The Foliage Factor Cover NewZealand

The Foliage Factor: 5 Fall Trips Beyond New England

by Liz Deslauriers

October 25, 2023

4 minute read

Come fall, you might notice magazine covers and social media feeds get pretty colorful. We see a lot of love for the autumnal shades of the Northeast, as leaf peepers famously flock toward New England’s red, yellow, and orange hues like moths to a flame. For good reason!

But here’s a secret. (Okay, not really a secret.) There are destinations all over the world that pop with color this time of year, many of which are in their shoulder season — outside of the summer bustle, enjoying the sweet spot between summer’s sizzle and winter’s chill.

Hailing from the Northeast, I certainly appreciate the fall foliage scene, but I always get inspired to see new places when the seasons start to change. For all the leaf peepers and fall lovers ready for a change of pace, here are five destinations to add to your travel list – plus, a bonus autumnal treat!

  1. Yosemite
    Dramatic waterfalls to soaring granite peaks, Yosemite will leave you in awe. With most of its trees being evergreen, it’s not known for a color show. However, it still has plenty of big-leaf maples, black oaks, Pacific dogwoods and other deciduous trees dotting the iconic landscape, typically reaching peak colors around mid-October. Much of the park remains open into November, and you’ll enjoy smaller crowds outside of summer.

    Tour: California Dreamin’: Monterey, Yosemite & Napa


  2. Ireland
    Ireland in the fall is perfection. You’ll see myriad shades of green in those rolling hills, paired with some magical fall hues. Did you know Ireland is the home of Halloween? Consider a trip to Ireland in October to see be where it all began as a Pagan festival amid the harvest season.

    Tour: Countryside of the Emerald Isle

  3. Douro Valley, Portugal
    Come fall, why not whisk yourself way to Portugal’s Douro Valley in the midst of its harvest season? Every September, the harvest and grape stomping begins. Settle into life in this gorgeous wine region, enjoying wine tastings and learning to prepare petiscos, or Portuguese tapas. For your dose of foliage, you could try a boat ride along the Douro River, floating by rows of twisting vines, lush trees, and colorful houses.

    Tour: Flavors of Portugal & Spain: featuring the Douro and Rioja Wine Regions

  4. Kyoto, Japan
    Beyond the cherry blossoms of spring, the trees of Kyoto put on another vibrant and longer-lasting show from mid-October to mid-December. Gorgeous maple trees create a feast for the eyes set amid temples, shrines, and gardens.

    Tour: Cultural Treasures of Japan


  5. Kotor, Montenegro
    Montenegro grows cooler and calmer while greenery shifts to golden autumnal hues. Enjoy the serene fall scene along the Bay of Kotor, where sea and mountains meet. Stay within the historic city walls and explore the Old Town Kotor amid the relaxed atmosphere.

    Tour: A Taste of the Balkans


BONUS! South Island of New Zealand (March through May)

As autumn falls during a different time of the year in the southern hemisphere, New Zealand earns a spot on the list for those looking to add even more fall to their lives! New Zealand enjoys long days and warm temperatures through their fall season, and diminishing crowds add to the sense of remoteness. Take a cruise along the Milford Sound and let the scenery take your breath away.

Tour: Exploring New Zealand’s Wonders

Milford Sound, New Zealand

So, as nature hits the reset button, set out for more fall adventures. Seek a change of air –fall is the perfect time to discover someplace new or all over again. Pick your dream destination for autumn, where you may enjoy a quieter atmosphere, pleasant weather, and many shades of nature’s beauty.

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