No matter what type of fun you enjoy or when you plan to be here, there is almost always an amazing event or festival happening somewhere in the Sunshine State.
Whether you are looking for art and music festivals or prefer to spend your time among foodies and nature enthusiasts, Florida serves up more than a few options every single month of the year.
You can scroll through this entire post or use the links below to jump to the month that interests you the most:
Things to Do in January
South Beach Jazz Festival
The South Beach Jazz Festival takes place in multiple locations all over Miami each year in early January. This event was started by disabled community leaders, and it continues to feature disabled musicians celebrating the power of jazz music.
Uncorked Key Largo and Islamorada Food & Wine Festival
Early January is also a fantastic time for a trip down to the keys, which just happens to be when Uncorked: The Key Largo & Islamorada Food & Wine Festival is usually happening. The highlight of this event is known as “The Grand Tasting,” but it is actually just one of anywhere from 30 to 40 different food and wine events happening all over the islands during this 11-day extravaganza.
St. Augustine Film Festival
Most people don’t need any specific reason to spend a few days in historic St. Augustine, but if you are thinking about a little excursion in mid-January, the St. Augustine Film Festival is a perfect excuse to visit for a few days. This exciting festival has been happening for more than a decade now, and it typically features a couple dozen films shown across a number of venues.
Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival
With keynote speakers, group field trips, and a ridiculous amount of exhibits to explore, the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival is one of the largest birding festivals in the entire country. It happens every January in Titusville, not far from the famous Kennedy Space Station.
If BBQ is your passion, then you absolutely cannot miss out on all of the fun of the Lakeland Pigfest towards the end of January. This massive BBQ competition has been drawing somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 teams to Lakeland for more than 20 years now, and the experience for spectators gets better and better every year.
Naples Winter Wine Festival
Anyone looking to round out their January bucket list with a little bit of vino will want to be sure they head down to Naples for the annual Naples Winter Wine Festival. Between the luncheon with Master Sommeliers, the high-end wine auction, and the dinner prepared by world-class chefs, this three-day event is a wine lover’s paradise.
January Honorable Mentions:
- Original Miami Beach Antique Show
- Everglades Birding Festival
- Art Deco Weekend in Miami
- South Florida Fair
- Florida Manatee Festival
- Art Fort Lauderdale
- Annual Homestead Rodeo
- Delray Beach Fashion Week
Things to Do in February
Everglades Seafood Festival
The Everglades Seafood Festival is always one of the most popular early-February events here in Florida. This one usually features more than 100 different vendors serving up everything from shrimp and stone crab to alligator bites. If you plan on visiting the Everglades at all throughout the year, this is the time to do it.
The Daytona 500
While you might not think of it as a festival, there is no denying that the Daytona 500 is one of the biggest events to come to Florida all year long. This Super Bowl of NASCAR happens every year in the middle of February, and racing fans from around the globe flock to Daytona just to celebrate.
Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival
Everyone loves food and wine festivals, there they don’t come any bigger or more extravagant than the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival, which happens every February. This event always brings out tons of celebrity chefs for exciting showcased all over both Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
Up Up And Away Florida
Another exciting festival that happens toward the end of February each year is the Up Up And Away Florida Hot Air Ballon Festival. Hot air balloons from all over the country will make the journey to Lakeland for this exciting weekend, but you don’t have to have your own balloon to enjoy the sites, sounds, and tastes of this festival.
St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival
Another great event happening at the end of February is the St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival. Few pairings go together better than delicious Spanish wine and the historic setting of St. Augustine, and there are always more than 100 wines available for tasting at this annual festival.
February Honorable Mentions:
- Mount Dora Arts Festival
- Edison Festival of Light
- Festival of the Arts Boca
- Swamp Cabbage Festival
- Lake Worth Street Painting Festival
- Lincolnville Porchfest
Things to Do in March
Daytona Bike Week
One of the biggest events of the entire year here in Florida is the world-famous Bike Week in Daytona Beach. This massive event is the type of spectacle that you are going to want to see for yourself even if you aren’t a motorcycle enthusiast.
The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass
Another huge event that will bring national attention to Florida in March is The PGA Tour’s Players Championship, which is held at the iconic TPC Sawgrass course in Ponte Verde every year. There is nothing quite like seeing the best golfers in the world take their cuts at hitting that famous island green at 17.
