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Make the Most of Fall in the Off-Season with These 5 Popular Destinations (Plus What To Do)

Enjoy a vacation during shoulder season to beat the heat (and avoid crowds)

The Vacationeer
Farm in Tuscany, Italy at sunrise

Enjoy the changing of the seasons and consider planning a vacation during fall shoulder season. Travel experts agree that shoulder seasons — the months between peak tourist seasons, usually spring and fall — are a great way for vacationers to enjoy popular destinations and find great deals. Other benefits of fall travel include fewer crowds, milder weather and cozy, autumnal activities.

Take advantage of the upcoming shoulder season and plan your next fall vacation at one of these five popular destinations.

Orlando, Florida

Blue Springs State Park in Orlando, Florida 

Fall is a perfect time to enjoy Orlando. The weather in Central Florida is warm and sunny (not too hot or humid), and once school starts, you won’t have to deal with summer holiday crowds. Plan an off-season getaway from September through November, and add these things to do to your itinerary.

Stay: Choose from five great resorts for spacious accommodations, sparkling pools and quick access to the best theme parks.

Tuscany, Italy

Natural springs and waterfalls of Cascate Del Mulino in Tuscany, Italy 

Italy is a beautiful, year-round destination, making for an ideal fall vacation. If you’re hoping to enjoy Tuscan wines, you’re in luck; grape harvest happens in Italy during September and October. Here are five ways to enjoy autumn in Tuscany.

  • Soak in the natural springs and admire the waterfalls of Cascate Del Mulino. This is a free site, so while off-season may not be as crowded, visit at sunrise to have the springs to yourself.
  • Enjoy sampling local, organic wines at Podere La Chiesa, with the striking Tuscan countryside as a backdrop.
  • Stop by the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the iconic, freestanding bell tower in Piazza del Duomo. Be sure to walk the rest of Piazza dei Miracoli to see medieval architectural wonders.
  • Less than an hour’s drive from Terricciola is Bagno Maurizio, perfect for a sun-filled beach day.
  • Get a taste of Tuscany and take a cooking class. There are classes and tours for all palates, from truffle-hunting experiences to pasta-making courses.

Stay: Relax in the Tuscan countryside at Borgo alle Vigne, a Hilton Grand Vacations Club.

Maui, Hawaii

View of ocean and mountains on the road to Hana in Maui, Hawaii 

If Hawaii is on your bucket list, the fall off-season is the time to travel. Enjoy the natural beauty of Maui without the summer vacation crowds and 80-degree temperatures. Add these delightful things to do to your itinerary.

  • Give back to the local community and island and spend a day volunteering with one of these seven nonprofits.
  • Get up close and personal with Maui’s aquatic wildlife at Maui Ocean Center, named one of the top aquariums in the world by Tripadvisor.
  • Take a road trip on the picturesque Hana Highway for incredible photo opportunities. If you’ve never taken this iconic drive, here is our guide to making the most of the trip.
  • Savor seafood and other Hawaiian delicacies. Check the best eats in Maui.
  • Seasoned hikers should lace their boots for Haleakala National Park, home to a dormant volcano and breathtaking views of Maui.

Stay: Enjoy paradise from Maui Bay Villas, a Hilton Grand Vacations Club.

Ballater, Scotland

Autumn leaves and footpath in the woods in Scotland 

Dreaming of Scotland in the fall? If you love to spend your time outdoors, add Ballater to your bucket list. Here are a few travel ideas for your trip to Scotland that afford stunning views of the country painted in autumnal colors.

  • Rent a bike and cycle to Loch Muick, a lake at the foot of the Lochnagar Mountain, for a ride with beautiful fall leaves.
  • Enjoy a round of golf at Ballater Golf Club and views of the River Dee.
  • Visit the Royal Lochnagar Distillery, established in 1845, tour the facilities and taste Scotch Whiskey.
  • Star gaze in the Cairngorms at its International Dark Sky Park, one of the best places in the United Kingdom to see stars. Because of local efforts to reduce light pollution and the northern latitudes, you may be able to spot the aurora borealis.
  • Shop for something sweet at Dee Valley Confectioners for homemade British sweets. Kids will love watching a confectioner make candy and picking out treats to take home.

Stay: Feel at home in the Scottish Highlands at Craigendarroch Suites, a Hilton Grand Vacations Club.

Avila Beach, California

Beach and pier in Avila Beach, California 

California is renowned for its year-round Mediterranean-like weather. If you need to escape somewhere sunny and warm this fall, check out Avila Beach for a laid-back beach vacation.

  • Relax at Avila Beach for a family-friendly and uncrowded beach where you can sun tan, comb the beach for shells and stones or walk the pier. Keep your eyes peeled in the afternoon to spot pelicans having lunch.
  • For more wildlife spotting, go on an excursion with Avila Beach Whale Watching, where you can see whales, dolphins, sea lions, sea otters, jellyfish and more.
  • If you prefer springs to oceans, soak in the Avila Hot Springs hot mineral soaking pool or swim in a large freshwater heated pool.
  • Head up See Canyon from August to December for apple season. Avila Valley Barn has apple picking, a petting zoo and plenty of fresh produce and baked goods to enjoy.
  • If you only have a long weekend to spend, check out our three-day itinerary for an unforgettable getaway.

Read “3 Fall Break Bucket Lists To Fit Your Vacation Style” for even more off-season travel ideas.

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Vacationeer

The Vacationeer

The Vacationeer is a collective of Hilton Grand Vacations storytellers whose goal is to inspire travelers to go further. We're always on the lookout for new destinations to explore, useful travel tips, and unique ideas to help you plan the most memorable vacations possible.

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