Trees on sunset boulevard for off season destinations

12 Awesome Off Season Destinations for Fall

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Are you looking for ideas for awesome adventures with kids over their school’s Fall Break? How about some ideas for off season destinations for a couple’s getaway in October and November?

Do you love to photograph Fall colors?

If you answered yes to any of the questions, I would recommend all of these locations as off season destinations if you are looking for vibrant Fall foliage to view and don’t mind cooler days as you explore.

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Be Prepared for the Weather in Your Off Season Destinations

You will want to pack your umbrella, gloves, puffy jacket, and scarves [affiliates]. The weather could surprise you with glorious Fall sunshine or chilly rainy days.

If you happen to be driving to the airport at 5 am and aren’t usually up that early in the morning, you may wonder aloud as our youngest did, “Shouldn’t the sun be up already?”

Welcome to Fall.

Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast for off season destinations
Oregon Coast

Fall is a stunning time to visit Oregon and especially the coast as off season destinations. If Portland is your starting point, the trees are popping with beautiful reds, yellows, and oranges all around the airport.

There are a myriad of beach towns along the entirety of the Oregon coast. Some have a heavy tourism focus while others are quiet little beach communities. The commonality among them all are the beautiful sandy beaches, the crashing of the surf, and spectacular sunsets.

Just a Few Fun Off Season Destinations to Explore Along the Coast:

  • Seaside
  • Astoria
  • Rockaway Beach
  • Cape Meares Lighthouse and State Scenic Viewpoint
  • Tillamook Cheese Factory
  • Lincoln City
  • Oswald State Park

Boston, Massachusetts

The Freedom Trail sidewalk medallion in Boston for off season destinations
Freedom Trail in Boston

Despite the potential for chilly weather and rain, Boston might just become one of your favorite off season destinations to visit with all of its historical significance.

That, and maybe Mike’s Pastry shop.

Click the link if you want to read a more detailed post about Boston in the Fall and all of the amazing things you can do.

If you have never explored the Freedom Trail, this is a must-do activity.

The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile red-bricked path along the sidewalks in Boston. You can pick up one of the Freedom Trail Official Brochures for a self-guided tour along the trail. Put on your walking shoes and step back in time.

Freedom Trail Boston Guide App

Significant Sites Along the Freedom Trail That You Don’t Want to Miss

  • Faneuil Hall
  • Boston Common – American’s oldest public park
  • Granary Burying Ground 
  • King’s Chapel Burying Ground
  • Boston Latin School Site with the Benjamin Franklin Statue
  • Old Corner Bookstore
  • Old South Meeting House
  • Old State House
  • Boston Massacre Site
  • Paul Revere House
  • Old North Church
  • USS Constitution
  • USS Constitution Museum
  • Bunker Hill Monument

Other Notable Sites In and Around Boston

  • Beacon Hill – If you are a photographer at heart, you might enjoy wandering some of the streets in Beacon Hill. It is one of Boston’s most picturesque neighborhoods.
  • Charles River – The river is busy with boaters, kayakers, canoes and scullers on the river.
  • Public Garden – In the heart of Boston is a large park adjacent to Boston Common—Public Garden—the first botanical garden in America. Our girls loved the magnificent statue of George Washington, the brilliant colors of Fall foliage, and the “Make Way for the Ducklings” statues.
  • Legal Seafood – just a fun and tasty place to eat
  • Harvard
  • Little Italy – Mike’s pastry is recommended by many
  • Plimoth Plantation
  • Cape Cod
  • Nauset Lighthouse
  • Three Sisters Lighthouse
  • Howes Street Beach

Vancouver and Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada

Butchart Gardens in Victoria British Columbia off season destinations option
Butchart Gardens, BC

While it is amazingly beautiful in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island as off season destinations, it will be a bit chilly too.

Take the ferry to reach Vancouver Island; it takes about an hour and a half. If you are going to Victoria at the tip of the island, once you exit the ferry at the Swartz Ferry Terminal, get in line for the Pacific Stage Line Bus to Victoria.

The bus we rode was a double decker bus.

