10 Fall Festivals Worth Traveling For

  • Wine basket

    Niagara Wine Festival

    September 21-30
    When it comes to wine, Napa and Sonoma usually get all the glory, but Niagara, Canada is trying to change that with their annual Niagara Wine Festival. Ontario's best wineries will host more than 100 events, including tastings, tours, parades and luncheons. For families, an inflatable Grapeland and paddle boat course will ensure the little ones have their fun as well.

    Photo courtesy of Niagara Wine Festivals

  • Munich's Oktoberfest


    September 22-October 7
    Munich's annual Oktoberfest is the largest in the world with more than 5 million people showing up to celebrate Bavarian beer, food and music. Only six Munich breweries are allowed to pour beers in the dozen odd tents, and each tent has developed its own unique character over the years since the first Oktoberfest in 1810. If you can't make it all the way to Germany, cities around the world host copycat events, so there's probably one happening nearby.

    Photo courtesy of digital cat/Flickr

  • Plate of raw oysters

    Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival

    September 28-30
    The Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival celebrates a different kind of harvest, the bounty of the sea. Besides being the longest running international oyster festival and one of Europe's oldest food festivals, the celebration was named as one of the 12 greatest shows on earth by the Sunday Times and listed as one of Europe's seven best festivals by AA Travel Guide. Banquets, oyster opening contests, live music and plenty of fresh seafood await.

    Photo courtesy of Sam Howzit/Flickr

  • Performers at the Celtic Colours Festival on Cape Breton Island

    Celtic Colours International Festival

    October 5-13
    When the fall foliage on Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island is at its most colorful, the island's communities host the Celtic Colours International Festival, a series of concerts, workshops and art exhibitions throughout the island. Learn iron forging, step dancing, Celtic knot quilting, basket weaving or fiddling by day before attending one of many nightly concerts followed by late-night jam sessions and song circles. Each day of the festival includes an outdoor element, such as a whale watching tour or guided hike.

    Photo courtesy of Celtic Colours International Festival

  • Balloons flying over the Rio Grande River

    Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

    October 6-14
    It's chilly just before the sun comes up, but that's the best time to visit the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the largest hot air balloon festival in the world. During the weekend early morning mass ascensions, more than 600 balloons representing over 20 countries launch in two waves, filling the sky with color. Balloon Fiesta visitors can walking through the forest of inflating balloons can feel the heat coming from the propane torches heating the air inside the envelope. Smaller special events occur throughout the week, and several pilots sell rides in their balloons for the brave traveler.

    Photo courtesy of Larry and Linda/Flickr

  • Pouring samples at the Great American Beer Festival

    Great American Beer Festival

    October 11-13
    The annual Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado represents the greatest amount of US beers served as more than 500 breweries gather at the Denver Convention Center. Your ticket buys you a tasting cup and unlimited one-ounce samples of beer, and with more than 2,200 varieties being poured, you won't leave thirsty. The festival's Designated Driver Lounge pours root beer and craft soda samples with free chair massages for that awesome friend who will get you home safely.

    Photo courtesy of Photo © Brewers Association

  • Austin skyline behind the ACL stage

    Austin City Limits Music Festival

    October 12-14
    In Austin, the music doesn't stop just because summer has come to an end. In fact, the Texas capital plays host to one of the nation's finest celebrations of music, Austin City Limits. Over 130 acts spanning the scope of musical genres perform on eight stages in Austin's Zilker Park during the three-day festival. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young and Crazy Horse and the Black Keys headline this year's lineup.

    Photo courtesy of Victoria Welch/Flickr

  • Pumpkin wall at night

    Keene Pumpkin Festival

    October 20
    On the day of the annual Pumpkin Festival, or Pumpkin Fest as the locals call it, the population of Keene, New Hampshire quadruples as more than 80,000 people come to take part. Downtown Keene transforms into a Halloween-themed pedestrian zone with a massive wall of jack-o-lanterns carved by local school children dominating the middle. The wall often contains more than 20,000 pumpkins and has set eight world records.

    Photo courtesy of Jeff Dell/Flickr

  • Lincoln City, Oregon's Fall Kite Festival on the beach

    Lincoln City Fall Kite Festival

    October 13-14
    Springtime isn't the only season for kite flying, and in October the residents of Lincoln City take to the beach for two days of kite flying, making and parading. Expect to see plenty of red, white and blue for this year's "Stars & Stripes" theme. Keep an eye out for kite boarding demonstrations, trick kite flyers and an entire pod of life-sized whales gliding through the sky.

    Photo courtesy of OCVA/Flickr

  • Balloons at the Chattanooga RiverRocks festival


    October 5-14
    The 90 odd events the comprise Chattanooga's RiverRocks celebrate all things outdoors. With a mission to promote a healthy lifestyle and environmental stewardship of Tennessee's natural resources, the festival takes visitors to the area's best parks and outdoor spaces for biking, ballooning, kayaking, canoeing and rock climbing. In the past two years, the event has raised over $80,000 for local conservation organizations.

    Photo courtesy of RiverRocks

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