Just because summer comes to an end doesn’t mean your travel plans should go on hold. In fact, Fall is actually one of the best time to plan a vacation – for many reasons. First, kids are back in school so crowds are down, shoulder season prices make it affordable, the oppressive heat has given way to comfortable temperatures, and the colors can be breathtaking. Many destinations top our personal list as the best places to visit in the Fall, so for this post, we asked our fellow “travel nuts” to share their favorites! We’re happy to see so many great contributions — and we definitely agree with their recommendations. So check them out!
Golden Season in the Colorado Rockies
Autumn in the Colorado Rockies is the golden season. While the mountains don’t have the range of deciduous trees found on the plains or the East Coast, there are vast tracts of tall aspen trees along the mountainsides which all turn their leaves bright yellow. Often referred to as “quaking aspens” because of the way their slim branches shake in the breeze, they cause the mountains to shimmer with rustling gold in the fall.
By now, fresh snow has fallen on the mountain peaks and makes a beautiful background contrasted against the colored leaves. Depending on the temperature and moisture, some years the aspen leaves turn from yellow to a deep orange. Fall is elk rutting season, when the males clash their massive antlers and bellow into the mountain valleys, fighting for breeding rights. Bears hibernate and other mammals grow their thick winter coats. There are many small ghost towns from the gold mining era in the Rockies, and they also make lovely backdrops for the stands of yellow aspen. Autumn is often sunny with deep blue skies, just to complete the canvas of bold colors.
Cozy Up in Vancouver
Everyone visits Vancouver in Canada in summer and I can sympathise with that choice. The sun shines and the beaches are buzzing however a trip to this British Columbian city in fall should not be disregarded. Vancouver is cozy in autumn – the leaves are turning all shades of green, red, orange, and yellow. A stroll around Stanley Park with the waves lapping is energising. There is also so much craft beer to be consumed in every neighbourhood and plenty of cakes to be eaten at Granville Market so you have an excuse to go indoors if it rains! We were actually very lucky with an Indian summer which allowed us to pedal around the Sea Wall a few times before winter set in! Check out more Vancouver tips and neighbourhood information!
A More Pleasant Time to Enjoy Rome, Italy
Rome is, without a doubt, one of the world’s greatest cities.
Yet, Rome’s cultural wealth also means that the city is one of the most touristy places on Earth. Every summer, so many travelers from around the world flock to Rome, that the crowds can be unbearable. To make matters worse, the popular summer season can be stiflingly hot and muggy.
Growing up, I never fully appreciated Rome’s beauty, because I always visited the city in the heat of the summer—when the weather was suffocating and the crowds were overwhelming.
It wasn’t until I spent time in Rome during the fall, that I fully appreciated the Eternal City’s cultural vibrance and wealth of attractions.
Exploring Rome in autumn allows visitors to enjoy the city’s aesthetic beauty and cultural treasures without the stifling heat. And while the Autumn weather is balmy and beautiful, the notorious crowds have already begun to thin, meaning travelers can enjoy the Colosseum, Pantheon and Roman Forum with fewer tour groups and selfie sticks standing in the way.
Classic Fall Colors in One of New York’s State Parks
Fall is the perfect time to visit New York State, especially if you go to one of its many beautiful state parks. The humid summer has finally faded, and a cool autumn breeze complements the still-shining sun. Harriman State Park is a beautiful wonderland just one hour outside of New York City, accessible via public transit from Penn Station. There are several trails you can take in the park of varying difficulty, but all will offer stunning views of the beautiful fall colors that the Northeastern United States is famous for. There is also a gorgeous lake in the middle of the park ringed with trees of many different colors, as well as peaks that offer 360 degree vistas of the changing leaves around you. Harriman State Park is surely a beauty any time of year, but there really is no better time than fall to enjoy all it has to offer.
The Essence of Autumn in Budapest, Hungary
Budapest has a certain warm feeling that can make even a rainy day feel good! I fell in love with the old vintage atmosphere that makes you feel cozy and at home. After the long summer vacations you will definitely need something budget friendly and Budapest is exactly that! One of the European capitals that has a lot to offer on a low price range. Try hunting for antiques or second hand finds in one of the numerous vintage shops or visit some of the “ruin pubs” in the evening – previously abandoned courtyards turned into bars with mismatched retro furniture and spacious gardens. A stroll around the castle hill will give you a great view of the city from above in nice Autumn colors and warm light. Just before the fast approaching cold and rainy months, you can have a cruise along the Danube river and its many bridges, passing by the beautiful Parliament building.
Autumn would be a great season to visit because it is not going to be overcrowded by tourists, though there are still quite a lot. I guess this is because the Balkan countries are slowly becoming more and more interesting for travelers. This is another argument to not wait and visit it now before it gets packed with tourists like Prague.
Shoulder Season in Kyoto, Japan
We visited Kyoto, Japan in November time a few years ago (this is their Fall season). Kyoto by itself is a top destination in any case for the sheer plethora of stunning architecture, temples, monuments and of course excellent culinary options.
