Those with daily jobs have to go to work everyday. Weekends will give them a bit of a rest, as they gear back up for Monday!
When these people take an extended break, they want to do it at the "best time." Collectively, everyone wants to do it at a similar time frame and this creates the "tourist season" in destination towns. People don't want to visit a place if the conditions are not optimal, so no one goes when it is not perfect.
As a result, the stores and restaurants will hire more staff during the "season" and slow down or close entirely during the "off-season" since there isn't really a market to stay open for. When you arrive somewhere by boat, you might get there during the "season" and be surrounded by tons of other tourists who have descended on this area in a swarm. You will get to experience the pre-planned and orchestrated spectacle that the town has put on for its guests.
Unlike all these other guests that need to return to work after a fun-packed vacation, you get to stay, as you are on your boat and in no hurry to be anywhere. Life is an adventure and you are going to cruise through it at a very relaxed pace.
When the "season" comes to a close and the "off-season" begins, these towns will roll up their sidewalks and shut down. Maddie and I find that this is actually the best time to visit a place, as you will get to know the locals and experience what life there is really like.
We arrived in Hatteras, NC just as the season was coming to an end. It was fun going to different restaurants and walking around the town looking at the items the shops had on display. A few days later, all the stores started to shut down because the "season" was over. Restaurants would open on their last day in a blaze of glory! All items on the menu were 50% off, as they wanted to clear out their freezer before closing for the "off-season." Luckily, each of our favorite restaurants was closing on a different day, so we had the opportunity to attend the closing of each of them!
Once the party was over, the town was much quieter and only a few places stayed open. At the moment, there is a place that is open for lunch, another place open for dinner, a coffee shop, and a general market (which stocks fresh vegetables and other foods). You will soon come to know the locals, as everyone is going to be in one of these places and you can really get a feel for the true town.
The facade has come down, the makeup has been washed away, and you can see what the town is really like. Hatteras is a town of fisherman who are all welcoming and friendly! While here, we have watched and learned how to clean a fish like a machine (6 quick cuts to extract a fillet) and felt welcomed by the locals.
We are the only sailboat that has come here in a long time, so everyone knows about it. When we are talking with them and tell them that we are cruisers and we were sailing by, they will interject "Oh, you guys are the sailboat." Then they will usually offer us a ride to a neighboring town if we need supplies or parts. They have all been very helpful, but thankfully we haven't needed to go anywhere as our parts arrived by mail shortly after we got here.
I don't mean that they have offered to drive us, I mean they have offered us the keys to their car! This is someone who met us 5 minutes ago. The people in this town, truly are kind and generous people who all look out for each other and everyone in their town.
When planning your cruise, don't discount a destination because you would arrive there after the "season" has ended, or because you will arrive near the "end of the season". Value these opportunities to see and experience these places the way the locals do. You will get to see a side of these destinations that few ever even dream of!