Last Updated October 22, 2021 10/22/2021

16 Unexpected Fall Getaways to Book Now

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When talking about travel destinations in the fall, the focus almost always seems to be on the changing of the leaves, but there are many other reasons to escape during this season that don’t necessarily involve the foliage. It can be a great time to score deals, avoid tourist crowds, and enjoy idyllic weather in many destinations, avoiding summer’s heat and the cold of winter. Whether you’re looking for something closer to home or an international escape, consider booking one of these unexpected fall getaways now.

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Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico

While the majority of tourists visit Cabo in the winter and spring, you can miss the peak of the hurricane season, the heat, and the crowds by visiting in November or early December. It’s a great time to come for discounts, with good deals on hotels and flights along with pleasant weather while the water will still be warm for swimming. Don’t miss taking a sunset cruise that visits the iconic arch at what’s known as Land’s End, framed by stunning turquoise waters and many other remarkable rock formations.

Joshua Tree, California
Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree, California

Joshua Tree National Park has a special magic about it, with its namesake trees all seeming to have unique personalities of their own, while odd-shaped rock formations dot the landscape, like famous Skull Rock. After autumn arrives, the hot temperatures of summer begin to dip to a more comfortable 75 degrees, ideal for hiking dozens of trails that run the gamut from paved nature paths to challenging treks and full-on bouldering. The annual Joshua Tree Music Festival is worth planning a trip around, hosted for four days around the second weekend of October while Highway 62 Art Tours are held over the last two weekends in the month featuring top Morongo Basin artists as one of the country’s largest open studio art tours.

Vashon Island, Washington
A view of boats moored in Quartermaster harbor

Vashon Island, Washington

Vashon Island is the perfect quick retreat for Seattleites, a short and scenic ferry ride away. But just about anyone will appreciate this idyllic island where time seems to stand still. It has a friendly atmosphere and offers magnificent views of Puget Sound, the Cascade and Olympic mountains. On a clear fall day when Mount Rainier makes an appearance you’ll definitely want to have your camera ready. There are farm stands to visit, tours of Point Robinson Lighthouse, and cideries to visit. Nashi Orchards is a family-run cidery with around 300 Asian pear trees of different varieties producing outstanding pear ciders. There are five wineries on Vashon too, three of which can be visited, including Palouse, Vashon, and Maury Island wineries.

Cannon Beach, Oregon
Ecola State Park Overlook, Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach is only about 90 minutes from Portland and fall tends to be one of the better seasons in terms of weather along this stretch of the Oregon coast with September and October often warmer than the summer months. The town itself offers restaurants for oceanfront dining, art galleries and unique shops, while the beach is often named among the world’s most beautiful, known for iconic Haystack Rock. There are many accomodation options including unique vacation rentals and upscale resorts. When the tide is high, it’s thrashed by the waves, but at low tide you can search for marine creatures in the pools around the base. There may be dozens of sand dollars on the beach, making for the perfect souvenir too. 

Alexandria, Virginia
Old Town of Alexandria, Virginia

Alexandria, Virginia

Spring and summer crowds tend to be thick in the Washington, D.C. area, but by fall things are starting to calm down. Alexandria, less than eight miles south in Virginia, offers the ideal base for exploring the nation’s capital as well as providing plenty of its own. Established in 1749, it has a rich 250+ years of history to discover, including Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington. Sightseeing tours in a riverboat along the Potomac are popular too. October is a great month to visit for those who love Halloween, with late-night ghost tours hosted through the Old Town that reveal the most haunted spots.

New Orleans, Louisiana
Jackson Square New Orleans

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is bouncing back after Hurricane Ida and fall is one of the best times for a visit. The weather is sunny and warm, but not too hot, while the fall festival season is in full swing. Prospect New Orleans launches October 23rd, running for three months as a citywide contemporary art triennial featuring over 50 artists at more than 15 venues across the city with newly commissioned works and historically significant artists. This is also one of the best places to be for Halloween with everything from street parties and haunted tours to voodoo and costume shops, as “The Most Haunted City in America.”

Moab, Utah
Moab mountain biking

Moab, Utah

Moab is famous for its mountain biking, hiking, and climbing opportunities, but during the summer it’s typically far too hot for those activities to be enjoyable. Fall is one of the best times of the year for outdoor adventure enjoyed among the striking red rock formations. With fewer crowds and cooler temperatures, all of the region’s national parks, including Arches and Bryce Canyon will be nothing short of spectacular.
Bermuda
Pristine beaches dotted with interesting rock formations.

