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Where to Go in September: The Best Places to Travel

Wendy Perrin | July 26, 2016

Leisure travel usually slows down after Labor Day, as kids go back to school and adults go back to work. But September is the ideal month for many places around the world, thanks to nicer weather, fewer tourists, and, this year perhaps, cheaper airfare. Here are ten of the best places to travel in September.

(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.)

Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park
From mid-September to mid-October, the aspens are golden, the area isn’t crowded, and hotels often discount their rates; plus, the grizzly and black bears are more visible, stocking up prior to hibernation, and the elk are bugling. While the weather can be cooler, it’s a good excuse to take advantage of the fireplace in your room.

Contact Wendy to find the right Trusted Travel Expert to plan the best possible trip.

Costa Rica 
“For the Caribbean coast: This area has three seasons—less rainy, rainy, and very rainy. September is not only the least rainy, it is the least crowded and the best month to see turtles nesting and hatching on Tortuguero National Park’s beaches. It’s also one of the best months for fishing, with tarpon, snook, shark, barracuda, king, and Spanish mackerel preying on the baby turtles. (October is normally only a little rainier than September, and it’s also a great month for fishing, wildlife viewing, and turtle hatching—but not turtle nesting.)” —Michael Kaye and Natalie Ewing, Trusted Travel Experts for Costa Rica

Read Michael and Natalie’s Insider’s Guide to Costa Rica’s Natural Wonders and reach out to Michael and Natalie to get the best possible trip.

Seattle, the San Juan Islands, and the Olympic Peninsula
“September is my favorite time in Seattle: The weather is still great—largely dry, and sunny more often than not, with highs around 70—but the crowds are fewer. September is also a great time to travel to both the San Juan Islands and the peninsula. The weather is usually still very nice, but there are fewer tourists around than you’ll find in July and August.” —Sheri Doyle, Trusted Travel Expert for the Pacific Northwest

Read Sheri’s Insider’s Guides to Seattle and to the San Juan Islands and Olympic Peninsula, and reach out to Sheri to get the best possible trip.

View from Mauna Koa Beach, Hawaii

The view from the Mauna Koa at dusk. Courtesy Susan Tanzman

Big Island, Hawaii
“There are only two seasons on the Big Island: Summer, from May to October, is dry and temperate, with daytime temperatures hovering around 85 degrees. In so-called winter, temperatures drop around six degrees and rains are more common, especially in the eastern parts of the island around Hilo. May, September and October might be the choicest months for the Big Island, as the weather is driest and the crowds are thin.” —Jay Johnson, Trusted Travel Expert for Hawaii

Read Jay’s Insider’s Guide to Hawaii and reach out to Jay to get the best possible trip.

“Oahu does not have extremes in weather. Its temperatures are fairly constant, usually between 78 and 82 degrees, and showers don’t usually last long. September is ideal, because the airfare is less expensive, the crowds are down, and there are deals to be had.” —Jay Johnson, Trusted Travel Expert for Hawaii

Read Jay’s Insider’s Guide to Oahu and reach out to Jay to get the best possible trip.

Utah’s National Parks
Spring and September (post-Labor Day) through October are best for Utah’s national parks: The temperatures are generally moderate and the crowds thin.
—Marty Behr and Mark Campbell, Trusted Travel Expert for National Parks and California

Read Marty and Mark’s Insider’s Guide to Bryce, Zion, Arches: Utah’s National Parks and reach out to Marty and Mark to get the best possible trip.

Grand Canyon Kolb studio.

Kolb Studio, Grand Canyon. Photo: Mike Buchheit

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.
—Marty Behr and Mark Campbell, Trusted Travel Expert for National Parks and California

Read Marty and Mark’s Insider’s Guide to the Grand Canyon and reach out to Marty and Mark to get the best possible trip.

