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4 Lesser-Known East Coast Towns to Visit This Fall

Embrace beautiful scenery, lively festivals and few crowds in these locales.

U.S. News & World Report

4 Lesser-Known East Coast Towns to Visit This Fall

North Carolina Sunset. Looking out over the Currituck Sound

At these underrated spots, you can soak up the great outdoors, stroll along secluded sands and take advantage of seasonal promotions.(Getty Images).

With the kids back in school, trendy restaurants suddenly opening up available reservations and crisper, cooler weather, autumn is an ideal time to plan a quick weekend jaunt. Some resort-centric towns even drop room rates, allowing travelers to enjoy secluded beaches at a fraction of the peak-season cost. Without further ado, here are four choice East Coast places to consider visiting this fall.

Duck, North Carolina

Duck, a resort town in the Outer Banks, has an impressive roster of great beaches, water sports and outdoor adventures. Plus, in autumn, you can attend the nationally recognized Duck Jazz Festival, enjoy fine dining minus heavy crowds and revel in warm weather. Bounded by the Currituck Sound to the west, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, visitors delight in kayaking, jet skiing, fishing and other outdoor pastimes. The beaches afford great shelling opportunities, especially in the fall. Some local restaurants offer open-air dining and most of the town's shops and restaurants are connected by the Duck Trail that runs the entire length of the town parallel to Highway 12 or by the boardwalk, which offers premium views of the Currituck Sound. Despite recent growth in the past few years, Duck still feels like a charming resort town. And in fall, you can take advantage of offseason rates. For example, the Sanderling Resort has special promotions through October, including a free third night for two-night stays in September and October.

Amelia Island, Florida

Located off the coast of northeast Florida, Amelia Island offers stunning natural surroundings and an illustrious past. Its beautiful beaches, abundant wildlife and pristine waters have made the island a favorite destination for outdoor adventure lovers. And with historic districts, charming inns, bed-and-breakfasts, upscale resorts with world-class spas, championship golf courses and top-notch dining, the area beckons to those seeking a relaxing getaway. In September, you'll also find picture-perfect weather conditions, with temperatures hovering in the 70s and 80s. The island is also home to Fernandina Beach, a vibrant Victorian seaport village that's transitioned into a charming downtown district of eclectic shops, attractions and eateries. Settle in at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island where you'll find a blend of Southern and seaside charm, along with a tranquil beach, an expansive pool area and Salt, the property's signature restaurant, which features changing seasonal menus, a top-tier wine collection and salts from around the world. If you're looking to splurge, book a room on the Club Level, where you can expect genuine hospitality and five meal presentations daily.

Wareham, Massachusetts

A gateway town to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Wareham offers 54 miles of coastline. For recreation, there are paddleboard and kayak rentals available from Nemasket Kayak Center, which also offers lessons and guided tours. Power boat rentals are available through Atlantic Boats, whose Stonebridge Marina also features ones of the area's best restaurants. The destination also offers easy access to the historic attractions of Plymouth, Massachusetts, which is just an hourlong drive from Providence, Rhode Island and Boston. For harvest-season enthusiasts, the area's cranberry harvest starts in September. At this time of year, you can find cranberry-themed gifts, sandwiches and even Friday night dinners available at Makepeace Farms. Plus, the Cape Cod Scallop Festival, now in its 47th year, takes place from Sept. 23-25. Speaking of seafood, don't skip Lindsey's Family Restaurant to chow down delicious seafood in a casual atmosphere. As for lodging, give the new TownePlace Suites Wareham Buzzards Bay a try. With kitchenettes, free breakfast and complimentary Wi-Fi, the hotel is an ideal choice for price-sensitive visitors.

Atlantic City, New Jersey

September marks an ideal time to visit Atlantic City. The weather is typically warm and humidity-free at this time of year, making it a great time for beachgoers and water sports enthusiasts to plan a trip. Don't skip walking the iconic Boardwalk or checking out the Miss America Competition on September 11, 2016, which is preceded by three nights of preliminary competitions and the Miss America "Show Me Your Shoes" Parade. Plus, top-tier entertainment acts and big events in Atlantic City take place through the end of the month. As for accommodations, you'll find hotel rates are lower than peak season -- particularly on weekdays. At the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, you'll find ample shops, an on-site casino and The Water Club, an 800-room hotel featuring high-caliber entertainment, celebrity chef restaurants, lavishly appointed guestrooms and exciting nightlife options all under one roof. What's more, Atlantic City's jitneys (buses that carry up to 13-passengers) provide easy access to the boardwalk from the Borgata for just $2.25 per trip.

About En Route

Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.

Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.

Edited by Liz Weiss.

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