Many people think that beach season ends with Labor Day. Most of us living along North Carolina's Southern Outer Banks adhere to the belief that our beach season just starts when the air starts to cool and the children go back to school.
The Crystal Coast section of the Southern Outer Banks is very fortunate to have plenty of room for people to spread out along our beaches even during the peak season. It just gets even better after the middle of September.
While we have fishermen driving on the beach for the next several months, there really are not enough them to bother even those of us who fish the surf by foot. Just about any negative thing you can think about is outweighed by the unbelievable fall weather that we often get.
I love the beautiful rocky beaches along the coast of Maine and up through the Canadian Maritimes where I onced lived. However, there is just nothing like standing in the warm Carolina surf on a September evening while watching the sun set over a beautiful beach.
Warm water and great weather make a wonderful combination. Sometimes we can add that the fish are biting. If you love beaches like me, it does not get any better than this. Well actually it can be just like this in October which makes it even better but that is another story.
I make the hike to my favorite beach, The Point at Emerald Isle, at least once a month. During spring, summer, and fall you can often find me on the beach a number of times during each month. I am not one of those people who lives near the beach and never makes time to actually get on the beach.
While there are plenty of beaches here along the North Carolina coast where you can just get out of your car and stroll a few hundred feet to the beach, I like my beaches a little on the wild side and distance from the car to the beach seems to one of the factors that makes a beach wild. Fortunately it does not take a huge hike to eliminate most people. I often joke that all you have to do is get beyond the yellow house.
However, July, August, and early September are usually pretty warm months to make the hike to my favorite beach from the parking lot at Station Street along Coast Guard Road. I am usually especially glad to make it the water or back to the air conditioned car during those months. The trip is much different on a wonderful day like September 19, 2013. The over two mile hike that I regularly make to check out my favorite fishing spots is a breeze in the fall. There are few things nicer than a hike to the beach when the air is just under eighty degrees and the water temperature is still close to that magic number.
In the summertime as you walk along the roads to the beach access you are always wishing you will get to the beach so you can get a breeze. In January you want to get back to the roads so you can get out of the cold winds. While the temperature is often right in the spring, the ocean water is usually too cold for us fishermen to wade and the fish are even less abundant in the spring That leaves fall as the perfect time for walking and standing in the surf with a fishing rod in your hand.
It is a treat to live in an area where the beach usually welcomes us with open arms all the time. When I walked along the beach the evening of September 19, 2013, I saw people swimming, relaxing in tidal pools, fishing, walking their dogs, and looking for shells. Also I did not see a single person hooked into their iPod or iPhone. Everyone was being a wave catcher. While you can escape the crowds fairly easily in the summer, this time of year there are no crowds to dodge unless you are worried about all the mullet in the surf.
Most of us here along the beach anxiously await the cooling of the ocean waters. It is not that we have anything against the really warm water which swimmers love, it is just that the water dropping to just below eighty marks the beginning of our real beach season and more importantly our favorite fish like the cooler waters and become easier to catch. On my stroll I got to see two beautiful Spanish mackerel caught.
If you have never been to the beach in the fall, you really have missed a great time to visit. Most restaurants are eager for your business and just about everyone renting accommodations has a deal for you if you are planning on a fall visit.
Our summer weather in 2013 has been truly incredible. After our damp June we have gone long stretches this summer with just blue skies. We have barely had enough wet weather to keep from watering our lawns. Our clear blue skies remind me of Canada this time of year but our warm waters are anything but Canadian.
Fortunately there will still be five or six weeks where the water is still warm enough to let you experience just about any type of Crystal Coast magic that comes to mind in the fall. Come on down and we will see you on the beach and if you need more details, our area travel guide is now available in paperback as well as in the Kindle version.
PS- Here is a link to a few more pictures taken the same evening.