7 Reasons to Beach it in the Off Season
Looking for your best winter vacation ever? Head to an off-season beach. With 11 out of 16 Southern states touching saltwater, we have all kinds of sand and surf to choose from. And given the big leaps in temps as you travel from, say, Rehoboth Beach in Delaware to the Florida Keys, it can be high season on one shore and off-season on another. Mid-Atlantic beaches, as well as the Outer Banks and the Gulf beaches of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Northern Florida, attract more sunbathers in the summertime. But in toasty South Florida, the high season runs from December to Easter. Off-season winter beach vacations work out well for travelers because they can offer deep discounts. (Also check out “shoulder season,” which falls between the high and low seasons.) That pricey resort that was totally out of reach just a few months ago might suit your piggy bank just fine now. Need more reasons to toss some Hawaiian Tropic into a bag and take off on a winter vacation? We’ve got ’em:
No Lines, No Waiting
Say goodbye to traffic and crowds. Go there when everybody else isn’t, and you’ll have the run of the place. (Check local websites to make sure the weather’s still good and restaurants, etc., are open.)
Spectacular 30A Sunsets Over the Gulf
In high summer months, the sun doesn’t set over the water, but in the fall it does. We know. “East is east and west is west,” but somehow the sunset moves. Most of the time, we’re too busy taking iPhone pics of those spectacular colors to figure out why they’re there.
In the Lower South and some Mid-Atlantic communities, the beaches are generally still warm, but not hot—jacket weather in some spots and short-sleeve weather in others. “We like to call this time of year summer’s encore!” says Hannah Burnsed, communications coordinator for Tybee Island, Georgia. “The hotels and vacation rentals have low rates, and the weather is beautiful.”
During the months when traffic drops off, many beach destinations hold festivals and fairs to draw tourists back. Check out the calendar on your favorite beach’s website. In November, for example, the Mississippi Gulf Coast will offer the 38th Annual Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival in Ocean Springs; there will be tons of live music and other events on 30A in the Florida Panhandle; and Jekyll Island, Georgia, opens its synthetic “ice” skating rink November 19-January 8.
Deals, Deals, Deals
Mall? What Mall?
Wouldn’t you rather stroll cool coastal boutiques and galleries to mark those names off your list instead of fighting for a parking space at the neighborhood mega-mall?
Christmas at the Beach is a Hoot
Picture Santas on surfboards, twinkling lights in palm trees, shrimp and grits for breakfast . . . Where else can you hang ten and ho, ho, ho?