Fall is a great time to travel, and there is a well-worn path heading to America’s Northeast to see the fall colors every year. You have to try to get your reservations early for fall foliage viewing, and then fight the crowds, which doesn’t sound like much fun to me. But then again I try to stay away from crowds whenever I can, so if you don’t want to fight the crowds at the B&B’s or simply are looking for a different way to experience fall colors, here are my best suggestions for atypical Fall Destinations.
Minnesota From Above
While everyone heads east, why not just head North to Minnesota? There’s an excitement in Minnesota in the autumn as everyone tries to soak up every last minute of great outdoor time they can before the harsh winter comes. The Land of 10,000 lakes also has thousands of trees, and viewing them from above in a hot air balloon is a great way to see the fall colors.
Alaska in August
Don’t blink or you may miss it! Fall comes and goes really fast in Alaska so timing is everything. The beautiful backdrop of snowy mountain peaks and glaciers is a great way to experience fall colors. The blooming pinkish fireweed quickly turns to a rustic red color and the birch trees start glowing bright gold. They practically look illuminated next to the green pine trees. You’ll want to plan your fall color viewing trip for the end of August/beginning of September. Or if you are planning on going further north above the Arctic Circle, then you’ll see the fall colors much earlier in August!
Long Hikes – Lycian Way/Camino
For something different than experiencing autumn from the inside of a car or bus – why not get out and walk…for a very long time. The best time to do long distance hikes is the Fall months as you’ll get to experience the change of seasons at a much slower pace making you appreciate Mother Nature even more. I hiked 150 of the 335 miles that make up the Lycian Way in Turkey for 2 weeks in October – the perfect time for cooler hiking weather, beautiful colors, and plenty of apples to eat along the trail! I walked the Camino in the spring months, however the fall is also a great time to walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage due to fewer people and cooler temperatures.
Ireland Shoulder Season
Most people have left Ireland by October, but I arrived there in October ready for a Fall road trip! An October driving trip along the Wild Atlantic Way is a super way to experience Ireland in Autumn. No crowds mean more local experiences too. Just layer up and be prepared for the changing weather, but I promise you, you’ll have the colorful coast to yourself!
NYC Inwood Park
Don’t forget urban leaf viewing; sometimes you can find great autumn serenity in your own backyard – even if it is surrounded by skyscrapers. A few years ago while in NYC I decided to go to Inwood Park in Northern Manhattan – a place seldom visited by downtown locals or tourists. The park is surprisingly full of hills and large boulders that you wouldn’t expect to find in NYC. You’ll also find beautiful views of the Hudson River and you may even forget that you are in the city!
Trekking Season in Nepal
Looking to do something more epic this fall? October means trekking season in Nepal! My father and I trekked the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal in October and even thought the trail was a bit more crowded, the temps were perfect. There’s a small window of opportunity in the fall in Nepal after Monsoon Season and before winter in the mountains. In addition to mountain peaks, you’ll also get to see the harvest season play out before your eyes in the little mountain villages.