Fall is a great time to visit the beach.
With the arrival of autumn, the crowds are gone, prices are low, and cooler temps mean you don’t have to wear a bathing suit! In fall, I love a long stroll on the shore or planting a chair in the sand and losing myself in a great book. Paired with low hotel rates and less busy restaurants, I say there’s a great argument for saving your beach vacation until fall. Here are four of the best beaches for fall.
People tend to think of Maine as a summer destination, but there’s just as many fun things to do here in the fall. The water might be a bit chilly to frolic in the waves, but there’s still plenty of water activities that don’t require getting wet. Try kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, or maybe even surfing (they make wetsuits for a reason!). If you prefer land-bound activities, a leisurely walk on the beach, a game of frisbee, or reading a book on the sand is great this time of year—less crowds means a more low-key, relaxing experience. Who doesn’t love that?
The beach isn’t the only reason to visit Maine in the fall. For foliage lovers, the colors here start to change in September, and peak in October. Love seafood? Excellent—fall is prime lobster season in Maine! And even better, Ogunquit celebrates Capriccio for two weeks every fall. This autumn celebration showcases local art, music, and hosts an annual kite flying festival.
A summer vacation in Nantucket sounds delightful to just about everyone. And because of that, crowds swell– 10,000 people live here year-round, but the populations is about five times that in the summer!– and price tags soar. Personally, I think there’s a lot a reasons to wait until fall to hit up this 19th Century whaling hub. Once the kids head back to school, this charming island calms down substantially. Stroll down quiet beaches, visit Sankaty Head Lighthouse, and tour Nantucket on bicycle (Young’s and Island Bike Co are two of a few rental companies on the island).
Fall also means there’s no need to spend an hour queued up outside the Nautilus (an Asian fusion spot with fantastic craft cocktails), and charming B&Bs, like the Brass Lantern, boast non-bank-breaking prices. With an easy ferry ride from Cape Cod, it’s an excellent choice for a fall getaway.
Hilton Head, SC
This is beach is popular year-round, but lesser so in the fall. I’d use the word “fall” loosely here; the October daytime temperatures average about 77 degrees. Not too shabby! As for most beach vacations, occupancy hits a major low in the last few months of the year (with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas). That means great hotel rates, and beautiful beaches all to yourself.
As for things to do, there’s no shortage, especially for food lovers. Oyster season kicks off in September, so if you’re into that sort of thing, there will be plenty of places to enjoy them. The Salty Dog and the Old Oyster Factory are stalwarts on the island, but for something a little hipper, try the Lucky Rooster. Here, they fry oysters in cornmeal and serve them with okra, citrus herb spice and black pepper aioli. Yum!
Traverse City, MI
With its rich blue waters, white sand dunce beaches and nothing but water on the horizon, it’s easy to see why Traverse City is called the Caribbean of the North. Autumn is a great time to explore this beautiful beach town. Due to the lake effect, daytime temperatures hover around 70 in September, which means an afternoon at the beach is much more pleasant than you’d probably expect. Brave folks are known to take a dip in Lake Michigan well into September!
If you love the fall colors (who doesn’t?), this great lakes destination offers some of the most incredible vistas for fall foliage. A great place to experience this is at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Hike or bike along the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, a 27-mile paved path. Fun fact: Chef Mario Batali summers here every year and adores their food scene. Here’s a list of his favorites.
What do you think are the best beaches for fall? Share in the comments!
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