Florida in October

October is one of the best times of the year to visit Florida. The weather is changing, the crowds are lower, and the hurricanes are saying goodbye for the season. With this being the slowest month of the year for tourism, your trip should be pretty easygoing.

However, there are a few key factors that will make your October trip a lot more enjoyable. Our writer, who has lived in Florida for over ten years, provides you with unique tips.

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So, whether you are looking to relax on the beach, learn the history on a ghost tour, or spend your days wandering around theme parks, we have all the expert tips you need to make your trip to the sunshine state in October unforgettable.

Considering September or November? Check out our complete Florida Fall Guide.

Events: Harvest season and Halloween brings along a multitude of festivals and events for visitors to enjoy all over the state.

Weather

Average high temperatures during October.

The weather in October is starting to become cooler and less wet. The rainfall is slowing down, and Summer is shifting to fall, Florida’s version of fall that is. Humidity levels start to decrease, and we found that evenings tend to be chilly and breezy.

We always loved Florida’s slightly cooler temps and the lower humidity in October compared to the weather conditions in the previous months.

The average high temperature in October ranges from 80°F to 85°F (26-29°C) in Florida, depending on the region. It is the last month of the wet season, with warm temperatures and waters. Rainfall decreases towards the end of October but still has a monthly average of about 8 inches.

Average highs in October include:

  • Miami: 83°F (28.3°C)
  • Tampa: 85°F (29.4°C)
  • Orlando: 85°F (29.4°C)
  • Jacksonville: 82°F (27.7°C)
  • Destin: 80°F (26.6°C)

Tip: If you consider visiting Florida later, you can find many helpful tips about the weather during November in Florida.

Rainfall
Destin, Florida: A few clouds but still great beach weather

October is the last month of the rainy season and the end of hurricanes and tropical storms. While there is still a potential threat, the chances of a hurricane causing major damage are less likely compared to previous months.

💡 Rain showers are still present in Florida during October. However, they are less intense and less common and will eventually change to a weekly instead of daily basis.

Keep in mind, that the southern regions have a higher chance of tropical storms and hurricanes, and tend to see more rainfall in October, compared to Northern regions such as Pensacola or Tallahassee.

Can it rain the whole day? We aren’t going to say it is impossible to rain the whole day. However, from our experience in the state, it is highly unlikely. Rain Showers in October usually happen in the afternoon, and the likelihood of rain at all decreases throughout the month.

Heat/Humidity

Humidity is constantly high in Florida. However, the month of October shows a noticeable difference in humidity levels compared to previous months, starting to become a lot lower than in the summer.

The average humidity in May is anywhere between 54-86% and tends to be higher in the early morning hours around 4 am, and after any intense rainfall. Late afternoons and evenings have the lowest humidity levels on average of 57%, increasing the further south you travel and decreasing the further north you travel.

Good to know: One thing we noticed after spending many late spring and summer seasons in Florida is that if it rains in the morning, it tends to be more humid in the afternoons.

Daily Weather Progression

The temperature doesn’t change drastically throughout the day. Afternoons will be the hottest, around 2 pm, and rains, if there are any, will likely happen in the afternoons as well. Temperatures become slightly cooler by 5 degrees Fahrenheit as the month goes on.

Mornings: temperatures are cooler before 10 am, and sunrise is around 7 am.

Evenings: the temperatures in the evenings tend to be cooler with a light breeze. If you are a cold-natured person, a jacket might be wise.

Here is a daily progression in Miami:

  • 8 AM: 75°F
  • 11 AM: 80°F
  • 2 PM: 82°F
  • 9 PM: 76°F

Water Temperature

Beach in Destin

The warm waters of Florida are one of the reasons hurricanes are so prevalent in this region of the world. The further south we went, the warmer the waters became. We also noticed that the Atlantic side also tends to be a lot warmer than the opposing Gulf side.

💡 Warmest Waters: In Florida, the warmest waters are always around the southern tip of Miami and the Keys, averaging around 83 degrees Fahrenheit. If warm water is an absolute must for your water activities, the further south you go, the better. Just be cautious as hurricanes and tropical storms are still possible in October from our experience.

