22 Best Places to Travel in September
September is one of the best months to travel for a bevy of reasons. 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. Sign us up, please!
Destinations in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia are experiencing comfortable temperatures, 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 during September, 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
- 2. Grand Canyon, Arizona
- 3. Barcelona, Spain
- 4. Crete, Greece
- 5. Buenos Aires, Argentina
- 6. Honolulu, Hawaii
- 7. Patagonia, South America
- 8. Puerto Rico
- 9. Zimbabwe, Africa
- 10. Istanbul, Turkey
- 11. Prince Edward Island, Canada
- 12. Shanghai, China
- 13. Minneapolis, Minnesota
- 14. Croatia
- 15. Nepal
- 16. The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
- 17. Ireland
- 18. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
- 19. Amalfi Coast, Italy
- 20. Big Sur, California
- 21. Niagara Falls, Canada
- 22. Vancouver, Canada
- Map of Places to Travel in September
1. Montreal, Canada
Highlights: Epic city views from the observation wheel, cobblestone streets, grand cathedrals
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 in Old Montreal (Vieux-Montreal) and practice your photography skills on the cobblestone streets as you enjoy the cathedrals and coffee shops. Take advantage of the mild weather to explore the manicured grounds at the Parc du Mont-Royal or get a panoramic view of the city from the Montreal Observation Wheel.
If you have more time, plan on some additional time in beautiful Quebec City, less than three hours away.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Montréal: Best Areas & Hotels
- Read More: Top-Rated Attractions in Montreal
2. Grand Canyon, Arizona
Highlights: Sunrise from the South Rim lookouts, natural colors of the canyon that change throughout the day
If you can hold off your Grand Canyon trip until the end of summer, then September is the best time to do it. This is when most of the vacation crowds have left for the season and the awesome hiking trails are still open. This Arizona wonder is a vacation bucket-list topper 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, fewer people crowding the trails, and much greater availability, not to mention better rates on hotel rooms.
To pack some more experiences into your trip, you should consider basing in Williams, Arizona along Route 66, also known as the gateway to the Grand Canyon. There are many activities and Old West experiences in that area.
Then, catch the Grand Canyon Railway for the two-plus-hour ride to the South Rim, taking in the surrounding landscape along the way; spend the day exploring the Grand Canyon with a rail return late afternoon.
If you plan to hike in the Grand Canyon or take part in the mule trips offered on the trails, you will need to drive to the park to spend more time. Sunrise is especially beautiful, and lunch at the historic El Tovar Hotel is recommended.
3. Barcelona, Spain
Highlights: World-famous attractions and experiences like La Sagrada Familia and Las Ramblas; iconic city view from Barcelona's Port Carmel Car
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 the attractions and fun things to do in Barcelona with fewer people and cooler temperatures.
Early in September days can still be warm enough to head to the ocean but beaches near Barcelona are not busy at this time of year. Late in the month, you can enjoy La Merce, a festive celebration with daily parades, acrobats, and entertainment.
4. Crete, Greece
Highlight: The beaches, including Elafonissi and its famous pink sands.
The Greek island of Crete is a natural sensory spectacle of mountains, turquoise water, beautiful 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.
Besides the cooler September temperatures and fewer people, you can find lower rates for hotels.
- Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions on Crete
5. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Highlights: Pedestrian-friendly streets enable you to walk to many of the top sites and attractions
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 and Plaza de Mayo 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. You will also have a better chance at securing a space on a tour of the Casa Rosada presidential palace, which is one of the must-see attractions on most tourists' itineraries. While entry is free, the guided tours fill up fast, especially during the busy summer season.
September is a great time to score affordable hotel rates and plenty of availability. This makes it easier to add a few days onto your itinerary and make some day trips from Buenos Aires to places like Iguazú Falls, which is one of the top attractions in Argentina.
6. Honolulu, Hawaii
Highlights: Stunning beaches, hiking to Diamond Head, the USS Arizona memorial
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 nearby beaches; 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
- Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Honolulu
7. Patagonia, South America
Highlight: Outdoor adventures surrounded by mountains and glaciers
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. This is a great time for hiking in Patagonia, when the days are longer and a little warmer, with less rain than other months of the year.
