14 Beaches That Are Better in the Fall
Who says beach season ends on Labor Day? Once September hits, beach destinations around the country experience a drop in tourists and prices, even as temperatures stay balmy. Here’s where to hit the beach this fall.
Kohala Coast, the Big Island, Hawaii
There’s no reason to wait until high season (December to March) to visit this tropical paradise: The weather is great, the summer crowds are gone, and the prices are low in fall. In addition, the water off the island’s many gorgeous beaches, including Hapuna Beach and the Kohala Coast on the island’s west side, remains calmer before the big waves of winter’s surfing season. Although the rainy season starts up in November, visitors early in the month can catch the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival. If you want to stay at an oceanfront property, check out the savings at the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort. But first, find out the 11 things to know before you book that Hawaii vacation.
Orange Beach, Alabama
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Gulf Shores’ more mellow cousin gets even mellower in fall once the kids have gone back to school. The steamy Southern weather isn’t quite so stifling but still remains warm for swimming—at least into October—and hotel prices drop as well. Spread out along this stunning stretch of white sand without other tourists to cramp your style, and enjoy more comfortable temps for off-beach activities such as golf, biking, or nature walks in Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail. Late fall visitors can enjoy the 35th annual Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival, which welcomes aspiring musicians in mid-November. Get a great fall rate and easy beach access at the Best Western Premier Tides Hotel.
With miles upon miles of beaches, Nantucket might seem like just a summer spot. After all, this island off Cape Cod does have one of the most beautiful seaside towns in America. But getting a table at a great restaurant in peak season can be hard time to come by, and hotel prices are sky-high. Fall offers a more easygoing time to visit this in-demand destination, so you can actually enjoy it without the sticker shock. Fall Restaurant Week in late September/early October offers patrons the chance to sample scrumptious fare at reduced prices. Autumn activities on the island also include start of scallop season with “family scalloping,” a Nantucket tradition in which non-commercial harvesters with a permit can gather their own in October; and the Cranberry Festival, in which you can actually don some waders and harvest berries in the bog. Then, head to Madaket Beach to enjoy the sunset. We found slashed rates at the Brass Lantern Inn.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Virginia is for dog lovers in the fall: The restrictions on locations and times for pets are relaxed, allowing furry friends to play on the beach off-leash and walk the boardwalk on a leash all day long. And although the summer crowds have died down, late September’s Neptune Festival keeps things going with live music, an arts and crafts show, sand sculpting, a parade, a volleyball tournament, and a regatta. In October, brew lovers can check out the Virginia Beach Craft Beer Festival. Plus, visitors can get great fall rates at hotels like the Comfort Suites Beachfront.