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'Summer Vacation' Ideas for September

Carol Sottili

Back in April, a friend told me she couldn't wait until it got warm. I told her that I never hope for summer to start, because next thing I know, it's Christmas.

Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but, of all the seasons, summer seems to pass the most quickly for me, maybe because I spend much of my time at the beach. This past weekend, I noticed that the crowds in Ocean City have already thinned considerably. College students are leaving and families are heading home to get their kids ready for school. In just a couple of weeks, another season will be over. But that may be a good thing for those who aren't tied to school schedules. Some thoughts:

*If you haven't had a summer vacation, now is the time to start haggling. It's much easier to negotiate price for those early September weeks than for weeks in July and August. Check out the rent-by-owner Web sites (Cyberrentals, Vacation Rentals, Rentalo and VRBO are a few) and start working the phones and the Internet. You may get as much as a third off the stated rates.

* Try the restaurants that are packed in summer. September is a much better time to get the best tables. Insider's tip: One restaurant that we fell in love with this summer in Ocean City is the new incarnation of the Hobbit (410-524-8100) at 81st Street on the bay. This perennial Ocean City favorite closed a couple of years ago to make way for the Rivendell condos. Now it's reopened within the condo complex with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the bay, stylish decor, great service and a stellar menu featuring top-grade seafood and beef.

*If you're a shopper, most everything at the beach goes on sale in September. That holds true for the traditional outlet malls and the quirky gift stores. My picks for best shops to spend a rainy day (both in Fenwick Island, Del.) include Fenwick Floators and Carolina Street .

* Fall is the time to enjoy nature at the beach. There are festivals and organized trips. Resources include the Audubon Naturalist Society, which offers several beach field trips; the Birding and Wildlife Festival on Virginia's Eastern Shore Sept. 18-21; and Maryland Coast Day on Assateague Island Sept. 13.

Feel free to share your tips for enjoying late summer/early fall at your favorite beach destination.

By Carol Sottili |  August 19, 2008; 2:12 PM ET  | Category:  Carol Sottili
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Not really a local destination but Cancun in September is perfect. Yes, I know hurricane season but Ive gone in Sept for many years and have never had a problem.

The weather is nice and hot, beer is cold and the summer crowds are gone.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 2:24 PM

Cape Cod in MA is lovely in September.
www.ChathamHistoricalSociety.org has a lovely exhibit of American antique wicker at the Atwood House Museum in Chatham.

Posted by: Penny | August 20, 2008 3:00 PM

I'll second the recommendation of Cape Cod in September. We are leaving August 31 for two weeks ... we were there over the 4th of July ... there were crowds but I think they were less than in other years.

September has nice weather, beaches are getting emptier ... easier to get into restaurants and everything is much more relaxed.

Posted by: peapod | August 20, 2008 4:35 PM

I whole heartedly agree, Cape Cod is magnificent in September.............and for those of you still wanting some beachtime the shores of the Great Lakes particularly Michigan is absolutely delightful. Same relaxed atmosphere now that the kids have returned to school. Another place I have visited in Sept which had amazing deals is Vegas, still warm, fabulous rates, check out www.rentalo.com for places to stay at the Cod, at the lake or in Sin City.......Rentalo.com has amazing vacation rentals, amazing prices and makes your search easy with their Smart Search and then, there is the sensory advantages -- 1024 pixel images, audio and testimonials galore. Feed your mind, feed your wallet, and when its time to travel, and its always time, visit www.rentalo.com for the best of the best in vacation travel lodging.

Posted by: TravelingInStilettos | August 22, 2008 10:06 AM

We always go visit my parents on the shore the weekend after Labor Day. Still hot (although with the wacky weather this summer, who knows!) but practically deserted! Everythign is still open, its still swimming/beach lounging weather, but none of the crowds. Its wonderful.

Posted by: Birdie | August 22, 2008 11:50 AM

We're headed to Holden Beach, NC, for the week after Labor Day. We rented a house for a lower rate because it's not peak season. Early Sept is also a great time to vacation if you don't teach or have school-aged kids because everyone is going back to school. Plus, most people have Labor Day off, so you don't have to take as many vacation days. I'm really looking forward to it.

Posted by: Sarah | August 23, 2008 1:16 PM

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