Beaches on the Gulf coast, such as Tampa, have waters of 81 degrees Fahrenheit, while a little further south in Sarasota or Fort Myers have waters of 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Go north to the panhandle, and you will find water of 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Atlantic side of Florida has warm temperatures in the south near West Palm Beach, of 83 degrees Fahrenheit, and in Daytona and Cocoa beach, with waters 81 degrees.

 

What to Bring | What to Wear

In Florida, during October, you can wear shorts, capris, t-shirts or blouses, and a light sweater in the evening and mornings. Additionally, bring comfortable shoes, bathing suits, and swim trunks. While there is less rain than in the previous months, a raincoat is still recommended.

The clothing item list in your suitcase should consist of:

  • Shorts
  • Capris
  • T-shirts or blouses
  • Loose or flowy pants
  • A light sweater (for evenings)
  • Bathing suits/cover-ups,  swim trunks
  • Raincoat or poncho

Comfortable shoes: Comfortable shoes are a must, no matter where you go in October. Don’t underestimate the amount of walking (more than 10 miles in Disney World alone). Without comfortable walking shoes, you end up with blisters and hurting feet at the end of the day. Avoid wearing flip-flops in theme parks.

Sandals: In addition to comfortable shoes, we always bring sandals with support. They are a must when visiting one of Florida’s many water parks in Orlando, Tampa, or other places.

Other packing tips are sunglasses, a small backpack for day trips, a hat, water shoes (if doing water sports or boating), a water bottle for hydration, sunscreen, a small portable fan, a cooler, and of course your Mickey Mouse ears for Disney.

Good to know: Florida is host to various Halloween events and festivals throughout the entire month, all over the state. Kids and even adults can have the chance to dress up in their favorite costumes and characters.

Additional item list to pack:

  • Sunglasses
  • Small backpack for day trips
  • Comfy walking shoes (alternative: sandals with support)
  • Beach bag
  • Hat
  • Water shoes (for water sports or boating)
  • Water bottle for hydration
  • Sunscreen
  • Small portable fan
  • Cooler
  • Mickey Mouse ears for Disney

Restaurant tip: When staying in Florida, we always keep a sweater or light jacket handy throughout the day for dining out in indoor restaurants. Since it’s mostly hot outside, the air conditioners are set to the coolest temperature. If you get cold easily, this is a helpful tip to keep in mind.

Headache: When traveling in Florida we suggest always bringing some medicine for a headache. The Florida heat is no joke and if you aren’t used to those warm conditions, this could really bring a damper to your vacation.

Rates

Universal’s Aventura Hotel (booking.com rates and reviews). Fantastic hotel and perfect for visiting Universal Studios. Read our Universal Studio tips below in our ‘Things to Do and Places to Visit’ section below

Take advantage of lower rates during October. The snowbirds have yet to arrive, and the peak travel seasons are finished or have yet to begin. This is one of the last months to enjoy cheap prices before the holiday season.

The hotel links above are really useful to save time and money. Tip: Bookmark Miami and Orlando!

Depending on your preference and budget, you can find hostels starting at around $35 a night. Staying in an Airbnb averages around $165 a night, hotels usually start at $65 and go up from there( sometimes even cheaper for 4+ stars), and full home vacation rentals can be up to $340 per night.

Crowds

Fort Myers Beach, Florida: Busy weekend

October is one of the slowest months of the year, with fewer crowds in Florida. It is one of the best times of the year for visitors to travel slowly. Kids are in school, so family vacations are very unlikely.

Halloween: The end of the month brings in more visitors, mainly due to Halloween. There are dozens of harvest events and ghost tours going on throughout the state. Especially in Orlando and St. Augustine, because of their history and activities within the area.

The end of summer in the rest of the country also brings in the first few snowbirds for the season at the end of October. Places such as Naples, Clearwater, or Sarasota will start to have an increase in residents as the month goes on.

Beach crowds: In Florida, beaches are always going to be somewhat crowded. Tropical storms and hurricanes are less likely, but still a possibility, and this tends to turn some visitors to the more inland parts of the state.

