Chateau with vineyards in Burgundy, France. (Shutterstock/File)
For young, commitment-less travelers, childless couples and empty nesters, National Geographic Travel has rounded up a list of the best fall destinations for 2017, when summer cedes to winter in a stunningly dramatic transformation of colors.
While younger families may be tethered to school calendars in the fall, that doesn’t mean that the travel world stops spinning. Here’s a selection of travel ideas this autumn, whether it be for a weeklong getaway or a weekend escapade for the whole family:
Celebrate the Day of the Dead in Oaxaca, Mexico
Despite its macabre moniker, Day of the Dead is a colorful and festive holiday that honors the memory of fallen friends, family members and ancestors, and sends well wishes to the dead on their spiritual journey.
The tradition is inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The city of Oaxaca offers one of the biggest and liveliest editions in Mexico, with processions, marching bands, fireworks and lots of Mezcal. The Day of the Dead takes place October 31 to November 2.
Grape harvest in wine country, France
Wine lovers and Francophiles will want to consider delaying that long overdue holiday to France for mid-September, when the crowds have thinned, the temperatures have cooled slightly, and the grape harvest begins in Burgundy. If you’re more about drinking the grapes and not picking it, Paris throws its annual Fete des Vendanges harvest festival in October, when the Montmartre area transforms into a street festival lined with winemakers from across the country and food stalls that sell everything from fresh oysters to sizzling sausages and homemade nougat.
Olive harvest, Greece
It’s not just wine that can be described as liquid gold or divine nectar. If you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty for the chance to sample freshly pressed olive oil and snack on plump, rich olives, consider an olive harvesting trip in Crete or Kalamata (yes, that Kalamata). Visitors can help out with the harvest for a one-day or one-week part of their Hellenic holiday.
National parks, United States and Canada
For the best display of nature’s mood-shifting ways, bookmark a weekend away to a local national park, where the trees are singing their last swan song in hues of burnt orange, red and yellow. All national parks in Canada are free until the remainder of the year, to mark the country’s 150th birthday, while the crowds have thinned at major national parks in the U.S. following the summer rush.