The kids are back in school, and you are pulling out those fall decorations, the beach is probably the farthest thing from your mind. But why should it be? After Labor Day, beach towns tend to be forgotten, but there are many beaches that are even better in September and October. In autumn you can appreciate the beach without the crowds, get cheaper hotel accommodations, and enjoy mild temperatures. Check out the 10 best beaches to visit this fall!
Hilton Head, South Carolina
Enjoy South Carolina’s beautiful coast on Hilton Head Island. With 12 miles of public beach access, you have many great choices. Coligny beach is the most popular and packed during summer months, by visiting in the fall you get to bypass those crowds and take advantage of the amenities. If you golf, you’re in luck! Hilton Head Island is rated as one of the 10 best golf course resort destinations. Hilton Head also maintains fun festivals all year long; with an Italian Heritage Festival in September, a Pumpkin Patch Festival in October, and an Oyster Festival in November.
Naples, located in Southwest Florida, provides warm water year round. You won’t see any leaves changing here, but that’s a small sacrifice for an endless summer. With 70-80 degree temperatures, you can still enjoy all those exciting watersport activities. The last week of October, Naples hosts the Stone Crab Festival, Farmer Mike’s Haunted Maze, The Hallowine Walk, and The Great Pumpkin Festival. You definitely won’t miss out on those fun autumn activities, this “summer town” still knows how to celebrate fall.
Newport, Rhode Island
Escape to this New England town! Equipped with vineyards and mansions. What’s not to like? Take a stroll and visit the Newport Cliff Walk. Just because the water is not warm doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to do. In just the month of October, Newport hosts the Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival, Norman Bird Sanctuary Annual Harvest Fair, and the International Oktoberfest! Don’t forget to grab a delicious lobster roll when you’re hungry.
Tybee Island, Georgia
Steeped in Civil War history, Tybee island lies just 20minutes east of Savannah. Don’t feel guilty for pulling your kids out of school, Tybee Island is an educational trip with the perk of a beach. Visit the historic Tybee Island Lighthouse, Fort Pulaski National Monument, Battery Garland Museum, Cockspur (preserved civil war lighthouse), or the Marine Science Center.
Galveston Island, Texas
Galveston Island is a barrier island on the Texas Gulf Coast. Galveston has warm autumn weather and historic charm. Be sure to visit the Galveston Island state park which offers kayak tours, beach and surf explorations, bird walks, nature field trips and fishing.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
This is a popular fall beach spot. Northerners, Southerners, and everyone in between like to visit Virginia Beach. If you don’t mind a crowd and want a more social atmosphere, this is a good beach for young, and old alike. The VA Beach Craft Beer Festival (pictured above) is held here near the end of October. If you want a quieter atmosphere nearby, then check out the Chesapeake Bay. Visiting with kids in the fall? Head to the Hunt Club Farm for fall tours and live entertainment.
Bar Harbor, Maine
Head north to Bar Harbor, situated on Frenchman Bay. Just as beautiful in the fall as it is in summer. If you are someone that takes pleasure in gazing out at the water without having to get in it, then you belong in Bar Harbor. Endless fantastic views of leaves changing, crisp air, and a genuine feeling of autumn. If you can’t get to Bar Harbor this fall, then try for the summer. It should be on your list for best beaches to visit year round (ok maybe not winter but the other 3 seasons). Pack your cozy sweater, bring a good book, and don’t forget your camera!
Gulf Shores, Alabama
Gulf Shores is a resort city in Baldwin County, Alabama. It has white sandy beaches and soothing warm water. Gulf Shores has a family recreation center with bumper boats, and also the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. They host the Annual National Shrimp Festival in mid-October. You’ll love the fresh seafood and relaxed environment on Alabama’s gulf coast.
Located in Northwest Florida, close to Alabama is Destin. The jewel of the Emerland Coast! Destin may just spoil you for life. Known for its powdery white sand and emerald colored water. This is my family’s favorite beach destination. Destin Florida is also called “the world’s luckiest fishing village.” The entire month of October, Destin hosts a fishing tournament for locals and visitors. If you are not a fan of fishing, you can still enjoy the warm water and beach time in the beautiful Florida panhandle.
Having lived in both North Carolina and Florida, I tend to be a bit partial to southern beaches but let’s not forget about our friends on the west coast. They have some of the best beaches, too! So let’s wrap up this list with one beach on the west coast that I think is worth the trip!
La Jolla Beach, CA
La Jolla is a small beach, a few miles from San Diego. The best thing about being in Southern California is that it has mild temps year round. The water, a little cold for my taste, but loved by Californians! During autumn months you will see the locals slap on a wetsuit and surf. My favorite thing about La Jolla is not the water, but it’s magnificent cliffs (pictured above). At the La Jolla Cove, you can sit and watch the seals and sea lions. La Jolla is also a dog-friendly beach and ideal for the family.
I hope you find time to visit one of these great beaches this fall. To find out more about Naples, Florida check out my articles in Florida Travel.