International Orchid Festival
Orchid lovers won’t want to miss the International Orchid Festival at Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden in mid-March. There will be more than 10,000 orchids available from vendors here, as well as display gardens and garden workshops.
Naples Flower Show
There is never really a bad time to visit Naples or stroll through the Naples Botanical Garden, but in late March this already popular attraction kicks things up to the next level by hosting the Naples Flower Show, which is one of the largest flower shows in Florida.
March Honorable Mentions
Things to Do in April
Sandestin Wine Festival
In addition to more than 500 wines available for tasting, the Sandestin Wine Festival also includes fun excursions like a seafood and champagne voyage, yoga with mimosas, and gourmet wine dinners. With all of that on tap, Sandestin is definitely the place to be in April.
Stringbreak Music Festival
Some people come to Florida for Spring Break. Others come for Stringbreak. Music fans head to the Nature Coast in mid-April for this rugged outdoor music fest featuring everything from bluegrass to rock tunes.
Rock the Ocean Music Festival
Fort Lauderdale Beach hosts one of the biggest events of the month when the Rock the Ocean Music Festival comes to town in mid-April. The headliners for this event change from year-to-year, but there are always big names from a wide range of genres featured.
Pompano Beach Seafood Festival
It seems like not a month goes by without a spectacular seafood festival of some sort here in Florida, and one of the big ones in April is the Pompano Beach Seafood Festival. In addition to great seafood, there will also be plenty of live music and fun attractions to see here.
April Honorable Mentions
Things to Do in May
Romanza Festivale of Music & the Arts
St. Augustine will be kicking off the month with their Romanza Festivale of the Arts, which is typically held during the first two weeks of the month. This event features more than 75 different art events all over town, which makes it the perfect time to appreciate the oldest city in the country.
Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival
The Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival has been returning to Fernandina Beach every spring for more than half a century. Locally caught shrimp are the focal point of this fun festival, but there is always plenty of local art on display, as well as live music.
Key West Songwriters Festival
One of the most popular music festivals to attend in May is the Key West Songwriters Festival, which is usually held in Key West during the second week of May. There are live music performances from artists known for writing their own material all over Key West over this long weekend.
Jacksonville Jazz Fest
If jazz music is your passion, then you won’t want to miss out on the Jacksonville Jazz Fest taking over Jacksonville at the end of May. This event features a wide range of jazz performances from iconic names happening all through the city over the course of a four-day weekend.
Wild Amelia Nature Festival
Eco-tourists and conservationists are always out in full force at the Wild Amelia Nature Festival on Amelia Island during the second half of May. With more than 1,500 acres of barrier islands, the entire Amelia Island ecosystem is fascinating for nature lovers, and this festival is all about celebrating the area’s natural splendor.
May Honorable Mentions
- Punta Gorda Hibiscus Festival
- St. Augustine Craft Brewers Festival
- Redland International Orchid Festival
- St. John’s River Festival of the Arts
Things to Do in June
Florida Animation Festival
The Tallahassee Film Society hosts the Florida Animation Festival at All Saints Cinema in Tallahassee each year in early June. This fun festival celebrates all things animation with a focus on fun shorts and workshops for active filmmakers.
St. Armand’s Circle Craft Festival
South Florida crafters and artisans will be heading to Sarasota in June for the St. Armand’s Circle Craft Festival. Visitors to the area this weekend will have the opportunity to browse through the wide variety of handmade items that will be occupying the historic streets of St. Armand’s Circle.
Downtown Venice Craft Festival
Another crafting festival coming to South Florida in June will be the Downtown Venice Craft Festival, which usually takes place the weekend after the St. Armand’s Circle Craft Festival. This event will have vendors lined up and down Miami Avenue in Venice with an entire section of the street dedicated to green products.
Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic
The Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic is a huge Gulf Coast fishing competition that happens every June in Sandestin. The event runs for eleven straight days, starting around the middle of the month. Organizers of this event typically expect more than 100 boats to enter, and the prizes have exceeded $2.5 million.
June Honorable Mentions
Things to Do in July
Most people don’t need an excuse to visit Key West, but anyone who is into writing or fishing will enjoy the festivities of Hemingway Days in mid-July. The festivities for this event include a wacky Hemingway look-a-like contest, as well as numerous poetry and prose reading around town throughout the week.
Crystal River Scallop Festival
The Gulf Coast scalloping season typically runs from July through September, and the residents of Crystal River like to kick things off with a big party celebrating all things scallops.
