There’s always something happening on Florida’s Adventure Coast. From craft shows to culinary festivals to trail races, the region hosts a cornucopia of engaging festivals and events throughout the year. The Adventure Coast is also a hotspot for live music, particularly outdoor festivals where you get to enjoy the Florida sunshine. Every year the region showcases more than a dozen music festivals and concert series, from laidback blues weekends to multi-day jams offering everything from Americana to zydeco.
As you’re mapping out your travel plans for the upcoming months, consider adding these 10 exciting festivals to your itinerary.
Cooler temperatures and clear weather make fall the perfect time to mix camping and outdoor live music. The annual Camping with the Blues festival always draws an impressive lineup of acts. During the three-day jamboree, you’ll hear more than a dozen bands as you relax among the lush landscape of Sertoma Youth Ranch. The 62-acre property includes a campground with RV and tent sites, as well as bathroom and shower facilities.
Beyond the music, the alfresco event offers kid-friendly activities like face-painting and hayrides. Plus, polite pooches are also welcome at the campout.
The Adventure Coast’s most talented chefs gather at the culinary celebration known as the Taste of the Fields. The annual fall fete takes place at the NJoy Spirits Distillery, which sits on a sprawling 80-acre estate beside the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area. A culinary competition is the main event during this evening of fine food and drink. Vying for the top prize, local chefs serve up bite-sized samples of their favorite specialty dishes. Tickets are $40, and proceeds benefit the Kiwanis Empowerment Project, which funds classes on prenatal care, parenting, relationships, and other life skills for for locals mothers.
There’s something to suit every palate at Hernando Untapped, an event dedicated to craft beer and wine aficionados. The fall festival is a gathering of the region’s best brewers and vintners, offering a chance to sample the Adventure Coast’s premier artisanal beers and wines. While you’re there, you can also enjoy tasty bites from food trucks, listen to live music, and browse booths hosted by local merchants.
This annual spring shindig has something for everyone. The three-day Swamp Fest includes three days of tasty food, live music, prize raffles, and some serious shopping. The family-friendly festival draws more than a hundred different vendors that sell everything from pottery to hand-crafted jewelry to artisanal foods. Also, a fleet of food trucks will be serving festival favorites like ‘swamp dogs’ and gator-on-a-stick. When you visit, be sure to catch the costume contest, a festival highlight that’s open to ‘swamp monsters’ of all ages.
The four-day Stringbreak Music Festival is the perfect way to ring in the spring. The open-air festival includes a diverse musical line-up with everything from bluegrass to zydeco. The family-friendly event takes place on an 80-acre site that includes campsites for RVs and tents. Beyond the tunes, the festival offers activities tailored just for kids, plus an assortment of vendors with food and crafts.
Kayakers, canoers, and stand-up paddleboarders can compete in the Mermaid Chase Paddling Race.
No matter what type of paddling you prefer, you shouldn’t miss the Mermaid Chase Paddling Race. Open to kayakers, canoers, and stand-up paddleboarders, the competition showcases the Bayport-Linda Pedersen Paddling Trail, one of the Adventure Coast’s premier paddling destinations. The event also benefits regional conservation and ecological restoration projects.
The race takes participants on a 3.5-mile journey through a flourishing coastal estuary frequented by egrets, herons, and dolphins. Individual paddlers and teams of two can compete, and top finishers receive mermaid-themed medals. Naturally, a genuine mermaid from the legendary waters of Weeki Wachee Springs oversees the entire paddling celebration.
The Brooksville Blueberry Festival has been hailed as the “Best Little Festival in Florida.”
For a weekend every spring, the historic town of Brooksville plays host to one of the most beloved festivals in Florida. The two-day Brooksville Blueberry Festival has been hailed as the “Best Little Festival in Florida.” Each year, this celebration of everything blueberry transforms the town into a lively scene with musical performers, a fleet of food trucks, and more than 200 different vendors. Perfect for the whole family, the gathering includes kid-friendly entertainment, as well as delights for adults, including a beer garden with locally-brewed selections. If you love blueberries, you can sample them in just about every form imaginable. Take a stroll down Blueberry Lane to try goodies like pies, jams, and honey. You’ll even find a selection of blueberry soaps.
Looking for a memorable race experience? The Moon Over Croom offers runners a unique way to tackle the trails that wind through Withlacoochee State Forest. After the sun sets, the race route is illuminated with glow sticks, allowing runners to see the forest in a whole new light. (Racers area also required to have a headlamp or flashlight.) The competition includes three different distances: 7 miles, 14 miles, and 21 miles. After the race, the moonlit fun continues with plenty of tasty grub.
No matter the season, you can find an exciting festival on Florida’s Adventure Coast. The fair weather and natural beauty of the region make it ideal for outdoor gatherings. Whether you’re seeking a competitive challenge or you just want to enjoy great music and food, you’ll find a celebration that suits your taste. So, start pulling together the camping gear and get out the map, because it to start planning your year of festival fun.
A crowd-pleasing fall jam series, the Riverhawk Music Festival offers four straight days of live performances. Three different stages host national acts and beloved local talent, and the music ranges from Americana to rock. If you want to bring the whole family to this laid-back gathering, there will be kid-friendly entertainment, like jugglers and balloon artists. In between music sets, you can grab a bite to eat from local vendors and browse booths selling a variety of crafts.
Far from the average trail race, the Dirthead Off-Road Duathlon offers athletes a chance to combine running and mountain biking in one epic winter event. Held in the 20,000-acre Croom Tract of the Withlacoochee State Forest, the competition requires racers to ride and run along singletrack trails that weave through forests of cypress and longleaf pines. Race participants can choose from two different distance options. The ‘Middle Earth Distance,’ includes eight miles of running and 23 miles of mountain biking, while the shorter ‘Sprint Distance,’ consists of a 10-mile ride and a 3.8-mile run. The post-race celebration includes tasty eats and plenty of camaraderie.
Written by Malee Baker Oot for Matcha in partnership with Florida’s Adventure Coast.
Featured image provided by Florida’s Adventure Coast Visitors Bureau