Summer is winding down and kids are heading back to school, which means that prime beach destinations like Florida are quickly clearing out and entering their low season. Normally, a destination's slow-down time signals less-than-prime weather conditions, but Florida in the fall is ideal. While it's technically still hurricane season, in many spots, you'll still find warm waters and beautiful days with weather that can soar up into the 90s. Add to that the fact that many hotels offer discounts of 40 to 50 percent off their peak season rates, and you've got a recipe for a perfect fall getaway. Here are some of the reasons you should visit during Florida's bargain season.
1. Cheaper flights: Florida sees it's biggest tourism boom around holidays, school breaks, and in winter. People travel to get away from the snow up north, they're visiting family, or just taking a trip to get some much-needed beach time. Because of this, flight prices during these peak seasons can sometimes double (or even triple!) compared to their low season rates. For instance, round-trip flights from New York to Miami in October and November are in the low $200s right now. Compare that to round-trip flights in December, and February through April, when many schools have their Christmas and spring breaks, and you'll find rates skyrocketing to anywhere from $400 to $700. In other words, if you travel to the Sunshine State during their shoulder season, you could save anywhere from 40 to 70 percent on flights alone.
2. Fewer crowds: This comes with the territory when you hit shoulder season in any location. Beaches and resorts won't be overrun with kids or partying college students. And, unlike other destinations that have big booms in the summer with equally big lulls during off seasons, you won't see shops closing up for the year. In other words, you'll be able to hit all the best restaurants, shops, and more, just without the lines and obnoxious travelers.
3. More deals: During the low season in Florida, depending on the property, some hotels will offer discounts of 40 to 50 percent compared to peak rates. Check out some of the great deals we found for Florida this fall:
W Fort Lauderdale and The Westin Beach Resort & Spa, Fort Lauderdale: Celebrate the fall by booking a few nights in Fort Lauderdale. Stay at the W Fort Lauderdale and book their Vacation Like a VIP package – with it you'll get a room rate of $269/night, a $100 resort credit, complimentary valet parking, a $25 American Express gift card, an automatic room upgrade, and more. At the Westin in Fort Lauderdale, book the same package and you'll get a room rate starting at $209, all of the above, plus a Summer Savings booklet that has exclusive offers and discounts to the nearby Sawgrass Mills outlets. Book online here for the W and here for the Westin. The offer is only valid for stays now through September 30 and for stays of two nights or more!
Marenas Beach Resort & Spa: Less than 20 miles north of downtown Miami, you'll find 2.5 miles of uninterrupted pristine Sunny Isles shoreline. Stay in the Marenas Beach Resort & Spa with their Beach Junkie package which offers 30 percent off the lowest room rate for your entire stay (three nights or more), a $50 resort credit, and a welcome mojito. The offer is only valid for stays through September 30.
Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek: If you're looking for a top-notch resort, minutes from Disney, then you'll want to check out the Wyndham Grand in Orlando. Their Stay 3, Save 25 percent package can be booked for three or more nights from now through March 31, 2014, depending on availability. With the package you'll get deluxe accommodations and kids five and under get a free daily buffet breakfast at Tesoro Cove, an on-site restaurant. Click here to book.
Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort: On the West Coast of Florida, enjoy warmer waters in the Gulf and a sweet deal at the Marco Island Marriott. Book their Endless Summer Special and get a $50 resort credit each night you stay (cannot be applied toward the room rate) and a room upgrade when you check in; nightly rates start at $199. Book by September 28 for travel through October 31 and you could save as much as 40 percent on regular rates.