The fall season can be a tricky time for travel. There’s cooling temperatures to consider, hurricane season, and navigating time off work leading up to the holidays. To give you some of the best fall travel recommendations around (and hopefully ease a bit of the struggle), I tapped a few of my travel blogging friends to get their take on some of the best fall getaways that should be on your radar. From a quintessential New England town with stunning fall foliage, to the best spot for indulging in the relaxing Japanese onsen culture, these destinations are not to be missed once autumn is underway.
Whether you’re planning a spontaneous vacation this season or already thinking ahead to next year, keep these destinations in mind as you consider where your next fall trip will take you.
AMY (@AMYSEDER): JOSHUA TREE, CALIFORNIA
During my years in New York, I always loved to come to home to Southern California in the fall; the weather is warm but crisp, the sky is almost always clear, the beaches aren’t crowded, and all of the fog of early summer is gone. The desert especially is perfect — hot and dry in the day and perfect for a campfire in the evenings, plus the clear skies give you the perfect view of all of the stars. Joshua Tree is one of my absolute favorites. No matter how many times I’ve been, there’s always so much more to see and the landscape is still so wondrous and alien. You’ll find me here in late September, hiking, camping, and of course, taking more photos.
ANNA (@ANNA.LAURA): THE AMAZON JUNGLE
The Amazon jungle is the largest remaining expanse of tropical rainforest on Earth. The Brazilian part is the biggest, with so many beautiful scenes along the way. A great choice of jungle hotel is the Juma Amazon Lodge — I love its cute monkeys, environmental actions, tours and experts that guide you into the jungle. Fall is the perfect time to go to the Amazon cause its rivers are full, making it possible to navigate in the flooded forest until the dry season comes in January. Because of this, it is also the best time of year for canoeing and fishing. It’s a once in a lifetime travel experience!
BECKY (@BECKYVANDIJK & @WEARETRAVELGIRLS): ALHAMBRA, SPAIN
A visit to the gorgeous Alhambra in Southern Spain is on most travelers’ wish lists. But it can be extremely hot and crowded during the summer months, so I recommend heading there in the autumn. At this time of year there are fewer tourists and the temperature is far more pleasant allowing you to take your time to explore the huge complex. The Alhambra complex was re-built in the mid 13th century and converted to a palace by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada towards the end of Muslim rule in Spain. The Islamic influence is evident throughout the palaces and has been perfectly maintained. In addition to the spectacular palaces, there are also some stunning vistas over Granada that are especially pretty at this time of year as the autumn leaves appear.
JAS (@MYSUITCASEJOURNEYS): KINOSAKI ONSEN, JAPAN
My favorite fall destination is Kinosaki, Onsen — a beautiful onsen (hot springs) town in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. It’s a quick getaway out of the bustling city and perfect for days you just need to unwind and relax. The town is filled with ryokans (Japanese traditional inns) as well as public bath houses where guests can enjoy hot, steaming onsen baths. What’s great about visiting during the autumn season is that the weather has gotten a bit chilly but not so cold that you’d be freezing (literally) in the outdoor baths. Having a gentle autumn breeze brush against your cheeks as you enjoy a nice cup of sake is possibly the most incredible experience ever. Highly recommend!
WENDY (@NOMADICFARE): THE FRENCH RIVIERA
Fall is the perfect time to visit the French Riviera. By September everyone has gone back to school and work so you miss the crowds of summer but still get to enjoy the warm weather that graces the entire region.
LAUREN (@LAURENSWELLS): WOODSTOCK, VERMONT
My top place to travel in the fall is Woodstock, Vermont. Quintessential New England, it is the perfect town to wander with mulled cider and maple treats in hand, surrounded by rolling hills and hiking trails perfect for a crisp day. Be sure to drive up to Sugarbush Farm — not only do they have the most delicious syrup and cheese, but the autumn leaves on this mountain road are something out of a dream!
CHRISTINA (@THEBOLDBRUNETTE): VIEQUES, PUERTO RICO
Skip the main island and head straight to Vieques, a 20-mile long island located off the East coast of Puerto Rico. Vieques is known for its beautiful hidden beaches, untouched nature and the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world. I recommend staying at either El Blok or the W Hotel, renting a 4-wheel Jeep to explore the island and beaches by day, and taking a tour of the bioluminescent bay by night. It’s a truly beautiful island and will be the perfect tropical fall escape!
MAIRIN (@AGLOBETROT): GERMANY
My favorite fall travel destination is Germany. I love traveling when there are fewer crowds, cooler temps, and stunning autumn colors. But I think the very best moment of all my fall travels to Germany was having Eltz Castle to myself!
MONICA (@FROMHERETOSUNDAY): ASPEN, COLORADO
I’ve never seen so much yellow all in one place before — the golden Aspen trees take over the mountain landscape. I highly recommend hiking around Maroon Bells in fall; it’s one of the most gorgeous places!
MICHELLE (@LIVELIKEITSTHEWKND): CUSCO, PERU & MACHU PICCHU
With Peru‘s dry season ending in September, the fall (ideally in September or October) is the perfect time of year to plan an adventure to see the incredible UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Cusco and Machu Picchu. Rainfall levels are still pretty light in October, but the temperature is rising, so you’ll still experience warmer days despite the altitude. Just make sure to pack layers — everything from jeans and t-shirts to rain jackets, a light down jacket, hats, and gloves — to make sure you’re prepared for a range of weather patterns!
What’s the best fall getaway you’ve ever been on? Tell me in the comments!