Thinking about a September vacation but don’t know where to go? From hiking in the Andes Mountains and sunning it up in Big Sur in California to seeing baby gorillas in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and celebrating Oktoberfest in Munich, there’s absolutely loads to do at this time of year!
September is typically a shoulder season in many destinations, making it a fantastic time to travel. At this time of year, the weather is still warm, but all the summer crowds have vanished in most places. New Zealand is shaking off its winter coat, the Albanian Riviera is blissfully peaceful, and the harvest is just beginning in California’s Wine Country. September really is an amazing time to travel!
With so many incredible places to visit in September, it can be difficult to pick just one. To give you a helping hand, we’ve put together a list of the 14 best places to travel in September. Each of these locations has wonderful weather, none of the crowds, and fantastic things going on at this time of year, giving you the chance for an awesome getaway!
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The 14 Best Places To Visit In September
1. Patagonia, Argentina & Chile
September is a fantastic time to visit Patagonia if you want the place to yourself. Although this month technically marks the beginning of spring, Patagonia is slow to get the memo and takes its time warming up.
Temperatures are cool to mild at this time of year, and as the hotels are just opening up after the winter season, the place is peaceful and free of crowds. You can also snag some great deals on accommodation and tours due to the lack of visitors.
Patagonia is one of the most spectacular places in the world for hiking. Here you can trek through the Andes Mountains, past towering glaciers, and marvel at unbelievably beautiful panoramas. Because the place is so quiet at this time of year, you’ll be able to take loads of great pictures that aren’t full of tourists!
Springtime in Patagonia is stunning. Expect to see lush green grass, thick bushes of violet lupin flowers, and gorgeously blue skies. September is also when the first penguins flock to the region to mate, giving you a great chance to spot some!
2. Grand Canyon, Arizona
If you’ve never been to the Grand Canyon before, this is one of the best places to visit in September in the USA. While the place is always crowded, this month attracts fewer tourists than the peak season.
The iconic landmark is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and a mile deep. It’s impossible to get your head around the vast size until you’re standing directly in front of it.
The natural wonder in Arizona has been expanding for 6 million years, thanks to the help of the Colorado River. And for centuries, visitors from all over the world have been coming to the massive chasm to stare in awe at its orange and red grandeur.
The Grand Canyon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is managed by the National Park Service, which does a great job of protecting it. Around 6 million people visit each year, but you’ve got a decent chance of avoiding major crowds when you go in September.
While the South Rim, where you’ll find the Bright Angel Trail and the Grand Canyon Village, is one of the best places for hiking and sightseeing, it’s also one of the busiest spots. Take a break from the crowds by spending more time at the North Rim. This is where you’ll find challenging hiking routes and incredible camping spots.
3. Trans Bhutan Trail, Bhutan
If you want to push yourself to the absolute limit, Bhutan is easily one of the best places to travel in September. In 2022, the legendary 250-mile-long Trans Bhutan Trail opened for hiking and mountain biking for the very first time in 60 years!
The life-changing hiking route starts in Haa, Bhutan’s westernmost district, and stretches all the way east to Trashigang. It gives you a remarkable chance to travel through Bhutan’s fascinating history, as the trail encompasses 400 points of interest.
One of the most incredible is the Tiger’s Nest Monastery. This landmark dates back to 1692 and is made up of a small number of buildings that appear to precariously teeter on the edge of a cliff that plunges 10,000 feet into the sea.
If you’re going to be in Bhutan on September 7, you’ll get to witness (or take part in, if you’re up for it!) the Tour of the Dragon. This 160-mile-long cycle race is an extreme endurance test and takes place in a single day. It kicks off in Bumthang and moves through four different mountain passes before ending in the town square in Thimphu.
4. Big Sur, California
Big Sur isn’t just a vacation destination – it’s a way of life. The laid-back culture has attracted people from all over the globe seeking transformation, refuge, or inspiration. It appeals to all creative types, from photographers and writers to musicians and artists, all eager to add a little extra oomph to their work.
The coastal hotspot stretches 90 miles on the west coast of central California between Monterey Bay and San Simeon. By September, most of the summertime crowds have gone, leaving you with wide-open spaces, blissful tranquility, and incomparable beauty.
The Pacific Coast Highway is the main road that runs through Big Sur and has become the most scenic drive in the region. Perched high above the surf, the highway follows the edge of the cliffs, rewarding drivers and passengers with unbeatable views as it follows the seemingly endless coastline.
It’s not just dramatic panoramas you’ll find along the Pacific Coast Highway. This stretch of road is also dotted with pampering wellness retreats, independent art galleries, and creative international restaurants.
One of the best things to do on the road is to find Big Sur’s hidden gems. To make sure natural attractions don’t get overwhelmed, some of them are intentionally unmarked. This guarantees they remain secluded, peaceful, and pristine. If you’re wondering where to go in September and you’re California-bound, don’t miss out on Big Sur!
5. Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
The Volcanoes National Park is an exceptional place to see gorillas in Rwanda. But visit in September, and not only will you almost certainly see the phenomenal creatures, but you’ll also have a high chance of spotting baby gorillas, too!
September marks the end of the dry season in Rwanda. This is when the paths are less slippery and the foliage is less dense, making it easier to get around and spot gorillas. The government has been doing a lot of work to boost high-end tourism and has spent a lot of money on sustainable, ethical attractions, like the Volcanoes National Park.
The best part about being in Rwanda in September is that you’ll be there for Kwita Izina. This celebration is made up of a week of gorilla-themed events, which end with a wonderful naming ceremony for the newborn gorillas. Attend the festivities, and you’ll get to see around 12 infant gorillas named, followed by a huge party!
September 24, World Gorilla Day, is sometimes the day of the naming ceremony. But it can take place on any day throughout the month.
6. Munich, Germany
You may guess from the name that Oktoberfest takes place in October, but it actually begins in the second half of September and merges into October. While it’s celebrated throughout the Western world, the very best place for Oktoberfest is Munich in Germany!
Beer is the focal point of the festival, with hundreds of different types of brews from all across Germany available to try. Here you’ll find everything from well-known German brands down to beers from tiny family-run microbreweries.
Even if you’re not into beer, you’ll still have an amazing time at Oktoberfest. There are absolutely loads of typical German foods to dig into, from pretzels and sausages to pork knuckles and potato pancakes. The main goal of the festival is for everyone to have a great time, and it’s impossible not to get swept up in the atmosphere.
You’ll find people celebrating Oktoberfest throughout the city’s streets, but the official celebrations take place in the Theresienwiese – the largest fairground in Munich. In addition to the many beer halls and food stalls, you’ll also come across fairground rides and shows.
If you’re looking to have a good time on your trip, Munich is easily one of the best cities to visit in September!
7. Wine Country, California
In California’s Wine Country, grape harvesting season usually kicks off in September. The weather can vary between Mendocino, Napa, and Sonoma counties, meaning some places may start earlier or later than others. If you’ve got your heart set on a particular winery, it’s a good idea to confirm their opening date before you make any plans.
There are more than 139 viticultural areas scattered throughout Wine Country, from major vineyards that produce the bottles you see in grocery stores to tiny wineries run by families that put their hearts and souls into their businesses.
September is typically warm and balmy, making it ideal for days touring picturesque vineyards and evenings enjoying al fresco dinners with great company. There are absolutely loads of events going on at this time of year, too.
From outdoor music concerts, celebrity chef-hosted dinners, and wine pairing seminars to local art exhibitions, wine auctions, and guided walks, you’re guaranteed to find something you want to do in wine country in September. Some vineyards even give you the chance to get involved in the winemaking process by stomping grapes!
8. Honolulu, Oahu
Honolulu is one of the best places to visit in September in the USA. Although summer is slowly drifting away, the temperatures are still great, whatever you’re thinking of doing.
If you’re planning on spending your time exploring volcanoes and mountains, you’ll be glad to know that September is a little cooler (and a lot quieter!) than the peak summer period. Daytime temperatures are in the mid to high 80s, but the higher up you travel, the cooler it gets.
This time of year is perfect for hitting the beach. You’ll get to enjoy the warmest ocean temperatures of the year in September. And as evening temperatures stay in the comfortable 70s range, you can while away long, relaxing nights by the sea.
Honolulu gives you the best of both worlds. There are cultural gems and historic sites, such as the Pearl Harbor National Memorial and Iolani Palace, as well as rural treasures, like brilliant blue waters and secret hiking trails along the North Shore.
Although fall marks the beginning of the rainy season in Oahu, September is still one of the driest months. You could easily spend a 14-night vacation in the capital without ever seeing a single drop!
9. Glacier National Park, Montana
Glacier National Park is the best place to go in September if you want to feel closer to nature. During this month, you’ll bump into hardly any other visitors, so you’ll almost have the entire place to yourself.
In September, the forests are thick with leaves in every shade of red, yellow, orange, and gold you can imagine. As there are few people around and the winter season is on its way, you’re also much more likely to see local wildlife preparing for the drop in temperature and hibernation.
If you really want to get back to nature, you should definitely consider camping. Because the campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis, bookings are notoriously difficult to get in summer. But by September, the campsites are rarely full, and getting a last-minute booking is a piece of cake.
To make things even better, the lack of crowds means there’s hardly any road congestion. So even if you’re just planning on driving through the park on the way to your next destination, you’ll still get to appreciate your surroundings in peace and quiet.
10. Kruger National Park, South Africa
For the trip of a lifetime, consider making plans to go to Kruger National Park for your September vacation. This month marks the end of the dry season and is when vegetation is at its sparsest. Despite how it sounds, Kruger National Park is one of the best places to go in September because you’re almost certain to spot animals at the permanent watering holes.
