanish tradition of displaying white candles in windows during the winter holidays.
Every year in mid-November, the Orlando Museum of Art is transformed into a winter wonderland filled with sparkling trees and lavish holiday decor. The Festival of Trees event showcases designer-curated Christmas trees and wreaths, along with a gingerbread village and table-top displays available for purchase. Special programs include musical performances, a glamorous gala night, activities for kids, and a day designed for seniors.