The best early Autumn destinations for families in 2023

Summer is gone, kids are back to school and the weather is getting slightly colder. It’s time to discover the best Autumn destinations for families and choose yours, right?

Because, lets face it, Autumn has finally arrived. And it brought all the amazing colours and all sorts of cosy moments.

For some of us, this period between end of September and October, is time to fully embrace the new season and plunge in the golden and red leaves. Time to prepare Halloween, and even start dreaming about Christmas.

For others its harder to left summer behind. All we want is to extend those sunny days, laying on the beach, listening to the sea.

Whatever your mood is in this season we’ve got you covered. We have plenty of suggestions for your early Autumn family travels.

Not planning to travel so soon after summer holydays but you’re looking for some ideas for later this year? Our suggestions to November and December are on the way! Stay tooned!

But if you are ready to hit the road again, let’s discover the best Autumn destinations for families, shall we?

1. Admire all those Autumn colours.

It’s undeniable that Autumn is a breath-taking season. It captivates the senses with its warm and vibrant display of colours.

During this enchanting time of year, nature undergoes a magnificent transformation as the leaves on trees change from their lush green hues to a kaleidoscope of warm and fiery tones.

The landscape is painted with shades of rich reds, bright oranges, and golden yellows, creating a colourful tapestry that seems to glow in the soft, slanting sunlight.

It is time for kids to run free among the trees, collecting leaves and adventures.

Our kids loved Autumn here. I think yours would love it too! 

Quebec

In Quebec, the Indian summer, known locally as “l’été indien,” is a cherished and worldwide known phenomenon.

This gift from nature completely changes the province with a brief but enchanting extension of warm, sunny days in the midst of autumn.

During this period, typically in late September and early October, the landscape undergoes a breath-taking transformation. The foliage erupts into a vibrant tapestry of reds, oranges, and yellows.

Locals take full advantage of this season, enjoying outdoor activities, hiking through the colourful forests, and indulging in seasonal delights like apple picking and maple syrup tasting.

The Indian summer in Quebec is simply magical and though temperatures are slightly lower than in Europe, we totally advise you to experience Indian Summer with your kids at least once as it really is one of the best Autumn destinations for families.

Where to stay in Québec
♠ Pro – Tip:
  • Though the Indian Summer can also be appreciated in the main cities, the true show is put on the mountains. I definitely encourage you to rent a car and do a road trip from Montreal to Quebec City adding these three mandatory stops:  
    • 1. Tremblant National Park,
    • 2. Mauricie,
    • 3. Charlevoix
  • On the way back to Montreal just follow the riverbanks, by the Chemin Du Roi. Its beautiful!

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New York State

When we talk about New York, most of us think straight about the Big Apple. But the truth is that New York State has a lot to offer outside the city and it’s richer in amazing landscapes than we can imagine.

Going north from NY City, following along the Hudson River, the countryside quickly shows its true colours and all the splendour of the Indian Summer.

Storm King Art Center is a mandatory stop. This amazing all year-round open-air museum is at its finest in Autumn and gets even more magical during this season.

And you surely don’t want to miss the experience of crossing the Hudson Bridge!

Where to stay in New York State
♠ Pro – Tip:
  • If you are really chasing the Indian Summer, road trip to the Adirondack Mountains and don’t miss Mirrow Lake.
  • On your way back to NY city take a tour on Vermont’s side. You won’t regret it!

Munich and surrounding areas

Did you know that Munich is one of the European cities with most green space?

Countless gardens, parks, squares, backyards, make this city a tapestry of endless hues of green. Now imagine it in the Fall!

Munich gets golden, red, yellow, light brown and all the warm colours in between, in a natural show worth to be enjoyed all through the city.

English Garden is definitely our favourite park but if you have the time consider visiting the West Park, Flaucher and Maximilian Park too.

And of course, you should try to be in Munich for Oktoberfest! Learn more here.