Their annual Crystal River Scallop Festival is usually scheduled for the end of July, and the old fashioned scallop cookoff is the perfect way to get your fill either before or after you head out on your own scalloping charter.
Miami Salsa Congress
Miami is a year-round hotspot for salsa dancing, but the best of the best come to town for the Miami Salsa Congress at the Eden Roc Nobu Hotel. This five-day festival generally takes place towards the end of July. Whether you are looking to participate in dance workshops, learn from the masters, or just hit up the parties, this is a fantastic time for salsa lovers to be in Miami.
The Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa hosts the epic Shark Con every year in July. This massive two-day celebration of sharks includes everything from education on marine life to a 22-foot shark slide. There is also a complete schedule of expert speakers discussing a wide range of shark-related topics.
July Honorable Mentions:
- Key Lime Festival
- Indialantic (Melbourne) Craft Festival
- Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament
- Tampa Bay Comic Con
Things to Do in August
Key West Lobsterfest
Key West Lobsterfest is an annual event that kicks off the month of August with a massive lobster boil and then continues with lobster events all over town throughout the rest of the weekend, which makes it a perfect time to get your fix of the keys.
Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards in Clermont hosts their annual Grape Stomp in the middle of the month every August. In addition to giving visitors the opportunity to stomp some freshly harvested grapes, the event also features live music, food, and plenty of wine.
Another fun event happening in mid-August is the Sarasota Slam. This is one of the most popular fishing tournaments in all of Florida for both anglers and spectators. There are multiple divisions for fishing, and spectators can enjoy a dockside BBq party on Saturday afternoon.
Coke Zero Sugar 400
The eyes of the entire racing world will be focused on Daytona at the end of August when the engines get fired up at the Coke Zero Sugar 400. Every NASCAR event is a massive event that features excitement all over town, and this one will be no different.
August Honorable Mentions:
Things to Do in September
Downtown Delray Beach Craft Festival – (Cancelled)
The annual Downtown Delray Beach Craft Festival takes over the Atlantic Coast town of Delray Beach for a weekend every year in September. In addition to the fantastic finds available from the craft show, downtown Delray Beach is also filled with an amazing selection of boutique shops and delicious restaurants.
I Like it HOT! Festival – (Looks like it’s still a go)
Spicy food fanatics will be flocking to Minnreg Hall in Largo for the annual I Like it HOT! Festival in mid-September. Those visitors can participate in events like a hot pepper eating contest, an amateur salsa contest, an amateur BBQ sauce contest, and the Voodoo Chicken Bones Challenge.
In addition to the main events, there is live entertainment throughout the weekend and one of the largest hot sauce markets you have ever seen in one place.
Punta Gorda Sullivan Street Craft Festival – (Rescheduled)
Another big art festival in the month of September is the annual Punta Gorda Sullivan Street Craft Festival in lovely Punta Gorda. This craft festival makes for a fantastic excuse to visit Florida’s Gulf Coast during the month of September, and it has been growing by leaps and bounds over the past few years for exactly that reason.
Island Hopper Songwriter Fest – (Rescheduled for same time next year)
The Island Hopper Songwriter Fest will kick off on Captiva Island in mid-September before “hopping” over to Downtown Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach throughout the rest of the month. This 10-day music festival will feature more than 80 country music songwriters taking the time to explain the writing process behind some of their favorite hits.
New Smyrna Beach Jazz Festival – (Cancelled)
Another can’t-miss music festival in September is the annual New Smyrna Beach Jazz Festival, which will take place at multiple locations around New Smyrna near the end of the month. Every year, the lineup features a star-studded list of jazz musicians who will be performing for free all over town throughout the entire weekend.
September Honorable Mentions
- Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam (Rescheduled)
- Central Florida Film Festival (Rescheduled)
- Pensacola Seafood Festival (Rescheduled)
Things to Do in October
Oktoberfest Tampa (Still a GO with Covid-19 restrictions in place)
It’s hard to make it through the months of September and October without attending at least one German Oktoberfest celebration, and one of the big ones to focus on each year is Oktoberfest Tampa at Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa. This fun event will feature all of the cold German beer and traditional German dances you can handle, plus plenty of delicious bratwursts.
South Florida Seafood Festival (Website says postponed but you can still buy tickets, so, I dunno.)
