7 fall vacation destinations for travelers clinging to summer

Sep 8, 2021

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It’s about that time when school starts again, vacationers vacate the beaches and the weather in much of the United States begins to cool before winter sets in. If you view fall as a harbinger of impending slush and gloom, you might want to book one last hurrah in a place with more summery vibes.

Here, I’ve compiled a shortlist of some of the many warm-weather destinations that will help you cling to the solstice season if autumn just isn’t for you.

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Key West, Florida

Key West, Florida. (Photo by worldofphotos/Getty Images)

Thermometer readings in Key West reach nearly 90 degrees, on average, in September. This laidback beach town, one of several islands that make up the Florida Keys, is another domestic choice that oozes summertime ambiance. Bars line the main streets, along with historic homes shaded by trees, and visitors can sample local dining that’s reminiscent of a cookout at home. Feeling touristy? Take a fishing excursion, or stop by the Southernmost Point and the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum on your way to one of the area’s famed beaches.

Related: Florida’s top 10 vacation regions for different types of travelers

Maui, Hawaii

Maui, Hawaii. (Photo by Matt Anderson/Getty Images)

With days in the high 70s in early fall, Maui is also a surfer’s paradise. It’s the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands, and it provides ample opportunity for time at the beach, whether you’re visiting with kids who need calm seas or friends who want to try their luck with more adventurous activities in choppy surrounds. Travel to Hawaii is a bit contentious right now, as pent-up travel demand and low airfares to the islands have left them overrun with tourists. However, it is an option that allows you to travel to someplace that feels exotic while remaining within the U.S.

Related: Everything you need to know about visiting Hawaii now

Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs, California. (Photo by Chris Axe/Getty Images)

Palm Springs, a desert town notable for its midcentury modern architecture, presents average daily high temperatures in the mid-90s in fall, making for a hot (but arid) domestic environment in which to carry on your summer exploits. Unlike many of the other destinations on this list, it doesn’t have any beaches, but there are plenty of alternative outdoor activities to experience. If you’re a duffer, start with a round of golf, followed by a soak in one of the city’s hot springs, or head to Coachella Valley (home of the infamous music festival of the same name) for some horseback riding, biking or hiking.

Related: TPG’s ultimate guide to Palm Springs, California

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

St Thomas, USVI. (Photo by Buena Vista Images/Getty Images)

When Americans think warm-weather destinations, it’s usually the Caribbean that springs to mind. If pristine beaches and a variety of snorkeling spots appeal to you, St. Thomas is a sure bet. Travelers can expect highs in the 80s and fewer crowds in autumn, so it’s a great time to extend your summer. The island is also famous for having the best shopping opportunities in the Caribbean, providing plenty of diversions for anyone who’d like to spend a little more time indoors.

Related: Best points hotels in the Caribbean

If you’re willing to travel a little bit further…

Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos, Greece. (Photo by spooh/Getty Images)

With some of the best beaches in the Greek Isles, Mykonos offers plenty of opportunities to sunbathe, and temperatures generally hover in the mid- to low 70s. Shopping abounds in Mykonos Town as charming cobblestone streets wind between whitewashed buildings that make for gorgeous photos. The landscape is ideal for trekking, and visitors who want to spend additional time enjoying the weather and taking in the sights can check out the famed windmills or visit the nearby, uninhabited island of Delos — the mythical birthplace of Apollo — via ferry.

Related: What it’s like visiting Greece right now

Ibiza, Spain

Ibiza, Spain. (Photo by David Navarro Azurmendi/Getty Images)

If you aren’t yet finished with the summer beach party scene, take advantage of average fall temperatures in the low 80s with a visit to Ibiza, which has become synonymous with clubbing and wild nights. However, there’s also a lot to do during the day to get you out and about in the sun and sand. Besides paddleboarding, yoga, hiking and other active pursuits, you can try your hand at cliff jumping or indulge in some retail therapy at the local markets.

Related: Proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test now required to enter Spain

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai, UAE. (Photo by Nikada/Getty Images)

Ajman Beach is Dubai‘s most well-known place to soak up some sun, and with highs in the mid-80s to low 90s, it’s still warm enough to do so in the fall. Or take a trip to the Dubai Miracle Garden, where gorgeous flowers display brilliant colors in an outdoor setting. Because the emirate is also known for its shopping and nightlife, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Dubai Mall, which is the second-largest mall in the world, and the Dubai Fountain, which offers a spectacular light show at night. And, although it won’t get you more time outside, the Burj Khalifa — the tallest building in the world — is a must-see.

Featured photo of Mykonos, Greece by Westend61/Getty Images.

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