fall bucket list, travel edition!

The fall season is my absolute favorite season. In my part of the world, we say goodbye to the oppressive heat and hello to cooler weather. It really is the best time of year! On tap: caramel apples, pumpkin spice lattes from the local coffee shops, and all manner of pumpkin treats!

Pack away your summer clothes in favor of cozy sweaters and head on over to a local park where fallen leaves crunch beneath your feet and the trees proudly display their fall attire.

fall bucket list, travel edition!
fall bucket list, travel edition! the best things to do in fall around the world!

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ultimate fall bucket list, travel edition!

If you love fall and are looking for the perfect place to add to your fall bucket list then you’ve come to the right place! This fall bucket list includes 19 Fall Bucket list ideas for the best places around the world to add to your autumn bucket list and get in the fall spirit! Start planning your adventure today!

attend Oktoberfest, in Munich Germany

Oktoberfest is a world-famous beer festival that takes place annually in Munich, Germany. It is one of the largest festivals in the world, attracting millions of visitors from around the globe. Oktoberfest, which typically takes place in late September and early October, has been a destination for beer and fest lovers since 1810.

During this festival the fairgrounds in Munich are transformed into a massive beer garden. Festival attendees are treated to live music of the traditional Bavarian style, and copious amounts of Bavarian beer, brewed specifically for Oktoberfest. Gorge yourself on traditional Bavarian food like bratwurst, pretzels, and roasted meats.

Before heading out to the festival, stop in one of the local shops for some traditional clothing, lederhosen for men and dirndls for women.

Oktoberfest, travel fall bucket list
Oktoberfest, of of the top fun things to do in fall!

Hot air balloon

If you’re looking for a unique way to view the changing leaves, you might consider taking a hot air balloon ride.

Here are some of the best places around the world for a hot air balloon ride:

  • Napa Valley, California USA: A hot air balloon ride over the vineyards of Napa Valley is a beautiful and peaceful way to take in the scenery.
  • Tuscany, Italy: The rolling hills of Tuscany are known for their beautiful landscapes and make a wonderful backdrop for a hot air balloon ride.
  • Sedona, Arizona, USA: A hot air balloon ride over the red rock formations of Sedona offers stunning views of this unique landscape.
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA: The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is the largest hot air balloon festival in the world. The festival takes place yearly in October.
  • Loire Valley, France: A hot air balloon ride over the Loire Valley offers stunning views of the region’s chateaux, vineyards, and countryside.
hot air balloon ride, fall travel bucket list
hot air balloon ride, a fun way to see the fall colors!

Attend a drive-in movie

Drive-in movie theaters are a nostalgic way to end the summer. Many drive-in theaters still offer showings into the fall. If you have a pick-up truck this event is even better! Throw an air mattress along with some throw pillows and cozy blankets in the bed for a Pinterest worthy evening under the stars!

To locate a drive-in theater check the Drive-In Movie website.

drive-in movie, fall travel bucket list
drive-in movie, family movie night, only a bit more special! stop by for a few ghost stories and a little Hocus Pocus!

road trip to see the fall foliage

Fall foliage season is the perfect time of year to take a road trip and bear witness to the stunning beauty of the kaleidoscope of color as the leaves change color. For the most impact head for a mountainous area and get up high so you can see the sea of reds, yellows, and oranges that stretch for miles! Plan to take in the crisp air by going on a bike ride or choose one of the beautiful fall hikes in the area.

When: Depending on your location, the height of the fall colors could be anywhere from early fall to late fall. Use this Fall Foliage Prediction Map for the US.

Here are some of best places around the world to see the fall colors:

