On the East Coast, many beachside towns die down after Labor Day. At least, people think they do. With our minds focusing on back to school and all that goes with it, coastal hot spots are often forgotten after the unofficial end of summer. But there's still a lot to see, do, and eat once the kids go back to school, and these nine typically summer destinations have a lot to offer lot in terms of fun, food, and off-season deals.
The “shoulder seasons” – April/May and September/October – are often considered the best times to visit these quaint beachside communities, bringing a welcome calmness to places that convert to tourist and party central for the summer. And while some places do shut down in winter, most shops, restaurants, and lodging options remain open through fall, with less congestion and better rates.
These destinations all provide something special and unique for a fall getaway – from Maine, where the best lobster pizza joint is still open, to Delaware, where you can get a limited-time pumpkin beer on tap, to Rhode Island, for a picnic-worthy fall foliage tour. Virginia Beach boasts two months of beautiful summer weather in September and October for travelers looking to extend summer a little longer. Montauk, N.Y., gives you all the beauty and fantastic restaurants that make it popular during summer but with a pleasant relaxation after the chaotic high season.
So pack up the car – it’s not too late for a road trip! Read on to choose the perfect spot for your post-summer getaway.
Block Island, R.I.
Included on The Nature Conservancy’s list of “Last Great Places,” Block Island is a quiet treasure located almost equally off the coasts of Rhode Island and Long Island’s Montauk Point, accessible only by boat or small plane. With nearly half of the island conservation land, there are abundant nature walks, hiking trails and beaches all the more peaceful after summer tourists dissipate. With weather often edging into the 70s in October, dine outside while flocks of migrating birds stop over en route to warmer climates. Don’t miss Pots and Kettles food truck for lunch between outdoor activities or Kimberly’s, where New England seafood meets Thai.
Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.
Relaxation is key on a Martha’s Vineyard trip, so the shoulder season is the perfect time for a visit. Walk the streets of Edgartown and stop at Mad Martha’s for a pumpkin ice cream cone (get it fast before it sells out!) Also check out some of the filming locations from Jaws. The Black Dog Tavern is a year-round restaurant, fantastic for any meal, with a dinner menu of standard New England favorites like chowder, lobster rolls, and clam bakes.