I’m a travel expert who can guide you to the best places to visit in September, both in the USA and abroad.
Many of these domestic and international destinations were selected based on seasonal festivals and timely activities.
Find out the top places for leaf-peeping, Northern Lights viewing, and celebrating fall harvests. I share options for every preference, from big cities to remote national parks, and several hidden gems where you can make the most of the shoulder season.
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Best Places to Visit in September in the USA
The Mile High City celebrates fall with food and drink festivals and leaf-peeping in the foothills.
September is one of the best times to visit Denver! Enjoy pleasant days and cool evenings, and admire fall colors on foothill hikes. Top city attractions like Larimer Square and Dairy Block see fewer visitors this time of the year.
Plus, some of Colorado’s best festivals occur in September, including the Great American Beer Festival.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Beat the heat and summer crowds with a fall visit to the largest canyon in the USA.
I’ve hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back, and it’s not something you want to do in Arizona’s summer heat! Cooler temps make any hike more pleasant, whether you’re walking along the rim or to the canyon floor.
Grand Canyon Village is also less crowded after Labor Day. In fact, you’ll get fewer crowds at most national parks this time of the year!
Miss the summer humidity and winter chill by hitting The Windy City in the fall.
The best time to enjoy the Chicago lakeshore is in September when the humidity finally dissipates! Visit Navy Pier and admire the city’s architecture on a river cruise. September is also a wonderful time to snag an outdoor table (preferably on a rooftop!) at one of Chicago’s many bars, where you can soak up the last of the sun.
Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
Relax in this seaside town dotted with lighthouses and charming cottages.
Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts is a summer vacation hotspot, meaning there will be fewer tourists once Labor Day rolls around!
The off-season grants cheaper prices on airfare and top-rated hotels as well. See the Gay Head Lighthouse and the gingerbread cottages in Oak Bluffs, a national historic landmark.
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
This scenic park has a short visitor season — experience its grandeur before the weather turns!
Washington’s Mount Rainier National Park turns cold and snowy early and remains that way for half of the year. September is on the tail end of when you can visit and be (mostly!) assured of warm days. Enjoy hiking and mountain biking amid colorful autumn foliage, a bonus to visiting late in the season.
San Francisco, California
The city’s fog finally lifts in September, a great time to experience outdoor activities and cultural attractions.
Summer is one of the foggiest times to visit San Francisco, so wait until September when “Karl the Fog” finally lifts. Book a bay cruise, explore the piers, and pose for a picture where you can actually see the Golden Gate Bridge behind you.
Big Island, Hawai’i
Take advantage of lower prices and fewer crowds during Hawaii’s shoulder season.
September is part of Hawai’i’s shoulder season, between the summer vacationers and those of us fleeing frigid winters! You’ll get cheaper rates on the best hotels and discounts on other amenities. You’ll also get less crowded beaches. Be sure to check out Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park for a fascinating glimpse of the volcanic activity that created the islands.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Sin City keeps summer alive with rooftop pool parties, nightclubs, and more entertainment.
Not quite ready to say goodbye to summer? Average temperatures in Las Vegas stay in the upper 90s in September! Cool off in one of the many gorgeous hotel pools or venture out at night to enjoy incredible Vegas clubs. Shows, casino games, and other exciting attractions make up the entertainment capital of the world.
Mackinac Island, Michigan
Enjoy time on the lake before the winter season, taking long bike rides and soaking up the sunsets.
Mackinac Island is another place that clears out after Labor Day. September visitors can enjoy summer weather for much of the month without peak season crowds. Spend a day visiting quaint shops, take a carriage ride, or tour the island by bike.
New York City, New York
Take a harbor boat ride, enjoy an urban trail, and explore endless cultural attractions.
New York City’s summer humidity begins to lessen in September, so it’s a pleasant time to do lots of walking and sightseeing. Explore High Line Park and enjoy the many things to do in Central Park. Visit the 9/11 Memorial & Museum and several other iconic monuments and cultural attractions.