One of the biggest seafood festivals in the month of October is the South Florida Seafood Festival, which takes over Miami Marine Stadium for a weekend in the middle of the month each year. Many of the area’s top chefs will be serving up some of the best seafood samples you have ever tried at this event.
Naples International Film Festival (Still a GO, with some in-person and some virtual events)
The Naples International Film Festival takes over various locations in Downtown Naples on a weekend near the end of October. In addition to showing the premieres of a number of international films, the festival also features unique opportunities like a screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark that will be accompanied by a live orchestra performance.
Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (Still a GO, with face masks required)
Fort Lauderdale is the place to be at the end of the month when more than $4 billion worth of boats are displayed at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. This five-day event is hosted at the Bluewild Ocean Adventure Expo with related events happening all over the city.
October Honorable Mentions:
Yes, all three honorable mentions have been cancelled, but their websites are still worth exploring to see if they are something you might want to try to catch next year.
- Smokin’ in the Pines BBQ Festival (cancelled)
- REEF Fest (cancelled)
- Naples Stone Crab Festival (cancelled)
Things to Do in November
Stone Crab Jam – (Rescheduled for next year)
November marks the first full month of stone crab season here in Florida, and the Stone Crab Jam in Crystal River in early November is all about those delicious claws. In addition to vendors selling stone crab claws, there will also be live entertainment, games, and other refreshments available.
Miami Smooth Jazz Festival – (Taking place virtually. Tickets are FREE, with donations gladly accepted)
Anyone interested in jazz music will want to be in Miami for the Miami Smooth Jazz Festival at Zoo Miami in early November. The main stage for this event features dozens of popular jazz musicians throughout the festival, and there is always plenty of amazing food as well.
Key West Film Festival (All films will be shown at outdoor venues – with socially distant seating set up under the stars. Many films will feature livestream and pre-recorded Q&As.)
There are a few different film festivals around Florida during the month of November, but the one that is worth a special trip is always the Key West Film Festival, which usually takes place towards the end of the month. Just like everything else in Key West, this one is always a non-stop party!
Edison Ford Garden Festival (This event is still a GO! All visitors attending the festival will be required to wear a mask.)
The popular Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers hosts the Edison Ford Garden Festival every year near the end of November. The estates are filled with plant and garden vendors for this event, which makes this the perfect time to plan a visit to check out the beautiful gardens and rich history that they work so hard to preserve.
November Honorable Mentions:
- Foo Foo Festival (Cancelled for 2020. Event will resume in 2021.)
- Right Whale Festival (Cancelled for 2020)
- Mount Dora Scottish Festival (Rescheduled for January 2021)
Things to Do in December
St. Augustine Nights of Lights
Nights of Lights has been listed among the top ten holiday light displays in the world by National Geographic. During Nights of Lights, St. Augustine glows with holiday magic – from the ground to the rooftops. St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights features millions of tiny white lights that create a magical atmosphere in the Nation’s Oldest City, and it’s free of charge.
St. Petersburg Holiday of the Arts – (Plans for 2020 still under review)
Anyone looking for holiday-themed crafts will find more than they can handle at St. Petersburg Holiday of the Arts. This two-day festival will take place in Williams Park right in downtown St. Petersburg in the middle of December.
Wine & Chocolate Festival – (Cancelled for 2020. Will resume in 2021.)
Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards in Clermont hosts their annual Wine & Chocolate Festival at the winery during the middle of December. Guests will have the opportunity to taste locally raised wines paired with locally made chocolate while kicking back and listening to local jazz musicians.
Three Ball Drop Hot Spots – (Check individual websites for updates)
New Year’s Eve serves as an inspiration for parties all over the state of Florida, but three of the hottest spots to be on December 31 are Destin, Panama City Beach, and Key West. Destin and Panama City ring in the new year with a “Beach Ball Drops” while the people at Sloppy Joe’s down in Key West have their own version: “The Conch Shell Drop.”
December Honorable Mentions
- Sandi Land: Holiday in Paradise (West Palm Beach)
- Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival (Rescheduled for Dec 2021)
- Night Lights in the Garden (Naples Botanical Garden)
- Magic of Lights at Daytona International Speedway
Whether you are planning a short visit or a long retirement here in Florida, there is no denying that the Sunshine State is practically bursting with opportunities to enjoy yourself all year long.
That means the only question left to ask is, “What are you going to do next?”