Fall brings bounty, milder temps, and thinner crowds to the Destin and Fort Walton Beach. Unforgettable sunsets paint the sky in hues of blue and orange. Fish migrate through the waters below in abundance. Fall events in Destin - Fort Walton Beach, Florida are big on tradition ― and festivals. Come see why fall is a fantastically festive time to visit.
The Greek Festival is a Labor Day weekend tradition hosted at the Emerald Coast Convention Center on Okaloosa Island. Enjoy an extensive menu of traditional Greek food like spit roasted lamb, as well as desserts and drinks.
In addition to authentic Greek food, enjoy live Greek music and performances by local Greek dancers. Multiple local and national vendors showcase unique arts and crafts and goods. Also on display is knowledge about the festival planner’s 2000-year-old Greek Orthodox Christian faith, tradition, and history.
If you’re in Destin in the fall, the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village is the outdoor venue for Concerts in the Village on Thursday nights. A continuation of the summer series, the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation invites musical artists for these family-friendly evening concerts. Picnics are encouraged and food trucks serve up local cuisine to complement the performances.
The Destin Seafood Festival is one of the biggest fall events on the Emerald Coast. The three-day festival takes place on the Destin Harbor during the first weekend in October - kicking off the Destin Fishing Rodeo.
Food vendors ― many of them local restaurants ― line the Destin Harbor carnival style with fresh caught seafood that displays the bounty of “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.”
In addition to all of the amazing food, the Seafood Festival also features live entertainment, arts and crafts, and fireworks. Three separate kid zones are spread out along the boardwalk, giving families plenty to explore. The Annual Mingo Toss contest ― an old fashioned "fish throwing contest" just for kids ― is a fun photo op for parents, too.
Fishing is life in Destin. The small beach town is known as “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” so it makes sense that throughout the month of October they host the best fishing rodeo ever. Year after year, fishermen return in hopes of catching the big one.
It’s easy to get in on the action. To participate, all you need to do is contact a local captain and charter a boat for a day of fun on the water. Destin has the largest charter fishing fleet in the country, so booking a boat is a breeze.
Once you’ve got your catch, head in to AJ’s for weigh-ins. Everyone’s invited to share in the fun and excitement as anglers show off their winning catch of the day.
The Mattie Kelly Festival of the Arts provides an entire weekend of art, music, food and fun for everyone. More than 100 exhibits from artists representing countries all over the world are on display in the Cultural Arts Village, just north of Henderson Beach State Park and two miles west of Destin Commons. And more than 22 different art mediums represented, from acrylic and clay to photography and digital art.
The festival, presented by the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation also features live music, a sampling of the local culinary arts scene, and a beer and wine garden. Entertaining street performers and a kid’s art tent create a family-friendly festival feel.
From bountiful fish hauls to drawing artistic inspiration from the sea, fall events showcase all that is special about life on the water. Browse our events calendar to find your new fall tradition.