Fall is Here: Do You Travel to Embrace It or Escape It?

Fall is officially here, and while many people in the Northern Hemisphere are lamenting the passing of the summer season and it’s accompanying beach weather, I’m thrilled to be moving on to my very favorite season of the year.

Fall in Chicago is that brief window of time when the temperature is just right – neither too hot and sticky nor freezing and miserable – when I savor the last days of the outdoor farmer’s markets and the few remaining beer gardens, when I can wear knee-high boots with tights and a dress, or throw on a light coat and scarf to run errands and then come home to curl up with a blanket on the couch.

For me, fall weather is heavenly right here, but I still like to travel to experience this magical season in other destinations as well. And I’m not alone; many people plan their fall travels around the best experiences of the season – fall foliage, cider mills, harvest festivals, and the Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays. If that’s you, here are a few ideas on where to go this fall.

  • Visiting France in fall means being there for the vendanges, or harvests. Throughout France’s many wine regions, towns and wineries hold special events and harvest celebrations, and at some you can even participate in the grape stomping.
  • Fall harvests, along with lots of food festivals, also take place in Italy in Autumn. While you’ll find fewer crowds and lower prices than you would here in summer, Italy will always be a popular (and thus pricier) place to visit. But there are plenty of other affordable European destinations in fall. Savor the last days of summer-like weather on the beaches of Croatia, or enjoy the fall foliage in the mountains of Romania.
  • Fall is one of the best times to visit Amsterdam, as there are fewer crowds and it’s hard to picture a more lovely sight than the city’s many canals reflecting back the brilliant colors of the Autumn leaves.
  • Most people think of traveling to the Northeast to see fall foliage, but there are other less-crowded areas where the colors are just as brilliant. Midwest states like Michigan (particularly in the Upper Peninsula near Traverse City), Illinois and Wisconson also get beautiful color, as do Kentucky and Tennessee.
  • Throughout North America, it’s harvest season so just pick a wine region and go and you can sip some of the finest wines while enjoying the festivities of the harvest, such as special dinners, tastings and festivals. The Finger Lakes region of New York is particularly lovely in Autumn.

But if the turning of the leaves and dropping temperatures leave you feeling…well, cold, there are plenty of other options to help you stave off the season’s change just a bit longer. If you prefer fall travel to warmer climes, here are a few ideas for you.

  • It’s always summer in Hawaii, but the fall season on the islands does have one big difference: it’s cheaper. With the kids back in school, fewer families are traveling to Hawaii, which means prices drop a bit on airfare and hotels offer up special deals that may include perks like resort credits, free drinks, and discounted activities.
  • Likewise Vegas in the fall is still hopping and the days are still warm, but fewer visitors mean better deals. As the season stretches on there’s more chance of chilly nights (and you can forget those pool parties) but the thought of all the money you’re saving should help keep you warm.
  • It’s always beach season somewhere, so if you refuse to pack away your swimsuit, you may want to consider South Africa, St. Lucia, or Thailand this fall.
  • Thanks to it’s location close to the equator, Belize (and its Central America neighbors) enjoys hot temperatures all year round.  Go jungle trekking, explore giant caves, dive deep underwater, or visit some of the most amazing Mayan ruins on the planet.
  • Fall in the north means spring Down Under and spring in Australia, particularly in the north near Cairns,  is the perfect antedote. Just be warned that summer in the tropical north is the rainy season so the later in the season you go, the more humid it will be.

Still want more? Check out our 30 ideas for fall getaways, get tips for finding fall travel deals, or read about shoulder seasons around the world. And tell us where you are going this fall in the comments!

Photos by Russ Bowling, skyseeker

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