A great way to make the most of your Florida holiday is to coincide it with a special day or major event, or better yet, multiple. To help you narrow things down, here’s a selection of the best events, both socially distanced outside and virtual scheduled in the Sunshine State over the coming months:
Major Events (outdoors and socially distanced)
- South Florida Fair (Jan 15-31): In honour of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the theme for this year’s South Florida Fair is “An Earthy A-Fair”. Expect rides, live music, delicious food, science exhibits and competitions, including the highly anticipated pig races. This year, most acts will be outdoors and face coverings are mandatory except when you are experiencing an attraction or a ride and when you are eating and drinking.
- Boat Show Trio (Jan 15-17 and 21-24): Boating fans and those keen to check out the newest models of yacht, cruisers, speedboats and more, take to the east coast to see the Stuart Boat Show and the Island Boat Show & Festival, or head to the west coast for the Naples Boat Show.
- Manolo Valdes: The Legacy (Jan 1-May 31): The famous Spanish artist will be showcasing 18 of his larger-than-life sculptures across 12 locations over the next six months, and offering guided tours, art workshops and more.
- Brevard Renaissance Fair (Jan 16-18, 23-24, 25-27, 30 & Feb 1, 6-7): Pick a themed weekend and travel back to the 16th century to experience revelry, food and fun in the form of live reenactments, dancing and games.
- Florida Manatee Festival (Jan 16-17): Locals and holidaymakers alike will enjoy celebrating Florida’s manatees with live music, dance performances, boar tours and even live manatee viewing at the nearby Three Sisters Spring.
- Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive Audio Tour (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays): Drive the 11 mile route through the restored former farm fields of Lake Apopka North Shore and keep an eye out for native birds, turtles, alligators, bobcats, snakes and other wildlife, as well as spotting rare Florida plant species. For the full experience, be sure to also listen to The St. Johns River Water Management District audio tour via your phone.
- Kayak Amelia (Dates vary): Kayak Amelia, a coastal barrier island on the Big Talbot Island State Park is offering guided kayak tours as well as rentals for more experienced kayakers.
- Ghosts, Murders and Mayhem Segway Tour (Daily): Pensacola has years of history, mystery, folklore and legends just waiting to be discovered by segway. Tours must be booked in advance and are limited to only 6 guests.
- Night of Lights (Jan 1-31): It’s hard to miss the 20 blocks of the nation’s oldest city during holidays when it’s aglow with three million twinkling lights. See the magic for yourself on an evening stroll, harbour cruise, horse-drawn carriage or whichever way you see fit.
- Flamcam at the Everglades Wonder Gardens (Daily): Watch Amigo the Flamingo and the rest of the flamboyance go about their daily life and explore their habitat from the comfort of your own home. Log on at 8 am or 4 pm and you’ll be sure to catch the flamingos being fed.
- Fort Lauderdale Virtual Recreation Centre (Daily): Follow the city’s website and social media channels for a variety of instructor-led classes, at-home educational activities and great resources to keep the whole family entertained and informed.
- Festival of Birds (Jan 1-31): Birdwatchers and nature lovers alike will be able to enjoy a full month of speaker presentations, virtual experiences broadcast live from a Southwest Florida birding hotspot and other live-streaming nature activities.
- Dali Museum (Daily): Take a free 360 degree tour of the Dali Museum and Avant-garden to see more than 2,000 of Salador Dali’s impressive works, as well as some exclusive online exhibits and various tours, lessons, lectures, art classes and other stimulating activities for all ages.
- Live from Busch Gardens (Multiple times weekly): Although Tampa’s safari theme park is closed for the time being, Facebook fans can still see the animals and interact with the rides and exhibits virtually.
- Florida Storytelling Festival (Jan 28-31): Everyone has a story to tell, so why not listen or even tell your own in a slam contest? This unique festival celebrates the art of telling all kinds of tales and offers workshops to help budding writers find their voice.
- Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary Nighttime Feedings (Fridays and Saturdays at 7 pm and Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4 pm): Big cats have become increasingly more popular since Netflix’s Tiger King documentary, and what better place to virtually visit than a true sanctuary that doesn’t breed, trade, sell or buy residents? During Catty Shack Ranch nighttime feedings, you’ll get to meet the staff, hear a little background about the tigers and lions, see the habitat changes first hand and watch the entire feeding process.
- Mermaid Encounters (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 3-6 pm): Sister of the Sea & The Dive Bar has reintroduced mermaids to their saltwater pool and added a Live Mermaid Cam so you can watch these magical beings swim and frolic from your home.
- Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra (Fridays at 8 pm): Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra is abiding by social distancing rules and bringing joy by performing much-loved music over on their website and Facebook page.