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10 best fall vacations you can plan this year

two young tourists on a trip to the Grand Canyon

Planning an epic fall vacation, but not sure where to go? We’ve got the perfect travel ideas for you. From national parks to festive fun and sun-kissed adventures, here are 10 of the best fall vacations you can plan this year:

1. Yellowstone National Park

If you’re looking for an epic outdoor adventure, Yellowstone National Park should definitely be on your radar. The world’s first national park, Yellowstone is home to a diverse wildlife (from grizzly bears to wolves, elk and more), volcanoes, waterfalls and over 250 hiking trails spreading over 1,000 miles.

Fall is an excellent season to explore Yellowstone, as you’ll likely get fewer crowds and you’ll have a better chance of spotting the local wildlife.

Discover it on our Yellowstone & Grand Tetons trip, exclusively for 18-35 year olds.

2. Boston

If urban adventures are your thing, then a trip to Boston is one of the best fall vacations you can plan this year.

From the wonderful foliage to the many fall festivities and farmers markets, there’s plenty of reasons to explore Boston during September – November. Plus, Halloween is not to be missed here. From haunted happenings to pumpkin pickings, trick-or-treating and more, Boston sure knows how to do Halloween.

There are also a number of gorgeous farms just a short drive from Boston where you can go apple picking with your friends or loved ones. Why not check out Brooksby Farm, Russel Orchards and Boston Hill Farm? Check out this article from Time Out for more recs.

Ready to explore Boston? Discover it on our North East Highlights trip, exclusively for 18-35 year olds.

3. Chicago

Similar to Boston, Chicago is one of those cities that have a certain charm during fall. If you’re a music enthusiast, you’re going to enjoy the diverse range of niche festivals happening during this time. We’d look out for Hyde Park Jazz Festival (23-24 September, 2023), Riot Fest (15-17 September, 2023) and Oktoberfest (8-10 September, 2023).

Discover Chicago on our North East Highlights trip, exclusively for 18-35 year olds.

4. Grand Canyon National Park

two young travelers on a group trip to Grand Canyon

Image source:Contiki

A road trip to the Grand Canyon is one of those bucket list adventures that you must experience at least once in your life and what better time to do it than in the fall?

Fall being one of the shoulder seasons offers a great opportunity to admire the surrounding landscapes with thinner crowds, allowing you to walk around without bumping into too many people. At the same time, you should know that it does get colder by mid-October, so before you head out on your hike be prepared with warm clothes and some rain gear.

Discover it on our Grand Southern trip, exclusively for 18-35 year olds.

5. Zion National Park

zion national park, usa

Image source:Contiki

Zion National Park is another excellent option for fall outdoor adventures. With the pink and red hues of the Navajo sandstone cliffs, hanging waterfalls and deer grazing in open meadows, there’s few places that can compare.

Discover it on our National Parks Plus trip, exclusively for 18-35 year olds.

6. Oktoberfest, Munich

If you’re looking for more of a party atmosphere from your fall trip, Oktoberfest is the ideal option for you. This annual beer festival and carnival is held in Munich, Germany and runs from mid-September until the first Sunday in October. This year it will be held between September 16th, 2023 – October 3rd, 2023 on Theresienwiese in central Munich.

Aside from experiencing the festival, it’s also worth taking a city tour of Munich, which is Bavaria’s capital and one of the most fascinating tourist spots in Europe. With stunning architecture, beautiful castles and over 60 museums to choose from, Munich is bound to impress.

For more information on how to get to Oktoberfest, beer prices and attractions, check out the official website here.

Don’t want to visit alone? Book one of our Oktoberfest group trips, exclusively for 18-35 year olds.

7. Norway

trip to norway

Image source:Contiki

Not really into festivals? How about chasing the Northern Lights? If you’re passionate about skygazing, then a fall vacation to Norway is a great choice. Between September and March, Northern Norway gets dark from early afternoon until late morning, giving you the perfect chance to experience the Northern Lights (aurora borealis) in all their splendour.

There are also heaps of interesting things to do in Norway during fall, from an in-depth city tour of Oslo to overnight cruises, whale watching and much more.

Discover it on our Norway Fjords & Northern Lights trip, exclusively for 18-35 year olds.

8. Ireland

trip to ireland

Image source:Contiki

Ireland is one of those destinations that is beautiful to visit all year round, but one of the best times to travel here is between September and November, when flights are a bit cheaper and there aren’t so many tourists around.

Average temperatures during fall are 9°C – 13°C, which should be ideal to discover all the stunning sights that this country has to offer. From the Blarney Castle to the Giant’s Causeway and the iconic Cliffs of Moher, there are so many attractions you can cross off your bucket list with a fall vacation here. 

Discover it on our week-long Ireland trip, exclusively for 18-35 year olds.

9. Canada

trip to canada

Image source:Contiki

Whether you’re looking for adventure or just sightseeing, a trip to Canada is absolutely one of the best fall vacations you can plan this year. From September to October, the leaves start to change, giving you the most beautiful fall color display you can imagine.

While it does get colder in the fall, this is a pretty ideal time for hiking or trekking, so be sure to pack some warm, comfortable clothes and get ready to discover some of its beautiful landscapes. Canada is home to some amazing wildlife, such as bears, moose and elk, so you might even get a chance to spot one of them in their natural habitat before they enter hibernation.

Discover it on our Canada & The Rockies trip, exclusively for 18-35 year olds.

10. Spain & Portugal

Image source:Contiki

Both Spain and Portugal are destinations that get quite hot in the summer (with temperatures peaking at 30°C), which makes them ideal to experience during fall (mid October) or spring, when the weather is cooler.

From unique architecture to beaches, delicious food and friendly locals, Spain and Portugal are unmissable destinations for your fall itinerary.

Discover them both on our Best of Spain & Portugal trip, exclusively for 18-35 year olds. Looking for a bit more adrenaline? Check out our Portugal City and Surf trip, combining iconic destinations with the free spirit of surf culture across Portugal’s fabulous coastlines.

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