Places to Visit / Things to Do in October

Universal Studios in Orlando

Most visitors think about the major attractions in Orlando (Disney, Universal, Sea World) and the beaches across the state. However, beaches and theme parks aren’t the only way to enjoy Florida in October.

Florida is great in October for people who enjoy beaches, nature, sports, and festivals. Watch a football game in Gainesville or Tampa, go pumpkin picking in some of the dozens of patches in the state, hike the scenic trail, and end your day with a walk on the beach.

Festivals

Florida is the host of various festivals during the month of October including the following:

  • Pensacola Interstate Fair
  • Fantasy Key West
  • Epcot Food and Wine Festival
  • Harvest Moon Fun Farm

Florida also will be filled with multiple corn mazes, haunted houses, pumpkin patches, and harvest and Halloween events throughout the month of October.

Florida Beaches
Surfers in Jacksonville, Florida

The coastline of Florida is a vacation hotspot all year round because of the gorgeous beaches. October is one of the slowest months for tourism, so expect low crowds and emptier beaches.

The Sun Coast, home to beaches such as Clearwater and St.Petersburg, is beautiful during the month of October. It is the last chance to enjoy this region, while snowbirds will start appearing on the final days of the month.

Avoid Panhandle beaches, such as Destin, as temperatures are cooling down for the season. If you are like us, the waters of 76 degrees Fahrenheit are a bit too chilly to really enjoy.

Naples and Fort Myers are favorites among the older generation, and one of the most popular places for snowbirds to reside. Now is the time to take advantage of the lower rates and crowds and enjoy the warm water temperatures of 82 degrees Fahrenheit, before they start appearing.

Amelia Island and St. Augustine will be the least busy, this is mainly because of their northern location and cooler waters of 79 degrees Fahrenheit. This is also a popular destination for ghost and historical tours in October.

Orlando

The average high temperatures in Orlando hover around 85°F (29.4°C). Especially in the second half of the month, rainfall starts to decrease as the rainy season comes to an end.

Crowds: Except for late October, it’s not too crowded in Orlando. However, keep in mind that Halloween is on October 31st, and there are sure to be events all over Orlando.

Complete Guide: For more detailed tips about visiting Orlando in October, check out our full guide.

Universal Studios | Orlando

Universal Studios is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Florida. Kids are back in school, and hurricane season is dying down. This means October is a great time to take advantage of good weather, cheaper rates, and lower crowds (except for Halloween).

Is the park-to-park ticket worth it? The park-to-park ticket allows you to roam between the three parks (see below) on the same day. You definitely should get it if you are a Harry Potter fan, as you need it to ride the Hogwarts Express.

Check out here if the ticket is worth it for you: Universal Orlando – Park-to-Park-Ticket

Additionally, some visitors always get the park-to-park ticket as they love to move around, especially if it’s too busy in one park (for example, if you visit on a weekend in October or during Halloween). It simply gives you more flexibility.

Skip-the-line-ticket: The crowds in October are low enough to do Universal Studios without the express/skip-the-line ticket mid-week. On weekends, we recommend them, as Halloween Horror nights are going on the entire month. So expect higher crowds on weekends.

Three parks: Universal Studios is not just one park. There are a total of three Universal parks, each with its own theme and unique attractions:

  • Universal Studios Florida
  • Islands of Adventure
  • Volcano Bay Water Park
Walt Disney World | Orlando (Nearby)
The iconic Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom park, Disney World, Orlando

Disney World is Florida’s most prominent attraction and is perfect for a slightly less crowded experience in October. We would say the crowds are moderate on average. Just be aware that there will always be large crowds at certain venues, regardless of the month.

Visiting Disney in October gives you the chance to experience Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival, as well as Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. So expect higher crowds on weekends and Halloween nights.

Additionally, the later in the month of October you travel, the lower the humidity and the lower chance of daily rain showers in the parks.

While Disney World features multiple attractions, including water parks and golf courses, its main attractions are the four theme parks:

  1. Magic Kingdom
  2. Animal Kingdom
  3. Hollywood Studios
  4. Epcot

Tickets: For a hassle-free experience, get the base tickets in advance: Walt Disney World Orlando – Admission Base Tickets 2-7 days (mobile voucher or printed voucher)

How many days? 5-7 days are recommended for the best Disney World experience. If you only have two or three days, visit Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom or Epcot. Magic Kingdom is the best park as its rides and attractions have more magic than anything else.

