Who says you can’t go to the beach in the fall — even after school starts? These beaches and beach towns are — dare we say — better in the fall, with fewer crowds and seasonal festivals and events for families.

Gulf Shores, Ala. Sure, Alabama’s Gulf Shores are a classic summer destination. But they’re just as good — if not better — in the fall, when you can enjoy outdoor adventures in slightly cooler weather. Options include bike rides or Segway tours on the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail; shopping and a Ferris wheel ride at The Wharf; and even helicopter tours! Lulu’s — one part play land, another part restaurant — is not to be missed either. (It’s owned by Jimmy Buffett’s sister, Lucy!)

South Padre Island, Texas You just have to experience Sand Castle Days in South Padre Island. The free, four-day event, which takes place every October, features stunning sand sculptures — so stunning that you’ll wonder if they’re real! We assure you they are; in fact, you can watch artists from all over the world create their masterpieces before your eyes.

Other family highlights on South Padre Island include Sea Turtle Inc., a rehabilitation center for injured or sick turtles; zip-lining and horseback riding at South Padre Island Adventure Park; and Schlitterbahn Water Park, open year-round.

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Nantucket, Mass. Head to Nantucket for the fall foliage; stay for the Cranberry Festival, which takes place each October. The event, of course, include delicious cranberry treats to sample, plus hayrides, sack races, face painting and a petting zoo. Other fall favorites on Nantucket include bike rides and family photos at Brant Point Lighthouse, located next to Children’s Beach.

Rehoboth Beach, Del. Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, is a classic beach town that’s just as good in the fall as it is in the summer! Head straight for Funland, a family-owned amusement park with affordable games, rides and food on the boardwalk. The park is open through mid-September. Another reason to visit in the fall? The annual Sea Witch Festival. The three-day event, which takes place in late- October, features parades, pumpkin carving, free outdoor movies and more. Sign us up!

Lincoln City, Ore. Did you know that Lincoln City, Oregon, is the Kite Capital of the World? The city hosts two kite festivals annually, including one in the fall. The Fall Kite Festival includes kite-making workshops for kids and photo ops galore — all free of charge. Aside from the festival, Lincoln City is great for hikes and bike rides in the fall, with several local parks on offer.

Myrtle Beach, S.C. Summer continues into fall in Myrtle Beach — so much so that that city offers an Endless Summer Festival with free entertainment, carnival rides, a children’s play area and more! Myrtle Beach’s boardwalk amusements — including the SkyWheel — also remain open in the fall. Looking for some indoor fun? Broadway at the Beach, the Hollywood Wax Museum Entertainment Center and Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Odditorium are at the ready.

Featured Photo Courtesy: Chuck Snyder via VisitSouthernDelaware.com