I recommend that you rent a car for your time on the island because you won’t want to miss the outstanding beauty of Butchart Gardens or the Fisgard Lighthouse. The best solution is to take the bus to Victoria and then rent a car there.

Be sure to pack a puffy jacket to stay warm. These off season destinations may have you wanting gloves [affiliate] too.

NOTE * Entrance to Butchart Gardens requires a reservation. Be sure to plan ahead.

The gardens are outstanding. Did you know that they have 70 gardeners on staff? Except for the few fallen leaves, the gardens are immaculate and weed free.

One section of the garden is filled with Dahlias in an explosion of color and varieties. They are amazingly beautiful.

Are you a hiker? Climbing to the Train Trestle at Goldstream Provincial Park is an awesome and somewhat vigorous hike.

Perhaps you might enjoy a scavenger hunt in Vancouver. It is a fun way to see and learn about a city. Follow clues to the library, a Japanese garden, across the harbor (requiring the use of the SeaBus), at the Pan Pacific Hotel, and finally at the Olympic torch monument. If you are a local, you may even learn a few things you did not know!

Whale Watching in Anacortes, Washington

Whale watching in Anacortes Washington for off season destinations in the fall.
Whale Watching

Plan a whale watching excursion from Anacortes, Washington! One of the many off season destinations you’ll want to scout out in the great state of Washington.

Anacortes is just a 90-mile drive from downtown Seattle.

Due to the calm winds and waters of the San Juan islands, this area is an ideal place to view orcas, humpback whales, minke whales, and gray whales as well as a myriad of other wildlife.

Whale watching excursions last about five to six hours so plan accordingly.

Be sure to bring your camera and plenty of warm clothes.

It will be a little chilly with the breeze on the boat, but there are plenty of spots to stay out of the wind.

It may take awhile before you see any whales, maybe as long as it takes to reach the waters off Vancouver Island in British Columbia. 

Did you know that all of the whales are documented and named and can be identified by their features and fin? “Split Fin”, a humpback whale, likes to swim close to the island and puts on a good show once spotted.

Great Smoky Mountain National Park in North Carolina

Have you ever forgotten to pack your toothbrush road through smoky mountains for off season destinations
Great Smoky Mountains

Perhaps the lack of an entrance fee is why Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the busiest national parks in the United States and a fabulous option for off season destinations in the Fall.

An App called GyPSy Guide offers an excellent guided tour throughout the park. Using the wonders of GPS and satellite, the commentary plays automatically as you pass a GPS point, sharing behind-the-scene stories, tips, side trips, and driving directions.

As you drive through the park, you can visit the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, stop for short hikes along “Quiet Walkways”, visit Clingmans Dome, and explore Cade’s Cove.

Just a piece of advice: If there is a site you really want to see in the park or surrounding area, go early in the day. Around noon, the tourist traffic really multiplies. Everyone is there for the Fall foliage if you are visiting during the off season. 

These are a few other beautiful sites in North Carolina and along the Blue Ridge Parkway:

  • Cataloochee Ski Resort
  • Maggie’s Village
  • Hike the Waterrock Knob Trail, Craggy GardensCrabtree Falls, or Linville Falls
  • Stop at the Viaduct and check out the Hanging Bridge
  • Visit Appalachian (pronounced App-a-latch-en) State College in Boone, NC

Orvieto, Italy

Fiats outside the cathedral in Orvieto, Italy Europe Travel
Orvieto, Italy

Orvieto should be added to your off season destinations list for sure. And it would be perfect for families or couples.

Orvieto sits atop a very steep cliff—a rupe—visible for miles before you even arrive. The easiest way up the side of the cliff is to catch the funicular after you leave the train station.

Did you know that you can often buy funicular tickets at a magazine stand if one is close by? You will save some time if everyone else is standing in the line at the funicular ticket office.

Stop at a bakery and enjoy some bread before continuing on toward the Duomo. Not a must, but you’ll thank me when you do.

Explore the Duomo inside and out. The exterior has an amazing striped facade.

Purchase tickets for an Underground Cave Tour. Most of the homes in Orvieto have caves dug out underneath (following strict specifications). Today they are used for storage and wine cellars, but years ago they were used for olive oil production with olive presses, cold storage, and pigeon nests.

