Fall travel guide

Explore beaches, back roads, vineyards, and more during the West's golden season

The West's best fall travel experiences

It's the absolute best time to be outdoors, when some of our unique landscapes come brilliantly alive

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You can watch massive swells
Photo by Brown Cannon III; written by Sara Dickerman, Peter Fish, Kelly Mickle, Loren Mooney, and Cristina Tudino

You can watch massive swells

In November, Pacific storms begin to generate huge waves on Oahu’s North Shore, attracting the world’s best surfers to compete in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing series. Joel Parkinson, a three-time series champ, tells what it’s like.

“There was one year at Haleiwa that was gargantuan. There were lefts coming across the channel … It was a huge west swell with a 20-second period. Haleiwa can be one of the scariest places. You could see a left coming from outside at Avalanche … You almost wanted to start paddling for the shore because you had no chance. I remember standing my ground, sitting on my board thinking, I know this thing is going to clean me up but I’m kind of out far enough. I came over [the first wave], and there was a closeout of 15 foot of whitewater and I just started scratching for the beach. I threw my board and got annihilated and pushed over toward the harbor.”

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