Top 10 Places to Visit in September to Get the Most Out of Shoulder Season

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Nighttime view of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, a great place to visit in September
The Golden Gate Bridge is beautiful in any light. Photo credit: Pixabay

September may just be the top month to travel. Warm weather lingers, but the summer crowds are dying down. Airfare and hotel rates drop dramatically after Labor Day, but everything is open and there is still so much fun to be had and beautiful natural settings to see. Wondering where to go in September? From North America to Europe, here are ten best places to visit in September for an ideal getaway.

A south rim view of the Grand Canyon, a great destination in September
A view of the Grand Canyon from the South Rim. Photo credit: Gwen Kleist.

1. Grand Canyon, Arizona

Located in northern Arizona, Grand Canyon National Park can get incredibly hot during the summer months and freezing cold in the winter, which is why September is one of the best times to visit! You’ll also find lighter crowds this time of year, as the kids are back in school and summer vacation season is over. For this reason and its beauty, this one of the best places to visit in September.

The Grand Canyon is arguably one of the most beautiful places in the USA, and is in fact considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The park’s South Rim, which can get packed in summer, is not nearly as crowded but will still provide you with the classic National Park experience including ranger talks, free hop-on-hop-off shuttles, hiking trails and concessions.

The North Rim, which is closed for part of the year due to safety concerns from the snow, is also still open in September so you can enjoy outdoor adventures on that side of the park! So it’s also one of the best places to visit in September.

You can experience the Grand Canyon via hiking, biking, helicopter, jeep tour or just peering over rail at various look-out sights.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Check out this list of the best hotels near the Grand Canyon for families.

Fun Things to Do at Grand Canyon National Park in September

  • Visit the Grand Canyon Visitors Center
  • Take a boat ride on the Colorado River
  • Ride the Grand Canyon Railway
  • Challenge yourself on one of many hiking trails
  • Walk out on The Skyway
  • Go camping
  • Take a helicopter tour over the Grand Canyon
Vancouver Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge, a fun place to visit in September
The Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge in Vancouver. Photo credit: Destination Vancouver

2. Vancouver, Canada

The city of Vancouver is a thriving metropolis, but what makes it a great place to visit in September is the natural beauty all around it. Vancouver is surrounded by mountains and sea in the Pacific Northwest, and there is an abundance of great outdoor activities to experience. It is truly one of the most beautiful places in North America!

The weather in Vancouver during the month of September is mild with temperatures in the 60s, making it ideal for enjoying outdoor activities before the winter weather begins to set in.

Fun Things to Do in Vancouver in September

  • Hike along the waterfront at Stanley Park
  • Ride the gondola up Grouse Mountain for zip lining, hiking and mountain biking
  • Walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge
  • Visit the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre
  • Take a Vancouver Foodie Tour
  • Stroll through the VanDusen Botanical Garden
  • Take a whale watching tour
  • Shop the public market on Granville Island

Read More: Best Alaska Cruises for Families

Boston Tea Party Ships
For a shot of American history, climb aboard the Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum. Photo credit: Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum

3. Boston, Massachusetts

As one of the oldest cities in the USA, Boston is steeped in American history. It is a wonderful destination to visit if you love learning while you travel, but it is also a modern city with lots of fun things to do.

September is a great time of year for a Boston getaway. The weather is still warm as the shoulder season sets in, but not yet crispy cold as it will grow later in the fall. Toward the end of the month, you may even get to see some of New England’s beautiful fall foliage!

Stroll along the Charles River or walk Boston’s famous Freedom Trail in the pleasant weather. Whale watching season runs from April to October, so you can take a cruise out of Boston Harbor and enjoy the weather on the water, as well.

Visit Boston’s North End for pizza or gelato. Rooted in its Italian heritage, the North End is the city’s oldest neighborhood and it is packed with pubs, cafes, bakeries, shops and more.

