Which sunny vacation spot is getting the most attention this fall? You might be surprised by the lesser-known trending seaside town.
Summer vacation season may be in the rearview mirror, but there are still plenty of great reasons to travel. In fact, fall is an ideal time to plan a trip. The crowds tend to be smaller (at airports and popular vacation spots), the weather is still warm in many parts of the United States, and you miss peak-season pricing, depending on your destination.
Whether you’re considering a short weekend getaway for fall foliage or a weeklong family vacation to sunny shores, the fall season is one of the best to hit the road—or the skies. The question is, where should you visit this fall? Lucky for travelers, Trip Advisor recently compiled a list of the top trending destinations for fall travel in 2023. Get ready to book!
How were the top trending destinations determined?
This is not a list of the most popular destinations—those are what you’d expect: Las Vegas, New York City and Orlando. On the contrary, Trip Advisor wanted to identify the top trending destinations for fall 2023, lesser-known or surprising places people seem to be booking this year.
To do that, analysts gathered site data for travel between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30 and identified the places seeing the biggest booking growth, year-over-year. And there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of the town seeing the biggest spike in interest for autumnal travel.
What is the top trending vacation destination this fall?
Little Torch Key, Florida, is the top-trending destination, according to TripAdvisor’s report. As the name suggests, it’s one of the Florida Keys—the chain of islands in the Gulf of Mexico just south of Florida’s mainland.
Located along the iconic Route 1 highway connecting the keys, Little Torch Key is located near the larger Big Pine Key, and near Middle Torch Key and Ramrod Key. If you want to drive, it’s about 133 miles (about a two-hour-and-43-minute trek) from Miami International Airport. It’s a much shorter 35-minute drive from the southernmost (and perhaps best-known) key, Key West.
What does a vacation in Little Torch Key, Florida, look like?
Once you get to the island, you’ll find that it’s a fairly small residential and beach community. At around three miles from one end to the opposite, you could drive from the northernmost point to the southernmost on-road point in around seven minutes.
Wondering where to stay? Don’t bother searching for major hotel chains—it’s not a heavily commercialized island. However, you will find some smaller, boutique resorts, such as Parmer’s Resort or the Little Palm Island Resort and Spa, which describes itself as a tranquil paradise among white-sand beaches. You can also look for some beach house rentals on the island.
It’s not far from a great snorkeling site at one of the biggest coral barrier reefs in the world, Looe Key Reef. It’s also very casual when it comes to your dining options. Instead of well-known chains, you’ll find places like Kiki’s Sandbar and Grill, a waterfront dive featuring fresh seafood, nightly live music and the option to dine at tables on the sand.
Is it safe to visit the Florida Keys in the fall?
As you might expect, perhaps the biggest obstacle for visiting the Florida Keys in autumn is hurricanes. After all, Atlantic hurricane season technically stretches from June 1 to Nov. 30. The local government in Little Torch Key does caution: Hurricanes can hit anywhere in the keys or Florida, with the most active part of the season falling between mid-August and mid-October.
For that reason, if you’re planning an early autumn (or even a future, late-summer) trip to Little Torch Key, you may want to consider purchasing a travel insurance policy shortly after booking that will allow you to cancel and get a refund if a major storm develops.
Other popular fall 2023 destinations
Little Torch Key wasn’t the only destination Trip Advisor identified as trending this fall. Other locations seeing strong growth this year compared with last include several areas in Florida, a Pennsylvania lake town and other warm-weather destinations out west. Some of these trending spots are great romantic weekend getaways and might even have domestic all-inclusive resorts.
The list includes:
- Indian Rocks Beach, Florida
- Miami Springs, Florida
- Hawley, Pennsylvania
- Carefree, Arizona
- Reno, Nevada
- Cape Canaveral, Florida
- Holmes Beach, Florida
- Rutherford, California
- Indio, California
Considering a trip this fall? Since these destinations seem to be getting a lot of attention right now, start looking soon, especially if you want to get the best deal for your travels.