The month of October, especially, is full of opportunities to explore festivals like the Alabama Coastal Birdfest, the Festival of Flavor, the Annual National Shrimp Festival and fun fall activities like corn mazes, hayrides and pumpkin patches.
Alabama Coastal BirdFestBird lovers rejoice in the annual John L. Borom Alabama Coastal Birdfest, which is held every October.
A series of workshops dives deep into the lives of coastal birds, presenting an overview of habitat, food and migration. You'll also learn how you can enhance your bird watching experiences during BirdFest and beyond.
Festival events also take bird lovers on a variety of excursions and in the past have include visits to the following spots:
o Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
o Bayou La Batre, Forever Wild Grand Bay Savanna, Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Point aux Pins
o Mobile Bay, DISL Research Vessel Alabama Discovery Cruise
o Blakeley Island Mud Ponds & Battleship Park
o Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve/Weeks Bay Explorer Cruise
o Lagan Park & Environmental Study Center
o Eagle’s Nest Kayak Tour
o Weeks Bay Paddle
o Bon Secour River EcoCruise
o Alligator Alley Adventure
o Weeks Bay Sunset Cruise
Annual Festival Of FlavorThe Festival of Flavor is another fun option held each October in downtown Foley. The festival celebrates local and regional foods and is a qualifying event for a Golden ticket to the World Food Championships – The Ultimate Food Fight Experience.
A highlight of the Festival of Flavor is the annual farm-to-table dinner, a ticketed event that kicks off the festival, happening about two weeks before the actual festival weekend. The dinner features a special arrangement of expertly prepared foods for guests who purchase tickets to the meal.
In addition to the food displays and dinners, there are also a number of street vendors on hand to show off crafts and other works of art. Jazz performers and similar live entertainment provide the perfect background music for a relaxing day at the festival. Face painting and other kid-friendly displays are planned as part of the festival.
The Festival of Flavor is open to the public. The festival will have sample tastes not only from competing chefs but also from local breweries, wineries, restaurants, mom-and-pop shops and much more.
Annual National Shrimp Festival
Free to attend, the festival was started in 1971 and today draws more than 250,000 people to the main Gulf Shores Public Beach area to browse exhibits, arts and crafts vendors, enjoy live music, enjoy kids’ interactive games and, best of all, indulge in the astounding variety of shrimp dishes. Those who don’t like shrimp will be able to enjoy foods like chicken, burgers, pizza, hot dogs, pasta, salads, nachos and even the now famous Cajun Pistol!
Kids are given the royal treatment at the Children’s Activity Village. The area features a sand sculpture contest on Saturday, interactive games, make-and-take arts and crafts, face painting, kids’ musical and dance performances, and more.
Locals weigh in on how to make the most of the Shrimp Festival experience.
Bring your best friends down to the beach for the weekend and reserve a three-bedroom condo in Orange Beach.
There are shuttle stops along the way making it easy to catch a ride to the festival site at your convenience.
Or, if the whole family would like to enjoy the festival, which is consistently rated among the top festivals in the country, consider a five-bedroom house in Gulf Shores.
There are plenty of conveniently located beach vacation rental options to suit every taste and size of group in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach and Perdido Key.
See our Shrimp Festival deals and specials here.
The Original German Sausage FestivalAnnually attracting an estimated 30,000 visitors, the Original German Sausage Festival is always held the last Saturday in October and March in Elberta.
The festival is a town fundraiser spearheaded by the Elberta Volunteer Fire Department. Proceeds are used for improving the operations of the fire department as well as the quaint German heritage town located a few miles north of the beach.
Festival organizers sell about 7,000 pounds of German Sausage (with or without sauerkraut – your choice!) at each festival as well as German-inspired and American foods such as cabbage, potato salad, goulash, red beans and rice, hamburgers, hot dogs, barbecue, ice cream, popcorn and peanuts.
Vendors at the festival feature everything from homemade crafts and jewelry to art and even clothing. Music is a big part of the festival, with polka, country, contemporary and German music entertaining festivalgoers. Don’t be surprised if you are invited to join in the dancing fun during for a Waltz or the Schuhplattler!
More October DelightsIn the weeks leading up to Halloween, the Gulf Coast area comes alive with opportunities to celebrate fall.
For example, the Magnolia Corn Maze this year will celebrate its eighth year as a fun local attraction.
Open in October and November, the Magnolia Corn Maze is located at Magnolia Farms, a few miles north of the Gulf Shores beaches.
Families can enjoy
o 2 challenging corn mazes
o A hayride and cow train
o A petting zoo, pig race and pony rides
o Knocker ball
o Jump pad
o Bazooka ball
o Corn cannons and duck races
o Parties and campfires
o Playground areas for all ages
o Zombie paintball and the Field of Terror
All Aboard The Pumpkin Patch ExpressOpen in September and October, the Wales West Light Railway invites visitors to board the authentic steam train to the kid-friendly pumpkin patch or the haunted barn maze.
Kids will enjoy Wales West’s mini train ride, hayride, refreshments, bounce house, pumpkin cannon, petting zoo and pony rides, café and gift shop.
Kids can also select their own pumpkin at other local pumpkin patches, including Hillcrest Farm, Magnolia Farms and Sanders Pumpkin Patch, for example.
If you’re going to be at the beach over Halloween, there are numerous neighborhoods that love opening their doors to trick-or-treating kids.