Things To Do in Boston in September

  • Walk the Freedom Trail
  • Climb aboard the Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum
  • Visit the Boston Public Garden, the first public botanical garden in the USA
  • Catch a Red Sox game or special event at Fenway Park
  • Visit the New England Aquarium
  • Check out Faneuil Hall
  • Stroll through the grounds at Harvard University
  • Grab a bite at one of Boston’s food halls
  • Visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Orange and white striped umbrellas at the Arienzo Beach Club in Positano, a super spot to vacation in September
Spend a day at the Arienzo Beach Club in Positano, Italy. Photo credit: Gwen Kleist

4. Amalfi Coast, Italy

Summer is the most popular time of year to visit Italy. But if you are hoping to avoid the crowds that descend on Europe in the summer while still enjoying fantastic weather, come a bit later.

The Amalfi Coast in Italy is an amazing region to visit when the weather is warm. Some popular activities this time of year include boating, swimming and enjoying the beaches. It’s also one of the best places to visit in September.

Stroll through the area’s many museums, historical sites, scenic vistas and beautiful villages. Spend a day relaxing at one of the many beach clubs in Positano and along the Amalfi Coast. Go shopping or island hopping via the Amalfi Coast’s great ferry system.

Italy is a foodie’s dream destination! Everywhere you go you’ll find wonderful restaurants and cafes, many sporting gorgeous views.

Fun Things to on the Amalfi Coast in September

  • Spend the day at a beach club
  • Take a photo tour along the stunning Amalfi Coast
  • Eat pizza, pasta and other Italian food
  • Take a cooking class
  • See the nearby ruins of Pompeii
  • Take a ferry to the Island of Capri
  • Go snorkeling off the coast
Las Vegas welcome sign
Welcome to Las Vegas! Photo credit: Shutterstock

5. Las Vegas

Though it is known as a mecca for gambling, Las Vegas is actually packed with many fun things to do outside of the casinos. From its nightlife, restaurants, galleries and entertainment venues to the natural beauty of nearby Red Rock Canyon, you’ll find no shortage of things to do!

Las Vegas in September is lovely. While the summer months can be unbearably hot, temperatures in the fall are starting to come down, making it an ideal time to walk outside and see the sights or spend time at the pool. So it’s also one of the best places to visit in September.

There are many hotels in Las Vegas. We love to stay on the Strip at the Bellagio, as it has an amazing pool and great views of its famous fountains from the room. Off the strip, Red Rock Casino & Resort is a beautiful resort located near the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

Fun Things to Do in Las Vegas in September

  • See a show
  • Hike or climb at Red Rock Canyon
  • Visit the Mob Museum in Downtown Las Vegas
  • Soak in the nearby hot springs
  • Take a gondola ride at the Venetian
  • Sample Italian food at Eataly Las Vegas
  • Smell the flowers at the Bellagio Conservatory
  • Take a spin on the High Roller Observation Wheel
Walt Disney World
Walt Disney statue at the Magic Kingdom. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

6. Walt Disney World

While it used to be the start of Walt Disney World’s “slow season,” September is now one of the most popular times to visit. The summer heat is fading, and there are fewer crowds thanks to school being in session. But the biggest draw to visiting Walt Disney World in September is the start of Halloween Time!

In addition to the fantastic Halloween décor, food and ride overlays, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party – a separate-ticket event with food, parades and trick-or-treating – happens on select nights at the Magic Kingdom,

Over at Epcot, the International Food & Wine Festival is also in full swing! Meander around the globe at World Showcase, sampling traditional drinks and bites from each country.

Best of all, the weather in central Florida is cooling off, and the summer crowds are gone in September (with the exception of Labor Day weekend). It’s also one of the best places to visit in September.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Check out these awesome ways to save money at Walt Disney World

Fun Things to Do at Walt Disney World in September

  • Sample foods at Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival
  • Visit the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom theme parks
  • Shop and dine at Disney Springs
  • Zip down a waterslide at a Disney waterpark
  • Watch the parades, fireworks and nighttime spectaculars inside the parks
  • Enjoy a resort day at one of the amazing Walt Disney World on-property hotels
  • Walk around Disney’s Boardwalk
  • Visit nearby Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex at Cape Canaveral
  • Enjoy a beach day at Cocoa Beach
Take a ride on San Francisco’s famous cable cars. Photo credit: Gwen Kleist.

