Summer may be coming to a close, but the party’s just getting started along Alabama’s Coastal Connection. We’re starting fall off right along Alabama’s Gulf Coast, with festivals celebrating the best things about our state: food, music and culture. Plan your next adventure along our coastal byway around one of these fun fall activities.

The 14th Annual Alabama Coastal BirdFest kicks off October 4, and it’s the perfect opportunity for nature lovers to get their fix. The festival showcases the best birding and nature-watching spots in Baldwin and Mobile counties, from Fort Morgan to Dauphin Island to Bayou La Batre and beyond. See birds, alligators, wildflowers, dolphins and a great variety of local flora and fauna in natural habitats. Registration ends September 22, so reserve your spot before it’s too late.

Foley’s annual Festival of Flavor takes place October 7, and you’ll want to be sure to wear your favorite stretchy pants. Featuring everything from food trucks to dishes prepared by world-renowned chefs, this festival is the perfect opportunity to sample some of the best bites, beer and wine around. Tickets start at $5.

Get your fill of shrimp during the 46th Annual National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores. From October 12 through 15, enjoy delicious gulf shrimp prepared every way you can imagine, live musical performances, and vendors selling original paintings, sculptures, jewelry and more. Entrance to the family-friendly festival (including kids activities) is free.

If sausage is more your thing, you’re in luck. Elberta’s German Sausage Festival takes place on October 28. Enjoy carnival rides, listen to German music, nab a few pieces of local art, and prepare to stuff yourself silly with German sausage, sauerkraut, cabbage, potato salad, goulash and more. And it’s all for a good cause. The Sausage Festival is hosted by the local volunteer fire department and benefits not only the fire department but the town itself, as well as local non-profit organizations.

In November, we’ve got the Hangout Oyster Cook-Off & Craft Beer Weekend to look forward to. On November 3 and 4, local restaurants and celebrity chefs descend upon the beach at Gulf Shores to show off what they can do with an oyster. Fill up on craft beer, fun cooking demos and live music. Tickets start at $10.

It’s a little-known fact that fall is one of the best times of year to head out along Alabama’s Coastal Connection. Which festival are you most looking forward to?