Top Florida Fall and Winter Getaways

Great weather and events highlight these fall and winter destinations

Satna lawn ornament in Mount Dora, Florida

Elizabeth W. Kearley/Getty Images

Florida weather is usually quite pleasant in the fall, so it's a great time for a getaway. It’s still warm enough for the beach, but the extreme heat and humidity of summer give way to comfortable days and cooler nights, making it a pleasure to enjoy outdoor festivals and fairs, Halloween celebrations, and other activities. The occasional sweater may be needed in the evening, but sunset celebrations and moonlit strolls can be comfortably enjoyed through the end of November.

Florida cools down in winter, so colder water temperatures combined with an occasional chill in the air don't make for the best beach experience. It’s best to leave the beach to those accustomed to much cooler weather and instead enjoy the many holiday activities at Florida theme parks that abound from mid-November through the end of the year.

Disney World in Fall and Winter

Disney World is especially nice in the fall. Be sure to check out Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival for a more adult Disney experience. The annual festival features tasting booths, food and wine pairings, and culinary demonstrations.

Another popular special-ticket-required event is Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom Park. The family-friendly event for kids of all ages is a great way for little ones to dress up in their favorite costumes and take in the rides and attractions at a time when it's not too crowded.

TIP: Make sure to check the event's official costume guidelines.

Disney World begins the winter holiday season in early November when decorations magically appear overnight throughout the resorts and theme parks. Disney’s Hollywood Studios presents the all-new holiday spectacular, Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM where Disney characters go on a yuletide adventure with special effects, fireworks, and a musical score that adds a twist to traditional holiday songs.

Twinkle your way through the New Year at the special-ticketed Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Disney's Magic Kingdom or celebrate at Epcot's Christmas Around the World and Candlelight Processional.

Key West in Winter

Quirky, zany, and over-the-top fun is the only way to describe Key West's annual Fantasy Fest, the equivalent of an adults-only Halloween party that runs the last week in October. The event was initially created to market Key West in late October, traditionally one of the slowest tourist seasons of the year. Now, October and the days just before Halloween are some of Key West's busiest.

Considering Key West's fabulous winter weather, it's a no-brainer that it would be a top destination. It seems like everyone who wants to escape the snow at home comes to Key West in the high season, which brings higher prices for just about everything—transportation, accommodations, food, and souvenirs. You may be able to find affordable accommodations by camping, which is a year-round activity in the Florida Keys, and you can even rent an Airstream camping trailer to enjoy a retro-style alternative to Key West's pricey hotels.

Mount Dora Shopping

Just north of Orlando, downtown Mount Dora offers an array of quaint shops that are perfect for picking up something a little different for each person on your holiday shopping list.​ Renninger’s Antiques Extravaganza is just one reason the area is known for being a great place for antique shopping in Florida—more than 800 antique and collectible dealers from around the country assemble for a weekend of extraordinary finds, rain or shine.

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