Tuscany, Italy
“Though spring in Tuscany is certainly stunning, we prefer the fall—specifically that magical period of September (plus or minus a week, depending upon the weather) when the vineyard-covered hills across much of the region come alive for the vendemmia, or grape harvest. The rumble of small tractors rolling along the long rows of vines, the chattering of families and farm hands as they snip off individual clusters by hand, the tinkling of glasses and forks against plates as long tables are set up outdoors for everyone to take a break for lunch al fresco…these are the sights and sounds of autumn in Chianti, Montalcino, Montepulciano, and the rest of Tuscany’s wine country.” —Maria Gabriella Landers and Brian Dore, Trusted Travel Experts for Tuscany, Italy

Read Maria and Brian’s Insider’s Guide to Tuscany and reach out to Maria and Brian to get the best possible trip.

Slea Head Drive, Dingle, Ireland

Slea Head Drive on the Dingle Peninsula. Photo courtesy Jonathan Epstein.

Killarney & County Kerry, Ireland
“April, May, September, and October, when the summer crowds have gone but the fine weather remains, are the best times to visit. It certainly might rain (this is Ireland, after all), which just means you’ll have rainbows! In September, which is considered high season, leaves start turning, ushering in fall.” —Jonathan Epstein, Trusted Travel Expert for England, Ireland, and Scotland

Read Jonathan’s Insider’s Guide to Killarney & Country Kerry and reach out to Jonathan to get the best possible trip.


Porto & the Douro River Valley, Portugal
“Late September and early October are typically the time for the grape harvest in the Douro. You can participate by picking grapes (more fun than it sounds) or—better yet—stomping the fruit à la I Love Lucy with your own two feet.” —Mike Korn and Ally Lewing, Trusted Travel Experts for Portugal and Spain

Read Mike and Ally’s Insider’s Guide to Porto and the Douro River Valley and reach out to Mike and Ally to get the best possible trip.

Tilla Kori Medreseh, Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Tilla Kori Medreseh in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Photo courtesy Zulya Rajabova.

“After the summer heat, the weather is once again comfortable for touring the ancient cities of Bukhara, Samarkand, and Khiva, and for hiking in the mountains or camel riding in the Kizil Kum Desert.” —Zulya Rajabova, Trusted Travel Expert for Uzbekistan

Read Zulya’s Insider’s Guide to Uzbekistan and reach out to Zulya to get the best possible trip.

Trancoso, Brazil
“If you are after peace and quiet, the off-season (i.e., June through September) is pure bliss: Temperatures are still in the high 70s to 80s, and you will often have mile upon mile of palm-tree-backed beaches all to yourself.” —Paul Irvine, Trusted Travel Expert for Brazil

Read Paul’s Insider’s Guide to Trancoso and reach out to Paul to get the best possible trip.

South African Safaris
“September is glorious in South Africa. The winter chill has left, and spring is on its way. The grasses that grew high after the rainy season have been chomped down, leaving the animals in full view. Cape Town is warming up, and the rains have more or less gone for good. Whales can be seen off the coast, the vineyards are green, and safaris are spectacular throughout the parks and reserves. Not too hot, not too cold. Enjoy heaven on earth.” —Nina Wennersten and Dan Saperstein, Trusted Travel Experts for Safaris: East Africa and South Africa

Read Nina and Dan’s Insider’s Guide to South Africa Safaris and reach out to Nina and Dan to get the best possible trip.

Disney World, Orlando
“After Labor Day, you’ll find the fewest people and the shortest lines of the year (which means more time for fun!). The weather is still plenty warm enough for swimming, and in September Disney begins their special Halloween Party nights at Magic Kingdom. “—Susan Kelly, Trusted Travel Expert for Disney

Read Susan’s Insider’s Guide to Disney World and reach out to Susan to get the best possible trip.

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


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1 Comment

  1. David Dunhill

    I love these articles, and learn so much from them. I often consult your Where to Go by month posts to plan future travel. To this one, I would add a side note for Portugal: September is a great time to visit the Azores. You can find good deals on European vacation packages from the U.S. east coast to the Azores, and it’s a fantastic trip. Here’s more info about an Azores vacation package. Thanks, keep the good info coming!

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