• Pros and cons of a fall beach vacation


    When it comes to fall family travel, people tend to think more of apple cider than sandy shores. While there are some cons to fall beach travel, there are plenty of reasons to consider a trip to the coast - your wallet and your sanity among them.

    Cheap and easy
    How often have you arrived at your ideal beach spot after a sweltering ride in a sticky car, only to find umbrellas and beach blankets staked across the waterfront for miles? Nothing is less relaxing than trying to plant yourself among these tourists for a view of the ocean constantly impeded by human traffic. The exorbitant peak season costs and increased risk of sunburn add injury to insult.

    By October, the crowds have cleared and the air has cooled. Sweaters may be required, but few sights are grander than a sprawling ocean crashing on the shore. Walks among the driftwood with a thermos of hot coffee or hot chocolate make for a quiet, contemplative getaway. A cottage near the water in New England's Cape Cod or North Carolina coast is a cozy retreat along these windswept regions. The closer to winter, the more hauntingly beautiful these coastlines become. If you can't part with the idea of a warm fall getaway, consider Caribbean travel. Winter is the peak season, but the weather will still be gorgeous in this shoulder time. Florida, too, offers relatively temperate climates minus the usual hustle and bustle.

    No matter what you choose, though, you can be sure that the costs will be significantly lower. Discounts abound from Cape Cod to the Mayan Riviera, with travel packages and property deals dropping as much as 30 percent. Given winter's peak season in some places, it's better to take advantage sooner rather than later.

    Boarded and shuttered
    Solitude and savings are a tempting draw, but it's worth considering the cons. Fall marks hurricane season in a number of resort destinations. While a hurricane won't whip through every other day, it's worth keeping an eye on the Weather Channel before planning a trip.

    An abundance of closed businesses is something else to consider on an off-season beach trip. Many shops and restaurants take advantage of tourist booms, providing enough income to last through less lucrative seasons. If you're drawn to pulsing night life and a bevy of food options, then perhaps the off-season is not for you. Yet, less crowds afford shorter lines at local favorites that are open throughout the year. Otherwise think of your trip from an adventure travel point of view and cook in your discounted beachside cottage.

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