There’s a vision of the dream tropical vacation that we all know. It involves long days filled with endless sunshine, warm turquoise waters lapping up on white-sand beaches, lush landscapes, and gentle breezes. It’s all swimming, hiking, and baking in the sun with a cocktail and a lover. In short — bliss.
But tropical travel doesn’t all have to be all about sleepy island experiences, there are some truly legit parties cracking near the equator. And with just about everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere looking lovely in August, many warm-weather destinations don’t fully switch into party mode until the weather turns in North America and Europe. Meaning this is the right season to start thinking of an escape.
So where should you go when the fall chill seeps into your bones? Music festivals are an obvious choice. After all, who doesn’t love days of live music punctuated by nights of endless dancing? But there are also cultural events, legendary bacchanals, cruises, and sexy beaches to savor in the autumn. Surely something on this list will capture your imagination and inspire you to look out for a cheap flight as shoulder season travel deals begin popping up.
Lake of Stars — Malawi
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Tbt to Lake of Stars Festival 2016 and a fantastic headline slot from @freshlygroundsa! We’re looking forward to heading back later this year for more brilliant music on the stunning shores of Lake Malawi . . . . #tbt #LOS2018 #LakeOfStars #anniversary #15years #festival #LakeOfStarsFestival #africanmusic #livemusic #malawi #MalawiMusic #southafricanartist #party #beach #lakemalawi
Dates: September 27–29, 2019
This three-day festival was founded by a British tourist who visited the country of Malawi in college and longed to go back and effect positive change. Given that the country was recently voted sixth poorest in the entire world by USA Today, that’s not a bad goal. Lake of Stars brings over a million dollars to an economy desperately in need of a cash infusion and manages to be one of the most important music festivals on the continent. Plus, it’s set on the grounds of Kachere Kastle on the palm-fringed shores of the third largest lake in Africa. It would be difficult to find a more beautiful location to enjoy camping as well as a diverse range of concertgoers and performers.
This year the festival organizers are putting together a smaller, boutique offering called Lake of Stars Discovery with music, poetry, talks, art, theater, film, and wellness concepts from Malawi and across the globe. That means the energy will be a bit different than the traditional fest, though camping on-site guarantees you a ticket to a diverse party with adventuresome travelers from all over the globe. We’re talking bucket-list material.
Wonderfruit — Thailand
Dates: December 12–16, 2019
If there were some party family tree, Wonderfruit would be on a branch not far from Burning Man or Coachella — as it manages to be the tropical cousin of each, sharing their distinct vibes. Located in the seaside city of Patttaya, this high-concept festival focuses on art, music, food, and ideas to place a spotlight on sustainability. Though environmentally friendly living is celebrated throughout the fest, as an attendee, you will likely be spending most of your time soaking up an eclectic international music lineup that ranges from Mongolian throat-singers to Goldie.