  • New England, USA: The states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts (Boston fall Foliage Tour), Connecticut, and Rhode Island (take the Autumn in New England Tour!) are known for their stunning fall foliage displays.
  • Great Smoky Mountains, USA: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is another great option.
  • Germany: The best locations in Germany for fall colors include the Black Forest and The Saxon Switzerland region.
  • Tuscany, Italy: The rolling hills of Tuscany are known for their beautiful fall colors, as well as their vineyards, olive groves, and charming hilltop towns.
  • Rocky Mountains, USA: The Rocky Mountains, which run through Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana, offer breathtaking views of fall foliage against the backdrop of snow-capped peaks.
  • Michigan, USA: Michigan’s upper peninsula is known for its beautiful fall colors.
  • Pyrenees Mountains, France and Spain: The Pyrenees Mountains, which run along the border of France and Spain, offer stunning fall foliage views against the backdrop of rugged peaks.
  • Upper New York State, USA: Lake Placid in the Adirondack Mountains is known for its beautiful fall foliage, as well as its outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and boating. (Take a helicopter tour to see the fall colors of the Hudson River Valley! private tours also available here or consider the Niagara Falls Autumn Mist Adventure tour! or a Hudson River Fall Foliage Yacht Tour or a Grand Palisades Fall Foliage Yacht Tour!)
  • Bernese Oberland, Switzerland: This region in the Swiss Alps is known for its beautiful fall colors, as well as its glaciers, mountains, and charming villages.
  • Japan: The Japanese maple trees turn bright red and orange during the fall season.
  • Quebec, Canada: The forests of Quebec turn vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow in fall.
fall road trip, fall travel bucket list
road trip! the best way to see the fall colors

Celebrate Samhain in Ireland and Scotland

Samhain is a traditional Gaelic festival that marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. This ancient festival is still celebrated today in various forms. Samhain is celebrated with bonfires, costumes, and feasting. Popular places to celebrate are the Samhuinn Fire Festival in Edinburgh Scotland and the Púca Festival in County Meath Ireland.

 Samhain, travel fall bucket list
Samhain, the fantastically pagan way to celebrate! (photo: CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikipedia)

Wine Tours

Fall is grape harvest season and the perfect time for a wine tour!

Check Get Your Guide for tour in these popular locations;

  • Napa Valley, California: Napa Valley is one of the most famous wine regions in the world, known for its Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines.
  • Loire Valley, France: The Loire Valley is known for its beautiful castles, lush vineyards, and delicious wines. Try famous Loire Valley whites like Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, as well as reds like Chinon and Bourgueil.
  • Tuscany, Italy: The rolling hills of Tuscany are home to some of the world’s most famous wines, including Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino.
  • Bordeaux, France: Bordeaux is known for its red wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc.
  • Mosel Valley, Germany: The Mosel Valley is known for its white Riesling wines.
  • Alsace Region (the Wine Route): The Alsace region of France is known for its ridiculously cute villages, stunning vineyards, and delicious wines like Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Gris.
wine tour, travel fall bucket list
wine tours provide easy access to local wineries and vineyards

see humpback whales in the wild

Fall is a great time for humpback whale watching. Observe these magnificent creatures, one of the largest whale species, in their natural habitat.

Find tours on Get Your Guide to the best places around the world for fall whale watching tours in the following:

  • Hawaii, USA: The waters around Hawaii are home to humpback whales from November to May, with peak season occurring between January and March.
  • Norway: The waters off Norway are home to humpback whales from May to September, with peak season occurring in July and August. Book a Whale and Orca Watching Tour here.
  • Alaska, USA: Humpback whales can be seen in the waters off Alaska from May to September, with peak season occurring in July and August.
  • Iceland: Humpback whales can be seen in the waters around Iceland from April to October, with peak season occurring in July and August.
  • Massachusetts, USA: The waters off Cape Cod are home to humpback whales from April to October, with peak season occurring in September and October.
Humpback Whale Watching, fall travel bucket list
Humpback Whale Watching

take a Scenic train Ride

A scenic train ride is a fun activity and a great way to take in the fall colors.

Some of the best scenic train rides around the world include: (year-round unless otherwise noted)

  • Switzerland Rails include: The Bernina Express, Switzerland: This panoramic train ride, known for its breathtaking scenery, travels through the Swiss Alps, offering stunning views of snow-capped mountains, glaciers, and pristine alpine lakes. The Glacier Express, Switzerland takes passengers through the Swiss Alps, offering stunning views of mountains, valleys, and glaciers.
  • The Rocky Mountaineer, Canada: This train ride takes passengers through the Canadian Rockies, offering stunning views of mountains, glaciers, and forests. Rocky Mountaineer’s season runs from mid-April to mid-October.
  • The Flam Railway, Norway: This train ride takes passengers through the Norwegian fjords, offering stunning views of waterfalls, mountains, and glaciers.
  • Scotland’s railways: The Royal Scotsman train ride takes passengers through the Scottish Highlands, offering stunning views of mountains, lochs, and castles. The West Highland Line takes passengers through the Scottish Highlands, offering stunning views of mountains, lochs, and coastal landscapes.
scenic train ride, fall travel bucket list
scenic train ride, the easy way see the fall colors while sheltering from the cold weather!

