October is prime time for fall foliage and seeing iconic travel spots in all their autumn glory. Fall colors peak around the USA. The weather is perfect for outdoor activities like hiking in places that may be too hot in summer. When writing the post, I realized that October is historically the month for our biggest bucket list journeys. Whether you love fall activities near your hometown or off the beaten track experiences, here are the best places to travel in October.
We have included domestic and international destinations but it’s really important to check the safety of where you are traveling as the world has been in such a state of flux. If you can’t visit one of these destinations this year, put it on your bucket list for future travel in October.
If you have been following us on YouTube, you know that we have been converting a sprinter van. We’ll be taking it this October to see fall foliage in some of the amazing places you’ll find below. To decide if a camper van was for us, we tried a sprinter van rental with Outdoorsy and highly recommend it for a fall foliage trip if you don’t have a van of your own.
Best Places to Travel in October in the USA
You may not think of California for fall foliage but Yosemite will make you think again. You can expect the full spectrum of color with less crowds and perfect hiking weather to enjoy 800 miles of trails. With days getting shorter, you’ll also have a better chance to view skies full of stars. If you have enough time, you can see some other spectacular spots in the Eastern Sierras like Mammoth, June Lake and Alabama hills. Hotel: Yosemite Autocamp
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The best kept secret for fall foliage is Oregon. In mid October, the trees bursting with vibrant color best found along Oregon’s Scenic Byways including the Colombia River Gorge. Enjoy fall festivals and wine tasting in Willamette Valley. Then head to Silver Falls State Park for incredible waterfalls and on to the Mackenzie River, where you will find the Tamolitch Blue Pool. It’s easy hike with the most brilliant blue water framed by fall color.
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Everyone knows about New England fall foliage and October is a fantastic time to visit Acadia National Park where the colors are on high. Catch the sunrise on Cadillac mountain, have a delicious Jordan Pond breakfast with popovers and work off those calories rock climbing or taking a lovely hike.
On your way up to Acadia, make sure to stop in Portland. Take a cruise on Casco Bay and follow it up with a little culture at Portland Museum of Art, one of the best museums in New England. Last but not least, get the requisite Maine lobster roll for lunch or dinner. Hotel: Bar Harbor Inn & Spa
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Fall is one of the most beautiful times to visit Pennsylvania. You can enjoy the changing leaves, crisp air, and fun activities like hiking, biking, and more! The best time to see the foliage in Pennsylvania is the month of October. There are so many things to do in Pennsylvania and places to see including Big Pocono State Park, the Great Allegheny Passage, the National Longhouse Scenic Byway, and more.
If you’re looking for some history, check out Philadelphia’s Historic District with all its cobblestone streets and old buildings, the Liberty Bell and of course, run up the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps Rocky style. In October, Delco Arts week and Philly Music Fest showcase the artistic side of the city. Hotel: Canopy By Hilton Philadelphia Center City
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Aspen is a great town year round but late September and October offer some of the most striking fall foliage in the USA. The aspen trees that cover much of Colorado turn a beautiful yellow. It’s truly a sight to be seen. Bike to Maroon Bells and you’ll be rewarded with towns of vibrant color sometimes highlighted with October snow. There are also many beautiful hiking trails to enjoy before you head back to your hotel to sit by the fire and enjoy the crisp mountain air. Hotel: The Little Nell
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Santa Fe, New Mexico
October has always been a big month in New Mexico because of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta October 2-10, 2021. It hosts the launch of 550 hot air balloons into the sky over the course of 9 days. After exploring the artsy downtown, enjoy some great hikes in Sante Fe. Take a trip to Carlsbad Caverns National Park or explore the world’s largest gypsum dune field at White Sands National Monument. Hotel: Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe
Grand Canyon, Arizona
The Grand Canyon is one of the best places to visit in Arizona with jaw dropping views. You can check out a few view points and hike down a trail or go for a serious challenge and do a rim to rim hike. Havasu Falls shown above is a backpacking trip on Native American land in the Grand Canyon. If you can score a permit for the 3 day trip, you’ll have a chance to explore the area with incredible waterfalls. Glamping: Under Canvas Grand Canyon
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Best Places to Travel in October Abroad
As the hot Tuscan summer fades into vineyards with gorgeous fall colors, truffles and mushrooms take their place at the table. Tuscany is known for having some of the best food to eat in Italy. Fall is the perfect time for a relaxing trip around the villages of Tuscany. Enjoy the Chianti region, the medieval village of Siena, and of course spend time in gorgeous Florence without the hordes of summer tourists. Hotel: Gallery Hotel Art
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We spent a week in Jordan in October and the weather was perfect! We highly recommend staying a few days at the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea to float in the Dead Sea, go hiking at Wadi Al Mujib and relax at this luxurious resort. Then make your way to Petra, one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World. Plan to visit on Monday, Wednesday or Thursday so you can attend the candlelit Petra at Night.
Another highlight of our trip was sleeping under a star filled sky in the Wadi Rum desert at a Bubble Hotel. Lastly, Amman is a fascinating city that is so worth the visit. Hotel: Wadi Rum Bubble Luxotel
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Paris, the City of Lights. The city that never sleeps. And here you are, visiting in the fall when it’s not busy with tourists and locals alike can enjoy their favorite activities without waiting in line for hours on end. Get a hotel with an Eiffel Tower view then visit museums like the Louvre and Museé D’Orsay, or take a tour of Montmartre where you can see some of the most famous murals in Paris at Place des Abbesses..
Or you could spend your time enjoying one of Paris’s many festivals such as grape harvest festival in Montmartre or Jazz Sur Seine which takes place every year in November! Or if you want, you can spend a night having fun at Nuit Blanche event in Paris, an open-air multimedia art exhibition that is lit only by moonlight. Hotel: Cheval Blanc Paris & Dior Spa Cheval Blanc Paris
Poland is a step back into history with old ornate towns, beautiful central squares filled with brightly colored buildings, and castles. The fall has temperate weather and a few eclectic music festivals. If you can’t make it in October, go toward the end of November to see amazing Christmas markets. Hotel: H15 Boutique Hotel
United Arab Emirates
The UAE is well known to travelers for glitzy Dubai and traditional yet modern, Abu Dhabi. These two cities are 2 hours apart by car and ideally visited in the shoulder season of October when the weather is more comfortable and it’s not as crowded as high season. Prices are also more reasonable. Hotel: W Dubai and Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort
Morocco is an amazing trip and a top pick for the best places to travel in October. Start in Marrakech, take a trip to the fishing port of Essouria, visit berber villages in the Atlas Mountains, stay overnight in the Sahara desert, and see the ancient city of Fez. If you have time, go the royal blue village of Chefchaouen. Game of Thrones fans should check out these cool Morocco filming locations. Hotel: La Sultana Marrakech
Vietnam has many different climates so there’s not a specific perfect month to travel the country as a whole. October is the time to visit the northern region. Head to the beautiful mountain province of Ha Giang, the city of Hanoi, stunning Halong Bay, and the terraced verdant mountains of Sapa. Hotel: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
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Travel in October often involves incredible Autumn colors or fall festivals. The best bucket list Autumn destinations are at their optimal weather. It can be a dreamy time for a simple weekend getaway with a sweater and a great book by the fire to embrace a chill in the air. If you are looking for more fun trip ideas, try the best places to visit in September or November too. For destinations specific to the USA, here are 25 fantastic USA trip ideas.
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