Lake Tahoe, California & Nevada
Enjoy boating, hiking, and other lake activities with far fewer crowds.
Tahoe tourists clear out like clockwork after Labor Day each year. You can still swim in the lake in early September, depending on your tolerance for cold! Boating is always a pleasant activity, as is hiking in one of California’s best mountain towns. Incredible restaurants and casinos in Nevada add reasons to visit.
Glacier National Park, Montana
Admire fall foliage on hiking trails and along Going-to-the-Sun Road before frigid temps set in.
Glacier National Park welcomes winter early! September is a delightful time to visit, before Going-to-the-Sun Road closes for the season and the freezing temps set in. You may also see beautiful fall foliage, as the leaves turn here earlier in the year than in many places. Get out and hike or paddle and enjoy the natural beauty of this national park in fall.
Explore two stunning national parks and other outdoor spaces when desert temperatures are more moderate.
Daytime temperatures in Moab, Utah drop by almost ten degrees from August to September, averaging a pleasant 88°F. Head here in the fall for mountain biking, hiking, whitewater rafting, and other outdoor activities. Some of the best places for these adventures are Arches and Canyonlands, two of Utah’s top national parks.
Sonoma County, California
Celebrate the harvest season at world-class wineries.
Harvest season in the vineyards of Sonoma and Napa County runs from August to October — and really gets going in September! Take a harvest tour to learn about the journey from grape to award-winning wine. Eat at a farm-to-table restaurant that uses seasonal autumn vegetables, and head to a California festival that celebrates the season.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Admire the changing aspens while walking around Santa Fe, full of art galleries and boutique shops.
Cooler weather and golden aspens make September a wonderful time of year to walk around Santa Fe, New Mexico. Stop at the Santa Fe Plaza and wander in and out of the surrounding shops and art galleries. Save some time to see Santa Fe attractions like the Georgia O’Keefe Museum and the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.
Coos Bay, Oregon
Dine on fresh seafood and peruse boutique shops on this relaxing coastal getaway.
Find fewer crowds along the coast come September, a great time to visit Coos Bay, Oregon. This quaint, seaside town is perfect for a weekend trip. Shop, browse art galleries, and sample seafood at local restaurants, one of the best things to do in Oregon. You can also participate in the downtown Coos Bay Wine Walk on the first Friday of every month.
Take a shoulder season trip to a tropical USA territory.
Summer vacationers are gone and holiday travelers have yet to arrive, making September a good month for a last-minute trip to Puerto Rico!
Temperatures are warm, but usually not unbearably so. Comfortably explore sites like San Felipe del Morro and enjoy walking the streets of Old San Juan. You can even snorkel and swim along Puerto Rico’s best beaches this time of the year.
Just be aware that September is the peak hurricane season in Puerto Rico, but a storm does not hit every year. But this means, if you’re willing to stay flexible and book last minute, September can be the most affordable month to visit Puerto Rico.
Best Places to Visit in September (International)
Celebrate Oktoberfest and enjoy fall in Bavaria.
The name might fool you, but Oktoberfest begins in September! Head to Munich for the epic celebration and sample German beer and food. You can also explore Neuschwanstein Castle, watch the cuckoo clock on Marienplatz, and enjoy many other unique experiences.
Seoul, South Korea
See the leaves change in South Korea’s capital, which hosts several festivals through September.
Seoul is a bustling metropolis, but you’ll find lots of trees turning striking colors if you get outside of the city center. Hike among the foliage at Bukhansan National Park, just a short subway ride from downtown. Seoul also has art, music, and cultural festivals in September including Taste of Seoul, a great way to be introduced to the city’s dining scene.
Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Enjoy spring in the southern hemisphere, when wildlife becomes active at this scenic national park.
Spring at Fiordland National Park is still chilly, but it’s a nice change from a USA summer! It’s also the time of year when animal babies are born and their parents are waking from a long slumber. Watch penguins, seals, dolphins, and other marine life become active.
