The Emerald Coast may be best known for being a top summer vacation destination due to its beautiful beaches and warm water (we get it, who doesn’t love a pontoon rental or jet ski excursion in the Florida sun?), but this area of Northwest Florida is full of fun activities, cultural events, food, arts and music throughout the year. That’s why we’ve taken the time to make a comprehensive list of all the festivals to hit during autumn in Destin and the surrounding area:
Food, Cultural & Outdoor Events
September 23 -25: Pensacola Seafood Festival
For “A Gulf Coast Experience to Taste, See, Listen, [and] Touch” check out the Pensacola Seafood Festival. This free festival will get any seafood lover’s mouth watering, as you’ll have the opportunity to taste iconic Florida and Gulf Coast cuisine with dishes like grits a ya ya, etouffee, gumbo, jambalaya, conch fritters, alligator and much more!
Not a seafood lover? Don’t worry, there will be plenty of your favorite festival fare too – from corn dogs and burgers to fresh funnel cake and kettle corn. As suggested by their tagline, this weekend-long event has more than just food! Enjoy live music, arts and crafts, and family-friendly activities while you’re there too.
Fri, Sept. 23: 11:00am – 11:00pm
Sat, Sept. 24: 10:00am – 11:00pm
Sun, Sept. 25: 11:00am – 5:00pm
October 1: Dog Daze
On the lookout for a four-legged-friendly place(opens in a new tab) to celebrate the beginning of fall this year? Look no further than Fort Walton Beach’s Dog Daze event! This day-long celebration is open to the public and their pups (6 months+) and will bring together dog trainers, groomers, vet clinics, rescue organizations and more. Enter your furry friend in the training and trick competition to show off their skills! Or just come meet the dogs and bond with other dog lovers.
9:00am – 3:00pm
October 7 - 9: Destin Seafood Festival
Can’t make it to the Pensacola Seafood Festival? Are your shrimp cravings back full-force? You’re in luck! Head over to Destin’s 44th annual Seafood Festival the second weekend of October for their version. This festival is also free of charge! And besides having the best local seafood in abundance, live music, arts, crafts and a fireworks show make this family-friendly event something for everyone to get excited about.
Look out for confirmation of times in the following weeks.
October 8: Pensacola Dragon Boat Festival
Before (or after) filling up on shrimp and funnel cake at the Destin Seafood Festival, swing by Pensacola’s Dragon Boat Festival for an exciting spectacle while up to 40 teams race in dragon boats (long, narrow canoes that seat 20 paddlers) for the title of 2022 Dragon Boat champion! If you’re feeling adventurous, team and individual registration is open and training and equipment are supplied at the event. This event is hosted by the Northeast Pensacola Sertoma Club, a service club that raises money for multiple community charities.
8:00am – 5:00pm
October 14 - 15: Taste of the Beach Festival
You are probably aware by now that Emerald Coast is an excellent foodie destination. Join the community of Pensacola in their largest culinary event of the year, the 2022 Taste of the Beach Festival. Sign up for their 4-course VIP Dinner on Friday and savor the taste of Pensacola, each course presented by a different local chef. On Saturday, in addition to plenty of food vendors there will be live music, a dance troupe performance and hermit crab race!
Fri, Oct. 14: VIP Dinner Start Times – 4:45pm; 5:30pm; 6:15pm; 7:00pm; 7:45pm
Sat, Oct. 15: 10:00am – 4:00pm
October 15: OAR Festival
Balance out all the treats you eat at Taste of the Beach with some outdoor fun! The Pensacola OAR Festival, whose mission is to “showcase paddling and outdoor experiences in the Pensacola Bay Area and provide the community with recreational opportunities”, will be that same Saturday. There will be vendors, a paddling race, educational activities, and free kayaking and paddling available!
10:00am – 2:00pm
October 14 - 16: Panama City Beach Oktoberfest
More of a pretzel and beer fan than a seafood lover? In that case, you won’t want to miss the Panama City Beach Oktoberfest for a weekend celebrating German beer, food, music and culture. Purchase your tickets online early and enjoy a discounted price!
Begins Fri, Oct. 14 at 4:00pm, ends Sun, Oct. 16 at 5:00pm
October 19 - 23: Thunder Beach Autumn Rally
There’s an event for everyone this fall on the Emerald Coast! Bring your hog and join the free multi-day biker rally located on the beautiful coastline of Panama City Beach. There will be hundreds of vendors, concerts, bike shows, pageants and an epic bike parade.
Wed, Oct. 19 – Sun, Oct 23: 9:00am – 7:00pm
October 21 - 23: Saint Markella Greek Festival
Take a break from the motorcycle madness at Panama City Beach that same weekend and hop over to Fort Walton Beach, to fill up on delicious Greek fare at the Saint Markella Greek Festival. Enjoy tasty traditional dishes, music, dancing and kid-friendly activities at this weekend long event.
Fri, Oct. 21: 4:00pm – 9:00pm
Sat, Oct 22: 11:00am – 9:00pm
Sun, Oct 23: 12:00pm – 6:00pm
Arts & Crafts Events
The end of October through November is chock-full of festivals and events on the Emerald Coast for the artists and art patrons out there! Check out one (or all!) of these exciting arts and crafts festivals and pick up a new piece for your collection, or just explore and enjoy some live music and tasty treats from a food vendor!
October 29 - 30: MKAF 27th Annual Festival of the Arts
Featuring over 60 artists, this festival culminates in a competition for cash rewards, divided into 18 different categories based on medium.
Hours: Check back in the following weeks for a confirmed schedule.
November 3 - 14: Pensacola Foo Foo Fest
This 12 day multi-event celebration features various cultural and artistic happenings around Pensacola. Some events are free to the public and some require tickets. Check the Foo Foo Fest website for more details.
Various Locations in Pensacola, Florida.
Thurs, Nov. 3rd – Mon, Nov. 14th
November 4 - 6: Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival
Enjoy art, music and other exciting performances, food and kids activities at this free weekend-long event! 15-time Grammy winner and legendary banjo player, Béla Fleck, will be a featured artist along with many other great acts.
Fri, Nov. 4 & Sat, Nov. 5: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Sun, Nov. 6: 9am – 4pm
Children’s Festival: Saturday & Sunday 10:00am – 4:00pm
November 13: Pensacola Art & Wine Festival
What could be better than a day full of art and community fun? A day full of art, community fun and wine! “Sip, stroll and shop” the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk at this Sunday festival featuring 20 local artists and over 30 wine selections.
11:00am – 4:00pm
November 13: Flutterby Arts Festival
Celebrate the Monarch Butterfly migration that comes through the area with the 29th annual Flutterby Arts Festival near Panama City Beach. This festival is perfect for kids as it has kid-centered art activities, games, live performances and a parade!
Watersound Town Center, 75 Origins Main Street, Watersound, FL 32461
10:00am – 4:00pm