Autumn is both a beautiful season of transformation and a wonderful time to travel. September, October, and November are considered off-season months in many places that feature lower prices, crisp fall weather, and trees that truly shine with their autumnal foliage. Fall is one of my favorite times to sneak away for a short trip to find some local zen. The following are some off-the-beaten-path gems where you can enjoy all the best that fall has to offer without the crowds.
Where to Travel in September
Golden Larches. Image via Flickr by philipturnbull
The Alberta Rockies are nothing short of majestic, but they lack the fall colors of other parts of the world, except during the short larch season. Known by locals as “larch madness,” these deciduous conifers turn bright golden yellow in September before losing their needles for the winter. Hordes of tourists flock to Banff National Park to take in this incredible sight, but I recommend staying closer to Calgary and seeking out the golden larches in Kananaskis Country. For more details on where to hike to see golden larches in September, check out my last post.
Where to Travel in October
Red leaves. Image via Flickr by Seriousbri
If leaf peeping is more your style but you don’t want to have to book your bed and breakfast in rural Vermont months in advance, consider heading to the lesser-known fall foliage destination of Alexandria, Virgina. There, you can take in the city’s exquisite historic architecture, lively food and drink scene, and parks with magnificent fall foliage. According to the Fall Foliage Map, the colors should peak during the last couple weeks of October.
For the best of both worlds, stay near the John Carlyle House in Old Town, where tantalizing restaurants, historic buildings, and gorgeous gardens are all within walking distance. Check out HotelPlanner for a list of places to stay near the John Carlyle House. For ideas on where to see awe-inspiring fall colors both within Alexandria and a short drive away, read this leaf-peeping guide at Extra Alex.
Where to Travel in November
Austin City Lights. Image via Flickr by StuSeeger
For even more fall colors and a reprieve from the staggering summer heat, head to Austin, Texas, in November. The trees may hang on to their leaves until mid-November, while cooler temperatures make exploring Austin’s eclectic neighborhoods more enjoyable. Take a stroll through the Capitol Building and the South Congress area for an interesting mix of history and trendy shops and restaurants. Spend the evenings in the Sixth Avenue area checking out Austin’s live music and bar scene.
Another reason to visit Austin in November is Fun Fun Fun Fest. This annual festival is the lesser-known cousin of the Austin City Limits and South By Southwest festivals. See the official FFF page for more details.
So if you want to see fleeting fall colors without battling the crowds, try some lesser-known destinations, such as Kananaskis, Alexandria, or Austin. Enjoy the autumn leaves while they last!