Where to stay in Munich
♠ Pro – Tip:
  • Rent a car and do a daytrip to Neuschwanstein Castle. As the castle is situated in a high hill covered with the most amazing trees, it is fair to say that Autumn is the most spectacular time to visit. You’ll be presented with the most beautiful natural scenery.  
  • But don’t leave Munich without trying Baumkuchen (the most delicate tort you’ll ever have) at Konditorei Café Kreutzkamm.

Paris

Though “Paris is all a good idea” Autumn is maybe the best time to visit this amazing city.

When summer tourists leave, Parisians return to their day-to-day life and reinvest the city streets, the theatres and museum, coffee shops and restaurants. Paris is Paris once again. I know not all of you love Paris, but I honestly do!      

The rentrée – re-entry – is the perfect time to attend to new exhibitions as this is often the start of a new cultural season and the beginning of the annual Paris Autumn Festival. Over 40 different venues will receive you for a myriad of theatre, dance, music, film and visual art events and performances.

With about 20 gardens and parks, Paris is a wonderful place to enjoy the early Autumns days and the warm, deep colours as the season goes by.

You should definitely visit Jardin du Luxembourg, Parc Monceau, Jardin des Tuileries, Cimetière du Père Lachaise and the Promenade Plantée.

In October you don’t want to miss the Fête des Vendanges. A quintessential celebration of the grape harvest in Montmartre’s only remaining vineyard. The perfect opportunity to visit the Clos Montmartre Vineyard.  

Where to stay in Paris
♠ Pro – Tip:
  • The weather can be rather tricky at this time of the year.
  • Don’t forget your umbrella and dress up in the “onion style”. It consists in dressing with many different layers of cloths as possible that you can take off or put on, better adapting to the different temperatures you’ll get along the day!

2. Explore some of the smallest European countries.

Europe is home for some of the tiniest nations in the world. All of them have a great deal of History and a lot to offer.

But for their location, nestle in the mountains and surrounded by nature, these four amazingly small countries are between our Autumn favourite destinations.

Despite their small size, each of these countries offers a unique and captivating experience as their landscapes transform into a symphony of warm and vibrant colours.

From Liechtenstein’s alpine landscapes, Luxembourg’s historic streets, San Marino’s medieval charm, and Andorra’s Pyrenean beauty, you’ll find hard not to fall in love with these countries.

And the best of all? Their size makes them perfect to explore an entire country with young kids! Isn’t it amazing?  

Liechtenstein

Nestled between Switzerland and Austria, in the very heart of Europe, Liechtenstein displays a beautiful set of landscapes.

Rich in mountains and rolling hills, this tiny principality transforms into a picturesque wonderland during the fall season where hikers and nature enthusiasts can explore the charming trails that wind through the colorful forests, and visitors can savor the seasonal delicacies in cozy mountain chalets.

Liechtenstein, especially the capital, Vaduz, is also know by its vineyards and wine culture. One more reason to visit in September and October, the perfect time of the year to visit the wineries and learn more about this tradition.

Where to stay in Liechtenstein
♠ Pro – Tip:
  • Liechtenstein is a quite expensive country. To cut off some expenses consider staying in a hotel in the Austrian side of the border.
  • Not it will save you some money, but it will be the perfect excuse to give your kids the funny experience of walking freely through the border between two countries, in the middle of the countryside!

Andorra

Situated between France and Spain in the heart of the Pyrenees Mountains, Andorra is well known for its Ski Domains during the winter and great choice of outdoor activities during the summer.

But when the summer tourists leave the mountains and before the arrival of the first snowflakes, Autumn offers a golden opportunity to calmly enjoy this tiny principality.

Small as it may be, Andorra is rich in trails and mesmerising landscapes. You’ll be amazed by the beauty of this country.

Most trails are open and in perfect safe conditions from June to October. If you have small kids like ours I definitely recommend the Ruta Del Ferro but make sure you explore the Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley. This UNESCO World Heritage site is characterised by stunning landscape of mountains, forests, and lakes.

