By Andrés Muñoz
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word “vacations”? It could very well be a sunny beach with palm trees, the ocean waves splashing in the distance, and either a cocktail or a book in your hand. It could also be skis, snowboarding, and a lovely log cabin with warm cocoa waiting for you by the fireplace.
Many travellers usually plan their destinations and trips towards the winter or summer seasons, but let us remember the following colours: red, orange, and yellow. That’s right… the fall.
Fall is sometimes overlooked, and it shouldn’t be for several reasons! First, autumn is often the low season in many countries. So while the summer draws massive crowds wherever you may go on the planet, the autumn months tend to offer cheaper airplane fares and less expensive lodgings. Here are four destinations I recommend visiting in autumn.
Japan – Beyond The Sakuras
While the universally famous cherry blossom season occurs between March and May, the Japanese countryside is especially charming during the fall. The best times to visit specific areas depends on your travel plans. Check the forecast before you plan, but locations like Hokkaido in late October, the Tohoku region in early November, the Kanto region in late November, and finally, the Kansai region in early December will be amazing!
Prices are generally cheaper compared to the cherry blossom season. I recommend purchasing a Japan Railway Pass to make your trip easier and more enjoyable to visit multiple regions. My top recommendation is to go to Nagoya in late November to visit Tokugawa Garden and catch the Nagoya Castle Autumn Festival.
Colorado, USA – The Reddest Trees In The Red-White-And-Blue
Of all the states in the US, Colorado is the one I’ve wanted to visit the most, thanks to its incredible scenery. I love hiking and all kinds of outdoor activities, so a visit to the Rocky Mountain National Park northwest of Boulder is a must. The views are absolutely stunning, and you could easily stay there for weeks as you hike your way through the park’s 80+ (!!!) trails.
If you enjoy indulging in scenery from your car, the Million Dollar Highway on the northeastern portion of the state is a priority. Be advised; the road is not for the faint of heart! It is a constant stream of curves as you drive past cliffs and mountains that will leave you breathless.
Another park definitely worth visiting is the Golden Gate Canyon State Park. It offers countless outdoor activities, from biking to horseback riding and fishing. Boasting over 100 different campsites and 68 km of hiking trails, with elk, black bears and mountain lions often appearing throughout the area, you certainly won’t get bored.
Rosa Khutor, Russia – Beyond The Olympics
While the geopolitical situation might make it harder to visit Russia right now, one can only hope that a peaceful resolution to the Russo-Ukrainian conflict will arrive soon.
Given its massive size, Russia is a country with a lot to offer. A little under two hours to the east of Sochi, Rosa Khutor is a marvellous find. This alpine resort hosted some of the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, but I suggest you visit before the snow falls and admire the countryside before the skiing enthusiasts flock in. The dense forests offer nature hikes and family-friendly high ropes courses and activities. Don’t miss the Panda Park and the nearby Bzerpinskiy Karniz nature walk.
Canada – The Big, Autumn Giant
There was no way I would write this article and not include the country with a literal maple leaf on its flag. Just like in Japan, there are many locations worth mentioning. However, it might be trickier to move around, given the country’s massive size.
Over 1000 kilometres to the northwest of Colorado, USA, Alberta boasts some of the most fantastic fall colours in North America. Banff National Park has been a pilgrimage location for photographers from all over, regardless of the season. The Larch Valley Trail is particularly gorgeous during the fall.
As we head further east, Ontario has its fair share of national parks, too. Algonquin National Park is the oldest in Canada, offering excellent hiking and canoeing opportunities. The Lake of Two Rivers campground and Centennial Ridges trail would be my key picks.
Finally, the Laurentian Mountains in Quebec province are so popular that even though they might draw more crowds than the other places mentioned in this article, they are still well worth the visit.
These four locations are only some of the places that can amaze you with their awesome shades of red, orange, and yellow; there are many more welcoming autumn destinations to visit too. What are your favourites? Let us know in the comments section below. (Pictures are encouraged!)