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Where to Go in November: The Best Places to Travel

Brook Wilkinson | October 23, 2017

What a shame that work schedules and the holidays prevent so many of us from taking a true vacation in November. (No, that Thanksgiving-week slog to the in-laws doesn’t count). Weather-wise, November is an ideal time for many parts of the globe. The clear skies make it a great month for photography too.

(Don’t miss the rest of our “Where to Go” series on the best destinations for every month of the year. If you’re wondering when’s the best time to book your destination to get the best value for your dollar, see our “Where to Book Now” series.)

Grand Canyon, Arizona

After Labor Day, the Grand Canyon gets much quieter, and prices fall from the highs of summer. Visitor services at the North Rim close on October 15, but the South Rim is open year-round, and the weather is pleasant into early November.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to the Grand Canyon, and plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

volcano erupting in Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii. Photo: skeeze/Pixabay

November is shoulder season on the Big Island, so both crowds and prices are down. While it’s a bit rainier on the side of the island where Hilo and the national park are located, it’s typically dry and sunny on the Kona side. When you’re done exploring the park’s two active volcanoes, there’s plenty else to do: hiking, kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling with manta rays at night, zip-lining, sampling Kona coffee, and visiting one of the world’s premier astrological observatories, atop Mauna Kea.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to the Big Island, and plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Beach, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

The beach in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Photo: Journey Mexico

The rainy season is over, the landscapes are still ultra-tropical green, and the ocean is bathtub-warm (80s), with exceptional clarity for scuba diving and snorkeling. November is also the kickoff of the humpback whale-watching season. Moreover, you avoid the peak-season rates that kick in on December 18.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Puerto Vallarta, and plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

London

the fountain at the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London, England

National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London. Photo: London Perfect

November is a great month for museum lovers, as many of the blockbuster exhibitions open in the fall; this year, that means delving into the influence of 15th-century painter Jan van Eyck on the pre-Raphaelite movement at the National Gallery; an in-depth look at the master of Abstract Expressionism, Jasper Johns, at the Royal Academy of Arts; and Cézanne’s portraits at the National Portrait Gallery. There’s also the London Jazz Festival, where world-class stars and hot emerging artists share the bill, and the Taste of London Festival, with top chefs doing live demonstrations, tons of tastings, and master cooking classes. And the Christmas spirit is already in the air, with holiday lights on all the shopping streets, a plethora of Christmas markets, high tea at gorgeous hotels, and holiday cheer everywhere.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to London Vacation Rentals, and plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Andalusia, Spain

cityscape of Andalusia, Spain

Andalusia, Spain in November. Photo: Made in Spain

One highlight of this magical part of the country is the culture—an aspect that can be very hard to experience during the summer high season, when the numbers of tourists and residents is imbalanced. In November, by contrast, most of the visitors are gone, making it much easier to interact with locals (and to enjoy some breathing room in the region’s UNESCO World Heritage sites). The weather is still quite pleasant, with temperatures near 70 degrees during the day.

Plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

The Brazilian Amazon

A picture-perfect sunset, as seen from the Negro River, , a tributary of the Amazon in Brazil

A picture-perfect sunset, as seen from the Negro River, a tributary of the Amazon in Brazil. Photo courtesy Matueté.

River levels are lowest in November, so all of the beaches are out in their full splendor. (People are often shocked by the beauty of the white-sand beaches that form here, making a trip to Brazil’s region of the Amazon unique from the experiences one can have in Ecuador or Peru’s swaths of the same river system.) An ideal trip extends over five days, so it’s easy to fit into a Thanksgiving break. And the area around the Negro River, which is acidic, is not good for mosquito reproduction, so there is little chance of malaria or zika.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to the Brazilian Amazon, and plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

In Buenos Aires hotel rates are shoulder-season; the weather is bright, sunny, and in the 70s; and the tree-lined boulevards explode with blue jacaranda blossoms. It’s also prime time for the spectator sports that are a passion in Argentina—soccer, polo, and horse races—as well as opera and ballet season at the city’s Colón Theater. Then there’s the gaucho festival, Dia de la Tradicion, which takes place the weekend around November 10 in San Antonio de Areco, one and a half hours from the capital.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Buenos Aires, and plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Patagonia

A view of Mount Fitz Roy from the trail

A view of Mount Fitz Roy from the trail in Patagonia. Photo: Brook Wilkinson.

Late October and November are the best times to spot Patagonia’s elusive wildlife, such as nandu, guanaco, puma, huemul, and condor, as all of the animals are more active during their breeding time. Since these weeks fall during the shoulder season, which sees fewer visitors, the lodges have a quieter, more relaxed ambiance and there is less traffic on the roads. The national parks of southern Patagonia have a reputation for changeable windy weather influenced by Antarctica and the continental ice cap, but November feels like spring, with snows melting off the high peaks and flowers beginning to bloom.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Patagonia, and plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Morocco

family picture at dades gorges Morocco

Wendy took her boys to Morocco for a family vacation. Photo: Tim Baker

The weather is perfect: sunny days and crisp, clear evenings that make for great star-gazing in the desert. It’s also ideal for hiking in the Atlas Mountains, as it’s starting to cool down and the peaks are often photogenically snowcapped. Plus, it’s harvest time: You can see saffron being picked, and olives turned to oil, right in front of your eyes.

Plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Egypt

View from the Sphinx Paws, Giza. Courtesy Jim Berkeley

By November the summer and fall heat has ebbed and Egypt is at the beginning of its cooler season: Temperatures average 80 to 85 degrees during the day in Cairo and 85 to 90 in Upper Egypt (the area around the Nile that is south—but also upriver—of Cairo). Rain is not a factor, and the air is clear, making it the perfect month for photography, especially in the early morning, when the sun’s rising rays highlight the rich hues of the temples and monuments, and at sunset, when the fading light always gives a lovely red glow to images. Plus, for the first time in 20 years, the government has just opened to the general public the tombs of Queen Nefertari and Pharaoh Seti I in Luxor, and the Sphinx paws in Giza.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Egypt, and plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Israel

bird migration in Israel

Israel’s the Hula Valley Bird Festival celebrates the migration of millions of birds going from Eurasia to Africa. Photo: Israel Ministry of Tourism

While November falls at the beginning of the rainy season, temperatures are still mild and there are no crowds (unlike October, which sees many Jewish and Christian travelers visiting for Sukkot). Millions of birds stop in Israel at this time of year, on their way from Eurasia to Africa; the Hula Valley Bird Festival (November 19–26) celebrates this awesome migration.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Israel, and plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Ethiopia

Ethiopia landscape

Ethiopia. Photo: Paul Callcutt

In November, it’s dry in northern Ethiopia but the countryside is still green; the fields are active as the harvest is starting to come in. This is also when the Hidar Zion religious festival takes place, celebrating the Ark of the Covenant: People come from all over Ethiopia (and the world) to see replicas of the ark paraded through the streets.

Plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong. Photo: Context Travel.

Hong Kong must have one of the world’s poorest climates—but in November, you are almost guaranteed a blue sky, low humidity, and sunshine, allowing you to take full advantage of all the city offers. Another benefit is the lack of holidays, during which the city gets overrun by Mainland Chinese tourists.

Plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Chiang Rai, Thailand

The Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai, Thailand

The Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Photo: C. Kennerly.

Thailand’s northernmost province, bordering Laos and Myanmar, is at its very best in November, when the mountains are lush and green from the recently receded monsoon, the mornings are diffused with a subtle mist suspended in the valleys, and the sun is gentler as the seasons ease into cooler weather. The rivers are deep and navigable, and the waterfalls are at optimum volume. All in all, it’s an ideal window to travel, before the crowds and costs rise in December.

Plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

South India

Drummers at the Kalapthy Festival in Kerala, India

Drummers at the Kalapthy Festival in Kerala, India. Photo: Sanjay Saxena

November is an ideal time to visit India, thanks to temperate weather—and those in the know leave the north to the tourists and head south, where you’ll find fewer crowds. While India has long been coveted by many outside forces, South India was largely unaffected by invasions and was able to retain its original Dravidian culture. Kerala’s grand Kalpathi Chariot Festival is an exceptional sight to behold, even in this land synonymous with pageantry. This weeklong festival, in which chariots displaying the temple’s deities join a grand procession, takes place every November.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to the Secrets of India, and plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Nepal

Monk and flowers, Nepal.

A young monk in Nepal. Photo: Toni Neubauer

November is the perfect time in Nepal, with weather optimal both for exploring the jungle and for trekking in the Annapurnas. The air is crisp and clear, without the pre-monsoon dust, so the mountain views are best. And festivals abound: Near Everest, Manu Rimdu is an exorcism festival designed to purge evil from the area, ensure a bountiful harvest, and confer blessings on the villagers and all sentient beings with dancing, prayers, and comic relief. Then there is the very important Festival of Lights, or Tihar, honoring the gods, humans, and animals.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Nepal, and plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

 

Other Good Options This Month

Click on any of the destinations below to find out why November is a good time to go.

Africa Cruises

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Antarctica Cruises

Athens, Greece

Bali

Bangkok, Thailand

Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Beijing, China

The Caribbean

Cartagena, Colombia

The Cotswolds, England

Cuba

Disney World, Orlando

Fiji (for November deals)

Hawaii: Maui

Hawaii: Oahu (for whale-watching)

Italy’s Amalfi Coast

Los Cabos beach vacations (and villa vacations)

Mediterranean Luxury Cruises

Mendoza, Argentina

Mexico City

Moscow

Mumbai

Myanmar

New Zealand

New Zealand: Queenstown hiking and cycling

Papua New Guinea

Riviera Maya, Mexico

Sicily

Southeast Asia

Southern Vietnam

St. Petersburg

Washington, D.C.

 

Be a smarter traveler: Read real travelers’s reviews of Wendy’s WOW List and use it to plan your next trip. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter @wendyperrin, and Instagram @wendyperrin, and sign up for her weekly newsletter to stay in the know.

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