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11 Fun Things To Do on US Gulf Coast in October 2023 • McCool Travel

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11 Fun Things To Do on US Gulf Coast in October 2023 • McCool Travel

From the hundreds of things to do on US Gulf Coast in October 2023 we narrowed our suggestions down to the following 11 festivals and events. Cool, happy, and fun events that you expect to find on the US Gulf Coast.

October on the US Gulf Coast means cooler weather, amazing weekend events (in between college and NFL games), getting back into the swing of school and work, and preparing for the year-end holidays.

Enjoy our Fun Things To Do on US Gulf Coast in October and do let us know of other fun and cool events this month.

Cruisin’ the Coast, Coastal Mississippi, Oct 1-8, 2023

America’s Largest Block party is the most popular annual event along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Cruisin’ the Coast celebrates antique vehicles, classic cars, hot rods, nostalgic music, and more. Thirty miles of gorgeous beachfront highway becomes a week-long parade of throwback cars and vehicles driven by participants from nearly every US state and several countries.

The 27th annual Cruising’ the Coast is expected to feature maybe 10,000 official registrants along with tens of thousands of family, friends, volunteers, vendors, and spectators. There are seven designated stops in different Coastal Mississippi towns (including Biloxi, Ocean Springs, and Pass Christian) featuring dozens of live music performances, food, merchandise vendors, car auction, swap meet, and more.

Visit the event website for information. Also see our favorite Mississippi Gulf Coast Restaurants.

Ford Mustang next to soft beach sand in Coastal Mississippi
Enjoy this view of Cruising’ the Coast

Alabama Coastal BirdFest, Oct 4-7, 2023

Help identify the nearly 400 bird species at several locations in South Alabama. Alabama Coastal BirdFest participants patrol the Mobile Delta, Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuary, Fort Morgan, Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, and other locations. Sand Hill Crane Refuge in Mississippi is a new location for this year’s Alabama Coastal BirdFest.

Alabama Coastal BirdFest includes lectures, eco-tours and cruises, workshops, and a dinner with prominent keynote speaker.

Visit the fest website for information. Also see our Best Mobile Alabama Restaurants.

National Shrimp Festival, Gulf Shores AL, Oct 12-15, 2023

things to do in Gulf Shores Alabama. Article and photo by Charles McCool for McCool Travel.
Royal Reds at The Steamer in Gulf Shores Alabama

The 50th Annual National Shrimp Festival expects to draw a quarter of a million (250,000!) participants to enjoy arts and crafts, a lot of live music, and all the shrimp dishes you can imagine (and many you have not imagined).

Over 300 vendors makes the National Shrimp Festival a must-do US Gulf Coast event. And this is the 50th anniversary so be sure to attend.

Visit the event website for information. Also see our favorite Things to Do in Gulf Shores.

Festivals Acadiens et Créoles, Lafayette LA, Oct 13-15, 2023

zydeco band at Artmosphere in Lafayette
enjoy live Zydeco and Cajun music in Lafayette

Celebrate everything Cajun and Creole in mid-October at the exciting Festivals Acadiens et Créoles in Lafayette, Louisiana, the happiest city in America. Featuring the Bayou Food Festival, Louisiana Music Festival, amazing arts and crafts, road races, and cultural activities, the Festivals Acadiens et Créoles is an annual highlight for locals and visitors alike.

Six separate music sites will feature top local zydeco acts. Some of the best food in the US South will tempt your taste buds. Do not miss this event!

Visit the festival website for information. Also see our favorite Things to Do in Lafayette.

Sharktoberfest, Sarasota, Oct 14, 2023

The 2nd annual Sharktoberfest is a craft beer festival at MOTE Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota. 17 Florida craft breweries (including a couple of our favorite Florida Gulf Coast breweries) will provide beer tastings for Sharktoberfest ticket holders.

Sharktoberfest will also feature live entertainment, food vendors, commemorative glasses and merchandise, and activities from the Mote staff. Many of the breweries are also donating proceeds of sales to Mote to help preserve coral reefs.

Visit the event website for tickets and information. Also see our favorite Things to Do in Sarasota.

Chuck Fest, Lake Charles LA, Oct 14, 2023

The Chuck Fest is a popular annual event featuring all-day (noon to midnight) live music (from local performers), art vendors, fantastic food, and other activities to celebrate all things Lake Charles and Louisiana.

Join the fun and experience the Chuck Fest action in downtown Lake Charles and it is absolutely FREE.

Visit the festival website for tickets and information. Our favorite Lake Charles hotel is L’Auberge Lake Charles.

Fantasy Fest, Key West, Oct 20-29, 2023

Join up to 100,000 adult revelers in the capital of the Conch Republic for all or part of Key West’s Fantasy fest—the famous/infamous 10-day party for grown-ups. This is definitely not a family friendly event (you have been warned).

The Fantasy Fest theme for 2023 is ‘Uniforms and Unicorns” so get cracking on those costumes now. The Fantasy Fest parade is the main event but several other parades and activities are so fascinating. Enjoy the Smallest Parade in the Universe, the Beard Contest, Slumber Party, Pet Masquerade, and LUV2GLOW glow in the dark dance party until 4am.

Visit the event website for tickets and information. Also see our favorite Key West Tips.

Rougarou Fest, Houma LA, Oct 20-22, 2023

witches in costume at Rougarou Fest
Rougarou Fest in Houma Louisiana

For one of the most interesting annual events along the US Gulf Coast, and perhaps the world, make plans to visit Louisiana Bayou country and experience Rougarou Fest in Houma, Louisiana. Equal parts Halloween, Renaissance Faire, and Mardi Gras, Rougarou Fest is freaky, fun, scary, spooky, but yet very family friendly.

Rougarou Fest highlights include an amazing costume contest (several categories), Krewe Ga Rou parade, live music, Cajun food, merchandise and craft vendors (excellent souvenirs!), children activities, and more. All proceeds benefit the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center and Rougarou Fest is 100% supported by donations and volunteers.

Visit the festival website for tickets and information. Also see our favorite Things to Do in Houma.

Island Oktoberfest, Galveston, Oct 27-28, 2023

Celebrate the 40th annual Galveston Island Oktoberfest in and around the oldest German church in Texas, First Lutheran Church of Galveston. This family-friendly celebration features two live music stages, authentic German food (including a German dinner, baked goods, and vendors), arts and crafts (great gifts!), and beer and wine tastings.

Visit the event website for tickets and information. Also see our favorite Things To Do in League City.

Tampa Bay Auto Show, Oct 27-29, 2023

See hundreds of the latest vehicles and concept cars at the Florida State Fairgrounds. Test drive your dream wheels at the Tamp Bay Auto Show!

US Gulf Coast Travel tip: Advanced online tickets are 20% less than prices at the door. Seniors, Military, and First Responders pay only $8; general admission is $12.

Visit the show website for information. Also see our favorite Tampa Restaurants.

Dia de los Muertos Festival, Corpus Christi TX, Oct 28, 2023

The 16th annual Dia de los Metros Street Festival in Corpus Christi celebrates and honors the rich cultural heritage of Mexico and South Texas. The festival features live music on three stages along with the Hecho a Mano Art Expo, Kids’ Activities, art exhibitions and demonstrations, food, drinks, and more.

Visit the festival website for tickets and information. Also see Texas Gulf Coast Paddling Trails.


Please let us know of other happy, fun, and cool things to do on US Gulf Coast in October. Or any month!

See also Things to Do on US Gulf Coast in September

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