Here are the most romantic fall honeymoon destinations for September, October and November.
In the Northeast, autumn trees turn into shimmering reds and golds, making leaf-peeping season (mid-September to October) one of the biggest draws. Start your day with some fresh-pressed apple cider before a sightseeing trip to one of the quaint towns like Bennington, located in the state’s southwest corner and filled with museums, galleries and one-of-a-kind shops. Stop at one of the farm stands for fresh produce and the world’s best maple syrup, and then get out and hike through the Green Mountains. Or take it up a notch with a gondola ride to the summit of Killington Peak, followed by dinner on the observation deck.
Caribbean-bound couples love the 80-degree temps on this trio of isles located near Venezuela. Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao are all storm-free and relatively arid, with a prime spot just below the hurricane belt. Easy-to-navigate Aruba, the most visited of the three, has hip nightlife, windsurfing and beaches dotted with divi-divi trees. Laid-back Bonaire is surrounded by an accessible marine park, making it a top pick for divers. And Curaçao’s_bocas_, private beach coves along the coastline, are a honeymooner favorite.
Napa Valley, California
For this fertile region, the end of summer marks the beginning of harvest. Wineries celebrate with events from barrel tastings and grape stomping to opportunities to pick your own grapes. Northern California is the epicenter of the Slow Food movement; hit the weekly farmers markets in downtown Napa for fall fruits like pomegranates, persimmons and pineapple guavas. The region is also home to some of the country’s most renowned restaurants, like Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry in Yountville. Spoil yourself in one of the area’s spas, or take in the picture-perfect views with a hot-air-balloon ride over the vineyards.
The four-day trek on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a definite life-list adventure, but a visit during the wet season (December to March) could leave you mud-caked or foil the hike altogether. For accessible trails and clear views, go in the fall. If you don’t want to hoof it, take the train from Cuzco into the foothills of the Andes Mountains, with views of the Urubamba River valley. Regardless of how you get here, dress warm; highland temps can vary throughout the climb. While exploring Machu Picchu, check out Funerary Rock Hut, frequented by llamas and alpacas. Also, don’t miss the historic town of Cuzco and the famed Pisac Market in the Sacred Valley.
British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver is a well-known winter destination, but autumn is equally inviting, with temps averaging in the 50s and 60s. But storm-watching season is the big draw on Vancouver Island. Spots like the Pacific Rim National Park and fishing villages like Tofino get hit with up to 15 booming rainstorms along their west-coast shores, mostly from late October to March. Snuggle up in one of the oceanfront B&Bs decked out with a fireplace and a big bed, and watch it all unfold. Later, walk on the beach to look for washed-up treasures like driftwood and shells.
On a clear night, put on a parka and lie in a field as the sky puts on a light show. And while you can see the aurora borealis from Anchorage, Denali and the Mat-Su Valley, Fairbanks’ northernmost spot offers the best chance of seeing it — the visitors bureau claims a sighting is 90 percent guaranteed with a three-night stay. As early as September, increasing darkness and moderate temperatures (in the 40s and 50s) make for favorable aurora-viewing conditions, with many hotels and lodges offering northern-lights packages. September also marks the Running of the Boots, southeast Alaska’s version of Spain’s Running of the Bulls.