It may be the dog days of summer, but the spooky season is just creeping right around the corner. To that end, we’ve compiled the best trips for Fall 2022—and, trust us, we haven’t limited ourselves to only leaf-peeping destinations. (Though we’ve included a few seasonal stunners, of course). From tropical islands in the eastern Caribbean islands to European villages overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, you’re sure to find a trip perfectly suited to your travel interests. Read on for an energizing dose of wanderlust, and prepare to plan your next adventure.
1. Mackinac Island, Michigan, U.S.A.
(Image provided by Mackinac Island)
While this magical island on Lake Huron is famous as a summertime destination, the charming town transforms into an autumnal paradise as the weather drops. (And, incidentally, the hotel rates drop, as well—perfect for travelers looking for last-minute deals.) The leaf-peeping is a sight that must be seen to be believed. So, if you’re interested in seeing northern Michigan at its most gorgeous, we suggest visiting after the tourists leave but before the bitter cold begins (and seemingly, never ends.) Head to Lookout Point for some unbelievable leaf-peeping—and views of the 75-foot SugarLoaf rock formation—to put Vermont to shame.
2. Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
(Image provided by Tofino Tourism)
If you’re interested in cottage-core (rural, woodsy, supremely cozy—an Americanized version of hygge), look no further than Tofino, a wooded idyll located 65 miles off the coast of Vancouver Island. And, though cottage-core is always a popular aesthetic in the colder months, it’s particularly timely now, as travelers recover from a rocky and disjointed year-and-a-half of COVID precautions and the accompanying social anxiety. (Not to mention the back-to-back mid-pandemic release of Folklore and Evermore, albums in which Taylor Swift formally identified the moment—and imbued it with even more angst.) Enter Tofino, one of the most beautiful destinations you’ve likely never heard about—but which is perfect for this autumnal vacation. Plus, the activities for travelers on the island rival even the bliss one enjoys by simply watching the leaves crackle beside the bonfire at Pacific Sands Beach Resort. Not only does Tofino boast the best surfing in North America, but it is also a hotspot for whale-watching—up until November, at least, at which point it becomes a world-renowned capital for storm-watching instead. The island may brim with solitude and quiet, but there’s never a dull moment in Tofino.
3. Burlington, Vermont, U.S.A.
(Image provided by Adobe Stock)
It’s a well-known fact that the Green Mountain State is at its most beautiful when the leaves turn orange and red in the autumn, and we’d be remiss not to include Vermont on our list. For travelers interested in combining nature with urban delights, check out the bustling city of Burlington, which has grown even more popular in recent years as city-dwellers fled the city for greener pastures mid-pandemic (and decided to stay). Check out the Royal Botanical Gardens and bike along Lake Champlain on the Burlington Greenway to witness the changing of the seasons rendered vividly in the autumnal New England foliage.
4. Amalfi Coast, Italy
(Image provided by Villa Magia)
While travel to Europe remains a tricky proposition in many E.U. member states, Americans are still able to visit Italy. And, after the past year and counting, we’ve never been in greater need of la dolce vita. And if you missed out on Aperol Spritzes on the Mediterranean this summer, it’s never too late to start planning a last-minute getaway this fall. Thanks to shifting travel patterns caused by the pandemic—including more people working from home—the traditional tourist season has been disrupted, and resort towns are staying open longer than ever. (See also: the Hamptons.) Though the Amalfi Coast’s climate remains quite balmy in the early months of the off-season, its prices begin to dip dramatically. Scour travel packages at boutique resorts such as Villa Magia and be prepared to say ‘ciao’ to your prior commitments: Italy awaits.
5. Jackson Hole, Wyoming, U.S.A.
(Image provided by Adobe Stock)
While Jackson Hole is famous as a summer and winter destination, the spring and fall tend to be overlooked. But, while spring is too fleeting and unpredictable to plan a visit around — the weather, always changeable in the Tetons, is particularly so when the snow begins to melt — the fall offers a perfect moment for visitors looking to escape into the wild. Both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park are far less crowded in the autumn, and the changing colors of the foliage render America’s beauties all the more beautiful in September and October. Plan for some hiking, horseback riding, and fly fishing in the Great Outdoors and giddy-up.
