Though beach towns slow down in the fall, there are still good times to be had. Emily English, an event manager for the Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach, said fall in the area is teaming with family-friendly festivals.
“September welcomes The Wharf Uncorked Food and Wine Festival. In October, the National Shrimp Festival celebrates its 45th year. In November, scores of restaurants and breweries participate in the Oyster Cook-Off and Craft Beer Festival,” she said. “That same weekend ushers in musicians who play over a dozen nearby venues for two weeks as part of the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival. Later in November, the World Food Championships makes its Orange Beach debut.”
If the festivities aren’t enough, charter fishing boats, dolphin-sighting cruises and golf courses don’t leave with the summer crowds, English said. The warm days and cool nights of autumn are beneficial for more than just the emptier beaches.
Fall guests are growing in variety as well, with more than just empty-nesters taking advantage of the off-season. More people are staying south for the weekend, whether it be in a condo, hotel room or vacation home, for fun or for business.
“Brides and grooms who don't like to sweat may choose fall for a perfect beach wedding,” English said. “Families with young children also recognize that condo and hotel pools aren't dominated by big, school-aged kids. If you want to unwind, practice beach yoga, where breathing salty air becomes essential to success.”
Erin Tucker, a Tuscaloosa resident, owns a rental property in Rosemary Beach, Florida. The family atmosphere at Rosemary Beach was more than enough reason to invest and the family purchased their rental property, Tucked Away, in 2013 after the real estate market fell.
“I took a trip with friends to the 30A area. We drove past Rosemary and saw all the families out playing on the greens. It looked really neat,” Tucker said. “I was worried that my husband wouldn’t like it, because there are very few places to stay right on the beach (they’re very expensive). We took our first trip in 2008 and fell in love. Parked the car and barely got back in it. We biked everywhere, and played on the greens when we weren’t at the beach or in the pool. We were hooked.”
Since renting out Tucked Away, Tucker said she sees all kinds of people pass through her guestbook, including young adults and families with children. While the Tuckers rent their property out, they come back for the off-season.
“We love Rosemary in the fall. If my husband had his way, we would only go in the off-season, because it is so much less crowded and the weather is perfect,” she said. “It’s a really special place for us to get away and make great memories with the people we love and care about the most. By renting [Tucked Away], we hope other people are able to do the same thing.”
As the crowded summer season finally ends, the time to visit the beach is now. The cooler the weather gets, the cheaper it is to have some fun, English said.
“Generally speaking, lodging rates are influenced by projected occupancy, proximity to arrival date, and planned events in the area,” she said. “Shrimp festival weekend rates are likely to be higher than a random weeknight the same month. My best advice to finding great deals is to remember rates and temperatures drop together, and to call with a few dates in mind when trying to find your ideal fall beach retreat.”