Where to stay in Andorra
♠ Pro – Tip:
  • Andorra is a small country with a lot to do and see. Though you can easily access it from Spain or France by car (Andorra doesn’t have its own airport), it would be a shame if you consider doing only a day trip.
  • Take your time to know this beautiful country. I highly recommend staying at least 4 nights, but one week would be perfect if you want to hike and enjoy quality time outdoors.
  • Rent a car to explore. Andorra does have a good transportation system, but it can be limited in terms of available routes. A car will give you undoubtedly more freedom.
  • That being said rent a car at your arrival to Spain or France as it will be certainly less expensive.   

San Marino

Perched on the slopes of Mount Titano, San Marino, is one of the world’s smallest republics and it was in our dream list for a long time.

This year we’ve got the change to explore this tiny country and the first thought running through my head was: it may be amazing when Autumn comes. And I was not wrong!

Surrounded by trees, this medieval destination comes alive in the fall as its historic stone buildings and cobblestone streets are framed by the warm, golden tones of the season.

Take a stroll to the Second Tower. The views are breath-taking.

Where to stay in San Marino
♠ Pro – Tip:
  • San Marino may be the perfect day trip from Florence or Bologna, but I definitely advise you to stay a night inside the wall.
  • Thought it is a quiet destination, when the evening comes, and the day trippers go away San Marino gets even quieter and gains a special magic. You can hear your own steps on the stones, cross paths with true locals, and calmly enjoy your meal.
  • Also, even if you arrive by car, park at the base of the mountain and take the cable car to go up. It will take you above the trees of Mount Titano and you’ll enjoy an amazing view.

Luxembourg

This small country is full of natural beauty and big surprises.

Despite its small territory of about 2.6 Km², Luxembourg is the European country with the highest rate of protected natural areas and its capital is 8th greenest city of the world with near 40% of green spaces.

I let you only imagine the wonderful show of warm colours that all these trees can display once Autumn arrives.  

And cherry on top, Luxembourg is home to the more extensive and well-maintained network of trails in all Europe. A real heaven to hikers and outdoors lovers of any age.

But even if you don’t have the time to enjoy the forests and the countryside rolling hills, Luxembourg City offers the perfect viewpoints to enjoy the Autumn colours.

Locals often prefer Petrusse Park making a stop at the Place de la Constitution to admire Autumn’s bright colours. We especially like to take the Pfaffenthal lift to enjoy the views of the Parc Trois Glands or take a stroll by the River Alzette to Clausen.  

Where to stay in Luxembourg
♠ Pro – Tip:
  • Flying from Luxembourg is a very effective travel hack as some flights tend to be less expensive than from other nearby airports (Paris included). So, if you are located at a convenient distance from Luxembourg by car you should definitely check air fares from here.  We often use Luxembourg Airport as base point to fly to Lisbon or to the United States.
  • When in Luxembourg it is mandatory to try one of the amazing Hot Chocolates of the Chocolate House. They may seam a little expensive but they’re worth every cent. So yummy.

3. Enjoy the sun in the Mediterranean Islands

Visiting the Mediterranean islands in early Autumn offers a more tranquil, authentic, and immersive experience, allowing us to appreciate the natural beauty, cultural heritage, and unique charm that these destinations have to offer outside of the bustling summer season.

The Mediterranean waters are still warm and calm. The sun is still out in the deep blue sky.

In most of the islands, you’ll notice that hotels, restaurants, and shops are full operational till mid – October and ferries are running smoothly.

Everything is just like in summertime but with half of the tourists and more pleasant temperatures. Perfect, right?

A simple way to let kids soak in the sea some extra time and extend those summery days.  

Ibiza and Formentera

In Ibiza, as Autumn arrives, the party atmosphere yields to a calm, golden aura, as a lot of night clubs have their closing party at the end of September.

The last time we visited the Balearic Islands it was mid-October. We already knew Ibiza on its “party mood” and we were positively surprised by how it changes when it finally calms down. You can check the closing schedule here.

The Weather was just perfect. Sunny days at the beach, warm but comfortable temperatures that allowed us to explore the villages, sunsets in almost empty beaches. We really had the best time and got to know Ibiza and Formentera in all their glory.