 7. San Francisco, California

September is a wonderful time of year to visit San Francisco. The weather is ideal for walking around the city by the Bay, with temperatures in the 70s and not too much rain or fog.

Head to San Francisco for iconic city experiences like riding a cable car and biking across the Golden Gate Bridge. Alcatraz Island—the infamous prison once housed Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly and the Birdman of Alcatraz—is a must-do excursion when visiting San Francisco. You can also ride the cable cars, browse through shops and art galleries, sample foods at the Ferry Building, shop in Union Square and walk around Fisherman’s Wharf.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Click here for fun things to do in San Francisco with teens.

Fun Things to Do in San Francisco in September

  • Ride a cable car
  • Take a harbor cruise
  • Visit Angel Island State Park
  • Tour the old prison on Alcatraz Island
  • Dine, shop and enjoy live music at Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39
  • Take a day trip to one of the many wineries and small towns in nearby Napa Valley
  • Walk or bike across the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Visit the Walt Disney Family Museum
  • Take a walking tour of Chinatown
Iceland waterfall
A waterfall in Iceland. Photo credit: Yvonne Yasinski

8. Reykjavik, Iceland

September is a great time to visit Reykjavík, Iceland. Autumn starts in late August and stays until late October, and there are over fourteen hours of daylight each day in September. Summer crowds are gone, as is the warm summer weather. But while the air is crisp it is not yet freezing, and there are still opportunities to see the elusive Northern Lights – a bucket list item for many!

Although a small city, Reykjavik is home to numerous tourist attractions, cultural landmarks, museums, and a thriving foodie scene.

Fun Things to Do in Reykjavik in September

  • Swim in the Reykjavík Thermal Pools
  • Visit the National Gallery of Iceland and National Museum of Iceland
  • Take the ferry to Viðey Island
  • Take a Northern Lights tour
  • Take a sightseeing tour of the city
  • Go hiking in the mountains of Reykjavík
  • Shop along Laugavegur, one of the oldest shopping streets in Reykjavik
Kaanapali Beach Maui
Families enjoy swimming along the beach at Kaanapali on Maui. Photo credit: Deb Steenhagen

9. Maui, Hawaii

Maui is one of the best places to travel to in September. The weather is warm, the white sand beaches still beautiful, but there are fewer crowds now that the busy summer season has passed. September is also in Hawaii’s dry season, which typically runs from April through October, so there is little chance rain will dampen your visit.

Maui is packed with some of the best beaches in the world and many outdoor adventures waiting to be experienced. You can go snorkeling, ocean kayaking, or hike to the top of a mountain to enjoy a gorgeous sunrise and see waterfalls along the way.

Fun Things to Do on Maui in September

  • Drive the Road to Hana
  • Take a snorkeling excursion
  • Rent paddle boards or other water sports
  • Go to a luau
  • Visit the Maui Ocean Center
  • Hike to see a volcano crater at Haleakala National Park
  • Go to the beach
  • Take a scenic helicopter tour
Jackson Hole Rodeo
Catch the Jackson Hole Rodeo if you are visiting in September. Photo credit: Jackson Hole Rodeo

10. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jackson Hole is a major stop for those on a road trip through the west during the springtime and summer, but by early fall the crowds die down and migrating wildlife become the biggest travelers. If you visit Jackson Hole in September, you’ll get to experience this natural wonder. For this, it’s one of the best places to visit in September.

However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to do this time of year in Jackson Hole! The weather is still mild and clear, making September the perfect time to go hiking, river rafting or try your hand at fly fishing. Yellowstone National Park is also just an hour’s drive away.

The Jackson Hole Rodeo runs through Labor Day Weekend, so if you visit in early September don’t miss this fun experience!

Fun Things to Do in Jackson Hole in September

  • Go mountain biking at Grand Targhee Bike Park
  • Take a guided fly fishing trip
  • Visit the National Museum of Wildlife Art
  • Hike the many trails in Jackson Hole
  • Take a rafting expedition on the Snake River
  • Take a wildlife tour with Grizzly Country Wildlife Adventures
  • Shop and dine in around Jackson Hole’s Town Square