With the end of summer on the horizon, don’t get discouraged by the chill in the air as the autumn season rolls in. It’s easy to hunker down in the fall and prepare for the winter season ahead. Instead, put off dragging your sweaters out of storage and opt-in for a fall vacation! Autumn travel offers pleasant weather and the joys of shoulder season with lower prices and far fewer crowds. Here are the destinations on the top of our list to visit this fall:
The Canadian Rockies
Experience the solitude of the Canadian Rockies away from the crowds and bask in the glory that is the autumn color painted throughout Lake Louise, the Sunwapta River, and Mount Victoria. The Canadian Rockies is teeming with wildlife—whether it be moose, elk, bears, or bighorn sheep—experience the exceptional flora and fauna through the lens of local guides and view the spectacular wildlife at the peak of their activity. Some say that hiking the spectacular gorges, marveling at the rushing waterfalls, and enjoying the snow-capped peaks is even more breathtaking in the dim fall light.
In reality, there is no wrong time to explore Normandy, Burgundy or the City of Light, But we think the fall just may be France's best season. Bask in the joys of Paris as the city's parks turn to hues of orange, yellow, and bright red. Admire the Jardin de Luxembourg and Palace of Versailles resembling the color and brilliance of an Impressionist painting, giving Claude Monet a run for his money. Burgundy is the perfect blend of classic French villages and rolling terrain with a patchwork of forests and harvesting vineyards that are utter perfection in the fall. Finally, enjoy the classic Norman picture-book villages, the stunning Mont-St-Michel, and Normandy's massive apple orchards that thrive at this time of the year. There is no better time to explore France than August through November!
Autumn in Greece is heavenly—with balmy weather, warm water, and harvests of olives and grapes—you’re guaranteed a lovely time without the often-overwhelming crowds of summertime travel. Explore the remarkable ruins of Knossos and Delos, sample the fruits of cliff-hugging vineyards, and take in the iconic views from your hotel in Santorini all complete with a warm autumn glow that accentuates the charm of the Greek isles. Shoulder season gives you a chance to intimately engage with the local culture and meet the phyllo bakers, olive growers, archeologists, and villagers who live amid some of the loveliest scenery and finest historical treasures on earth.
In the fall, Italy presents the opportunity to enjoy the colorful countrysides of Tuscany, relish in the local markets spilling over with fresh produce in the Amalfi Coast, and take advantage of the pleasant weather in Sardinia & Corsica. Skip the usual cathedral-and-cappuccino circuit in the crowds and heat of the summer and visit Italy in the autumn to properly savor the local culture, cuisine, and charisma. September through October is the typical time for the grape harvest in the wine region and towns in Tuscany celebrate the production of wine with festivals galore! Partake in the joys of the harvest season and celebrate with a glass of wine form a local winery!
Bryce, Grand Canyon, Zion
Even as adults we play the pioneer game every time we visit this monumental trio of national parks. Imagine cresting the hills in your Conestoga wagon to behold the sights and breathtaking views Bryce, the Grand Canyon, and Zion have to offer. Deep canyons, brilliant red rock, bridges of stone, and boulders poised on slender spires amaze visitors year-round. However, the fall provides visitors with pleasant weather, far fewer crowds, great chances to spot wildlife, and colorful leaves that sprinkle Zion’s canyon floors and winding trails in late September and early October.
Charleston & Savannah
The coastal south is brimming with a distinctive meld of history, way of life, and charm that is all the more enjoyable as the autumn season graces Charleston and Savannah with clear blue skies, sunshine, and nice cool breezes. There's no other region in America with such a distinctive meld of history, climate, and way of life! Walk through moss-draped lanes, admire the fine restorations of prosperous homes, visit some of the country’s most unique living history museums, and stroll the old city streets under the shade of curvaceous oak trees.
Autumn in the Galápagos is a special time in the archipelago. In September, the Antarctic Humboldt current is strong—bringing hoards of wildlife to the scene. Escape the fall weather at home and get the chance to admire penguins, sea lions, and marine birds at the peak of their activity! The beginning of fall is also a prime opportunity to see humpback whales and their calves migrating, fur seals mating, dolphins playing in the cool water, and giant tortoises laying eggs on the white sandy beaches.
Autumn is just around the corner and it truly is the perfect time to explore some of our favorite destinations. If you can, skip the crowds and the heat of summer and pack your bags to revel in the joys of shoulder season! Check out some of Classic Journeys' fall trips here!