Top Fall Events on Florida’s Emerald Coast

Set along the Gulf of Mexico, Florida’s Emerald Coast offers stunning natural beauty with its pristine white sandy beaches, clear emerald waters, and breathtaking coastal views.

The best time to enjoy everything? Definitely fall! Autumn is a fantastic season to visit the Emerald Coast. Besides the mild weather and fewer crowds, there are many festivals and events perfect for the entire family. If you’re looking for the top events of the season, you’re in the right place. This blog will provide you with a list of the best events along the Emerald Coast during fall.

No matter the season, at Emerald Coast Vacation, we offer a wide variety of vacation rentals strategically located to ensure you’re just steps away from idyllic beaches, great dining options, exquisite golf courses, and an array of outdoor activities like deep-sea fishing and dolphin tours. That’s the secret to a perfect Emerald Coast getaway!

Want more tips to make your trip to the Emerald Coast extra special? Head over to our blog for guides on things to do in the area. We’ve covered topics like interesting and fun facts about the region, the best restaurants, and pet-friendly spots. And guess what? More amazing blogs are coming soon, so stay tuned!

Let’s check out these awesome fall events!

Best Fall Events in Panama City Beach, FL


Oktoberfest, October

 Music, beer

Despite being a German tradition, many cities around the world have incorporated Oktoberfest into their annual schedule of fall events, and Panama City Beach is no different. Every October, the city hosts a vibrant festival at Aaron Bessant Park, and the event even features a gigantic tent designed to resemble the original Oktoberfest celebration in Munich.

You can expect lots of music, dance, costume competitions, traditional food, and, of course, German and local beers — all under the big tent and at two beer gardens. The three-day event is family-friendly, with games and activities like cornhole, a bounce house, face painting, a photo booth, and a special slide zone.

This is a great chance to immerse yourself in this lively and world-famous German tradition without having to cross the Atlantic, grab a mustard-soaked pretzel, and indulge in top-notch beers. Cheers!


Panama City Beach Fishing Rodeo, October

Family-friendly, local culture, outdoor activities


From professionals to beginners, the Panama City Beach Fishing Rodeo is the best time for everyone to engage in one of the most popular activities along the Emerald Coast: fishing. For over a week, you can see (and join) anglers on kayaks, paddle boats, personal boats, or Federal and State registered boats trying their best to win the tournament.

Throughout the event, there’ll be daily entertainment and amazing food at Capt. Anderson’s Marina for everyone to enjoy. You can also admire a stunning display of boats, and Florida Watersports will be offering a great selection of paddle boards and kayaks if you decide to join the tournament.

The grand final happens on the last day of the rodeo with an awards ceremony and a Pirate Party with live music and beautiful fireworks. This is a great time to visit the city as many other events happen in different venues during the rodeo.

Emerald Coast Cruizin’ Fall Car Show, November

family-friendly, local culture, music

Emerald Coast Cruizin’ Fall Car Show turns Panama City Beach into a car lover’s paradise every fall. Held at Aaron Bessant Park, this three-day event showcases thousands of hot rods, classic cars, and speedsters. You can stroll through rows of iconic vehicles while enjoying live music and various activities like cruise-ins and parades. Don’t miss the live auction where you might just drive home a vintage gem. The park offers ample space with shady spots, clean restrooms, and a short walk to Pier Park for more shopping and dining options.


Best Fall Events in Fort Walton Beach, FL

Northwest Florida Fair, Late September or Early October

family-friendly, local culture

The Northwest Florida Fair in Fort Walton Beach is a delightful mix of traditional fair fun and local culture. Running in late September or early October, this event has been bringing the community together since 1974. You’ll find a variety of carnival rides, from thrilling roller coasters to gentle kiddie rides, alongside classic fair games. The fair also offers a petting zoo, 4H exhibits, and an art show, making it a hit with families. With live music, magic shows, and delicious fair food, this is a must-visit event to experience the local charm.


Best Fall Events in Destin, FL

Destin Seafood Festival, Early October

food, family-friendly, cultural

You can kick off October with the Destin Seafood Festival, a three-day celebration along the scenic Destin Harbor. This festival marks the start of the Destin Fishing Rodeo and offers a feast for seafood lovers with dishes prepared by local chefs. You can wander along the boardwalk, sampling fresh seafood and enjoying live music from various genres. With over a hundred food and craft vendors, there’s plenty to explore. The festival also includes a Kids’ Zone with rides and activities, making it a fun outing for the whole family amidst the beautiful Gulf views.


