Fall might not seem like prime beach-going time, but there’s more to the sea than just sunbathing. Seaside towns around the world are at their best during the season, when summer’s crowds have subsided, the weather is usually mild, and activities (marathons! whales! surfing!) are abundant. Check out our list below and plan your fall seaside getaway -- you’ll never see the beach the same way again.
1. Portland, Maine
Don your chunky fisherman sweater and get thee to Portland, quite possibly the most quintessential American seaside town. Despite a recent influx of hip eateries and shopping, Portland still retains its roots in New England charm. There’s no better place to enjoy a seaside lobster roll and a local microbrew.
A Value Hotel Pick:
2. Pula, Sardinia, Italy
Described as the most beautiful town in Sardinia, Pula is a hidden gem along the southern coast. The hordes of European tourists have taken off by the time fall rolls around, leaving visitors with unspoiled beaches and magnificent dunes. Pula is also home to Nora, an archaeological site that is famous for a well preserved Roman amphitheater situated right along the sea.
A Luxury Hotel Pick:
3. Laguna Beach, California
There’s never a wrong time to visit Southern California, but Orange County in the fall is exceptionally pleasant -- the weather is warm, the ocean is calm, and the skies are bright blue almost every day. The lack of crowds means that beaches are less crowded, traffic along the jammed Pacific Coast Highway is much more bearable, and even the most popular restaurants are easier to get into. October is also the time when the blue whales make their way along the coast, heading to Mexico for the winter. Laguna Beach’s Crescent Bay Point and Heisler Park offer prime viewing for those hoping to catch a glimpse of the migration.
A Romantic Hotel Pick:
4. Goa, India
India’s monsoon season ends in October, making early fall a prime time for visiting Goa. The southern part of the region is home to quieter beaches and slightly less humidity, whereas the north will delight party animals, with happening beaches, watersports, and vibrant nightlife. Whichever area you choose, Goa is also home to beautiful Portuguese-inspired architecture and delectable Goan cuisine, which primarily relies on the abundant fresh seafood.
A Luxury Hotel Pick:
5. Lahaina, Hawaii
Maui makes for a truly enjoyable trip in the fall. Summer’s crowds have subsided, and the island is rich with cultural festivals and activities, such as the Maui Ukulele Festival and the Maui Marathon. Whale watching cruises usually begin in mid-November and run through spring.
A Beachfront Hotel Pick:
6. Playa Grande, Costa Rica
Fall marks the end of Costa Rica’s low season and thus a great time to travel before winter’s crowds descend! Hotels and car rentals are much cheaper, and the tail end of the country’s rainy season means that the surrounding jungle is lush and green. Guanacaste, where Playa Grande is located, is one of the driest parts of the country, basically ensuring that your visit won’t be a washout. Playa Grande is part of Las Baulas National Park, where visitors can witness leatherback turtles nesting at night from October to May. During the day, the beach offers some of the best surfing swells in the country and is much less crowded than neighboring Tamarindo.
A Boutique Hotel Pick:
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