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, in some places, shoulder-season deals. 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 “What to Book Now” series.)
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!) at Disney World. The weather is still plenty warm enough for swimming, and in September Disney begins its special Halloween Party nights at Magic Kingdom.
Seattle, the San Juan Islands, and the Olympic Peninsula
In September, Seattle’s weather is still great—largely dry, and sunny more often than not, with highs around 70—but the summer crowds are gone. September is also a lovely time to travel to both the San Juan Islands and the peninsula. The weather is usually still very nice, and there are fewer tourists here too than you’ll find in July and August.
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 as they stock 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.
Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons, and plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and 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.
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 Like You’ve Never Seen It, and plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.
Come September, Hawaii becomes less crowded, airfares begin to decrease, and there are deals to be had. It’s also a relatively dry and temperate time of year for most of the islands. From the fabulous restaurants on Maui to the history on Oahu and the rural remoteness of Lana’i; from the active volcano on the Big Island to the glorious waterfalls of Kauai, there’s a part of Hawaii that’s perfect for just about any traveler.
Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast 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.)
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.
Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Killarney and County Kerry, Ireland, and plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and 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. There are also some amazing hikes just north of Porto, which are at their best in fall when the weather and landscape are starting to change; options range from easy strolls to expert-level routes.
Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Porto and the Douro River Valley, and plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.
Come September, the vineyard-covered hills across much of Tuscany 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.
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.
Humpback whales approach the islands (mostly Rurutu and Moorea) to give birth and feed at this time of year. The waters hold a lot of food that fatten up the babies before they head to the Antarctic. If the whales are calm and the weather is good, you can even snorkel with them and listen to the sounds they use to communicate with each other; it’s really quite an amazing experience.
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.
After the summer heat, Uzbekistan’s 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.
Other Good Options This Month
Click on any of the destinations below to find out why September is a good time to go.
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