Fall Adventures Beyond the Leaves

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Here in the Northeast, the brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows of the Fall foliage are astounding. Every year they bring thousands of visitors to prime viewing destinations across New England. There is no doubt that such brilliant colors merit a specific trip, but what if you already live here? Or you’ve seen enough Fall foliage in your lifetime? There are lots of other reasons that Autumn is the perfect time to travel! It’s one of the best seasons for exploring the world as temperatures cool, prices drop and crowds thin. So what can you design your Fall trip around if not the foliage? 

Watch the Sky

impressive fall stars over the tree tops
[Photo Credit: Clint Mckoy via Unsplash]

Fall is the perfect time to head into those dark, open landscapes and look up! Fall is the sweet spot between too-much daylight and cloudy, wintry weather. This creates the perfect conditions for enjoying the night sky. 

In the far north, you can watch the stunning Aurora Borealis dance across the sky. Iceland and Norway start to have fewer hours of daylight, there is more solar activity, and lakes and rivers remain ice-free. This means you can double the opportunities to spot the northern lights — by either looking up to the sky or the hauntingly beautiful reflection in the water.

Aside from the Aurora, Fall is a great time to watch a meteor shower. Dark-sky locations like Wyoming, Scotland, or Quebec offer incredible stargazing. For added luxury and convenience, consider glamping. Often the tents come with windows above the bed so you watch the sky in warmth and comfort. 

Watch the Animals

a cheetah lying in the sun in some tall grasses
A cheetah in Namibia [Photo Credit: Sean Robertson via Unsplash]

Fall marks the migration season for many animals. In the Southern hemisphere, you can catch astounding humpback, right whale, and blue whale migrations. Destinations like Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand all offer whales breaching so close you can see them from the shore. Even if you find yourself getting seasick on a boat, you can enjoy watching hundreds of these majestic creatures from the beach. Meanwhile, Vancouver Island, Canada becomes the Orca capital of the world!

If you’d rather turn to the skies than the seas, grab your binoculars! Fall is a great time to see countless bird migrations. During the migrations, we have a better idea of exactly where they’ll stop for rest and water. You can go north to the rocky coast of Maine to see fluffy Atlantic puffins and imposing eagles, hawks, and falcons. Or travel south to Texas, for a huge variety of songbirds and shorebirds. To see something really unique, visit Central Mexico to experience the epic butterfly migration

Maybe you have a stronger sense of adventure and really want to maximize the animals you’ll see this Fall. It is the perfect time to go on Safari! At the beginning of the dry season, you can watch in awe as animals of all kinds gather around the watering holes. There’s not as much tall green grass to camouflage the big 5, so you’ll have a better chance of seeing some amazing creatures while avoiding the crowds and heat. 

Foodies & Festivals

deep purple grapes on a vine in northern Italy almost ready for Fall harvest
[Photo Credit: Liz via Shared Adventures Travel]

With Autumn comes the harvest and celebrations. We’ve survived the heat of summer and now it’s time to collect the hard-earned produce and celebrate before winter sets in. If you’re a foodie, Fall is an amazing time to travel. You can experience the olive, almond, and chestnut harvests in southern Europe. Check out food festivals all across northern Europe, particularly in Emilia Romagna Italy, France, and Austria, and enjoy chocolate, olive oil, truffles, and delicious hearty local delicacies. 

Most famously, there are wine harvests in California, Italy, France, Austria, and the Republic of Georgia. Winemakers typically finish harvesting in early Fall. This means during a trip in late October and November they’ll have more time to spend with visitors while still producing fantastic products. In Austria, you can try new wines at the wine taverns (Heurigens) many of which are only open in the Fall. 

If food is not your passion, there are still plenty of interesting festivals to enjoy. The Autumn equinox brings festivals to Stonehenge and Chichen Itza. At the famous Mayan Ruins, the equinox creates a snake of sunlight on the stairs. The full moon closest to the equinox heralds Moon Festivals in Hong Kong, China, and Vietnam. Music and book festivals pop up all over the UK. 

a traditional mongolian hunter and their eagle at the fall festival

For something unique and astonishing you can check out the Golden Eagle Festival in Mongolia in early October. Which celebrates and shows off the centuries-old Kazakh hunting tradition in the Altai Mountains. Or, stay closer to home and see the Alburquerque Balloon Fiesta to watch thousands of hot air balloons soar over the desert landscape. 

[Photo Credit: Lightscape via Unsplash]

Second Summer

the beach and overwater cabana in belize
[Photo Credit: Christina and Doug via Shared Adventures Travel — read about their Belize Honeymoon here!]

If you feel yourself clinging to the last warm days of summer — not ready to let go — you’re in luck! The southern hemisphere is entering spring, creating ideal temperatures to explore before it gets too hot. Destinations like Namibia, and Central and South America offer perfectly sunny fresh weather. 

In the northern hemisphere, Fall is the perfect time to visit places that were too hot during the summer. Cooler but still warm temperatures grace the deserts of the Southwestern U.S., Dubai, Jordan, and Morocco. Enjoy all the striking landscapes without melting in the heat, and create an endless summer vacation.

City Breaks

fall leaves frame a view of Paris from across the river
[Photo Credit: Anthony Delanoix via Unsplash]

Cities in Autumn can be magical. The weather is fresh and the throngs of summer crowds have dissipated. Visiting a tourist hotspot in the Fall is always a treat because the locals are still enjoying the outdoor-friendly weather but without the long queues, crowds, and high prices. Cities like Paris, Barcelona, Florence, Montreal, and New York shine even brighter in the Autumn. You risk a little wind, a little chill, and a little rain but the benefits far outweigh the risks. 

Which adventure will inspire your Fall vacation? Whether you’re excited about a festival, ready to spot some wildlife, or hanging on to the last tendrils of summer — let us know! We are always excited to help plan incredible custom vacations!


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