16 Best Places to Travel in September

Written by Anietra Hamper
Oct 3, 2019

Before the year turns to the fall calendar, September is a nice time to plan a vacation. Kids are back in school, the vacation rush is winding down, temperatures are starting to cool, there's more availability in popular summer spots, and rates for hotels and airfares start to drop.

Destinations in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia are cooling off, and popular tourist spots like the Grand Canyon and Barcelona have fewer crowds at their top attractions. Bucket-list locations like Zimbabwe are in the dry season, making it a perfect month for an African safari.

Pack your bags and plan your next vacation using our list of the best places to travel in September.

1. Montreal, Canada

Montreal, Canada

September is a great time to vacation in Montreal, when the summer weather is still in full swing, and the tourists have left for the season. This is also when you will start to see greater hotel availability and rates starting to drop.

It is a comfortable time of the year to walk the streets to see the 18th-century architecture along the Vieux-Montreal and walk the cobblestone streets as you enjoy the cathedrals and coffee shops. Take advantage of the mild weather to walk the manicured grounds at the Parc du Mont-Royal or get a panoramic view of the city from the Montreal Observation Wheel.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Montréal: Best Areas & Hotels

2. Grand Canyon, Arizona

Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon

If you can hold off your Grand Canyon trip until the end of summer, then September is the best time to do it, when most of the vacation crowds have left for the season and the trails are still open. This Arizona wonder is a vacation bucket-list for many people, but trying to navigate the crowds can oftentimes diminish the experience.

Besides large numbers of people, the intense mid-summer heat can be unbearable. September has cooler temperatures along the trails, and you will find more availability with hotel rooms.

3. Barcelona, Spain

Park Guell in Barcelona

The busy and beautiful city of Barcelona is one of Spain's most stunning destinations, and September is an ideal time to visit. Summer vacation crowds can make lines long at the top attractions, like La Sagrada Familia, and oftentimes limit availability if you do not book days ahead of time.

The streets in popular areas like the historic Barri Gòtic and Las Ramblas can be so overcrowded in the high season that most of your time is spent just getting from point-A to point-B. Crowd concerns are lessened in September when there are fewer vacationers, so you can enjoy all of the attractions and experiences with fewer people and cooler temperatures.

Late in the month, you can enjoy La Merce, a festive celebration with daily parades, acrobats, and entertainment.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Barcelona: Best Areas & Hotels

4. Crete, Greece

Pink sand beach at Elafonissi

The Greek island of Crete is a natural sensory spectacle of mountains, turquoise water, beaches, and palm forests that are pleasant to experience in September. Flowers are in full bloom, and water temperatures are ideal for swimming and snorkeling.

The summer months, while still a great time to visit, can get quite hot when you are spending the days out in the sun walking the streets of the old towns or exploring archeological sites like Knossos. Many of the beaches in the summertime are overcrowded, but September enables you to enjoy the pink sands of Elafonissi more comfortably.

Many visitors arrive by air or ferry in Heraklion. Other popular tourist towns on the island include Rethymnon, Chania, and Agios Nikolaos.

Besides the cooler September temperatures and fewer people, you can find lower rates for hotels.

5. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Congress Square in Buenos Aires

September is springtime in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This shoulder season has a number of advantages over the peak tourist season in January and February. The cooler temperatures make it comfortable to enjoy strolling the streets in areas like Palermo to see the parks, architecture, and museums the neighborhoods are known for. With fewer tourists this time of year, attractions like the city's rose garden, Paseo del Rosedal, and the Fair of the Mataderos market will be enjoyable.

September is a great time to score affordable hotel rates and plenty of availability.

6. Honolulu, Hawaii

Waikiki Beach with Diamond Head in the distance

If you are looking for an ideal (and more affordable) time to visit Honolulu, Hawaii on the island of Oahu then September is it. From festivals, cooler temperatures, fewer crowds, and pleasant water conditions, there are so many reasons to target Honolulu for travel this month. September is a month filled with Aloha festivals and parades, so you will have many opportunities to enjoy Hawaii's culture.

The comfortable September weather makes it pleasant for hiking to Diamond Head; relaxing on Waikiki Beach; and spending time at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, the memorial for the USS Arizona and the sailors who died during the Pearl Harbor attack.

Fewer tourists in September means more availability at hotels, and you can likely find great deals as resorts look to fill rooms.

Accommodation: Top-Rated Resorts in Honolulu

7. Patagonia

Fitz Roy, Patagonia

A trip to Patagonia in September is great from both Chile and Argentina. It is an ideal time to go for those who love the outdoors and want to explore the Andes Mountains, glaciers, and seemingly endless vistas.

September is springtime in Patagonia, which means colorful blooms of flowers, vibrant green vegetation, and the arrival of the first penguins that flock to the region to mate. Since it is early in the season, some hotels may not yet be open, but for the ones that are, you can find great deals. With fewer tourists this time of year, you will also have better views in the tourist areas and more availability on organized tours.

8. Puerto Rico

The Capitol of Puerto Rico, San Juan

The upside to visiting Puerto Rico in September is the steep discounts that you will find on hotel rooms and airfare, along with an abundance of availability for both. The downside is the risk of inclement weather since it is in hurricane season. It is a trade-off, but one that might be worth it in order to experience Flamenco Beach and south Vieques beach, home of the bioluminescent Mosquito Bay, without many other tourists.

This is a comfortable time to explore the streets of San Juan, including Old San Juan, and the El Yunque National Rainforest and take in the natural beauty of the island.

