Just because summer’s over doesn’t mean the travel season has ended. Here are the 10 hottest spots to avoid crowds, save a few bucks and still have an awesome time visiting before the cold, winter weather settles in.
Beginning in mid-September and ending in mid-November, the Disney parks tend to see lower numbers in attendance thanks to the kids going back to school. With fewer tourists, you’ll have more time for rides, less wait time and a higher chance to score deals.
Yellowstone National Park
A hot family destination in the spring and summer months, in Yellowstone National Park, September begins a lull in park attendance that lasts until February. For those who can brave the cooler weather of Montana in fall, you are in for quite the treat, as more animals tend to venture out, and lodging prices are significantly reduced.
Los Angeles calendar-filled events
It’s a no-brainer that travelers love to flock to the coast during summertime. Come fall, temperatures start to drop, while beachgoers begin to pack up their towels and head indoors, making the City of Angels and surrounding towns the place to visit. Check out local favorite annual events, including the delicious LA Cider Fest on Melrose, the infamous LA County Fair, enticing Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival and the eccentric Abbot Kinney Festival in Venice Beach.
San Francisco crowd-pleasing festivals
The home of the Golden Gate Bridge is a hot place to travel in September and October thanks to beautiful weather conditions, low fog and a variety of street fairs available to the public. Locals favor Oktoberfest by the Bay on Pier 48, the impressive Floating Homes Tour, an exciting Dragon Boat Festival/Race, a cultural Autumn Moon Festival and the ever-so-interesting Folsom Street Fair. Although not an inexpensive trip, San Francisco tops this list for its autumn ambiance.
Chicago’s fabulous fall parks
If you want to avoid crowds but still see Chicago in all its splendor, September is the best time to travel to the Windy City. It’s a popular summer destination, and though crowds begin to dissipate come fall, they get an even better (and cooler) experience with amazing fall foliage. Lincoln Park, the Morton Arboretum and Millennium Park are said to have some of the best falling leaves in the nation. However, as long as you can make it before the first snowfall of the season, you’re nearly guaranteed to see all the hottest tourist attractions and local fanfare Chicago has to offer.
Boston’s Harvard Square
Like Chicago, Boston becomes a hot attraction in the fall, providing moderately cool temperatures. Summer crowds have left the area, while the intense Harvard students have moved in. Although there are some events being held, most travel experts say it’s the ambiance that draws people in during September. Outside of the always busy Harvard Square is the annual Film Festival and the Red Sox in full swing at Fenway Park.
Galveston’s Moody Gardens
Another beach city that doesn’t die once the kids are back in school is Galveston, Texas. The Moody Gardens, a local, large-scale attraction, never closes its doors (even hosting a Festival of Lights in the winter), leaving you to enjoy the fun all season long. Anticipating a slower month, tourists can find all major attractions still up and running, with only the city’s Palm Beach water park closing in mid-September.
A gorgeous city, Ocean City can be absolutely packed and unbearable in the summer months. While still busy, the northeast city sees a lull in tourism thanks to tourists returning to their normal lives. A true place of beauty, the 5-mile boardwalk can see up to 345,000 people every summer. Still quite the attraction in the fall, travelers can enjoy a calendar chock-full of events, amusements and nightlife.
Niagara Falls sees a peak in its tourism season from June to August, not only because of summer vacation planning but also due to warmer temperatures. Save yourself a few dollars by booking a September trip, when the water is still on the warmer side and attractions are still in full swing. Although part of the ambiance is the crowd, you’re still guaranteed to have tourists around, just not as many as in previous months.
Opposite to most of the other attractions on our list, Telluride, Colorado, is most popular in the winter months. Known as a ski town, Telluride provides gorgeous fall colors and foliage for those seeking a little R & R in September. Wanting to pull in tourists year-round, the town keeps its calendar filled with various events to attract all types of tourists. Those booking a trip can expect a month-long Art Walk, Film Festival, Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, Festival of Cars and Colors, Mountains to Desert bike ride, Photo Festival and more.