Permits for the 300 hikers per day allowed to make the trek to the top of Half Dome, above, at Yosemite National Park are distributed by lottery through March 31. That doesn't leave you much time to apply.
"I would argue Europe is better in the shoulder seasons," said Amy Farley, news editor at Travel + Leisure and author of the magazine's "Trip Doctor" column. "I was in Florence in October, and it was extraordinary. That said, if you have children and want the ideal weather, summer it is."