Bermuda

Bermuda offers beautiful weather all year-round and it’s just a 2.5-hour flight from New York City. While this time of year is around the end of hurricane season, storms are rare and golfing enthusiasts will especially enjoy a trip with the Bermuda Championship held in late October. No matter what the season, diving is fantastic and you’ll find gorgeous beaches like Horseshoe Bay Beach with its pink-tinged sands contrasted stunningly by transparent turquoise waters. Many of the island’s best hotels offer unparalleled oceanfront views. 

Molokai, Hawaii
Halawa Bay, Molokai

Molokai, Hawaii

While Hawaii doesn’t offer many off-season discounts, fall means blissful temperatures in the 70s and typically thinner crowds. Of course, with travel recently opened up again some of the more popular islands are still jam-packed, but there is a fabulous alternative: Molokai. It’s the perfect island for those who want to enjoy a slower pace with empty beaches. Papohaku Beach is filled with pristine white sands, 100 yards wide stretching for three miles so it feels like your own private island.

Texas Hill Country
Hilmy Cellars, Fredericksburg

Texas Hill Country

Texas Hill Country is a popular day trip for those who live in San Antonio or Austin, but it’s an appealing destination for anyone outside the area as well. Fall is a beautiful time to be here with cooler temperatures, changing foliage, and trails to hike. The festivals are a major reason to visit during the autumn months, with the charming town of Fredericksburg offering some of the best, like the Fredericksburg Food & Wine Fest around the fourth weekend in October. The town is a great base for exploring local wineries via the scenic Wine Road 290.

Transylvania, Romania
Transylvania, Romania

Transylvania, Romania

Romania may not be on your radar but there are few better places for those who want to gaze out at jaw-dropping scenery (including fall foliage) and take advantage of the Halloween season. After all, this is where myths like vampires were born. Transylvania has long been a place steeped in legend, with medieval castles and misty moonlit nights. Enjoy a scenic drive through the Fagaras Mountains, the highest in the southern Carpathians, and then visit Bran Castle, otherwise known as Dracula’s Castle.

São Miguel, The Azores
Sao Miguel Azores

São Miguel, The Azores

Those who want to surf can enjoy some of the most reliable swells in the Atlantic while it’s still warm with a trip to São Miguel. The largest of nine islands in the Azores archipelago, located less than a five-hour flight from the east coast, it’s a place of striking natural beauty, world-class reef breaks and long point breaks. The island is also known for its volcanic features, including hot springs, rich flora and marine life, including sperm whales which can be seen year-round.

La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
swimming with whale sharks near La Paz, Baja

La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Ever wanted to swim with whale sharks? These docile creatures are the world’s largest fish, totally harmless and often referred to as “gentle giants.” October marks the start of whale shark season in the Sea of Cortez, and La Paz is one of the top jumping off spots for the opportunity. This is a diverse city, a place to discover “authentic” Mexico with lots of culture, mouthwatering cuisine, and many other things to do, from snorkeling with sea lions at Isla Espiritu Santo to spending time on beautiful beaches like Playa Balandra.

South Coast Iceland - Vik, Iceland
Iceland

South Coast Iceland - Vik, Iceland

Iceland has become a bucket-list destination and fall provides the best of both worlds in multiple ways. The summer tourist crowds are gone, airfare is cheaper, winter’s snow hasn’t arrived, and the already stunning landscapes are now brilliant green. You’ll also have the opportunity to witness the Northern Lights, something that’s not possible under the long days of the Midnight Sun. For now, it’s still possible to take the hike that will bring you to lava flow and other volcanic activity, thanks to active Fagradalsfjalll. Located on the Reykjanes Peninsula, the volcano had been dormant for 800 years but that all changed on March 19, 2021.

Lake Atitlán, Guatemala
Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

While fall is technically still the rainy season in Guatemala, the showers never last long, and you’ll be able to experience the highlands at their least trafficked while enjoying lower accommodation rates at the many one-of-a-kind boutique hotels. Lake Atitlán is known for its awe-inspiring volcano views, a crater lake surrounded by three volcanoes and villages where Guatemalans live a traditional life. Delve into Mayan culture and enjoy activities like hiking, biking, kayaking and swimming in the deep blue waters.

Hershey, Pennsylvania
Hersheypark

Hershey, Pennsylvania

Popular family destinations tend to be less crowded  while hosting lots of fun seasonal fall and Halloween-themed offerings. That includes places like Hershey, Pennsylvania, home to Hershey’s Chocolate World which is debuting some great new attractions for chocolate lovers this season. You can join in events like Fall Baking with Godinger in Hershey’s Kitchens or follow the Trick-Or-Treat Trail before Halloween officially begins, among many other special events.

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