There are so many beautiful sites in Orvieto and the surrounding countryside, it is lovely just to wander the streets and walk along the borders of the city. From here, you can see all of the surrounding countryside.

Some of my Favorite Photos are from Italy.

Perhaps scheduling a visit to a winery might be your next stop.

Siena, Italy

Siena Italy is perfect for off season destinations
Siena, Italy

Siena is a short one hour and 15 minutes bus ride from Florence along a beautiful route skirted with wineries dotting the mountain sides. Bellisimo.

Download the Rick Steves’ Siena walking tour from the Rick Steves’ Audio Europe app (a free app I might add), fill your backpack  [affiliate] for the day, and dress warmly.

After exiting the bus, climb up to the Central Square. The unusual aspect of Siena’s Central Square is that it does not house the Duomo (cathedral) as is the case in many European cities.

Instead it is home to the City Hall, and every year hosts the famous Palio horse race.

There is so much to explore in Siena and as one of Italy’s many off season destinations, you will find even fewer tourists in the Fall.

Purchase the OPA SI Pass if you would like to visit all of the museums in the Cathedral Complex:

  • Cathedral (with art treasures by Michelangelo, Donatello, and Bernini and its amazing marble-inlay floor)
  • Piccolomini Library
  • Baptistry of San Giovanni
  • Crypt
  • Museo dell’Opera
  • Panoramic terrace of the Duomo Nuovo (unfinished facade of the cathedral)
  • San Bernadino Oratory
  • Santa Maria della Scala hospital and museum
  • Old Hospital

You might also find that the most amazing part of your day is being able to climb up to the unfinished facade of the church, navigating narrowing circular stairs until the breathtaking view of Siena in 360 degrees of glory unfolds around you.

Amazing. 

The queue to visit the panoramic terrace may be long, but the view at the top is totally worth the wait and the effort.

Lake Como, Italy

Overgrown doorway in Varenna Italy an off season destination
Varenna, Italy

One of your first day trips in Italy should be spent wandering the streets of Varenna and then Bellagio—both fantastic off season destinations—in the Lake Como region of Italy.

Varenna is simply amazing in its beauty. Every walkway, doorway, and passageway is a photographer’s dream.

The streets are lined with shops and narrow stairways made even more perfect with beautifully decorated entrances and grape vines clinging to walls and changing to brilliant shades of red.

After a couple of hours exploring in Varenna, take the ferry across Lake Como to Bellagio. Lake Como is ringed with small towns hugging the sides of the mountains surrounding the lake, so you have a lot of options.

If you arrive in Bellagio in the morning hours during the off season, you will find the streets are not terribly crowded with tourists. Perfect as your Camera [affiliate] may never be at rest for long if you wish to take tourist-free photos.

Bellagio, much like Varenna, is one picturesque moment after another.

Varenna and Bellagio would be amazing off season destinations for a couple’s getaway in the Fall. Hint Hint.

Toledo, Spain

Toledo Spain from the road is great for off season destinations
Toledo, Spain

If you are coming from Madrid, travel to Toledo from the Atocha train station.

Note * The station services the trains as well as the metro. 

Take the high speed train to Toledo—100 miles in 30 minutes. Not too shabby.  

As you leave the train station, walk the short distance to Toledo (pronounced Toe-leh-doh), an amazing walled fortress perched on the side of the hill.

You will be grateful for the escalators that allow easy access up the side of the hill.

If you are a photographer, you will also love all of the alleyways and beautiful entrances, the winding paths and shuttered windows.

Sites to see in Toledo:

  • Catedral de Toledo
  • Old Town
  • Jewish Quarter
  • Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes
  • El Tránsito Synagogue – Jewish Synagogue
  • Santa Cruz Museum
  • Mezquita Cristo de la Luz
  • Las Murallas (Ramparts)
  • Alcázar de Toledo

Segovia, Spain

Alcazar of Segovia Fortress Spain view of Cathedral is great for off season destinations
Segovia, Spain

The train station in Segovia is quite a distance from the city, not walkable for sure.

Take a bus from the train station to the Aqueduct bus stop and from there enter the city through the arches of the Aqueduct.

