Summer is often the peak travel season. The kids are out of school, parents can take time off work, and destinations pack their event calendars with unique features. The downside? In many places, summer travel is hot, crowded, and expensive.

In contrast, travel in September and October can be just as rewarding and cost less! The crowds in popular places have thinned out, allowing for more leisurely tourists to enjoy the sights during the fall season. If you’d like to take advantage of fall’s travel perks, here are several fun destinations that capitalize on this time of year.

Yellowstone National Park

If you’ve always wanted to see the world-famous geysers and stunning scenery at Yellowstone National Park, then fall is the best time to do it. The summer crowds have dwindled, but the wildlife is still incredibly active. You can saunter (and quietly!) along many of the hiking trails that are too packed during the summer months (or impassable in winter). While accommodations are almost impossible to find during the summer months, you’ll have various options, from camping to hotels in the fall.

Belize

Fall is the off-season in this tropical country, so take advantage of the lower rates and less-crowded hotels and book a trip. It can be rainy during these months, but storms usually clear quickly. The white sandy beaches and local cuisine make Belize a go-to spot for travellers who want something tropical that’s not an island. Many local wildlife and cultural tours are available, and prices during the off-season are a steal.

Athens, Greece

Everyone wants a summer getaway in Athens. However, once September hits, the crowds all but disappear in this Mediterranean town. You can find deals on airfare, hotels, and tours during this time of year. Your most significant advantage will be the emptier streets! Lines at museums are shorter, the weather is lovely for walking through town, and you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the world-famous cuisine.

Kenai Fjords, Alaska

September is perhaps the best time of year to visit Alaska. The temperatures are not yet too cold, the days are still long, and the wildlife is abundant. For a breathtaking experience, start in Seward and take a cruise along the coast into Kenai Fjords National Park, spotting seals, whales, and other animals along the way.

Photo: Andrew Zarivny via 123RF

Napa Valley, California

While California has mild temperatures year-round, September and October offer crisp air and a chance to see the hills of Napa Valley turn beautiful shades of orange, red, and gold. Wineries often offer tour discounts during these months, and travel around the area is less crowded than during the summer or winter months.

Dauphin Island, Alabama

Beach vacations in the fall are an excellent choice for budget-conscious travellers. Head to Dauphin Island in Alabama for a quaint southern town with a laid-back atmosphere. The island is small enough that you’ll be able to enjoy all of the sites on one trip, including a bird sanctuary and many delicious restaurants. This time of year is also perfect for enjoying the quintessential dusk hours in the “sunset capital of Alabama.”

Scottish Highlands, Scotland

Late September and early October in the Scottish Highlands offer peak leaf colours and wildlife activity. Even though it’s chilly, the temperatures aren’t too low yet to enjoy being outside, so you can hike the many beautiful hills and walk along the lakes enjoying the view. Travel to Europe is less expensive this time of year as well. That means you’ll have an easier time finding a reasonable fare.

Beaufort, South Carolina

If you love historic architecture and beautiful scenery, head to Beaufort in South Carolina during the fall to experience its charm without all of the summer heat. You can stroll on the boardwalk or head to a wine tasting without all the crowds. You’ll also see majestic wildlife, like towering moss-covered oak trees, that will remind you of the south’s natural beauty.

Take advantage of the smaller crowds and lower prices during the fall. Book a trip to one of these destinations today!