Ideas For Fall & Winter Beach Fun On The Gulf Coast

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Meyer Vacation Rentals Shares Its Top Things To Do

Summer 2018 has officially ended, but the latter part of the year is ripe with opportunities for beach fun along the Gulf Coast destinations of Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan and Orange Beach, Ala., and Perdido Key, Fla.

Numerous festivals and special events beckon visitors during a time when the weather is still warm and inviting, the beaches are a little more laid back, and the entertainment and restaurant options are abundant.

Here are some of our favorite fall festivals and activities, as suggested by the team at Meyer Vacation Rentals.

One of the most popular festivals in Gulf Shores has been held on the beach for the last 47 years. The Annual National Shrimp Festival is a four-day event to be held this year Oct. 11-14.

Attracting more than 300,000 people, the festival is held at the newly revitalized Gulf Shores Public Beach and features more than 100 hours of musical entertainment, hundreds of arts and crafts booths, and a row of 50 local and regional food vendors preparing shrimp and other dishes any way you like.

Children’s activities at the festival include an annual sand sculpture contest; the Children’s Activity Village with face painting, karaoke and more; and the Singing for Scholarships competition.

The Original German Sausage Festival, held just north of Gulf Shores beaches in the nearby town of Elberta, will be held Oct. 27.

Attracting up to 20,000 festival-goers, the event is a 40-year tradition that showcases Elberta’s famous German sausage and sauerkraut, entertainment for kids and adults, and more than 200 arts and crafts booths. You’ll also enjoy lively polka music and dancing.

The festival is a fundraiser to support the town’s needs as well as those of the Elberta Volunteer Fire Department.

For foodies, Nov. 2-3 brings the Hangout Oyster Cook-Off and Craft Beer Weekend, where visitors can taste test oysters prepared any number of ways by local, regional and celebrity chefs.

Chefs compete not only for the overall prize but also in categories including Raw, Rockefeller, Cajun, Chef’s Choice, Favorite Restaurant and Best Booth.

The weekend kicks off with the Craft Beer Festival, held from 6-11 p.m., in the courtyard at The Hangout Restaurant. All-inclusive tickets include live entertainment as well as samples from all the craft brewers showcasing their beers.

The oysters served during the festival represent the largest selections of boutique-farmed oysters from New England, the Pacific Northwest, the Mid-Atlantic, California and the Gulf Coast.

An all-star lineup of celebrity chefs offers tips and tricks on the Chef Presentation Stage: Martie Duncan, Cory Bahr and Justin Warner, Food Network; Jim Smith, Top Chef; Chris Lilly, five-time winner of Memphis in May; and Carl Ruiz, Guy’s Grocery Games.

Nov. 8-18 is a music-filled time at the beach, with the arrival of the 34th Annual Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival.

Featuring the songs of more than 200 nationally acclaimed songwriters, the festival offers seasoned and aspiring songwriters and musicians from all over the world the opportunity to play their songs and share the stories behind the lyrics.

Live music venues stretch throughout Gulf Coast beach communities and vary from art studios and grills to local churches and beach bars.

With the holidays right around the corner, Gulf Shores is a great place to visit to experience a coastal-inspired Christmas.

Get into the Christmas spirit early, with a visit to The Wharf in Orange Beach’s ice skating rink. Next to the fire station near the front of the Main Street entrance, the ice skating rink this year will be open from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Nov. 17-26, and from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Dec. 16-Jan. 1. Cost is $10 for skating; $13 for skating plus Ferris wheel; and $80 for a frequent skater pass.

Other holiday activities at The Wharf include the Holiday SPECTRA Sound and Light Spectacular, horse and carriage rides, the City of Orange Beach tree lighting, and a holiday open house.

Coastal-inspired holiday events along the Alabama Gulf Coast begin shortly after Thanksgiving and include a lighted boat parade, breakfast with Santa, the “Happy Howlidays Kid and Pet Parade,” the Merry Market, the Jingle Jubilee Kid Craft Day, the Santa Drop at the Flora-Bama, a presentation of “A Christmas Story” by the South Baldwin Community Theater, and more.

Once arriving on the Gulf Coast for end-of-year adventures, be sure to take time to travel along Alabama’s Coastal Connection National Scenic Byway, which was recently rated by CarRentals.com as among the “Best All-American Road Trip Routes.”

The scenic byway is located on the southern tip of Alabama, running from Grand Bay across the mouth of Mobile Bay, along the Gulf of Mexico and up the eastern shore of Mobile Bay to the coastal town of Daphne.

The byway runs through towns of Bayou La Batre, Dauphin Island, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Elberta, Foley, Magnolia Springs, Fairhope and Daphne. At its midpoint, the byway crosses the mouth of Mobile Bay.

The route and the waterways the route follows are significant to the state and region for the historic landmarks visitors can see along the way, such as Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines; the protected wildlife areas, such as the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge and Gulf State Park; the beautiful beaches; and a culture of working waterfronts.

Head into fall with a beach retreat. Book three or more nights in condos or four or more nights in houses and get one of those nights free when you stay now through Nov. 17 in participating properties.

Or, create a brand new holiday family tradition with a coastal-inspired vacation by booking a beach vacation at a house or condo in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach or Perdido Key. Stay seven nights at the beach anytime between now and Dec. 31, 2018, and get two nights free in participating vacation rental properties.

ABOUT MEYER VACATION RENTALS: Driven by an unwavering commitment to providing superior service and support to vacation rental property owners and vacationers, Meyer Vacation Rentals has helped hundreds of thousands of vacationers stay, play and create lifelong memories in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan and Orange Beach, Alabama, and Perdido Key, Florida, since 1967.

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Kristen McIntosh
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