In general, plan 1-2 days for each of the four parks in Disney World Orlando. Park experts recommend two days for each park, except Animal Kingdom, which can be easily done within a day.

SeaWorld | Orlando

When visiting Sea World in Orlando, you get the fantastic chance to see penguins, otters, dolphins, and other amazing sea creatures up close. The park has their Spooktacular throughout October, and is a great event for children.

5 tips for a perfect SeaWorld visit:

  1. Make reservations in advance: October is a slower month, but it’s still not fun waiting in a long line. Save time and money by purchasing (mobile or printed voucher) tickets in advance: Park Admission Ticket Reservation
  2. Pack a light sweater: While October offers pleasant temperatures in Orlando, the animal exhibits and aquariums which are not outside can get quite chilly in the evenings. A sweater helps if you get cold easily.
  3. Arrive early at the shows: As the number of daily shows is limited, they often fill up quickly. In particular, the dolphin show, Dolphin Adventures, and Shamu’s close-up, Orca Encounter. Try to arrive 20 to 30 minutes before showtime, especially on weekends in October.
  4. Check the weather forecast: Check the forecast in the morning and prepare for your visit. Light rain showers are fine, as you can do many things indoors. However, many outdoor shows close due to bad weather (rainstorms or lightning). During one of the last of the rainy days, you might plan to visit the Kennedy Space Center instead, for example.
  5. Bring rain gear: You can get wet easily during one of the water rides or in the splash zone of the shows. We recommend bringing some rain gear or wearing clothes that dry quickly.
Kennedy Space Center | Orlando (Nearby)

The Kennedy Space Center is worth visiting and is only a 50-minute-drive from Orlando. You can either buy the admission ticket (mobile or printed voucher) solo or one where you don’t have to worry about driving as it includes transport from and to Orlando (via GetYourGuide – safe booking)

October is an ideal time to visit the Space Center as it has fewer tourists. In particular, the shorter waiting lines make it even more enjoyable. However, try to avoid weekends, as there are more kids during that time. Also, keep in mind that you will often spend some time waiting to enter or get onto things, even during the slow days in October.

Must-see attractions:

  • Watch a rocket launch
  • See a real space shuttle
  • Go behind the gates (NASA restricted areas)
  • Take the bus tour to the Apollo/Saturn V Center

Guided tour: You can explore everything on your own, but a guided tour is highly recommended since the area is overwhelming in its size and scope.

Tampa
Busch Gardens Rollercoaster

In October, the average high temperature in Tampa is 79°F (26.1°C). It’s getting cooler as the month goes on, decreases by 6 degrees by the end of the month.

Tampa Bay’s Sun Coast offers some of Florida’s best beaches, including Clearwater Beach and St. Pete Beach. They start to become more crowded towards the final days of October when the first round of snowbirds starts to arrive back in Florida.

If you are a football fan, Florida is a good place to be in October. Tampa is home to the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers and hosts football games and events all season. Another great place for sports just a few hours north is Gainesville, as it is the site for the University of Florida, home of the Florida Gators.

Besides hitting the beaches, Tampa has some great activities to offer for the whole family. Our tips:

Busch Gardens: Tampa’s huge theme park features intriguing wildlife with more than 2000 animals from around the world, huge roller coasters, live shows, restaurants, and games. Spend a full day at Busch Gardens. Ticket reservations (mobile voucher or printed): Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Ticket & Multi-Park Options

Florida Aquarium: The Florida Aquarium is located on the southeastern edge of downtown Tampa. It’s truly fascinating and has a huge collection of marine life, with 14,000 animals, including stingrays, moray eels, and turtles. Consider 2-3 hours for your visit. October tends to have low enough crowds to not need a skip-the-line ticket. However, we prefer it a it’s more comfortable and reduces the stress of waiting in line: The Florida Aquarium Skip-the-Line Entrance

Sarasota
The Ringling Museum in Sarasota

Sarasota is a city on Florida’s Gulf Coast south of Tampa that was originally the winter home of the Ringling Brothers Circus.

