With autumn rolling in, you've probably shelved all your plans to hit the beach until next year. It's time to rethink retiring all your swimsuits and shorts until 2020 because there's one upcoming festival that's calling you and all your beach gear. The National Shrimp Festival has all the seafood and beach you need to keep you satisfied until summertime comes back around. 

The 48th National Shrimp Festival isn't just a celebration of this one mouthwatering sea critter, but rather every drool-worthy under the sea creature. The beach bash takes place in Gulf Shores, Alabama, so it's the perfect opportunity to hit the road with your friends. 

Around 250,000 people will flock to the shores from Oct. 10 to Oct. 13 to experience the best food that the South has to offer. You can expect to be surrounded by the aromas of crab cakes, conch fritters, lobster and cajun pistols. (For those who don't know about cajun pistols, it's a crawfish stuffed beignet that will turn into your absolute fave.)

You know your food will be top-notch because several restaurants are competing for a spot in the World Food Championship, and you get to sample their eats.  

There's more to the festival than just food too. You'll be amazed at the crafts and creations from local vendors as well. You'll definitely want to leave room in your suitcase to take home some original artwork that's completely unique to the festival. There are over 300 vendors so you're bound to find something you love. 

You can burn some of those calories you eat while jamming out to the live music each night. There's everything from Rock to Country to please everyone. 

Take the money you expected to spend on festival admission and put it towards a beachfront hotel because admission is completely free. 

If you're a fan of more road trips with your BFFs, you should hit the Wine Over Water Festival or Neversink Pit

 

Annual Shrimp Festival 

Price: Free!

When: Oct. 10-13

Address: Gulf Shores Pkwy, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Why You Need To Go: You'll be able to chow down on the freshest seafood and cool down in the waves at this beach fest. 

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