The 5 best destinations to visit in November
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With autumn in full force, you may want to embrace the season by traveling to a destination where you can admire the fall foliage and warm up around a fireplace. Or, maybe you’re in escape mode, searching for a way to unplug from the rest of 2020 and get a healthy dose of vitamin D.
Either way, November is an affordable month to travel, especially if you avoid peak Thanksgiving dates and opt for a trip earlier in the month. Plus, travel patterns are severely disrupted this year, so even holiday getaways may be less crowded and more affordable than normal. And, if you’ve been watching your points stash accumulate during the pandemic, now may be a great time to cash in for a getaway to some of our favorite places to travel during the second-to-last month of the year.
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With the heat and humidity of the summer months long gone, most of the South is pleasant this time of year, especially since the Atlantic hurricane season is coming to a close. Plus, why not enjoy delicious Southern cooking?
November is the perfect time for a scenic drive across the Tar Heel state, when travelers can admire the fall foliage from the Blue Ridge Parkway (a section of starts in Cherokee and extends upward through Virginia) or the Foothills Parkway (also known as “the Tail of the Dragon”). But there are scenic byways all over the state, making it easy to spend your late fall trip to North Carolina taking leisurely drives and soaking up the scenery.
Travelers can also stay beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains and stretch out their summer at the Outer Banks. This narrow strip of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina stretches along nearly half the state and skyrocketed to fame along with the eponymous Netflix hit.
TPG tip: There’s a Hilton Garden Inn in Kitty Hawk, as well as a Hampton Inn in Corolla, plus a TownePlace Suites Outer Banks Kill Devil Hills on the Northern Beaches. Since it’s a Category 4 property, award nights can drop down to 20,000 points per night on off-peak dates.
Los Cabos, Mexico
If you’re looking for a luxurious November escape at a brand-new beachfront property, head to Los Cabos, which continued to welcome luxury hotels at a dizzying rate throughout 2019.
There’s the Four Seasons Los Cabos at Costa Palma, where even the most basic rooms have ocean views; Zadún, the fourth Ritz-Carlton Reserve property, where each of the 115 rooms comes with its own butler; Nobu Hotel Los Cabos, which will make you wonder why no one else is designing beach-chic properties with traditional Japanese design sensibilities; and the Hard Rock Los Cabos, which has no fewer than five pools and eight pool bars.
Though it may be difficult to leave the glitz and glamour of your resort’s pool or beach scene (especially if you’re staying at one of the aforementioned spots), you should get out into the water, because November is prime whale-watching season — specifically humpback whales. Snorkelers and divers may also spot whale sharks, as the visibility in November is high and the waves small. And, although November is when the Pacific hurricane season is coming to an end, the showers are usually passing, and it’s likely you’ll experience nothing but warm temperatures and sunny skies.
TPG tip: Many of Mexico’s most popular vacation destinations are open to tourists from the U.S. — as long as you get there by air, that is. And airlines are offering extremely low fares for dates ranging from October 2020 to April 2021. So if you’re looking for a luxury beach getaway on a budget, now might actually be the best time to go.
The weather is perfect for a visit to Sedona in November. It’s cool enough to spend plenty of time outdoors enjoying the scenery that ranges from pine forests to red rock buttes to and steep canyon walls. Communing with nature is the main draw here as is the charming town, which is one part Old West and one part New Age mysticism.
An itinerary in November usually includes hiking and picnicking; mountain biking; an ATV, Segway or Jeep tour; bird watching; and stargazing during a clear fall evening.
Beyond the great outdoors, there are spas aplenty in Sedona, a trolley tour, a variety of golf courses and the Sedona Arts Center. You can even board a helicopter or a hot air balloon for a bird’s-eye view of the area’s breathtaking scenery. Or, just plan an afternoon hopping from one local microbrewery to the next.
TPG tip: There are many terrific points properties in the area, and we consider the Hyatt Residence Club Sedona, Pinion Pointe (which goes for 15,000 World of Hyatt points per night) to be a terrific value. If you’ve got Hilton Honors points, you can book a night at the Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock for between 47,000 and 70,000 points a night (while the nearby Hampton Inn Sedona ranges from 30,000 to 60,000 points a night).
Marriott has both a Courtyard and Element in town and they are both Category 6 hotels so you’ll spend 50,000 points per night or you can use an up to 50,000-point reward night certificate, like the one you get on the anniversary of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card.
Palm Springs, California
This desert oasis in Southern California is famous for its midcentury modern architecture and emerald green fairways — and it may be one of the best places to weather the winter.
Get your fix of modern art and design by visiting the Bob Hope House, the Palm Springs Tramway and checking out the quirky sculptures around town (the Volkswagen VW Bug Spider and Salvatore “Sonny” Bono, a bronze reimagining of Palm Springs mayor and Cher’s husband and duet partner.
After you’ve had your fill of architecture, head to Joshua Tree National Park, less than an hour away. Known for its Seussian namesake yucca and monzogranite slabs, outdoor enthusiasts flock here for hiking, horseback rides, bird-watching and rock climbing. This may be one of the best times of year to visit, too, because the daytime temperatures are a mild 60 to 70 degrees.
If you hoard points, you have a lot of options for accommodations in Palm Springs. See TPG’s guide to our favorite Palm Springs hotels to pick your favorite.
TPG tip: This Sonoran Desert city is one of the few places that, despite the pandemic, has seen a flurry of new flights. Delta, for example, will launch a new flight here on Nov. 21 from Los Angeles.
Big Bend National Park
You’re probably seeing a pattern in the spots we’re recommending for November: Outdoor fun is definitely high on everyone’s list in the age of social distancing. In Southwest Texas in November, you can enjoy all Big Bend National Park has to offer.
If you’re flying, the closest airports are Midland-Odessa International Air and Space Port (MAF), which is about 200 miles from Big Bend, or El Paso International (ELP), which is closer to 300 miles away. You can rent a car at either airport. Or, just drive from where you are right now. A bunch of highways lead to Big Bend: TX 118 from Alpine to Study Butte or FM 170 from Presidio to Study Butte (then 26 miles east to park headquarters), or U.S. 90 or U.S. 385 to Marathon (then 70 miles south to park headquarters).
While the park has plenty for active individuals to enjoy (think: hiking, river rafting and camping), you can also stay in the car and ride along the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, Chisos Basin Road or any of the other 100 miles of paved roads in the park to glimpse the unique topography and desert animals of the region.
Even if you don’t plan to go on a major hike, consider the 1.4-mile round-trip hike into Santa Elena Canyon. It’s known as one of the most beautiful spots in the park.
TPG tip: A lot of Big Bend’s attractions are open — but not all. As of press time, all lodging is currently closed, though the Chisos Basin Campground is open, as is backcountry camping (reservations required for both). Visit the park’s website for current conditions before visiting. This could also be a good destination for you to branch out into RV-ing.
Featured image by Patrick Jennings/Shutterstock.com
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