To avoid some of the crowds, walk past the Aqueduct (come back to that later in the day) and go toward the Alcazar of Segovia (literally meaning Segovia Fortress) a castle on the far end of town.

Did you know the Alcazar of Segovia castle was used as a model for the Disney Cinderella castle?

You can purchase tickets for the tour which includes an audio tour of the castle.

Climb to the top of the castle to enjoy the views overlooking the city. Maybe post a few photos to Instagram while you are there!

If you visit Segovia as one of your off season destinations (and many other destinations as well), note that the sun sets mid afternoon during the off season and temperatures start to cool off.

A scarf [affiliate] tucked around your neck and into your jacket is perfect to ward off the late afternoon chill.

Follow winding streets that will have you reaching the top of the Aqueduct. The views are fantastic.

The Roman Aqueduct of Segovia, probably built c. 50 BC, is remarkably well preserved. This impressive construction, with its two tiers of arches, forms part of the magnificent setting of the historic city of Segovia. It is an enormous construction of masonry, 813 m in length, consisting of four straight segments and two superimposed arcades borne by 128 pillars. At the lowest point of the valley, the Aqueduct stands at a height of 28.5 m above ground. 

UNESCO

Before returning to the train station, enjoy a cup of Spanish hot chocolate to warm up. These off season destinations can get chilly!

Malta

Super Easy ways to save money as you travel and Fishing boat in harbor at Marsaxlokk Malta Europe Travel
Marsaxlokk, Malta

The palm trees and sunshine of Malta and Gozo are welcome sights as off season destinations in November.

Malta is a walkable area, but it is also fairly inexpensive to book taxis, water taxis, buses, and ferries.

If you choose to visit Gozo for the day, be sure to schedule transportation away from the port once you arrive by ferry. Take a tour, get a bus, or hire a taxi at the ferry terminal to reach Victoria. You’ll be glad you did! It is a looooong walk otherwise. Just saying.

You might want to include the following locations as you plan your itinerary:

South of France

Man with umbrella on tree lined path in France for an off season destination

If you have ever dreamed of visiting the South of France, choosing it as one of your off season destinations has its pros and cons. As a pro, there are fewer tourists to deal with, however, many of the villages shut down restaurants, shops, and sites in the off season due to reduced traffic and daylight hours.

If you are visiting in late November, you may be lucky enough to enjoy the Christmas Market in Aix-en-Provence.

Fredrick, our hotel concierge, recommended these towns, villages and parks:

  • Lourmarin
  • Bonnieux
  • Lacoste
  • Roussillon
  • Colorado Provençal
  • Gourdes
  • Abbey de Senanque
  • Goult
  • Les Baux-de-Provence
  • St. Remy

Be sure to rent a car and pack a picnic lunch. Driving along the winding backroads of the Luberon Valley in the South of France is part of the magic.

Final Thoughts on Awesome Off Season Destinations for Fall

diamonoffseason

While Fall may not be the warmest time of the year to travel, it certainly is beautiful. Plan accordingly for the weather and you will be rewarded with amazing sites and fewer tourists. Quite often it is less expensive to travel to these off season destinations. That’s a bonus too!

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Shelley
1 month ago

this is such a great list! i have been to the Smoky Mountains in fall because my mom lives in NC, and they are just magical. i hope to be able to check out anacortes, wa. next year for the whale watching.

Linda (LD Holland)
1 month ago

We love to travel in the fall where it is off season in so many places. The smaller crowds and lower prices are a big draw. We are certainly loving British Columbia in the fall and are glad it made your list. But I sure can’t wait to head back to Italy and Spain in the fall! 

Jill
1 month ago

I’ve been chasing the changing colors of leaves for the past couple of weeks, I think Great Smoky Mountain National Park has gotta be the place for me! 🙂

Camila Neves de Oliveira
Camila Neves de Oliveira
1 month ago

Amazing post! my favorite destination for fall would be the Oregon coast 🙂

Elyse
1 month ago

So many amazing places, I would LOVE to go to Washinton and see the Orcas

cosette
1 month ago

Really great list. I’ve been to Great Smoky Mountains NP and Toledo, but only the latter was in fall time. The south of France we’ve been to in Spring time, and that’s also a beautiful time to visit the area.

cosette
1 day ago
Reply to  Jolayne

We haven’t been to the Lavender Fields in France yet, we’ve just visited all sorts of beautiful sites and enjoyed the warm weather (opposite to what we usually have in the Netherlands April).

