Travellers are constantly trying to escape the cold of winter and visit the beach in the hot summer months. However, the constant demand for such vacations means more expensive airfare to Mexico in February and outrageous accommodation rates at Myrtle Beach resorts in summer.
Fall, with its back-to-school madness and higher chance of hurricanes, is one of the best times to pack your bags -- if you can. The following are four reasons why.
The Weather Is Still Beautiful
Whether you're into snapping photos of the changing leaves or sun-tanning on the beach, fall can be one of the best times of year for ideal temperatures. Southern destinations that are sticky and sometimes unbearable in the summer months offer fall air and sea temperatures that hover between 20 and 30-degrees Celsius.
Hurricane season in the Caribbean and along America's East Coast stretches from June 1 through Nov. 30, with September and October being peak activity times. However, many travellers don't know that the southeastern region of the Caribbean sees the lease number of hurricanes, and the ABC islands are rarely affected at all. Fall can be one of the best times of year to snag unbelievably low prices in the Caribbean if you're willing to take the hurricane risk.
Discounts Are Coming Back
Fall discounts aren't just prevalent in the Caribbean -- deep discounts can be found throughout Canada, the U.S., Europe and in numerous other areas around the globe. It's much easier to find flight, accommodation, tour and even food and drink specials when most of the tourists have headed back to work and school. It's simple -- a lower demand for goods and services means lower prices for you.
The Crowds Are Gone
Photo credit: Nicolas Raymond
You know that your destination will be less crowded in fall, but you probably won't fully understand the benefits until you arrive. Less-crowded often means you can forget about dinner reservations, you don't have to worry about a packed hotel pool, and you can take in the true serenity of a picture-perfect place. If you're more into taking full advantage of your destination than sharing it with fellow travellers, you'll love the peaceful (but not downright boring) atmosphere that fall adventures can bring.
There's Even a Name for the Season
Fall is referred to as a "shoulder season" in many parts of the world. Travel and Leisure Magazine referred to it as the "Mama Bear" of travel times. It's somewhere between the outrageous prices of the high season and the undesirable weather of the off-season. The shoulder season means it's time to take advantage of all of the above -- ideal weather, unbeatable deals and snapping photos without crowds of people you don't know in the way.
The shoulder season is often a favourite among locals, too. The stresses of the busy season have given way to more relaxing days, where they can focus on providing better service at a more relaxed pace. So don't be surprised if you're welcomed with open arms by those hoping to eke out a few extra tourist dollars before the off-season blues sets in.
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See More of America's Best Cities for Fall TravelThe leaves start turning early in the resort towns outside Denver, but the city’s foliage takes center stage during October, when you can see it nicely from the Cherry Creek Bike Trail, or along the High Line Canal, lined with brilliant yellow cottonwood trees. Beer fans, however, might be forgiven for never noticing any trees. Fall here brings a chockablock lineup of sudsfests: the Denver Oktoberfest, the Denver Beer Fest, and the Great American Beer Festival, featuring 2,000 different beers from more than 400 brewers. Photo: VISIT DENVER
See More of America's Best Cities for Fall TravelMusic City lives up to its nickname particularly well in fall, when it hosts the Independent Music Festival, the Americana Festival, and Loveless Café’s Biscuits and Bluegrass Festival. Indeed, the biggest parties in Nashville increasingly reflect the city’s love affair with southern, farm-to-table cuisine. The Music City Food & Wine Festival features cooking demos from Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and musical multitasker Trisha Yearwood. And, as a reminder that not every lyrical turn of phrase in this town is belted out, the nearly 20-year-old Southern Festival of Books returns in October. Photo courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation
See More of America's Best Cities for Fall TravelTo see the best local foliage, hike up Bradbury Mountain, just outside town, or pedal around using the bike-share program Zagster. After all, some exercise amid the foliage is a convenient way to rationalize all of the good eating to be done in this lobster-filled city. Dig in at October’s acclaimed foodie-palooza Harvest on the Harbor. Highlights include the showcase of samples at the Grand Tasting on the Harbor, and the Maine Lobster Chef of the Year competition—where, happily, audience members get to taste and vote alongside the professional judges. Photo: Tetra Images / Alamy
See More of America's Best Cities for Fall TravelFor just one version of pastoral bliss in Central Park, head to the meadow by Belvedere Castle, which gets covered with red leaves from the black tupelo trees—or book a Central Park-facing room at the Mandarin Oriental New York. Heading downtown, explore the latest stretch of the High Line—the park space created out of old elevated rail tracks—between 30th and 34th streets. Well into October, you can enjoy its seasonal food kiosks, such as Blue Bottle Coffee or Delaney Barbecue’s SmokeLine. Photo: NYC & Marley White
See More of America's Best Cities for Fall TravelIt’s long been called the American Riviera, and, like its French cousin, this SoCal city enjoys a tony summer season. But come fall, hotel prices plummet—weekend rates at the legendary Biltmore, for instance, drop by nearly 50 percent from August to September. And you often get better weather in fall than summer anyway (which can be prey to foggy June Gloom). Given its proximity to the Santa Ynez Valley wineries, Santa Barbara also has an increasing number of grape-harvest-friendly tasting rooms. Check out Deep Sea Wines, which sits on Stearns Wharf, right over the water. Photo courtesy of Visit Santa Barbara / Jay Sinclair
See More of America's Best Cities for Fall TravelA third of the world’s bourbon whiskey comes from this Kentucky city, and locals toast their output during September’s National Bourbon Heritage Month. You can celebrate all fall, however, along Lousiville’s 34-stop Urban Bourbon Trail. One new stop is the Down One Bourbon Bar & Restaurant, which serves 120 bourbons, a pecan pie cocktail (bourbon with praline liquor and spiced cherry bitters), and whiskey brisket chili. For a non-alcoholic stroll, check out the foliage in Iroquois Park (designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, best known for NYC’s Central Park), and stay until after dark during October, when 2014’s Jack -O’-Lantern Spectacular features 5,000 carved pumpkins. Photo: Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau
See More of America's Best Cities for Fall TravelThe autumn months generally mean the lowest prices, thin crowds, and the chance to see bright foliage while hiking or driving along Big or Little Cottonwood canyons. The Utah State Fair happens in SLC in September—with its rodeo and Western Music Festival—and the lederhosen-filled Oktoberfest lasts nearly two months at Snowbird. Oh, and some years, there's enough snow to ski here by Halloween. Photo: Adam Barker
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