End of summer got you down? We feel ya. Packing away swimsuits and flip-flops is never fun, but we have just the thing to boost the mood — a September getaway. From sprawling fields full of ready-to-pick wine grapes to tents filled with epic beer drinking festivities, the below five destinations prove that this month is truly a step above the rest. Keep scrolling to see the best places to travel to end the summer on the right note.
1. Napa Valley, California
If you’re a sommelier — or just really love your vino — head to one of the country’s most prestigious wine growing regions. September marks the start of harvest season, which means the city is teeming with things to do. (And it certainly doesn’t hurt that the weather is divine for this time of year too.) Most wineries offer their own food, music, and wine pairing parties to mark the occasion. If hopping from one to the next feels like more of your scene, ride along in a throwback VW bus for a formal tour of the area. Then, when you’re ready to wine down (sorry, we had to!), a deep tissue massage at the Meritage Resort & Spa is a must do.
2. Munich, Germany
Whether or not you have German roots, attending Oktoberfest in Munich should be on your radar. This year’s celebration starts on September 22 and will include colorful tents filled with food, singing, dancing and, of course, pints of delicious brews. For those looking to escape the liveliness of the beer tents, the picturesque Neuschwanstein Castle provides a welcome breath of fresh air away from the city. Be sure to bring a camera for photo ops of the Bavarian countryside along the way.
3. Barcelona, Spain
Okay, visiting this art-rich city is a treat just about any time of year. But here are a few reasons why September is a special time to go. First up, La Mercè. From September 21 to 24, the city puts on a huge street festival that offers all sort of free (yes, free!) activities to give visitors a true feel for the area’s unique culture. Then there’s also Catalan Wine Fest, where wine, water views, and fireworks are never in short supply. Of course, seeing architectural hotspots like Sagrada Família, Park Güell, and Casa Batlló also shouldn’t be overlooked for what’s bound to be an action-packed vacay.
4. Charleston, South Carolina
This month is a gem for this charming Southern spot. In the span of four weeks, this city hosts both Restaurant Week (from September 6 to 17) and Beer Week (from September 9 to 16) for a food and drink lover’s double whammy. These events are followed by the popular Pride Fest from (September 16 to 23) and a nod to African-American and Caribbean art at MOJA Arts Fest (starting September 28). Our take? You’re going to want to stay longer than planned.
5. Cape Town, South Africa
Timing is everything, and this couldn’t be more true for this South African destination. Weather-wise, Cape Town is coming out of its winter months, which means you’ll still experience pleasant temps, but without the touristy crowds. When it comes to excursions, you’ll be just in time for some seasonal animal-sighting opportunities, like getting a beachside view of the Southern Right Whales wading in the bay, or swimming with penguins at Boulders Beach. Cap your visit off with a trek up the iconic Table Mountain, and Cape Town will be one getaway you won’t forget.