Autumn is a spectacular season to be down the shore – as a matter of fact, some people say it’s their favorite beach season. The air is crisp, the sun’s still warm and the beaches (and parking!) are free. If you’re not quite ready to trade in your flip flops for snow boots, the shore is the place to be.
Now that crowds have cleared you can easily do the things you may not have been able to in high summer season. Here’s our top ten favorite things you can enjoy at the shore this fall, like find parking, get seated in a restaurant and cross the boardwalk without dodging crowds. There is so much to do now, thanks to purposeful event planning by shore towns and businesses in creating busy “shoulder seasons”, defined as the spring and fall months immediately preceding and following summer when the weather is still conducive to enjoying outdoor activities. Fun festivals and free events entice visitors to return to their favorite seaside towns and enjoy all that the shore has to offer in fall. It may be September but you still have plenty of time to soak up the sun and feel the salty sea breeze before winter’s winds begin to blow. Why not plan a daytrip or a weekend down the shore? We promise you won’t be bored. Here is our list of the Top 10 things you can do at the shore this fall:
Beachcomb. With the summer crowds gone, fall is a great time to comb the beach for sea treasures. You are more likely to find unique seashells, sea glass and other items that may have been tossed out by the ocean. This is especially true after a storm. So, grab a bucket, head to the beach and see what you can find. While you’re doing so, you can always …
Clean up the Beach. Each year, International Coastal Cleanup Day, falls on a Saturday in mid-September, but many of the south Jersey towns host beach cleanup events in October and will do so again in Spring, typically around April. These events enlist volunteers to comb the beach, dunes and water’s edge to pick up trash so that it doesn’t enter the ocean. If you want to get involved, you can check your town’s website to see when they will be hosting their fall and spring cleanup events. Your participation will help save our marine life from the devastating effects that trash has on their lives and improve the general well-being of our ocean. Of course, freeing the beach of litter doesn’t have to just occur around an organized event twice a year. You can do your part by securely throwing away all trash you make while at the beach, or take it home to dispose of there (especially on windy days to avoid it being lifted out of the can and deposited on the beach or in the water). And while you’re on your beach walk, if you see trash please pick it up – even if it’s not your own. You could even plan to bring a bag on your beach walk if you are in an area where you regularly see trash on the beach or after a storm where plastics and other ocean litter can wash ashore. If you wish to do a more organized cleanup on your own, there’s an app for that – the Ocean Conservancy developed the Clean Swell ® app to allow users to record trash clean-up efforts so that scientists can better identify trends and find solutions. For more information on what you can do to help, check out our post on “5 Things You Can Do To Protect Our Ocean”. Once you’ve done your part, you can…
Sit on the beach and relax! Cooler temps, soft sea breezes and (still) warm sunshine make the beach a perfect place to relax in the fall. As a bonus, all south Jersey beaches are now free. Now that the crowds are gone you can set up wherever you want and not have someone right in front of you. Bring a blanket and a book or just sit and watch the waves (don’t forget the sunscreen if it’s sunny!)
Ride a Bike. Remember that congested summer traffic that turned a simple bike ride into a competitive sport? Well it has waned, so riding your bike on the streets is a lot safer and more enjoyable. There is also a lot less foot traffic on boardwalks and promenades. On some days, you can ride for blocks – even the entire length – and not see another soul. So get out there and enjoy a peaceful ride!
Get Involved. Fall is when many charity organization host walks, runs, bike rides or other events to raise awareness and funds for special causes. The cool air and low humidity make this a great time of year to get some exercise for a good cause. For more information about events, see “Get Moving…For Good“.
Park for free. Many towns disable their parking meters after Labor Day and parking lot attendants close up shop. This means you can park for free – and freely – thanks to lessened crowds. What better incentive to patronize local shops and restaurants? With more funds to spend during awesome fall sales, you can get more bang for your buck. Save your quarters – and your parking stress – for next summer!
Start your Holiday Shopping (and support local business!) Our coastal towns are filled with specialty boutiques and unique stores that so why not take advantage of the fall end-of-summer sales and start your holiday shopping? Many shops close during winter, so its good to support them now before they do so. Check out the shopping events that are being held this fall featuring special sales for seaside shoppers.
Go out to Dinner. Fall is a great time to dine on the delicacies of your favorite seaside restaurants and seafood joints while they are still open for the season. Seating is much easier now, making for a nice and relaxed dining experience. You’ll be supporting local family-owned establishments who rely on your patronage for their livelihood. Bon appetit!
Turn right on red. That’s right – one of the perks of being at the shore during the off-season is the ability to turn right on red. This may not seem like a big deal until you consider that humans spend roughly 6 months of their lives at traffic lights. If you get impatient waiting at a red light for an eternity when no traffic is coming the other way, you’ll be happy to learn that between October 1 – May 1 you can turn right on red to your heart’s content!
Go to a fall festival. From seafood festivals to Oktoberfest and everything in between, each shore town has a plethora of events and activities planned this fall. Check out our list of Fall Family Festivals and Events – and then grab the family and go!
From Ocean City to Cape May, special events will continue into the holiday season. Check back soon to learn about all the holiday and winter festivities going on down the shore.