Average high temperature progression during October in Sarasota:

  • Early October: 87°F (30.5°C)
  • Mid-October: 84°F (28.8°C)
  • Late October: 81°F(27.2°C)

Early Morning: It’s roughly 15°F degrees cooler in the morning (before 10 AM) in October compared to the afternoon.

Sarasota is a vibrant place with plenty of great things to do. From the white sandy beaches to golfing and shopping or nightlife activities.

The Mote Marine Laboratory, which is ideal for small children, and the historical Marie Selby Botanical Gardens are two of Sarasota’s main attractions.

Tours by bike or bus are a fantastic way to experience the city, but you can also do it on your own.

Must-see/recommended:

  • Ringling Museum: Perfect for a rainy afternoon in October

Tip: To discover the main attractions as well as the hidden neighborhoods, book a Sarasota sightseeing tour. It covers the historic downtown neighborhoods of Gillespie Park, Burns Court, Laurel Park, St. Armands Circle, and the Rosemary Design District.

Everglades

In October, the Everglades is still pretty hot, with an average high of 85°F (29.4°C) and an average low of 74°F (23°C). The rains start to taper off and thunderstorms are less common.

Please read our complete Everglades guide and find out why October is a good month to visit.

💡 October will be the last month of daily rainfall in Florida, and crowds will start to increase. Take advantage of the end of the offseason.

As wildlife starts to disperse with the rising water levels, the mornings and evenings are the best times to spot animals. The number of biting insects starts to decrease, and there are more tours starting to become available.

Miami

In October, the average temperature in Miami is 83°F (28°C). This is a wonderful month to visit as it’s the crowds are still pretty low. Hurricane season is ending, but they are still possible due to Miami’s southern location. Read more about Miami in October in our full guide.

Crowds: It’s not super busy in October due to the lower number of tourists. However, visitors should still expect decent crowds in Miami all year round due to its popularity and tropical location.

Activities: Keep in mind that there is more to experience than Miami Beach and South Beach. Our tips:

Florida Keys
The Seven Mile Bridge, Key West

The Florida Keys is hands down one of the best places to visit in Florida. Just like Miami, hurricanes are still possible and the Keys are the furthest south you can go.

In October the average temperature for the Keys is 85°F (29.4°C) and enjoys the most sunshine in the whole state, and some of the best sunset views. The waters are still very warm with temperatures at 83°F.

The Florida Keys cater to various types of travelers and there is something for everyone. This area is great for sportsmen, beach lovers, foodies, and history buffs of all ages.

Activities around the Keys

  • Key West: One of our favorites in all of Florida. It’s always warm and ideal for living the island life at its best!
  • Key Largo: Famous for being the Dive Capital of the world and being the site for the biggest artificial reef. Make sure to visit John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park during your visit.
  • Dry Tortugas National Park: The most southern National Park in the country, is the perfect place to learn about history. Take a tour to the island and learn about legends of sunken treasures, pirates, and ghostly civil war stories. Divers will also love this place because it has some of the least disturbed reefs in the whole country.
  • Snorkeling: There are countless world-class snorkeling spots all over the Florida Keys. You can take boat tours to various locations, or just walk right in the water and explore at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park.
  • Seven Mile Bridge: This is amongst the longest bridges in the world, connecting the Florida Keys islands. It was also featured in various television dramas such as Burn Notice. Drive down over the water for some of the most spectacular views of a lifetime!
  • Bahia Honda State Park: Bahia Honda State Park offers visitors an award winning beach, a historic bridge, snorkeling tours, kayak adventures, and the Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary.Keep in mind, this park will close if it gets too crowded, to protect the environment and assure visitors enjoy their time. The park is open daily from 8:00am until sunset.

Conclusion

October is an idyllic month to travel slowly through Florida. Take your time and relax without worrying about crowds, high rates, and bad weather (most of the time). Florida is great for football season, and it has dozens of ways to enjoy the harvest season, while still feeling a little like summer.

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