Planning a fall vacation? Just because the summer is over doesn’t mean that you have to curtail your wanderlust. Even if it’s just a long weekend, there are gorgeous places to go in the fall. Our correspondent Jillian Tangen is sharing a curated list of the perfect luxury autumn vacation destinations.
Back to school shopping is in full swing and Labor Day is just around the corner. And that means not far behind is the arrival of fall.
And while the summer months are typically the most popular for vacation, taking a getaway during the high season can be potentially stressful. Busy airports, crowded beaches and lots of traffic at popular destinations. Which is why we think fall is the perfect season for a vacation. With kids back and school and work schedules returning to their regularly scheduled programming, it’s a glorious time to hit the road if you can. But where to go?
Whether you are ready to head out into the country or out of the country altogether, we’ve found 9 autumn vacation ideas that would make for a wonderful fall holiday.
So whether your idea of a gorgeous getaway is a trip to the countryside ablaze with color, or a visit to a glittering city filled with world-class music and museum exhibitions, we’ve got you covered. Here are our 9 favorite luxury destinations for a fall trip you won’t soon forget.
1. Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Thanks to its prime location near Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, Jackson Hole beckons to outdoors enthusiasts. It’s one of the best places to go in the US in the fall.
Opportunities to hike and fish abound here, as do chances to see wildlife. During the fall you can hear the shrill bugle calls of male elk searching for mates, or get up close with these magnificent animals at the National Elk Refuge.
For a view of the Grand Tetons unlike any other, take a trip on the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram. You’ll ascend 4,136 vertical feet above the Snake River Valley, Grand Teton National Park and the Gros Ventre Range. Once you’ve recovered from the shock and awe of the amazing views, head back in town to explore the topnotch restaurants, quirky shops and luxury resorts like Caldera House, the Four Seasons or Amangani.
2. Edinburgh, Scotland.
Any fan of the show Outlander will tell you that Scotland is breathtakingly beautiful, especially when its time for a luxury vacation in fall. And fortunately for all of us, we don’t have to travel through time to take in its splendor.
Fall is an especially good time to visit thanks to the arrival of autumn colors across the land. Be sure to visit Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens, which dates back to the 17th century, to check out the changing colors in all their glory, then warm up with a classic Afternoon Tea service at Colonnades at the Signet Library, a gilded neo-classical setting in the heart of Old Town. During your visit, don’t forget to stock up on cozy cashmeres, tweeds and tartans at the shops in The West End before relaxing with a well deserved whiskey at The Balmoral.
3. Nashville, Tennessee.
When it comes to fall, there is much more to the Music City than just music. In fact during autumn, Nashville is home to a Whiskey Festival, a Bacon & Barrel Festival, a Food and Wine Festival, an Oktoberfest and even a book festival. That’s not to say you won’t find any tunes to enjoy because it is Nashville afterall, also taking place in the fall are the Americana Festival and the Breakaway Festival. Be sure to book a stay at Nashville’s original train station is now a grandiose hotel, Union Station Hotel where you can enjoy their live music series Riffs on the Rails, featuring both local and national singers and songwriters.
4. Lake Como, Italy.
Though George and Amal are rumored to be selling their Lake Como villa, the Italian lakeside town will never be short on glamorous appeal. Though often thought of as a summertime retreat, Lake Como is even more of a gem in fall, when the lower humidity and fewer crowds make it even more alluring. Settle in to the recently opened Mandarin Oriental, Lago di Como, where you can soak up the remaining sun in the gardens or the resort’s floating pool that hovers over the lake. Be sure to either rent a boat or book a guided cruise of the lake so you can properly take in the beauty of the lake and perhaps sneak a peek at places like Villa Versace and, of course, the Clooney hideaway.
5. Setouchi Islands, Japan.
Tokyo and Kyoto are the two cities that travelers flock to when they visit Japan, but if you’ve already gone to both and want to try something a little different we suggest the Setouchi Islands.
Japan’s ancient Setouchi region, which includes the Seto Inland Sea’s islands and coastal areas, has been hosting the Setouchi Triennale 2019, a major art fair held in three seasonal installments with the end of September kicking off the third and final installment. If your travels can’t wait until the end of September though, head to the island of Naoshima where you’ll find Yayoi Kusama’s iconic yellow Pumpkin, the famed Benesse House museum that doubles as a hotel and Chichu Art Museum. After visiting the “art island” head via ferry or the Shinkansen bullet train to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, one of Japan’s most visited sites, which reopened this past spring after an eight-year, $51 million refurbishment.
6. New York, New York.
There is something about New York City, and it’s one of our favorite places to go in the fall. From the pastoral bliss of Central Park’s changing colors to the continuously changing landscape of buildings and happenings, there is always something new to discover on each visit. To make the most of the season’s colors, book a Central Park-facing room at the Ritz Carlton Central Park then head downtown to explore the new Hudson Yards neighborhood, the largest single development since Rockefeller Center to explore the areas new shopping, food offerings and cultural center, The Shed. After that head to the Museum of Modern Art when they reopen on October 21st to check out its $400 million expansion that will bring an additional 40,000 square feet of space, while focusing new attention on works by women, Latinos, Asians, African Americans and other overlooked artists.
With the rains and humidity of the monsoon season largely over, there is no better time to visit Bhutan than in the fall. In the mountainous north of the country, the skies will have cleared, giving way to astonishing Himalayan panoramas filled with vibrant autumnal colours. One of the easiest ways to explore this mysterious buddhist kingdom is to partake in one of the recently opened Six Senses Bhutan Journeys ranging from 5 – 14 night experiences across the brand’s five properties. Highlights include a guided hike to the Tiger’s Nest, horseback riding to the 8th century temple Kencho Sum Lhakhang and a chance to see the black-necked cranes migrate to the Phobjikha Valley – something that only happens in October.
If you are looking for a true escape this fall, you can’t get much farther away than French Polynesia. There’s never really a bad time to visit – making it a great place to go for a fall vacation.
For complete seclusion and luxury coupled with an eco friendly footprint, we suggest staying at The Brando, located 30 miles northeast of Tahiti in a sparkling lagoon. The resort encourages its guests not just to observe nature, but to also be a part of it with activities like swimming with sea turtles, rays, reef sharks and a dazzling array of tropical fish. Alternatively, you can explore the island with a guided tour by a local biologist or simply swim at Mermaid Bay or relax on the beach or by the pool if you so choose.
It’s always a good time to go to Paris. But we think the autumn is a particularly good time to go for a fall vacation. Walking under the chestnut trees with the autumn leaves crunching underfoot is one of the great joys of life. There are wonderful art museums everywhere – the Louvre; the Centre Georges Pompidou; the Musee D’Orsay; the Rodin Museum; the Musée Jacquemart-André ; and the Yves Saint Laurent just for starters. If time permits, hop over to Versailles to see its magnificent gardens in the autumn light.
the best places to go in the fall
Wherever you decide to go for your fall vacation, the important thing is to be sure to go somewhere. Autumn is too wonderful not to take at least a couple of days to revel in it. And as well know, winter is coming. So where are you going to go this fall?
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Jillian Tangen is the Head of Research at Dandelion Chandelier. Formerly, she was a Senior Research Analyst at McKinsey & Co and Analyst at Shearman & Sterling. She is an avid fan of Nordic design. She previously owned an independent lifestyle store and sales agency focused on emerging Scandinavian design. Jillian lives in New York and is married with three young children. She loves cross country skiing, the New York Rangers, reading, travel and discovering new brands.
Join our community
For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier newsletter. And see luxury in a new light.