Best Fall Trips 2011 — National Geographic

Cooler temperatures, striking colors, smaller crowds—autumn is the perfect time to travel, and here are ten of the best fall trips, picked by National Geographic Travelereditors. Where do you want to go this fall? Share your travel plans—real or ideal—below.


Photograph by Jim Vail, My Shot

Autumn along northwestern Florida’s 24-mile-long Emerald Coast brings fewer tourists and lower, “value season” rates to the wide, sugar-white beaches of Destin, Fort Walton, and Okaloosa Island. The summer-worthy temperatures (highs in the 80s, lows in the 60s) are ideal for swimming in clear, emerald-green Gulf of Mexico waters or for golfing the more than 1,080 manicured, championship holes. October’s monthlong Destin Fishing Rodeo draws more than 30,000 saltwater anglers to the self-proclaimed World’s Luckiest Fishing Village to compete for daily, weekly, and overall prizes. Watch the daily weigh-ins of king mackerel, marlin, sailfish, and other game fish on the docks at A.J.’s Seafood & Oyster Bar. Sample fresh-from-the-docks seafood at historic Staff’s Restaurant, the Emerald Coast’s first eatery, which is housed in a 1913 barrel-shaped Fort Walton warehouse and open daily for dinner. The signature Broiled Skillet—grouper, shrimp, scallops, and crabmeat stuffing drizzled with cheese—comes with baskets of fresh-baked wheat bread.

Pictured here:Boaters stop for a break in the green waters off Destin, Florida.