Destin Fishing Rodeo, October

family-friendly, water activities, cultural

The Destin Fishing Rodeo is a month-long event that has been a staple since 1948. Held throughout October, it draws anglers from all over to compete in daily weigh-ins at AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar. Even if you’re not fishing, the lively atmosphere along the Destin Boardwalk is infectious. You can watch as fishers bring in impressive catches, join in the applause, and enjoy local cuisine with a waterfront view. The event captures the community spirit and is a fantastic way to experience Destin’s rich fishing culture.


Harvest Wine & Food Festival, October

food, adult, cultural

The Harvest Wine & Food Festival in WaterColor offers a truly luxurious experience for wine and food enthusiasts. Spanning four days in October, this festival includes wine dinners, a Grand Tasting, and a cocktail brunch. You can savor some of the world’s finest wines paired with culinary masterpieces from renowned chefs. The scenic setting adds to the ambiance, making it a perfect event for those who really appreciate the finer things in life. Whether you’re a seasoned wine connoisseur or simply enjoy good food and drink, this festival promises an indulgent and memorable experience.

Barktoberfest, End of October

family-friendly, cultural, pet-friendly

Barktoberfest is a delightful doggie costume contest and social event held at Grand Boulevard at Sandestin. Organized by Dog-Harmony, this canine-only trick-or-treating event is a must for pet owners. You can enjoy Oktoberfest libations, light bites, live music, and a spooky silent auction. The highlight is the superhero-themed canine Halloween costume contest, where pets and their owners can win prizes. Barktoberfest offers a fun, festive atmosphere where you can socialize with other dog lovers and support a good cause, making it a unique way to celebrate Halloween with your furry friend.


Best Fall Events in Miramar Beach, FL

Annual Baytowne Beer Festival, October

food, beer, cultural

The Annual Baytowne Beer Festival, held mid-October at the Village of Baytowne Wharf in Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, is a highlight for beer lovers. Known as the “Best Beer Fest on the Coast,” this event showcases over 200 craft beers from more than 40 breweries.

You can stroll through the festival grounds, sampling a diverse array of brews with a commemorative tasting glass. Great live music adds to the festive atmosphere, featuring local bands playing everything from rock to country. Educational seminars by beer experts cover topics like brewing techniques and food pairings, enriching your beer-tasting experience. Special events such as Friday Night Beer Bingo and the extensive Saturday Beer Tasting provide unique entertainment, making this a must-attend for beer enthusiasts.


FAQ: Fall on the Emerald Coast

Planning a trip to the Emerald Coast this fall? Here are some frequently asked questions to help you make the most of your visit during this delightful season.

What is the weather like on the Emerald Coast during the fall? Fall on the Emerald Coast offers pleasant and moderate weather. From mid-September to early November, you can expect sunny days with temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to low 80s (°F). It’s warm enough to enjoy the beach without the intense summer heat.

Are the beaches crowded in the fall? No, fall is considered the shoulder season on the Emerald Coast. With most of the summer vacation crowds gone, you’ll find the beaches much less crowded, providing a more relaxed and spacious environment to enjoy the sand and surf.

Is it safe to swim in the Gulf during the fall? Yes, the water temperatures remain comfortable for swimming during the fall. The Gulf waters are typically clear and calm, making it a great time for activities like swimming, paddleboarding, and snorkeling.

Are restaurants and attractions open during the fall? Yes, most restaurants and attractions remain open during the fall. They are less crowded compared to the peak summer season, making it easier to get reservations and enjoy shorter wait times.

Are accommodation rates cheaper in the fall? Yes, fall is considered the shoulder season, which means accommodation rates tend to be more affordable compared to the summer months. You can find great deals on vacation rentals and hotels.

What activities can I enjoy during the fall on the Emerald Coast? Fall is a great time for various activities including:

  • Beach outings and sunbathing
  • Swimming, paddleboarding, and snorkeling
  • Kayaking and fishing
  • Attending local festivals and events
  • Exploring less crowded attractions and restaurants

Is it a good time for family vacations?
Absolutely! Fall on the Emerald Coast offers a family-friendly atmosphere with plenty of activities for kids and adults alike. The less crowded environment and numerous fall events make it an ideal time for a family getaway.

Do I need to book activities and accommodations in advance? While fall is less crowded than summer, it’s still a good idea to book accommodations and any popular activities or event tickets in advance to ensure availability and secure the best rates.


Wondering where to stay on the Emerald Coast during your visit?

Book your stay with Emerald Coast Vacation Rentals. We offer an unmatched selection of vacation rental properties to suit every traveler’s taste. Whether you’re looking for a beachfront condominium, pet-friendly rentals, or a charming beachside cottage, we’ve got it.

Our properties are strategically located, which means you’ll be steps away from idyllic beaches, great dining options, exquisite golf courses, and an array of outdoor pursuits like deep-sea fishing, dolphin tours, and more. That’s the secret to a perfect Emerald Coast Gateway!