Celebrate Halloween around the world!

Halloween is the favorite holiday of those who enjoy spending a little time on the dark side. On October 31st ghouls, goblins, and all things that go bump in the night come out to play. For those of us who truly love this holiday, the entire month of October is a reason to celebrate!

From spine-tingling experiences to bone-chilling attractions, this list includes 25 Halloween bucket list ideas for the best places around the world to get in the Halloween spirit . From a famous haunted house to entire towns that are famous for their resident ghost, to frightening fall festivals and more, start planning your Halloween travel adventure today!

The ultimate (travel) Halloween Bucket list
The ultimate (travel) Halloween Bucket list

Attend a Football game

In the United States, fall is American football season and if you’ve never attended one of these spirit-filled events you are in for a treat! Attend a football game for a glimpse into this beloved American pastime. At the local high school, it’s Friday night lights in every town in America.

On Saturday, colleges around the country lineup toe to toe to battle it out on the gridiron, and it is thrilling! On Sunday, the professionals take the field…so much fun!

The electric pregame for my home team, the Kansas State Wildcats!

Visit an apple orchard to pick your own apples

Head to a local farm for apple picking. Picking apples is a fun activity and if you’re lucky you’ll have the chance to sample some tasty apple treats like apple pie, apple cider, or apple cider donuts!

Need help finding an orchard? The major apple-growing regions in the United States are Washington, New York, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. In the US see the Pick Your Own website to locate a farm near you.

pick your own apple orchard, Fall travel bucket list
fun fall activities include visiting a pick your own apple orchard,

celebrate Thanksgiving

If you have never experienced a Thanksgiving feast you may want to reconsider! In the US and Canada families gather on this day to celebrate a tradition that was started by the Pilgrims in October 1621.

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and one popular way to show your gratitude is by giving back. You can find volunteer opportunities to serve the less fortunate a Thanksgiving meal at the Feeding America website.

If you can’t travel but would still like to experience an authentic Thanksgiving feast, consider making your own. Must have dishes include turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and bonus points for my personal favorite pecan pie! Other favorite fall recipes include green bean casserole and various cranberry infused dishes, and don’t forget to bake some pumpkin bread!

Thanksgiving, Fall travel bucket list
one of my favorite things about fall, the long time tradition of the Thanksgiving feast

attend a Pumpkin Patch

At the top of the “favorite fall activities” in the US is to Visit a local pumpkin patch or corn maze, a virtual fall festival that’s fun for the entire family! Pumpkin Patches are a whole lot of Halloween Fun rolled into one fantastical fall outing!

The US is flush with pumpkin patches that can be found in small towns around the country. It seems that there’s hardly a town in the United States where you won’t find a Pumpkin Patch in the month of October.

Put on your own Halloween costume and head on out to the pumpkin patch where you can pick the perfect pumpkin and participate in loads of fun Halloween activities.

Enjoy hay rides or get lost in the corn mazes, gorge yourself on caramel apples, kettle corn and pumpkin pie, and try your hand at a fall craft. Cozy up to the bonfire to roast marshmallows and make smores! Look for one in a town near you!

pumpkin patches are a great addition to your Halloween travel bucket list
pumpkin patches, add them to your annual fall bucket list! photo: bring the whole family to a small-town pumpkin patch where you can pick your own pumpkin for your front porch

attend The Day of the Dead, Mexico

The biggest fall festival in Mexico is the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) festival which is celebrated the last few days of October and first few of November. It is believed that the dead could return to the world of the living for a brief time each year and in Mexico that is cause for celebration! Popular places to celebrate the Day of the Dead included Mexico City and Oaxaca. This vibrant celebration includes a variety of events, including colorful parades.

the day of the dead, Halloween travel bucket list
The Day of the Dead

Mid-Autumn Festival, China

“The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival, is a harvest festival celebrated in Chinese culture. It is held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunisolar calendar, usually in September or October on the Gregorian calendar.

