“A man on foot, on horseback or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourists can in a hundred miles.” ~ Edward Abbey
Cooler temperatures, fewer tourists, leaf peeping, harvest season, cheaper airline tickets and hotel prices…what’s not to love about traveling in the fall?
As if these weren’t reasons enough to start planning your next big autumn adventure, it turns out that September and October are also prime months to visit some of the world’s most classic destinations. So settle in with a pumpkin-spiced latte and spend a few moments perusing five of our favorite fall excursions.
- Southern Utah
With soaring temperatures and a dryness determined to parch even the toughest of cowboys, Southern Utah isn’t exactly paradise in the heat of summer. But when the ground ceases sizzling, monsoons relent and the throngs of tourists return to school and countries far away, there’s no cooler place to be than in the heart of the awe-inspiring geology of the Colorado Plateau.
From hiking through the sandstone delights of Arches and exploring the white rim of Canyonlands and expansive views of Capitol Reef, to trekking amongst the fairytale landscape of Bryce Canyon and biking below the majestic monoliths of Zion, Southern Utah is an outdoor recreationists dream. Quieter trails, some spectacular autumn foliage, and longer, cooler nights make this red rock destination the perfect backdrop for your next Southwest US vacation-of-a-lifetime.
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With the busy dry season coming to a close and the rains of summer just around the corner, traveling to Peru’s iconic highlands during the shoulder months is one of South America’s best kept secrets. Whether you’re rafting the mighty Urubamba River or mountain biking the misty peaks and valleys of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, chances for solitude and sunny weather abound.
And if Machu Picchu has been on your list for awhile, there’s no better time than September and October to hike the famous Inca Trail when nighttime temperatures aren’t as low as the cold southern hemisphere winter (June through August) and tourists aren’t always photo bombing those idyllic ancient sites you’re hoping to capture at sunrise.
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The Dalmatian Coast of Croatia is one of Europe’s most understated destinations, and there’s no better time to visit this Pearl of the Mediterranean than autumn. Pine-studded islands, charming villages, secluded inlets, white-sand beaches and rolling hillsides of luscious grapes are yours to behold in this balmy paradise.
If water sports are your thing, then consider that the Adriatic Sea’s temps in September and October hover comfortably between 68 and 73 degrees, while the ambient climate sits around 70 degrees. After days spent snorkeling, swimming and kayaking, indulge in fresh seafood, bold olive oils, flaky pastries, and of course a bottle of Croatian wine.
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- San Juan Islands
Not wanting to use the passport this fall? Opt for a kayaking and hiking adventure exploring the 100-million-year-old archipelago of Washington’s San Juan Islands. The rich coastal waters and rocky shorelines of this majestic American gem are the perfect place to find your reset button on life as you unplug from civilization for a few days and get lost in the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest.
Whale-watching by day and sunset-indulging by evening over a glass of divine, locally-sourced wine and plate of delectable cuisine are sure to inspire and delight any time of year but are particularly special after the crowds of summer have dispersed. At night, nestle into a cozy bed-and-breakfast and drift off to sleep, dreaming you’ll never want to leave.
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What’s an autumn adventure without celebrating harvest season? If your belly leads where your feet will follow, then look no further than a fall trip to Provence. Bike along country roads plucking apples and pears from tempting trees. Stroll through French markets inhaling wafts of roasting chestnuts, chanterelle mushrooms and truffles. Indulge in ratatouille. And wine. Did we mention the wine?
All the while, enjoy the bliss of cooler evenings, the tinge of color on crisping vines, and the lively atmosphere of food festivals and locals toasting to the fruits of the farmers’ labor. Join in the merriment as you also raise a glass to your brilliant decision of choosing to travel in the off-season.
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