The end of summer only means the best season for travel is about to arrive.
It’s back-to-school season and we’ve done our homework to come up with the 20 hottest things to do in the fall of 2015.
1. Munich Oktoberfest (Germany)
Much copied but never bettered, the original Munich Oktoberfest runs from September 19 to October 4 and will welcome around 6 million beer chuggers from around the world.
It’s the world’s largest folk festival – you can tell by all the tourists in dirndls and lederhosen.
But there’s far more here than beer and brats.
Oktoberfest, Theresienwiese, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
2. Grizzly viewing in British Columbia, Canada
For most of the year, brown bear (aka grizzly bear) are shy around humans and can be tricky to spot.
In Alaska and British Columbia that changes in autumn months when the majestic masters of the forest food chain descend on rivers and streams to gorge on spawning salmon.
From late August until early October, we know of few better places to see this annual feed – and get virtually guaranteed closeup views of grizzlies – than Bear Camp, where migratory bears join a large resident population in reliable masses.
Located on the Chilko River in central BC, the secluded tented camp built around an authentic 1950s fishing lodge offers rustic luxury along with world-class bear viewing.
ROAM (Bear Camp), Nelson, British Columbia; +1 888 639 1114
3. Shoulder season in the Caribbean
The Caribbean’s sandy daydreamscapes can make other islands look almost dreary.
In fall, they’re less crowded than in winter high season and hotel rates are considerably lower (with an exception around Thanksgiving).
Hurricane season coincides with this slower time in the Caribbean, but statistically, the ABC islands – Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao – have a low probability of getting hit.
The ABC islands – Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao – are close to South America and are on the fringe or outside of what’s considered the hurricane belt.
Aruba has a dry climate and gentle surf. Bonaire is acclaimed for its snorkeling and diving. And Curaçao has a laid-back atmosphere and flavorful cuisine. All were colonized by the Dutch.
4. Leaf-viewing (almost anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere)
No country has a patent on trees filled with russet, scarlet and golden leaves.
Moscow has some unexpectedly fine spots for autumn hues.
Once owned by Catherine the Great, Tsaritsyno Park has superb colors.
Tsaritsyno Park, Dolskaya ul., 1, Moskva, Russia; +7 495 321-63-66
Kolomenskoye, Andropova Ave, 39, Moskva, Russia, 115487; +7 499 782-89-17
6. Spring skiing (Chile)
The tail end of the Southern Hemisphere’s winter brings savings on spring skiing.
At Portillo resort in the Chilean Andes, many September low-season all-inclusive rates dip by $1,000 or more per person per week from regular season rates.
Shorter three- or four-night stays and select weeks when kids ski, stay and eat for free are also available late in the season.
8. Diwali Festival of Light (India)
Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights.
This year the main action falls on November 11, though festivities extend over a five-day period.
In Varanasi, incredible fireworks displays explode over the Ganges.
9. Lake of Stars music festival (Malawi)
Partly inspired by the Glastonbury Festival, Malawi’s Lake of Stars may lack the big names of the UK’s annual music bash, but it also lacks the mud.
In the space of a decade, LoS has gone from a low-key dance party on the shores of Lake Malawi to become one of Africa’s hottest music events.
Running September 25-27, this year’s typically eclectic lineup ranges from South Africa’s club anthem collective Uhuru to erratic Scots lo-fi hip hop group Young Fathers.
Lake of Stars, Sunbird Nkopola Lodge, Mangochi, Malawi
10. Football tailgating (United States)
Where else is it acceptable to hang around a parking lot shirtless at nine in the morning drinking beer and shouting abuse at random strangers the color of whose sweatshirts you don’t happen to approve of?
OK, there’s more to tailgating than raucous revelry and engaging rival fans.
They typically take place on any given Saturday in parking lots outside college football stadiums and on Sundays at pro stadiums.
You don’t even have to attend the actual games to enjoy the spirit.
• September 19: Auburn vs. LSU, Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
• September 20: Seattle vs. Green Bay, Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin
• October 10: Wisconsin vs. Nebraska, Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Nebraska
• October 31: Florida vs. Georgia, EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Florida
– September 29: Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots; New Era Field, Orchard Park, New York
– October 12: Clemson Tigers vs. Florida State Seminoles; Memorial Stadium (“Death Valley”); Clemson, South Carolina
– October 20: Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings; U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
– November 2: USC Trojans vs. Oregon Ducks; LA Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles
– November 10: New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons; Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans