If you’re a summer vacationer, we get it. The water is cool, the sun is hot and the beverages are plentiful. But, can we let you in on a little secret? Fall is actually our favorite time of year along the Emerald Coast.
While much of the rest of the country is enjoying the changing colors of the leaves and bundling up in sweatshirts, the Panhandle is oblivious — with temperatures soaring into the 80s and flip-flops still a daily wardrobe staple.
Here are a few of our favorite reasons to make an autumnal appearance in northwest Florida:
Did we mention the weather? In October, the average temperature is still in the 80s, with water temps not far behind. This means it’s still warm enough to lounge on the beach (but even more comfortable than summer) or get in the water for swimming or paddleboarding. Most beach service companies work through November as well.
Because fall is not peak season at the beach, prices are lower on just about everything, from vacation rentals to boat excursions. Lots of places, including restaurants, offer up premium perks for off-season visitors. The roads are less jam-packed, too.
Golfing the Days Away
We know most true golfers are content to go golfing any time of the year, but with some of the best weather of the year happening in September, October and November, there’s no better time to take a quick golf getaway. The Emerald Coast features some of the best golf courses around. Stay multiple days and you could find yourself at a different one each day: Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club, Regatta Bay Golf & Yacht Club, Raven Golf Club, Baytowne Golf Club, Links Golf Club, Kelly Plantation Golf Club and Indian Bayou Golf & Country Club.
We know you snagged a lot of photos during your summer beach trip, but there’s actually a scientific reason behind why the area’s best sunsets happen in the fall. Crisp, drier air (read: less humidity in the atmosphere) keeps light from scattering, making colors more vivid to the naked eye. See? That fall beach trip you’ve been planning? Consider it “scientific research.”
Going into our first fall season after COVID-19, it’s hard to say how area events might be impacted, but autumn has notoriously been one of the best times to take in everything from fishing rodeos to outdoor concerts. October is home to Destin’s famous fishing rodeo. And, communities from Panama City Beach to Miramar Beach roll out the red carpet for popular activities like the Harvest Wine & Food Festival, Friday night beach bonfires at the Royal Palm Grille, Rosemary Beach Uncorked and Concerts in the Village presented by the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation.
While it’s true you can generally visit a farmer’s market just about year-round in the Panhandle, we’d make a case that fall makes the best time to scope these out. With cooler temperatures and mild breezes, you can traverse markets in Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Grand Boulevard, Seaside and Rosemary Beach in ease to grab everything from fresh produce and baked goods to handmade jewelry and eclectic art.
What are your fall favorites along the Emerald Coast? Drop us a note below and let us know.