4 Best Spots to Enjoy the Fall Foliage in Florida

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Want to catch stunning fall vistas without leaving the Sunshine State?

While Florida may lack the vibrant spectrum of northern states, pockets of color still emerge across the peninsula in fall.

Read on to find the top spots to enjoy fall foliage in Florida.

Top Spots For Fall Foliage In Florida

1. Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

This expansive 21,000-acre prairie and wetlands ecosystem near Gainesville transforms as leaves change.

Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

Sweetgum, red maple, and dogwood trees line the La Chua Trail, with reflections in the sinkhole lake.

Fall bird migrations also pass through in peak season from November to December.

2. Torreya State Park

Situated along the Apalachicola River, Torreya State Park contains ravines and bluffs draped in autumn hues.

Oaks, hickories, and magnolias paint the slopes in vibrant yellows, oranges, and reds starting in November through early December.

3. Ocala National Forest

Ocala National Forest offers prime fall color, especially around scenic Clearwater Lake.

The bright blue waters of the Ocala National Park

Cypress trees and saw palmettos mix with sweetgum and maple trees painting the landscape in a fall palette.

Less crowded than parks, with hundreds of miles of trails and roads to explore foliage.

4. Everglades National Park

Vibrant red maples contrast against vast sawgrass plains as fall takes hold in Everglades National Park.

Everglades National Park trail

Take the Anhinga Trail or Eco Pond Loop where leaves cast reflections for iconic photographs. Peak colors tend to emerge from November into December.

While more understated than other regions, pockets of Florida still burst in autumnal glory.

When Does Florida's Foliage Season End?

While fall color emerges earlier in North Florida starting in October, foliage season extends into December in Central and South Florida.

Peak colors tend to occur in November.

A water bend in Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

On average, expect leaves to start dropping in early October in North Florida. Colors progress south, reaching Central Florida in early November and South Florida by late November in most years.

By mid-December, the autumnal display starts fading as days shorten and temperatures decline. Occasional cold snaps can hasten the end of foliage season.

But Florida's mild winters mean some leaves linger into the new year.

Late-changing trees like live oaks may hold onto their bronze-hued leaves into January in the warmest areas. To catch peak colors, time your visits for November.

Still, you can enjoy Florida’s extended “fall” into early winter before lush green returns.

What Engaging Activities Can You Try During Florida's Autumn?

Fall is in the air, and that means it's time to enjoy the beautiful fall colors in Florida! Here are a few ideas on how to get the most out of the season:

Go on a scenic drive.

There are plenty of scenic drives in Florida that will take you past some of the state's most colorful trees.

Withlacoochee State Trail, Florida

Check out the Withlacoochee Scenic Drive, the Ocala National Forest Scenic Byway, or the Florida Trail Scenic Highway.

Go hiking.

There are also plenty of hiking trails in Florida that are perfect for enjoying the fall colors.

Lake Lousia state trail park

Some of our favorites include the Lake Louisa State Park Trail, the Little Big Econ State Forest Trail, and the Myakka River State Park Trail.

Paddle a kayak or canoe.

If you want to get a different perspective on the fall colors, try paddling a kayak or canoe on one of Florida's many lakes or rivers.

You'll get to see the leaves up close and personal, and you might even spot some wildlife along the way.

Go horseback riding.

If you're looking for a more adventurous way to enjoy the fall colors, go horseback riding through a forest or along a trail.

You'll get to experience the beauty of the season up close, and you might even get to see some deer or other animals.

Have a picnic.

Find a perfect picnic spot under a canopy of changing maples and oaks, and enjoy a meal surrounded by the beauty of nature.

Don't forget to pack a camera so you can capture the memories!

Attend a fall festival.

There are many fall festivals and fairs held throughout Florida each year.

A fall festival in Sarasota Festival, Florida

These festivals are a great way to celebrate the season with hayrides, mazes, food, and more.

Take photos.

No matter how you choose to enjoy the fall colors in Florida, be sure to take some photos to capture the memories.

The changing leaves are truly a sight to behold, and you'll want to remember them for years to come.

So come fall, fead outdoors this fall to capture the season’s fleeting beauty!

For more of Florida's best places to visit, also read:

The Upside-Down World Of Wonderworks: Must-See In Florida

Florida’s Enchanting Sunken Gardens: A Paradise For Nature Lovers

30,000 Reasons To Visit: The Lakes In Florida

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