The Best Places to Travel in September

As much of the world is wrapped up with back-to-school season, travelers should take advantage of crisp fall weather and great deals around the world. And if the kids are in school, what better time for a romantic trip? Our list of the best places to go this month include stateside favorites like Portland, Maine, and Charleston, South Carolina—where you’re less likely to find tourists this time of year, and can enjoy the cities as most locals do.

Fall foliage is another major attraction this time of year, and we recommend leaf-peeping in the Catskills and Yellowstone National Park. Both locations provide plenty of entertainment beyond hiking, and activities that will please the entire family.

European cities tend to get a bit chillier this time of year, but we love the way Paris comes back to life when all the locals get back to work—go now, when all the shops are filled with the newest seasonal wares, and check out some of the city’s great new openings, such as the iconic Ritz.

If you’re still seeking warm weather, head south to Mexico City and Guayaquil, which are hot destinations that still don’t feel like they’re completely overrun by tourists. You’ll get plenty of sunshine, along with historical sites and surprising art scenes.

Finally, wine lovers should pay attention to two locations this year: the Okanagan Valley, which can no longer be considered a young Napa, as its wines are now celebrated on international lists; and Georgia, which has a budding wine scene in Kakheti (just an hour from the capital of Tblisi).

There are plenty of fall deals to be found if you plan ahead—why wait for the holidays? If you need more inspiration for your next vacation, take a look at our best cities for fall travel.

Rome, Italy

Rome is a city that’s best discovered on foot, which is why it’s so wonderful in the fall. September is considered part of shoulder season, so while you won’t see hordes of people, there will still be plenty of locals and tourists enjoying the weather and taking in the many sights of Rome. Whether you’re there for the shopping scene—Rome’s artisans are some of the best in the world—or want to check off everything on our list of underrated things to do there, make your base the new Palazzo Dama, a former private home that has lush gardens, a pool, and a terrace for taking in that last bit of balmy fall weather.

Portland, Maine

By September, the summer crowds have departed from Portland, leaving behind a quiet—and perhaps even more charming—coastal Maine town. The hotel rates drop significantly after Labor Day, yet the weather remains nice through the end of the month. This is the perfect time for the Portland food trip of your dreams—lobster rolls, fries at Duckfat, incredible coffee and pastries at Tandem Coffee Roasters, and, if you dare, lobster ice cream.

Okanagan Valley, Canada

There’s a long list of usual suspects for where to go during wine harvest—Napa and Tuscany, to name a few—but this year, we recommend branching out a little in Okanagan Valley, the exciting wine region from our northern neighbors. They’ve been producing delicious Pinot Noir and Reisling for a few seasons, and now the wineries are opening up fantastic farm-to-table restaurants as well. We like the Sonora Room at Burrowing Owl winery and Miradoro at Tinhorn Creek Winery, where you should ask the experts to recommend the best bottles to take home as souvenirs.
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