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
Highlight: The combination of nature, history, beaches, and culinary experiences in one place
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. Take your pick from fabulous resorts in San Juan that position you between the colonial architecture of the city and the beautiful beaches along the coast.
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 to take in the natural beauty of the island. There are many types of tours throughout Puerto Rico, like culinary experiences to cocoa farms and outdoor excursions, which will have more availability in September.
Accommodation: Best Beach Resorts in Puerto Rico
9. Zimbabwe, Africa
Highlight: Wildlife viewing, touring the famous Victoria Falls
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. This is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world. At this time of year you can hike, photograph, take helicopter tours, and try white water rafting.
September is also a good 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
Highlight: Shopping at the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest markets in the world.
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 shopping and 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. You will have more time and space to enjoy Istanbul's archaeological museums and parks in the historic district.
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. If you have time to add other stops onto your trip, you can experience other cities like Troy and Izmir, which are easy to get to from Istanbul.
- Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Istanbul
11. Prince Edward Island, Canada
Highlights: Hiking, markets, festivals, beaches, and culinary experiences
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, festivals, 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
Highlights: The nighttime extravaganza of lights and activity along the Bund waterfront
As one of the best places to visit in China, Shanghai is almost always 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.
This is a great time to stay at one of the luxury or boutique hotels in Shanghai that you might not otherwise fit into your budget.
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 and the prime opportunities for spectacular photographs.
- Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Shanghai
13. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Highlight: Brilliant fall colors on the trees starting to emerge
The northern location of Minneapolis means stunning early fall color on the trees in September, especially in the city's parks. The cooling temperatures make it nice to explore the best of the city, from the Stone Arch Bridge to the Weisman Art Museum.
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.
- Read More: Top Attractions in Minneapolis
Highlight: The abundance of food festivals and culinary experiences in the autumn
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 Croatian Natural History Museum, 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
- Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Croatia
Highlight: Trekking in the Everest and Annapurna regions, a variety of hikes for all skill levels
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, making up two of the most popular hikes in the world, are starting to open, so you can secure a spot early in the season.
Fewer crowds this time of year are also a bonus on the busy streets of Kathmandu, which are fun to photograph — it can get quite congested at other times of the year, making it tough to visit popular sites and temples.
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
Highlight: Prime whale-watching and other wildlife viewing opportunities
A trip to the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador 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.
Highlight: The many shades of green to see across the Irish countryside
Ireland is lush and beautiful no matter when you visit, but if you're hoping for a dry(ish), less crowded experience on the Emerald Isle, visiting in September is a great bet. Highs hover around the 55 degree Fahrenheit mark, which means you'll need a sweater or coat, but not much more. Bonus points for packing a rain jacket, as you'll definitely be in for a sprinkle or two—this is Ireland, after all.
Top tourist attractions are open to the public in September, and you'll have the bonus of shorter lines and fewer people to mar the background of your sightseeing selfies.
Don't miss Ireland's greatest cities, like Dublin, Galway, and Northern Ireland's Belfast. These buzzing hubs are where you'll find the best restaurants, top museums, lively musical performances, and a slew of fun things to do.
Accommodation: Best Castle Hotels in Ireland
Read More: Best Places to Visit in Ireland
18. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Highlight: Hiking opportunities at Grand Teton National Park and Gros Ventres Wilderness
While you may not be able to ski at Jackson Hole in September, this comfortable fall month is the perfect time to visit, especially if you're an outdoorsy person who enjoys hiking, biking, and fly fishing. Best known for its breathtaking scenery, this lush valley is surrounded by the majestic Teton Mountain Range.
Grand Teton National Park is the top place to visit in Jackson Hole for obvious reasons. Its 310,000 acres of picturesque wilderness are awe inspiring and filled with trails, lakes, mountains, and impressive wildlife. Pack a camera along with your hiking boots and plan to spend days traversing this backcountry paradise.
During September, visitors can enjoy the Saturday morning Farmers Market on the Town Square, performances at the Jackson Hole Playhouse, the annual Jackson Hole Arts Festival, and an annual juried art fair, among other fun things to do.
