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If you’ve found yourself dreaming of traveling—even just a tank of gas away—September is the perfect time.
For many, September feels a bit like a fresh start. Kids are back in school (or, more accurately this year, at home distance learning). Lucky ducks with seasonal vacation homes have returned. And those of you with flexible schedules can have all the best travel spots to yourselves. That is music to my ears, especially this year.
You’ll find fewer crowds at places that have been relatively busy all summer—think national parks, beach towns and popular vacation areas. For much of the country, it’ll be paired with spectacular weather. If you’re able to travel in September, do it. It’s one of the best months to explore.
Of course, it’s more important than ever to do your homework before traveling. Make sure you have all your accommodations booked before going, and look up local health and safety mandates. Bring your mask and wear it. Pack extra hand sanitizer, and don’t skip a bathroom opportunity when one presents itself.
That said, if you want to enjoy one of the least busy travel months, here’s a few trips to consider.
With Covid-19 on everyone’s mind, outdoor vacations have never been more appealing. That’s why a trip to one of the country’s 62 national parks topped travel excursions between Memorial Day and Labor Day. If you crave a little more solitude, take your trip in September. You’ll slip in after kids go back to school, but before the fall colors tourists hit. In many parks, weather tends to still be warm, but not oppressively so, and everything from rental cars to accommodations tend to put less pressure on the pocketbook.
A few parks to consider:
I’ll be honest: I saw a few photos of packed beaches this summer, and they made me cringe. However, with the arrival of autumn, the crowds are gone, prices are low, and cooler temps mean you probably won’t end up looking like a lobster at the day’s end (though wear your SPF year-round, people!). In fall, I love a long stroll on the shore, or planting a chair in the sand and losing myself in a great book. Paired with lower hotel and vacation rental rates and generally less busy restaurants and businesses, I say there’s a great argument for saving your beach vacation until fall.
For the first time in a very long time, Colorado bested Florida as the most popular vacation spot in America. If you’re looking to explore the mountains, fall is perfect timing—during spring’s shoulder season, you’ll still find snow at higher elevations. Not true in September! This time of year more temperate weather and less hikers. You may even get a glimpse of fall colors at higher elevations.
Every state has those areas where people love to summer. You know, the place where people have cottages or cabins or whatever they’re called in your region. With the kiddos back in the books, there are so many available retreats in the woods or on a lake. You could even look for a cool old resort and channel your inner Jennifer Grey a la Dirt Dancing. Nobody puts Samantha in a corner!
Are you able to take advantage of shoulder season? Where are you going?
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