Save time to explore the lakes and waterfalls that make this destination on New Zealand’s South Island worthwhile!
Take in the fall foliage, go whale watching, and enjoy other unique experiences in this Canadian coastal city.
September weather makes Vancouver, Canada an excellent destination choice! You’ll likely get daytime highs in the 60s and cool nights that will remind you that winter is just around the corner.
Explore the city, go whale watching, and take a day trip to Vancouver Island. Don’t miss hiking the popular Grouse Mountain before the snow moves in.
Walk around the city in comfortable temperatures and take part in an iconic festival.
Crowds are clear and temperatures are mild in September, a great time to visit Dublin, Ireland. During this month, visitors can experience the Dublin Fringe Festival and comfortably walk to various attractions on one’s Dublin itinerary. Explore castles, cozy up in pubs, and take in the Irish music scene.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Trek through the mountains or arrive at Machu Picchu by train during this low tourism season.
Machu Picchu is always going to have crowds, but you’ll find fewer of them in September. The rainy season has not yet moved into the Andes Mountains. Clear, sunny skies continue through at least mid-September, allowing visitors to hike the multi-day Inca Trail or ride the train to this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Prague, Czech Republic
Admire architecture and attend a two-week classical music festival in this cultural city.
Prague is one of the greatest places to visit in September. It’s known for its stunning architecture, which visitors can admire on walking tours of the city. The Dvořák International Prague Music Festival also takes place in September. See the city come alive during this two-week cultural event, which highlights classical composers.
See stunning Buddhist temples and natural beauty at a lower cost starting this September.
Travel Lemming named Bhutan one of the best places to travel in 2023! The government’s imposed daily fee helps keep the country from overcrowding. This means visitors can see the Buddhist temples and the natural beauty of the mountains without too many other tourists around.
👉 Pro Tip: The government is expected to cut their daily tourist fee from $200 to $100 per day in September 2023.
Kruger National Park, South Africa
Wildlife crowds at watering holes during this warm and humid month.
September can be humid and warm in South Africa, but it’s also when wildlife tends to gather around water sources in Kruger National Park. Visiting those watering holes means you have a greater chance of seeing the animals as they emerge this time of the year.
London, United Kingdom
Join one of several festivals and experience key attractions with fewer tourists.
September is one of the best times to visit London! The weather is warm, tourists are mostly gone, and many events are still happening in the city, including the Turning Tides music festival and London Design Fair. Take a Thames River cruise, explore an array of museums, and enjoy an autumn afternoon at one of several London parks.
Enjoy authentic Italian food and wine under the warm September sun.
Italy is one of the best places to visit in September because the summer heat is on its way out! Tourist attractions will be less crowded, and you may even score some deals on flights and top hotels. See Mount Etna, take in a performance at Teatro Massimo, and enjoy Sicily’s delicious food and wine!
Search for the Northern Lights, explore national parks, and experience other outdoor adventures.
Iceland is one of the best places to visit to view the Northern Lights! The viewing season begins in September and lasts until March. You’ll find lots of other things to do in September, too. Take a dip in the Blue Lagoon, visit one of the country’s national parks, or embark on a waterfall tour.
Experience autumn in a romantic city featuring lovely architecture and cobblestone streets.
Bruges, Belgium is a breathtaking place to welcome fall! Take a boat tour along the canals or rent a bike to ride the cobblestone streets. You can also see historic structures like the Belfry of Bruges and the buildings in Burg Square.
Take a dip in the still-warm sea and experience lesser-crowded Greek islands.
The water is still warm if you visit Greece in September, so you can enjoy the sea before the colder months set in. Consider Travel Lemming founder Nate’s advice to skip Santorini for the lesser populated islands in Greece, like Koufonisia and Anafi.
FAQs on Where to Travel in September
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I hope this guide has given you some interesting ideas for places to visit in September!
Next up, read about the best places to visit in October.
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