JJ Jordan
1 month ago

This is a great list! I love travelling in the off-seasons too. This list has definitely given me a few more ideas on where to go 🙂

Kate
1 month ago

great list! I love Boston in the fall! It’s not too cold yet and it’s such a lovely time of year to explore the city before winter sets in.

Krista
1 month ago

Wow there are some amazing destinations here! Toledo is a great place to visit in the off season as there are hardly any tourists at the main attractions.

jetlaggedroamer
1 month ago

Such a great list of places to visit off season for fall. I was looking to visit Portland, Maine this month, but WOW the hotels were so expensive, since season I suppose. I ended up booking a trip to Central America and it was way less expensive. Keeping this post handy for next fall. I will know where to go instead.

Laura
Laura
1 month ago

I love traveling off season. It is so nice to not have to fight the crowds! These are all great suggestions <3

Bea
1 month ago

Some great tips! I have just landed in Spain and will be spending 3 weeks touring around, both Toledo ands Segovia are on the list! By the way, if you want to say Toledo as a Spaniard it would be (Toh-leh-doh).

The photos of the national parks in the US are amazing, I would really love to see the fall colours there some day!

Renee
Renee
1 month ago

I love travelling in the shoulder season, spring and fall are my favourites. This is a great list, such variety. I would definitely go to Italy, wine harvest time would be calling my name.

Josy A
1 month ago

I LOVE seeing all the fall colours (especially in the mountains when the fire weed turns golden and the blueberry bushes go all red.) so I am glad you included Vancouver. We have lots of rain, but it can be beautiful in the fall.

The Smokey mountains look incredible with all those bright coloured trees!

I love that you included some Southern Europe too – that is great for slightly warmer weather and a later fall.

Moona
1 month ago

Great list. I’m glad that you have added Malta to the list. I have been planning to go there for a while. Since I could not travel there during the summer, I wondered if November time was any good.

Melissa Miller
1 month ago

Love this list!! I was already thinking about a van trip through Oregon and Washington and these Ideas definitely have me wanting to plan a trip now.

Denise
Denise
1 month ago

We are in the south of France and you are spot on, off season is the time to go. October the weather is beautiful without the crowds!

Alex
1 month ago

Love this list! It’s so warm here in southeastern Virginia we haven’t gotten much in the way of fall foliage yet. A lot of places here on my bucket list! Saving for later. Thanks!

Tamera-YourChristianBestFriend

As someone who lives in a tourist area, I love off season traveling. My social anxiety says the less people the better lol. Thanks for these places.

Ella
1 month ago

Great list. I would love to revisit Oregon in fall and do a coastal road trip all the way to Vancouver!

ilse dumont
1 month ago

Vancouver Canada is on our dream list! It looks beautiful and we have lots of friends who live there. thanks for gathering the information!

Elena Pappalardo
1 month ago

I love these ideas for fall travel! I definitely have my eye on Lake Como. Thanks for the inspiration!

Ophelie
1 month ago

Traveling off season is the best! It’s cheaper and there are way less people!

Kathryn
1 month ago

Love off season/shoulder season travel! This is a great list of destination ideas! Thanks for sharing 🙂

Daniella
1 month ago

I love all of these destinations but I must say Vancouver has my heart. I spent a summer there once and would actually really love to see it during the fall./

Pamela
1 month ago

I absolutely love traveling in the off season – its so nice to not have all the other tourists and be able to see the location a bit better. Great list

stylefrontier
1 month ago

these are lovely destination! I would love to visit Italy in fall. i’m bookmarking your page.

Sarah
1 month ago

Awesome list! I need to get to some of these. Malta is high up on my list for places to visit and Italy during the fall is absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for giving me some more travel inspo!

Ashlee Fechino
29 days ago

Off season travel is simply the best! We love to visit places with fewer crowds.