Accommodation: Top-Rated Family Resorts in Puerto Rico

9. Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

September is in the middle of the dry season in Zimbabwe, so wildlife viewing is at its peak. It can be a nice alternative to Tanzania and Kenya, which are other popular destinations for safari vacations. This is a great month to witness hippos, lions, rhinoceros, and crocodiles resting or heading to a watering hole.

Zimbabwe offers so much more than just safari treks. September weather is nice to visit Victoria Falls where you can hike, photograph, take helicopter tours, and try white water rafting. September is a nice month to visit Matobo National Park, where you can witness unusual rock formations and monuments and learn about the culture through the paintings of the bushmen from the region.

10. Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

One of the best times to visit Istanbul is in September, when you have a better opportunity to fully experience the top attractions without the crowds that can make them tough to experience during the high tourist season, which runs from June through August. There are comfortable temperatures in September making it easy to enjoy the popular attractions like the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia Museum, and the Grand Bazaar, which are all easy to explore on foot as you walk around the city.

The pleasant weather and fewer tourists make it ideal to fully experience the deep history and architecture that Istanbul is known for. This is also when you will find affordable rates for hotel rooms and airfare.

Accommodation: Top-Rated Places to Stay in Istanbul

11. Prince Edward Island, Canada

Charlottetown Harbor on Prince Edward Island

Canada's Prince Edward Island, located near Nova Scotia, is a pristine September getaway filled with seafood, farmers markets, and outdoor experiences. By the end of the month, some of the beaches and attractions will prepare for closing for the season, but this shoulder month is a great time to visit if you want the PEI experience without all the summer tourists.

Strolling on the beach is a more likely activity than swimming, since water temperatures are cooling, but you can enjoy the bountiful and fresh food in PEI during culinary demonstrations and tours. For some time outdoors before the winter season, take a hike on some of the trails at Prince Edward Island National Park.

12. Shanghai, China

Shanghai, China

There is almost no time of the year when Shanghai, China will not be busy with people, after all, it is a city with a population of 26 million, but September has some advantages over other months of the year. September marks the end of the high tourist season, so you will begin to see temperatures and hotel rates start to decline, especially by the end of the month.

As the seasons start to transition into Shanghai's brief fall period, the humidity will be lower, making it more comfortable to enjoy walking the narrow neighborhood streets and vendor stalls and hitting some of the best views of the city from the Shanghai World Financial Center. September evenings along the Bund will feel nice as you enjoy the visual spectacle of the lights along the water.

Accommodation: Best Hotels in Shanghai

13. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Downtown Minneapolis at dusk

The northern location of Minneapolis means stunning early fall color on the trees in September. The cooling temperatures make it nice to explore the best of the city, from the Stone Arch Bridge to the Wiseman Museum of Art.

It is the best time to get outdoors and enjoy the first bursts of color on the trees in North America. Some of the best places to do that are at Minnehaha Park, exploring the Chain of Lakes, and at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

Temperatures and weather are generally comfortable in September, but if there's a less than ideal day for the outdoors, you can fill your agenda at the Mall of America or one of the many museums in the city.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Minneapolis: Best Areas & Hotels

14. Croatia

Sunset over Zagreb

September is a nice time to visit Croatia, when the local and foreign crowds have dissipated a bit. On the weather front, it is also a great time to visit. Many people head to the beautiful city of Dubrovnik. If you base yourself in the capital, you will find many attractions in Zagreb, like The Cathedral and the Museum of Natural History, and you can split your time between the Upper Town and the Lower Town. There are a number of festivals that take place in September, so that will add to the cultural experience.

Flights to Croatia are still in full swing in September, so there will be ample availability, and transportation on the ground like ferries and buses will still be operating on summer season schedules. You can find great deals on hotel accommodation, including luxury resorts in September.

Accommodation: Top-Rated Beach Resorts in Croatia

15. Nepal

Namche Bazaar, Nepal

Timing is important for many reasons when you consider a trip to Nepal, and September is one of the best months to go. It is a great time to visit to hike and avoid the crowds that can cause delays and aggravation on the trails during busier months. September is when travelers are just beginning to return to the region, when the rainfall is lower and the air is cooler.

This month is when many of the popular treks in the Everest and Annapurna regions are starting to open, so you can secure a spot early in the season. Since September is on the fringe of the busy fall season in October, you can still find great hotel deals before the rest of the tourists arrive.

16. The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Sea lions on the beach in the Galapagos Islands

A trip to the Galapagos Islands is great almost any time of the year, but the month of September has a few advantages. With viewing of native species among the top reasons to visit, September offers some of the best opportunities to see whales, dolphins, and penguins that inhabit the islands.

It is also mating season for many of the animals, so they are especially active this time of the year. September in the Galapagos is dry and cool, so weather conditions are comfortable for outdoor activities. There are fewer tourists at the end of summer, which means more availability on boat tours and other excursions like land tours.

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US Fall Travel: If you are looking for other early fall travel options in the United States, some places to consider, mostly for fall foliage, are New Hampshire and the waters of Lake Champlain in Vermont, or you can plan a weekend getaway in Michigan to catch the color spectacle in Traverse City or Ann Arbor.

Europe Fall Travel: European destinations in early fall are nice travel options, too, from the museums and gardens in Madrid to the palaces in Austria, you can take advantage of lower rates for hotels and airfare and visit the top tourist attractions without all the high-season summer tourists.

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