To many, Florida is the land of sun, sand, surf, standing in line at theme parks, and swamps.

To others, Florida is a collection of small towns, lazy seaside hideaways, and friendly neighbors who are always going out of their way to show how much they love where they live. That’s the Florida you can’t miss.

Towns all over this great state hold annual events to showcase what makes them special, and to have a whole lot of fun. Whether it’s a worm racing competition (seriously) or a tribute to two delicious culinary staples, there’s something brewing here almost every weekend.

We combed through all the annual events and festivals in Florida to curate our list of favorites. We highly recommend stopping in to any of our award-winners on your next trip to the Sunshine State. You won’t regret it!

Florida’s 12 Best Annual Events

Gasparilla Pirate Fest || Tampa

Photo courtesy of: gasparillapiratefest.com

About the festival: The Parade of Pirates is known as the 3rd largest parade in the U.S. They have many pirate themed events along with food, entertainment and music. This is an event in Tampa you will not want to miss. 

Worm Gruntin’ Festival || Sopchoppy

Photo courtesy of: wormgruntinfestival.com

About the festival: This local event draws a large crowd. It starts with a 5k, there is also live music and worm competitions to be seen. There are also local artists to check out. — visitwakulla.com

Flora-Bama Mullet Toss || Pensacola

About the festival: This legendary event is a big party that you will want to attend every year. This huge beach party is an event people travel to from all over. The Mullet Toss is of course the main event. Participants throw the mullet over the state line to see who can get it the farthest.

Florida Folk Festival || White Springs

Photo courtesy of: floridastateparks.org

About the festival: This three-day celebration has a wide variety of heritage themed music, food and crafts. The performances are meaningful and plentiful.

Winterfest Boat Parade || Fort Lauderdale

Photo courtesy of: Winterfest Boat Parade Facebook Page

About the festival: This water festival is based at the Seminole Hard Rock. The decorated boats are amazing and extravagant. It’s a party you will never forget!

Jazz in the Gardens Music Fest || Miami Gardens

Photo courtesy of: jazzinthegardens.com

About the festival: Having 13 years of history under its belt, Jazz in the Gardens celebrates diversity, culture and art through various genres of music. Event-goers find themselves entrenched in the rich beats and musical stylings that vibrate from the stage.

Wellington Bacon and Bourbon Festival || Wellington

Photo courtesy of: baconbourbonfest.com

About the festival: Bourbon and bacon I’m sure you can’t find a better combination! The extensive menu showcasing these ingredients pushes boundaries and is incredible.

Island Hopper Songwriter Fest || Captiva/Fort Myers

Photo courtesy of: island-hopper.fortmyers-sanibel.com

About the festival: This songwriter festival is 10 days of music and fun. The well-known music is played on the beaches by songwriters and is something special.

Sugar Sand Festival || Clearwater Beach

Photo courtesy of: sugarsandfestival.com

About the festival: This amazing 10-day beach celebration showcases the sand and sunsets with performers, fireworks, live entertainment, crafts and much more!

Florida Strawberry Festival || Plant City

Photo courtesy of: flstrawberryfestival.com

About the festival: The Strawberry Festival is an 11-day celebration of the strawberry harvest. They have shows, entertainment, exhibits and of course strawberry desserts. Yum!

Frog Leg Festival || Fellsmere

Photo courtesy of: Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival Facebook Page

About the festival: This festival serves up frog legs and gators by the pounds. There are many dinners served and typically over 80,000 people in attendance.

Florida Heritage Book Festival || St. Augustine

About the festival: Enjoy a FREE celebration of writers and book lovers, a full day of free literary events in the heart of the Ancient City. Meet best selling authors. Hear author’s presentations. There is also a marketplace and other fun things to do!

Author

Hi, I'm Paul, I'm a travel writer and I love everything about the salt life. I grew up in the northeast, but we visited family in Florida often ... and I was hooked! I've been writing about the Sunshine State for two decades. I enjoy helping travelers find the best places to stay, to eat, and to play in Florida.