Common sight during the festival are colored lanterns, cultural performances like dragon and lion dances, and traditional Chinese music and dance performances.

Mid-Autumn Festival China, travel Fall bucket list
Mid-Autumn Festival China (photo: Shizhao CC BY-SA 2.)

Visit a National Park

During summer national parks are overrun with visitors. Fall is the perfect time to explore the parks when they are a bit less crowded.

These are some of the best national parks with stunning fall colors:

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park, USA: Located in Tennessee and North Carolina, this park is known for its vibrant fall foliage, with a variety of trees including maples, oaks, and hickories turning shades of red, orange, and yellow.
  • Acadia National Park, Maine, USA: is known for its beautiful autumn colors, with the leaves of the park’s maple, birch, and beech trees turning brilliant shades of red, orange, and gold.
  • Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado USA: is known for its stunning fall colors, with the leaves of the park’s aspen trees turning a bright shade of yellow, contrasting beautifully against the park’s rugged mountains.
  • Banff National Park, Canada: Located in the Canadian Rockies, this park is known for its beautiful autumn colors, with the park’s aspen and larch trees turning shades of gold and yellow.
  • Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia: is known for its stunning waterfalls and lakes, but in the fall, the park’s beech and maple trees turn shades of red, orange, and yellow, creating a beautiful contrast against the park’s blue-green lakes.

go mushroom picking

Mushroom picking, typically a fall activity when mushrooms are in season, is a popular tradition in many parts of Europe.

In addition to being a popular activity for locals, mushroom hunting is also a popular tourist activity. However, mushroom picking is often a highly regulated activity, with specific rules and regulations so be sure to contact a local guide before setting out on your own.

Langhe Italy Truffle Hunting Experience

mushroom hunting, fall travel bucket list
mushroom hunting

Kiku Matsuri, also known as the Chrysanthemum Festival, is a traditional Japanese festival that celebrates fall’s favorite flower, the chrysanthemum!

The festivals feature elaborate displays of chrysanthemums and take place in various locations throughout Japan, but the most famous celebration is held at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo. The festival typically takes place in November, when the chrysanthemums are in full bloom.

Mum festival Japan, Fall travel bucket list
Mum festival Japan

Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night in the UK

Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Bonfire Night, is an annual event that takes place in the United Kingdom on November 5th. The event commemorates the failure of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, in which a group of English Catholics attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament.

On this night, people gather around the bonfires to watch fireworks and enjoy food and drink. Try some of the traditional festival foods such as toffee apples, parkin (a type of gingerbread), and bangers and mash (sausages and mashed potatoes.)

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best Fall attractions in the United States?

  • Hot air balloon rides in places like Napa Valley California, Sedona Arizona, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • drive-in movie theaters
  • road trip to see fall colors in places like: New England, the Great Smoky Mountains, the Rocky Mountains, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Upper New York State
  • Napa Valley California wine tours
  • Humpback Whale watching in places like: Hawaii, Alaska, and Massachusetts
  • attend a football game (college, high school, professional)
  • pick your own apple orchards
  • pumpkin patches -Anytown, USA
  • National Parks in the US with fall colors and fewer crowds

What are the best Fall attractions in Europe?

  • Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany
  • Hot air balloon rides in places like Tuscany, Italy and Loire Valley, France
  • fall road trips to see the fall colors in places like the Black Forest and The Saxon Switzerland region of Germany, Tuscany, Italy, The Pyrenees Mountains of France and Spain and The Swiss Alps
  • Samhain celebrations in Ireland and Scotland
  • Wine tours in places like the Loire Valley of France, Tuscany Italy, Bordeaux France, Mosel Valley Germany, an the Alsace Region of France
  • Humpback Whale watching in places like Norway and Iceland
  • Scenic train rides such as The Bernina Express and The Glacier Express in Switzerland, The Flam Railway, Norway and Scotland’s railways: The Royal Scotsman and The West Highland Line
  • Go on a mushroom picking tour
  • attend a Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night in the UK

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