Summer is upon us, which means that fall is right around the corner. It’s the ideal time to finalize travel plans for this fall. But you might be wondering what are the top places to visit once the school year begins again and the leaves start changing colors. That’s where we come in.
Our travel experts have suggested the following destinations to visit in fall 2023, based on availability, cost, and seasonality. These 12 destinations offer a mix of gorgeous fall foliage, warm temperatures, affordable leisure, and unforgettable bucket list experiences. They’re also great to visit as a group, so don’t forget the possibilities of group travel in the fall.
The fall is typically the shoulder season, which means that you’ll enjoy good rates, better availability than in the summer, and still comfortable temperatures that make it easy to get outside and explore landmarks, both in the city and outside it.
What are the top 12 destinations to visit in fall 2023?
Fall in North America is spring in Australia, when the country is starting to bloom with wildflowers, the temperature is relatively mild, the rain has abated, and the bounties of nature call travelers outdoors. See the wildflowers along the Coral Coast or Margaret River from Perth in Western Australia, see the largest flower festival in the Southern Hemisphere in the capital Canberra, explore Darwin or the Great Barrier Reef during the dry season in the tropical north, or enjoy some leisure in the Whitsundays, which are warm and sunny all year round.
Fiji offers an affordable South Pacific vacation in the fall. Fall is the end of the wet season in Fiji, which means it rains a bit every day, but it also means affordable prices and vibrant greenery throughout the islands. The temperature is arguably better than in summer, and you’re more likely to be able to upgrade your accommodation or add in bonus experiences, since flights and accommodations are more affordable in the fall.
The cherry blossoms in Japan are justifiably famous, but Japan in the fall is just as stunning. Kyoto in particular is made for fall, when the changing colors add a burst of vibrance alongside the temples and palaces. The changing foliage peaks in November, so if you’re looking for color, don’t go too early. However, October temperatures are very appealing, especially on the main island of Honshu, so if you’re priced out of summer, consider moving your vacation back a few months. Perhaps best of all, most of Japan, save Hokkaido, is warm until December, so you can enjoy long days outdoors all fall long.
In the fall, the beaches of Thailand’s south are still open, the cities are less humid and crowded, and there are a lot of festivals to enjoy. Bangkok can get a bit wet in the fall, but later in November, the temperatures are especially comfortable. It’s a worthwhile trade off to take a bit of rain each day in order to get more walkable temperatures outside. Thailand is so warm year round that you won’t miss out on any summer pleasures. As well, animals are active in the fall, so if you’re looking for wildlife encounters with elephants or gibbons, fall is a great time to visit.
The fall is one of the most comfortable times to visit Morocco. It’s not as hot as in the summer, which means you can spend more time outdoors exploring the medinas of the imperial cities, such as Fez and Marrakech. The evenings are cooler, especially as you move into the Atlas Mountains, but the days are sunny beyond the coast and you avoid the temperature extremes of the desert landscape. If you’re looking for great food and rich history this fall, put Morocco on your itinerary.
Want to explore the world in one country in the fall? Then head to South Africa, where it’s spring and the country is waking up to the possibilities of the outdoors. The spring is a great time to go on safari in South Africa, as the temperatures hover in the high teens and low 20s, which is perfect for spending time in the bush tracking a lion or watching elephants in a waterhole. On the coast, Cape Town is invigorated by the spring winds off the ocean, and the winelands are starting to plant grapes for the season, so there’s a lot of growth and activity to witness.
England is gorgeous in the fall when the colors change across the nation. Head into the Lake District to enjoy a pastoral fall escape. Enjoy the optimistic atmosphere of the university towns Oxford and Cambridge, when students return to class and the stone spires are surrounded by changing foliage. Explore London when the temperatures are a bit cooler and the hotels a bit more affordable. And London is a great gateway city to extend the fall vacation to other parts of Europe, or even further abroad.
Do you want to relax on a beach, enjoy great food and wine in historic cities, and perhaps even stay for months at a time? Then head to Portugal in the fall. In the fall, Portugal has warm weather, great cultural activities, and a more affordable price point than in the height of summer. You’ll have smaller crowds, but still the warm temperatures that are perfect for swimming in the Mediterranean. You can also easily combine Portugal with Spain for the ideal Iberian fall vacation.
With warm waters, great food, comfortable temperatures, and a more affordable price point, Spain is an appealing fall destination. You can stay for several weeks or months at a time on a long stay vacation or connect onwards into other destinations in Europe, such as Portugal, or across the Mediterranean into Morocco and the rest of North Africa. You can enjoy Barcelona, Madrid, and Andalusia with fewer tourists to contend with. Perhaps best of all, you can still enjoy all the pleasures of summer, as Spain is still warm enough to swim and spend long, lazy days at the beach.
Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands
Since Ecuador is located on the equator (which gives the country its name), its weather is pretty stable year round. That said, most of the mainland lies in the Southern Hemisphere, where the spring brings a bit more rain. But the rain also causes a burst of greenery. The Avenue of Volcanoes is especially gorgeous in the spring. And the Galapagos Islands are right on the hinge point between the warm season and the dry season in the spring. They have comfortable temperatures and the same bountiful opportunities to get outside and see the exotic wildlife, including blue-footed boobies, giant tortoises, and frigatebirds.
North American fall is spring in Peru, which finds the country transitioning from the dry season to the wet season. If you go early in the spring, you’ll enjoy the tail end of the mild, dry days that are especially attractive for hiking the Inca Trail. You’re practically guaranteed good views of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate during this time of year. If you go later in the spring, you’ll explore the country at its most beautiful. The Sacred Valley of the Incas is a verdant sight to behold in spring, so don’t be dissuaded from exploring just because there’s some rain throughout the trip. The beautiful sights make the extra moisture worth it.
Why not stay closer to home this fall? Explore the changing colors of New England on a road trip from Boston. Head into the deserts of the Southwest to enjoy the otherworldly landscapes of Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico with milder temperatures. Follow the Blue Ridge Parkway through the south and experience the Appalachian Trail burst with vibrant reds and golds. Or connect to Kauai to explore the beautiful Hawaiian volcanoes and beaches without the crowds of summer. Sometimes, the best fall vacation is just down the road from home.
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