Most people visit Kruger National Park for the chance to see the Big Five – rhinos, lions, leopards, elephants, and buffalo. Stick to the central and southern areas of the park to boost your likelihood of a sighting. These locations are where the animals usually hang out at this time of year.
As well as the Big Five, Kruger is also home to hippos, Nile crocodiles, and rare bird species, including lappet-faced vultures and ground-hornbills. Not only is the wildlife spectacular here, but the environment is remarkable, too.
The park’s savanna is dotted with Giant baobab, marula, and fever trees that are so tall they’ll make your neck ache. The Nxanatseni and Marula regions of the park are even home to Masorini and Albasini ruins, where members of the indigenous Ba-Phalaborwa ethnic group and Portuguese colonists traded goods centuries ago.
11. Loire Valley, France
If you’re wondering where to go in September, France’s Loire Valley comes to life at this time of year with every type of festival you can imagine. For foodies, there’s the Festival of Tomatoes and Flavors, which is celebrated at the Chateau de la Bourdaisière. This gourmand event includes tastings of local products and well as fascinating culinary workshops.
For a more family-friendly alternative, plan to check out Tours-sur-Loire, which starts in May and runs through the end of September. This lively and diverse festival includes open-air dining experiences, an outdoor movie theater, giant board games, and drawing lessons for budding artists of all ages.
Explore the countryside, and you’ll come across an endless number of vineyards offering tastings of their crisp, sparkling wines. Most will offer you the chance to tour the vineyard to find out how wine is made, too. If you’d rather keep a clear head, September provides the perfect weather for exploring everything the valley has to offer.
From aristocratic castles and 500-mile-long cycling routes to incredibly gorgeous towns and stunning gardens that have been beautifully maintained for centuries, every inch of the UNESCO World Heritage Site will charm you!
12. Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
If you’re looking for somewhere cool to spend your September vacation, consider the Fiordland National Park. Located in South Island, New Zealand, this park enjoys springtime temperatures in the 50s. Although that may seem a little chilly, it provides the ideal conditions for local marine life to come out and play!
September is an excellent time to see fur seals, crested penguins, and dolphins. They’re at their most active at this time of year, so you should definitely take a cruise across Milford Sound and see if you can spot any. For the chance to get up-close-and-personal, consider renting a kayak and searching for them in the lake yourself.
Even if you don’t see as much wildlife as you were hoping, the Fiordland National Park is still a staggeringly beautiful place. From lakes that give mirror-perfect reflections and snowcapped jagged mountains to thundering icy waterfalls and one of the clearest night skies you’ll see in your life, this gorgeous piece of nature is full of endless examples of dramatic scenery.
13. Albanian Riviera, Albania
To catch the last of the winter sunshine, head to the Albanian Riviera. Home to powder-soft golden sands, mesmerizing cobalt waters, historical Greek ruins, and charming rustic villages, this laid-back region of Albania can be whatever you want it to be.
Whether you want to spend your days lounging on the beach, island hopping on a yacht, or exploring ancient Greek sites, or whether you want to spend your evenings partying at beach clubs, mixing with locals in tavernas, or enjoying the peaceful life in a seaside village, the Albanian Riviera is the place to do it.
You’ll find some of Europe’s most glittering and hidden treasures here. National parks brimming with unbeatable panoramas, cascading waterfalls that look like they’ve been Photoshopped, and natural hot springs that are better than any spa all await you.
A great option if you’ve got a small budget to work with, the Albanian Riviera is one of the cheapest places in Europe to visit in September. But despite the low prices, many of the summer tourists have vanished by this month, and the weather is still gloriously warm and sunny. If you’re wondering where to go in September to soak up the sun, the Albanian Riviera is always a good idea!
14. The Berkshires, Massachusetts & Connecticut
Spread out over the western parts of Massachusetts and northwest Connecticut, the Berkshires is the place to go in September if you’re looking for natural beauty and adventure sports. As you drive along the winding roads, you’ll be blown away by the imposing mountains covered in red, gold, and orange trees.
Offering the ideal mix of pure relaxation and limitless fun, this rural region is hugely popular with city slickers in need of a break from their hectic daily schedules. If you’re aching to get outdoors, you’ll be spoiled for choice with hiking routes, mountain climbing, and ziplining. Head for one of the many glistening lakes, and you can also discover kayaking, fishing, and paddleboarding opportunities.
For something that requires a little less energy, explore one of the Berkshires’ quaint, charming towns. In September, these sleepy places are mostly free of tourists. This means you won’t waste time waiting in lines in independent cafes or family-run restaurants. Thanks to the lack of crowds, you’ll also be able to snap up excellent seats for theater shows at the last minute.
There you have it! The 14 best places to visit in September. What’s your favorite place to travel in September?
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