Leaves are crunchy and full of fiery oranges and reds. The air is crisp and fresh and smells of apple cider and hot cocoa. Fall is here and it is time to start planning your next trip. Prices have dropped during this transition from the high season of summer to the next high season of winter break. Take the plunge and avoid the crowds and high costs as you explore all that this time of year has to offer.
Autumn is a lovely time of year for those who enjoy the cooler (but not cold) temperatures and love the fireworks displayed just by walking by festive trees. Whether you are looking for warmer temperatures, crackling leaves, beautiful fall road trips, or stunning festivals, this list has got them all.
1. India – Diwali/Deepavali
Diwali/Deepavali is the Indian Festival of Lights. This is a festival for renewal as Hindus celebrate the victory of light over dark. Always held during autumn, Diwali can fall anywhere from mid-October to mid-November. Fireworks, little lighted lamps, and beautiful designs made from colored powders called rangoli decorations are the obvious displays of this festival. Celebrating this festival is a great way to brighten your life as we head into the darker days of winter. The Hindu goddess Lakshmi is usually propitiated during this celebration since she brings prosperity and wealth. Consider visiting the city of Agra in India since it puts on an especially fine display during this holiday.
2. Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
If you are looking for a beautiful mountain town with spectacular views of vibrant trees, then this is the destination for you. Great for skiing, hiking, and even dogsledding, this is jam-packed with interesting activities. The buildings are all beautifully painted and you might even want to take a spa day to relax and rejuvenate. Ride a zip line through the autumn trees and then head onto their panoramic gondola cable car to enjoy views from the summit of Mont-Tremblant.
3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina
This was made for a road trip. Extending from North Carolina to Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park makes for a picturesque getaway. Go camping and take full advantage of spectacular sunsets and sunrises. Try your hand at horseback riding or bicycling through winding trails where leaves crunch underfoot. Enjoy the fresh air with just enough of a chill to make you feel comfortable and ready for a full day of fun activities.
4. Phobjikha Valley, Bhutan
The annual Black-Necked Crane Festival is a celebration that welcomes the migration of these birds to the region from the breeding grounds on the Tibetan Plateau. Locals dress up in crane costumes and perform elaborate dances and performances including folk songs. This is a celebration of ecological preservation and was developed in order to raise awareness and bring funds that help to protect this endangered species.
5. Berlin, Germany
This year is the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall. With the anniversary on November 9th, this entire autumn will feature art exhibitions, performances, installations, and other special events spread out across the city. This is a unique opportunity to view history in action and to see the aftermath of a momentous occasion. If you enjoy tours, make sure to check out the bicycling tour of the entire city and event.
Other foliage and fall destinations to check out: Aspen, Colorado; Blue Ridge Parkway from Virginia to North Carolina for a scenic foliage drive; Miami, Florida for Art Basel in December; Paris, France; and the Pirates Week National Festival on Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.