Where to stay in Ibiza
♠ Pro – Tip:
  • Starting the 1st  October (until the 31th May) there is no limited number of cars in Formentera. This simplifies a lot your organization in terms of car rental and getting around in Formentera. You can learn more about this topic here.

Cyclades – Greek Islands

For many years the Cyclades were our top off season beach destination and for me May, September and October still are the best months to enjoy these beautiful islands.

Prices are lower, streets are (almost) empty from tourists, locals are busy with their daily life, and we can really get to know these worldwide acclaimed destinations, free of all the hustle of summertime.

You’ll be gifted with sunny days at the beach but certainly with much more enjoyable temperatures and less people around so the kids can play freely and carelessly.

Where to stay in the Cyclades
♠ Pro – Tip:
  • The risk of traveling off season is that some tourism operators aren’t available (transfers, boat tours, etc). Rent a car before your departure to make sure everything runs smoothly, and you can easily get around the islands.

4. Still craving for hot, sunny days at the beach?

When the air becomes crisp and the sky gets grey, all our senses ask for some warmth and blue skies, right?

If you’re like us, you are already craving the beach days you left behind. Give us sandy feet and salty hair and we are happy. I see you.

Autumn is not only the end of European summer. It is also wet season in a good part of Asia and hurricane season in most of the Caribbean, making it difficult to choose good and safe places to go back to the beach.

By an extended personal experience, when we are looking for a beach destination in early Autumn our choice always ends up in one of these two destinations. Why? Because in our multiple visits in October we never ever had unpleasant episodes in these countries.  

Dubai

After the melting temperatures felt in summertime, October marks the arrival of a less harsh weather making of Dubai a popular destination for sun seekers.

Officially the high season only starts in November when temperatures may go under 30°C. October is considered shoulder season and you can still expect lower prices and less people.

The calm waters of the Persian Gulf are at their warmest, perfect for young kids to play at the beach and for families to enjoy sunset at the sea (a must do experience for sure).

October also marks the opening of a lot if seasonal attractions like the Miracle Garden and the returning of the migratory birds to the wetlands of the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Reserve.

Where to stay in Dubai
♠ Pro – Tip:
  • Take some time to visit other Emirates like Abu Dhabi or Sharjah. It’s very simple to drive around UAE so rent a car and explore the surrounding Emirates as each one of them has its perks and character.
  • Having a car is also perfect to visit the desert on your own, without the hustle and buzzle of the guided visits.  But even if you choose to go with a tour operator don’t skip this experience as October is the most perfect time to spend an evening in the desert.

Bali

Victim of its success, Bali receives tons of tourists every year. A lot of travellers are even starting to avoid the Island of Gods due to the mass tourism. That breaks my heart.

Bali is second home to us. And it has so much more to offer than the trendy restaurants in Canggu or the touristy dance shows of Ubud Palace!

If you really want to know the Bali we fell in love to I honestly recommend you visiting during low or shoulder season, October being one of our favourite times of the year.

Just the beginning of rainy season, in October prices are lower (sometimes 40% lower!) and beaches are empty. But we still get many sunny days in a row and when we get tropical rains, they are heavy but brief. They seldom last for the day.  

Where to stay in Bali
♠ Pro – Tip:
  • Even in shoulder season, consider going East, to Sideman or Amed, or heading North, to Gretek or Lovina. These regions are a lot less touristy and will offer you a more raw and authentic experience.

Have you chosen the best Autumn destination for your family yet?

I hope you find some inspiration for your Autumn Trips in this article.

Remember that sometimes the best deals are found in last minute so if you don’t have any plans for this Fall it is still time to buy some airplane tickets or plan a road trip with your car. We don’t have anything booked yet!   

There are obviously other cool Autumn destinations. However in this blog, I only suggest places we have visited ourselves, as a family. I want to be pretty sure about what I’m talking so I can give you the best information possible.   

All these suggestions are based on our own experience visiting these countries. If you have any questions or need some specific information, please send us a message, leave a comment, or check our Instagram.   

Safe Autumn travels!

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