Spending Columbus Day in Florida? Looking for fun things to do? Whether you want theme park thrills, festivals, parades or parties, there’s plenty going on for all the family. Find out everything you need to know about spending the Columbus Day weekend in Florida including what to do, where to go, where to stay and where to play.
When is Columbus Day 2022?
Columbus Day became a federal holiday back in 1937, and for many, it means a welcome 3-day weekend each October. It usually falls on the second Monday of the month and is celebrated by most US states including Florida. In 2022, Columbus Day falls on Monday, October 10.
What exactly is it?
Columbus Day commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World on October 12, 1492. For many, the holiday is a way of both honoring Columbus’ achievements and celebrating Italian-American heritage.
During the Columbus Day weekend in Florida, visitors and residents alike can take advantage of a ton of awesome events going on for the entire weekend including parades, street parties, fireworks and weekend sales events.
Does Florida celebrate Columbus Day?
Yes, Columbus Day is a holiday in Florida, which means it is very much celebrated occasion with plenty of events, parties and festivals running over the weekend.
Who gets the day off on Columbus Day?
Columbus Day is a federal holiday which means federal workers get the day off. Federal offices will be closed, as will many banks – and the postal service doesn’t deliver mail.
Will the theme parks be really busy?
Columbus Day isn’t one of the major holidays in Florida and most crowd calendars show only a minor increase in wait times at attractions like Disney World and Universal Studios.
Most schools and businesses are open as normal on Columbus Day so you’re unlikely to see a sudden surge in crowd levels at the theme parks.
Things to do on Columbus Day weekend in Florida
Hit the theme parks
The theme parks in Orlando are open for business every day of the year, and Columbus Day is no exception. There aren’t any specific Columbus Day events, however most attractions are hosting exciting Halloween-themed entertainment through October.
There are plenty of family thrills at Disney World with special parades, spectacular fireworks displays, trick-or-treating and dance parties. There’s also the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival where you’ll find delicious food, fine wine and craft beers from more than 35 global marketplaces.
Universal Studios also offers plenty of fun through October with its award-winning Halloween Horror Nights event.
There are tons of things to do on Columbus Day weekend at Orlando’s other theme parks too. Seaworld hosts a whole load of quirky ocean-themed attractions with live shows, kids parties and trick-or-treating. Legoland Florida also has special events with lego-building areas, character meet-and-greets plus an awesome Halloween-themed fireworks show.
Shop ’til you drop
Many outlet malls offer fantastic sales events over the Columbus Day weekend. It’s a great opportunity to stock up on winter purchases at discount prices, or start some early Christmas shopping.
Some of the best shopping malls in Florida are located in Orlando, on the outskirts of the city, close to some of the region’s best vacation resorts. There are 2 Premium Outlets: one on Vineland Avenue and the other on International Drive. There’s also the Mall at Millenia near the northern end of International Drive. The largest indoor mall in Central Florida is the Florida Mall which has more than 270 stores and restaurants. Orlando is also home to the Pointe Orlando Mall, the Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores and the Winter Park Village shopping and entertainment complex.
Drink beer at Oktoberfest
Avalon park, Florida, is putting on fantastic Oktoberfest-style festival in October with live entertainment, music, a beer garden, alpine dancing, and a variety of incredible food vendors. The festival is set to take place on October 8th (Columbus Day weekend), with a preview taking place on the Friday beforehand.
Go dancing at the Daytona Blues Festival
The annual Daytona Blues Festival features dozens of up and coming artists as well as some of the biggest names in blues music. Held in the Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona Beach, the 3-day festival will take place in October and is set to bring thousands of visitors to the area for fun, sun, surf and, of course, music, with a welcome evening held the day before the event kicks off.
Relax on a beach
If you fancy soaking up some sun, then relaxing on a beach is a must-do over the Columbus Day weekend. Florida has hundreds of miles of beaches, and October is one of the best times to visit weather-wise.
If you want to make sure it’s warm enough for sunbathing, it’s a good idea to head as far south as possible. Marco Island on the southwest coast has great beaches. The city of Miami is a top choice too, home to famous beaches like South Beach and Miami Beach.
One of Florida’s best beaches is Clearwater Beach, a white-sand beach located on the Gulf Coast. There are some great beaches near Orlando too, including Daytona Beach which is home to around 23 miles of golden sands plus some of the world’s most famous resorts and attractions.
Party at a boating regatta
Sailors and party-goers alike can party ’til dawn at the Columbus Day Regatta taking place in Miami over Columbus Day weekend 2022. There’ll be boat races at Biscayne Bay, followed by a lively dinner and dance party which is open to to all.
As many as 90 boats and 500 sailors will compete during the 2-day event, with hordes expected to attend the famous after-party off Elliot Key. You’ll find a whole host of other boat parties taking place nearby too. You can check a few out here.
Join a weekend bike ride
Attracting over a thousand cyclists of all ages, the Mount Dora Bicycle Festival is an exciting 3-day weekend ride. Taking place over the Columbus Day weekend, the ride features a range of different routes, as well as food and festivities, a friendly ghost ride and crushing hill climbs.
Tee off on a top golf course
Make the most of the long Columbus Day weekend by teeing off on the never ending line-up of golf courses in Orlando. And if you opt to stay at one of the villas or condos at Reunion Resort, you’ll have access to 3 of the best.
The resort is the only destination in the world to boast 3 signature golf courses designed by the golfing legends Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson. All are award-winning courses famed for their unique and challenging layouts.
Go alligator spotting
Alligators are everywhere in Florida, but the best place to see them living in the wild is at the Everglades National Park. If you’re in Central or South Florida over the Columbus Day weekend you can easily access the Everglades, and a number of tour operators offer alligator-spotting safaris around the park’s lakes, swamps and canals.
Where to stay
If you’re spending Columbus Day weekend in Florida and you’re not sure where to stay, it makes sense to cut down on travelling time by opting for accommodation that’s close to the things you want to do.
You’ll find some fantastic vacation homes at the Encore Resort, located in a private and peaceful resort just a stone’s throw from Disney World, Orlando. Available for stays of 3 nights or more, Encore Club vacation homes work out better value for money than hotel rooms for multiple guests. They also offer more space and privacy, as well as luxury features like swimming pools, game rooms and home theatres.
There are an array of resort amenities to enjoy during your stay, including a water park, restaurants, bars, a fitness center and a clubhouse. Guests can utilize shuttle bus services to the theme parks from just outside the resort, or make the most of great value car hire available via the Top Villas concierge team.
Don’t fancy Orlando? No problem! We offer luxury vacation homes in all of the best destinations in Florida including Cape Coral, Destin, Fort Lauderdale, Marco Island and Miami, to name just a few.
If you want to book a Florida vacation and you need advice on where to head then contact us today. Additionally, our dedicated concierge team can arrange any added extras you need such as great-value car hire.