Accommodation: Top-Rated Places to Stay in Jackson Hole, WY
19. Amalfi Coast, Italy
Highlights: Picturesque beaches, scenic coastal drives, charming seaside towns
There's little to dislike about the Amalfi Coast, especially if you visit in September. Traveling at this time means you're in for massive perks like fewer crowds; mild temperatures (highs are in the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit); warm water to swim in; and lower prices on resorts, hotels and attractions.
Add the area's remarkable beauty and impressive sightseeing opportunities, and you'll pat yourself on the proverbial back for timing your vacation so perfectly.
It's best to hire a driver if you plan to tour the famous Amalfi Drive (also known as the SS163), a winding cliff-top adventure more beautiful than mere words can describe. This is one of the popular things to do on the Amalfi Coast.
Be sure to make stops in the postcard perfect towns of Positano, Amalfi, Sorrento, and Ravello. You'll want to plan time to enjoy a meal (or many) in their fabulous restaurants.
Hop on a cruise to get a better view of the colorful houses climbing the hills of this plush region and be sure to stop in Capri for a little shopping, eating, and exploration.
Speaking of the water, it's important to visit at least a few of the best beaches on the Amalfi Coast during your trip. The September weather will ensure a comfortable day by the sea.
20. Big Sur, California
Highlights: Beaches and waterfalls that are show-stoppers and worth the time to stop and admire their color and beauty
If you're searching for a romantic getaway in September, look no further than California's remote, Big Sur. The warmest month of the year, September presents visitors with highs in the upper 60s Fahrenheit and lows around 55 degrees, perfect for exploring the captivatingly gorgeous rugged coast.
September usually means clearer, sunnier skies, which makes this an ideal time to hit the beach and ogle the dramatic waterfalls crashing over 80 feet to the azure ocean below. If you're a fan of natural beauty, you'll find it hard to leave this breathtaking spot.
Top attractions in Big Sur are less crowded in September, so you may have Pfeiffer Beach almost to yourself. Walk hand in hand through Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, enjoying the refreshingly salty breeze coming off the ocean. Head to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve for a scuba dive, hike, or photography expedition. Plan a camping trip to Big Sur. It's one of the best places to visit for nature lovers.
Accommodation: Best Hotels in Big Sur, CA
21. Niagara Falls, Canada
Highlight: The world-famous Niagara Falls waterfall and the many ways to experience it
It's been said that the best view of Niagara Falls is enjoyed from the Canadian side. Once you've come face to cascade with this monstrous world wonder, you'll realize that this statement is true, and you'll understand why it's been deemed one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world.
Visit during September for the most comfortable temperatures and less crowded conditions, which will make sightseeing a pleasure. Early fall also sees a drop in hotel prices, which is a bonus.
You can expect highs in the low 70s and lows in the low 50s, which is acceptably pleasant. Pack a sweater, as the temperature always feels colder by the falls, and a waterproof jacket if you're planning to get close enough to feel the water.
While the falls are the number one tourist attraction in Niagara Falls, exploring Journey Behind the Falls is a must, as is boarding a Hornblower Cruise to get up close and personal with the massive cascade.
22. Vancouver, Canada
Highlights: Outdoor events like hiking, festivals, and farmers' markets
There is so much to enjoy about Vancouver in September. One of the best places to visit in Canada in the early fall, Vancouver offers so many interesting and beautiful tourist attractions that you're bound to find something you love.
Are you a foodie? There are tons of top restaurants in Vancouver, as well as food festivals galore. Outdoor enthusiast? Climb the Grouse Grind up Grouse Mountain, wander through Stanley Park, hit the beach, or take an invigorating hike — there's plenty to choose from.
Maybe you're a history buff. Head to the Museum of Anthropology, or stroll through Gastown, the city's oldest section. The Vancouver Art Gallery is another must-visit. See, the options for fun attractions in Vancouver are endless.
September sees multiple farmers markets in various locations throughout the city, as well as guided walking tours, live music, and theater performances.
Why not bring the kids for a long weekend away? There are plenty of entertaining things to do in Vancouver with kids.
Map of Places to Travel in September
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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.