6. Oranjestad, Aruba
(Image provided by Adobe Stock)
There’s more to Aruba than just all-inclusive resorts and cocktails on the beach. (Though, as a general rule, we always encourage ordering rum in the Caribbean.) The peak season in Aruba begins in November and kicks into high gear around the holidays, but for travelers who want to experience the island as a local — and discover the lesser-known side of paradise — early fall is the perfect time to visit. The prices have dropped and the weather remains fairly temperate, though, of course, there is a risk of tropical storms. (Concerned travelers should purchase travel insurance in advance, if they’re worried about inclement weather). Spend your days enjoying Aruba’s famous beaches (which are blessedly crowd-free in the autumn months), and your nights exploring the capital of Oranjestad. After all, you don’t need to wait for winter to enjoy a trip down south to paradise.
7. Sonoma, California, U.S.A.
(Image provided by Visit California)
Last, but most certainly not least, we are headed west to do some California dreaming (and imbibing) in Napa Valley. If your idea of a perfect vacation is less a rom-com set in Europe and more a spinoff of Sideways—replete with idiosyncratic characters and devastatingly stylish interiors—then you have come to the right place in Sonoma. Harvest is the perfect time to visit California’s famed wine country—the myriad of festivals and activities in Napa and Sonoma are enough to tire the endurance of even the most dedicated imbiber. (Of these, the Cakebread Harvest Festival in mid-October is the one not to miss.) Rent bicycles to explore the vineyards, and acquire a discerning nose for the nectar of the gods. Winter is coming, as we well know, and who knows what this particular one will bring. Best to get our adventures in while we can—and they’re even sweeter when spontaneous (read: booked last-minute). Happy travels!
(Image provided by Sonoma County Tourism)
8. Banff & Lake Louise, Canada
(Image provided by Banff - Lake Louise)
Canada has officially reopened its borders to the U.S. as of August 9th, 2021 and we recommend celebrating that momentous occasion with a trip to Alberta—specifically, a road trip from Banff to Lake Louise. While many travelers are familiar with the area as a winter destination (a side effect of its world-class skiing), the leaf-peeping opportunities are simply breathtaking in the pre-winter months, before the snowfall begins. (And seemingly never ends.) Banff’s foliage is regarded as some of the best in the world and is best observed from your chic hideaway at Rimrock Resort. Meanwhile, nature-lovers would be remiss to visit Lake Louise without setting eyes upon the iconic turquoise lake that is the area’s namesake. By the time the chairlifts start running, the lake has already frozen over—and that’s a tragedy that not even all the champagne powder and fresh morning tracks in the world can make right. To note: Canada is open for non-essential travel for all vaccinated U.S. citizens—just remember to enter your information into the ArriveCAN system prior to arriving in the Great White North.
(Image provided by Rimsock Resort)
9. Aspen & Snowmass, Colorado, U.S.A.
(Image of the Snowmass Balloon Festival provided by Snowmass Tourism)
We may have started our list up in the Canadian Rockies, but we are headed down to the American West for our next selection: the famed resort towns of Aspen and Snowmass, in Colorado. But fall is the perfect time to visit this region of Colorado: the smoke from the summer fires has cleared—and, as such, the views have returned. (Perfect for appreciating the vistas while hiking, fly-fishing, horseback riding, or kayaking—among the myriad of other outdoor activities available in the area.) But nowhere is the mountainous landscape better observed than from a hot air balloon floating high above the valley—the Snowmass Balloon Festival in September is the highest-altitude ballooning event in the nation—and reason enough to book your next flight out west. Giddy up.
10. Los Cabos, Mexico
(Image provided by Visit Los Cabos)
From one whale-watching capital to another—we are headed down to the picturesque region of Los Cabos, located along the western coast of Mexico. Fall is a wonderful time to visit Los Cabos, as the temperature is still warm while the rainfall decreases significantly. We’re following the migratory patterns of the humpback whales, in fact, as they depart for the warmer waters of the Pacific Coast in mid-November. There’s more to Los Cabos than just whale-watching, of course. Located on the southern tip of Baja California Sur, the region encompasses a gorgeous variety of natural landscapes and exciting nightlife, from the famed city of Cabo San Lucas to the coastal beauty of the Sea of Cortez. Finally, autumn visitors to Los Cabos would be remiss not to partake in one of the most exciting days of the year—Dia De Los Muertos, a national holiday also known as the Day of the Dead, which falls on November 2nd every year.