Summer has come and gone, but that doesn't mean you can't go to the beach! Beach towns know they are great in the fall, and to prove it, many host fall festivals and events to entice families. Think less crowds, cheaper hotel rates, and special events, all paired with fall weather and a scenic backdrop. Here are a few we love.
Neptune Festival - Virginia Beach, Va.
Virginia Beach celebrates the end of summer with a month-long, annual celebration. The Neptune Festival kicks off August 20, 2015 with the first performance in its Symphony by the Sea Concert Series. Other events include an inaugural Coastal Craft Beer Festival on Aug. 29, and the grand finale event, Boardwalk Weekend, Sept. 25 to 27. This event includes music and food and craft vendors who set up shop along the boardwalk. Other highlights of the festival include fireworks, parades, and teen programming.
Recommended Hotel: Comfort Inn & Suites Oceanfront Virginia Beach
Comfort Inn & Suites Oceanfront Virginia Beach
Bourne Scallop Fest - Cape Cod, Mass.
Visit the shores of Buzzards Bay for Scallop Fest, where local scallops are harvested from the ocean and celebrated. Other local favorites, such as lobster roll and chowder, are also served. The event takes place September 18 to 20, 2015, and features midway rides and games, live entertainment and arts and crafts. Kids also enjoy face painting, rock climbing, and obstacle courses.
Recommended Hotel: Green Harbor Resort
Green Harbor Resort
SunFest - Ocean City, Md.
Visit the boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland to enjoy SunFest, one of the biggest free crafts shows in the country. While parents will enjoy the artisans and crafters, children will like the inflatable structures and hayrides. Live entertainment is provided all day, and at night, it includes major acts (purchase tickets in advance). In 2015, the headliners are Wynonna and the Big Noise, Gin Blossoms & The Spin Doctors and Tony Orlando. The event takes place Sept. 24 to 27.
Recommended Hotel: Hilton Ocean City Oceanfront Suites
Hilton Ocean City Oceanfront Suites
Sand Castle Days - South Padre Island, Texas
Fall is actually the best time to visit South Padre Island, so join in the 28th annual celebration of Sand Castle Days, Oct. 2 to 4, 2015. Families and kids are invited to participate in amateur sandcastle building competitions, and weekend contest winners are announced on Saturday night. Live music, arts and crafts tents, and children's play areas add to the fun.
Recommended Hotel: Hilton Garden Inn South Padre Island
Hilton Garden Inn South Padre Island
National Shrimp Festival - Gulf Shores, Ala.
Visit the Gulf Shores October 8 to 11, 2015 for the National Shrimp Festival. More than 300 vendors are on hand to sell arts and crafts, as well as -- what else -- shrimp! Two stages provide continuous live entertainment, and the Children's Activity Village keeps little ones busy with arts and crafts. There is also a sand sculpture contest on Saturday -- may the best shrimp win!
Recommended Hotel: The Beach Club
The Beach Club
Kite Festival - Lincoln City, Ore.
Also named to the 10 Best Beaches for Families in 2015, Lincoln City is otherwise known as the Kite Capital, and celebrates the Lincoln City Fall Kite Festival in October. The event takes place Oct. 10 to 11, 2015, and includes kite-making workshops, show kites, a kids' parade and more.
Recommended Hotel: Pelican Shores Inn
Pelican Shores Inn
Harvestfest - Kennebunkport, Maine
Kennebunkport is home to this fall festival that features a Kidsfest just for children to enjoy games, entertainment, crafts, hayrides and a special pumpkin stroll. The event, which takes place October 10, 2015, on Short Sands York Beach, provides plenty of adult festivities, as well. Live bands, food and beverage vendors, crafters and a marketplace fill the weekend with fun.
Recommended Hotel: Hidden Pond
Cranberry Festival - Nantucket, Mass.
Ride the ferry from Cape Cod to Nantucket to witness the island's intimate, seafaring charm, and to enjoy the annual Cranberry Festival. The event takes place Saturday, October 10, 2015, and features children's events, hayrides, sheep shearing, wool spinning and sheep herding demonstrations. Of course, cranberry dishes will be featured, alongside homemade clam chowder and other traditional festival food.
Recommended Hotel: The Nantucket Hotel and Resort
The Nantucket Hotel and Resort
Sea Witch Festival - Rehoboth Beach, Del.
The Sea Witch Halloween & Fiddler's Festival takes place on Delaware's Rehoboth Beach, named one of the 10 Best Beaches for Families in 2015. Families enjoy music, a horse parade, magic shows, pumpkin carving, a costume parade, and free outdoor movies in the park at dark. The event takes place Oct. 23 to 25, 2015.
Recommended Hotel: Boardwalk Plaza Hotel
Boardwalk Plaza Hotel
Endless Summer Festival - Myrtle Beach, S.C.
North Myrtle Beach celebrates the end of summer with the Endless Summer Festival. In 2015, the event takes place on Oct. 31, and includes free entertainment from a stage on Main Street, along with carnival rides, a children's play area, arts and crafts, a car show, and plenty of festival food. The entire event is free.
Recommended Hotel: Dunes Village Resort
Dunes Village Resort
More From Family Vacation Critic:
Holiday Hotel Packages for Families
10 Magical Hotels for the Holiday Season
10 Best Fall Beach Festivals for Families
Written by Lissa Poirot
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