Fall events guide to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama

What’s better than 32 miles of sugar-white beaches to explore and enjoy? Not much.

But, when you add festivals of mouthwatering food, exceptional craft beer, and masterful music, you’ve got a destination perfect for the adventurer, the foodie, the art aficionado, and the person in need of a little R&R.

The Gulf Coast of Alabama invites every type of traveler, and thanks to temperate southern weather—as heavenly as the food—the autumn months are the perfect time for your next getaway. Pack your bags, include your flip-flops, and prepare for a vacation that will fill your plate in more ways than one.

Shrimp Festival (October 12–15, 2017)

This beloved festival draws visitors from far and wide to Gulf Shores in celebration of their favorite crustacean. Explore a bustling food boardwalk featuring creative and classic shrimp dishes, as well as a variety of other tempting seafood and Southern creations. Along with food, you’ll be treated to a diverse lineup of musical guests. Performances on two festival stages dazzle audiences throughout the festival.

Shopaholics will have plenty to celebrate, too. Sellers of art, jewelry, apparel, and more set up shop just steps away from the famous white-sand beach. Meet artists, find a statement piece for your home, or pick up a unique gift for the holidays. Kids can also get in on the excitement: The Shrimp Festival provides youngsters with their own brand of entertainment in the children’s activity village, including arts and crafts, music, and games.

Oyster Cook-Off and Craft Beer Weekend at The Hangout (November 3–4, 2017)

This weekend of unforgettable entertainment will have guests filled to the brim with opulent oysters prepared to perfection by chefs from across the country, including Food Network stars and James Beard award winners. Sample these Gulf delicacies in the oyster cook-off competition, or watch a rowdy oyster-shucking contest. True oyster connoisseurs won’t want to miss the popular North American Oyster Showcase where they can sample oysters from seven North American regions.

Along with oysters galore, visitors will enjoy the craft beer festival, where some of the most respected brewmasters in the biz serve up their favorite brewed concoctions. Live music performances, SEC football tailgating, and chef demonstrations are peppered throughout the weekend to create an experience you’ll want to repeat every fall.

World Food Championships (November 10–12, 2017)

Combine the thrill of competition with inventive epicurean delights you have to taste to believe, and you’ve got the World Food Championships. Contestants and fans gather from across the globe at The Wharf in Orange Beach for the world’s ultimate food sport event. In one of the few situations where the phrase “Winner winner, chicken dinner” could quite literally be true, competitors vie for a $100,000 grand prize, with entries in a variety of food categories. The gloves are off—well, for the sake of sanitation, the gloves are actually on—and the atmosphere is intense.

Visitors are treated to far beyond the average county fair cook-off. Catch the chefs in action competing for notoriety as much as dollars, while you enjoy the whimsical sights and sounds of the Wharf at Orange Beach. With a variety of activities to attend, and a price point for every budget (the Tasting Village is only $5 per ticket, and kids younger than 5 are free), this deliciously exciting event beckons the foodie in everyone to dig in.

Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival (November 9–19, 2017)

Songwriters often don’t get the glory for their talent and hard work. This 11-day festival—held in venues across the region—is dedicated to giving songwriters a spotlight, and an opportunity to share the process behind creating some of their most famous hits.

Have you ever wondered about the inspiration behind your favorite movie soundtracks or television theme songs? Songwriters will tell the stories of how their music became the soundtrack for a generation. Discover what it was like to co-write a song with Jimmy Buffet, perform on stage with rock-and-roll royalty, and write for country music’s biggest stars.

At a time of year where crowds are smaller, and the weather is blissful, the Songwriters’ Festival is a perfect complement to a relaxing Gulf Shores and Orange Beach getaway. Enjoy the performances at your leisure, while using your free time to walk along the Gulf’s picturesque beaches or indulge in mouthwatering regional food at the bevy of culinary hotspots in the area.

See how Knoxville, Tennessee, is Forever Festive.

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