Fall is considered shoulder season for Kyoto and not the busiest time. The peak time to visit is during the famous cherry blossom season in the Spring (around March/April), to see and awe at the leaves changing colours. But during fall, you also see a beautiful mix of colours as the leaves adapt to the new colourful season setting in. Going at this time of year is less hectic, easier on the budget in what is already quite an expensive destination yet still retaining the magical awe of the cherry blossom season, just at a different time of year.
The Refreshing North Georgia Mountains
Autumn in north Georgia is truly a special time, especially since it comes after a summer than tends to be hotter than Hades! When the weather turns cool and the leaves begin to change, it’s the perfect time to explore outdoor attractions such as the 729-foot waterfall of Amicalola Falls (tallest east of the Mississippi River), the 4,784 foot summit of Brasstown Bald (which offers a 360-degree view of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee), the striking rock outcroppings of Cloudland Canyon, and the impressive scenic vistas of the 2-mile long, 1000-foot deep Tallulah Gorge. If that all sounds too active for your tastes, there’s always apple-picking in Ellijay!
Shoulder Season in Mexico’s Riviera Maya
Lance & Laura
Many people think of Mexico’s Riviera Maya (the region south of Cancun on the Caribbean Sea) as a purely winter destination. While spending the winter in Mexico beats the snow and cold further north, it also makes an ideal shoulder season destination, particularly the fall. There are eco-parks, cold water cenotes (fresh water sinkholes) to swim in and cool off, and snorkeling in the ocean. Most of the time, your big decision of the day is whether you go to the beach or the pool!
But the big benefit comes in prices. Fall is hurricane season in the region. While most tourists are scared off by the potential threat of a storm, airfare and accommodation prices are slashed meaning this is a great value destination. It’s not uncommon to get a trip to the region for as much as 90% off peak season prices. And if there isn’t a storm, the weather is usually amazing!
Low Prices & Funky Festivals in Phuket, Thailand
October is a great month to visit Thailand, especially if you are on a budget. October is still considered low season and the prices are low, but the weather is nice most of the time.
Phuket is one of the most popular destinations in Thailand, but in October there’s a reason to visit it even if you prefer quieter, less touristy places like I do. It’s the Vegetarian Festival, a nine-day event held all around the island (but mostly in Phuket Town).
During these nine days, people of Chinese ancestry go through a spiritual cleansing process which includes a vegatarian diet, with vegetarian food sold all around twon (and it’s super yummi also for non-vegetarians). But it doesn’t end here: the spiritual cleansing includes spectacular rituals, ceremonies, and parades, where you will see men and women climbing bladed ladders, firewalking, and piercing their chests and cheeks with pretty much anything. Quite disturbing at times, but unmissable!
Christmas Shopping Early in Seoul, South Korea
One of my favorite place to visit in the Fall is Seoul, the capital of South Korea. There are several palaces, such as the Gyeongbokdung in the heart of the city and they’re quite massive in size! These palaces are surrounded by a variety of trees and plants and by visiting them during Autumn, you’ll be welcomed with a scenery fit for a postcard.
Another thing I like about Seoul is that it is a mecca for Asian beauty products and cute clothes, making it an ideal place to visit to buy Christmas gifts for family and friends.
Fall in Love With the Costa Brava, Spain
I love visiting the Costa Brava in the fall. It’s one of my favourite places, and fall is the best time to go. Here’s why:
The Costa Brava (literally: Wild Coast) stretches from Blanes north of Barcelona all the way up to France. It’s full of beautiful small bays and little seaside towns. In summer, it’s extremely busy with both local and international tourists. Mid September, when school starts again, the place gradually empties out. The weather gets a little cooler, but it’s still warm enough to sit on a beach and sunbathe on most days, and the sea is warm.
If you want to be more active, there is an amazing coastal hiking trail, the Camí de Ronda. It was originally a footpath built in the 19th century for coastal patrols to stop smuggling. Today, it’s a hiking trail with stunning views along hidden bays that make perfect picnic stops.
My recommendation: Combine a visit to the Costa Brava with a stay in Barcelona during its biggest festival of the year on September 24th. “La Merce” celebrates the patron saint of Barcelona and features unique and crazy traditions like human towers (“Castells”) and fire runs (“Correfoc”), where people dress up as devils and run down a crowded street setting off fireworks and dancing. Enjoy at your own risk!
Enjoy Andalucia, Spain Without the Heat
Once the the crowds are gone, the prices back to normal and the heat ceases, it’s time to visit the beautiful, lively and full of history Southern part of Spain. Whether you would like to stick to one place in a nice resort in the coast or go all the way for an Andalucia road trip Andalucia road trip, this area has everything you need to spend some time next Fall.
Places like Malaga, Tarifa, Cadiz, Sevilla, Ronda and Granada will make your Autumn holidays some to remember!
Get Packing for Your Fall Getaway!
Thanks to all the great travelers and bloggers who shared with us which destination they believe is the best place to visit in the Fall. We absolutely agree with Rome and North Georgia — as we’ve enjoyed both places in the Fall. We would love to get to some of the other destinations in the Fall as well. In fact, we are going to be in Phuket, Thailand next month (October) so perhaps we can check out that festival (although, we’re a little freaked out by that photo!).
Where are you planning to go this Fall?!? Share With Us in the Comments Below!
Happy travels to everyone!
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