The Best US Destinations in October: From Fall Foliage to Historic Charm

2023-11-13 03:59:16 - Drany Macley Drany Macley, the senior editor of, brings extensive journalism background and over eight years of experience in travel writing and editing to the site, offering practical insights and first-hand knowledge through articles on innovative hotels, backed by a BA in Journalism from Ithaca College.

Are you craving an autumn adventure? Look no further! Get ready to immerse yourself in a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors, crisp air, and a magical ambiance as we unveil the best US destinations in October. From the mystical mountains of North Carolina's Blue Ridge Parkway to the picturesque landscapes of Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park, we'll take you on an exhilarating journey through some of the most enchanting places this season has to offer. So, grab your jacket, sip on some warm apple cider, and let's embark on a breathtaking exploration together.

Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

The Blue Ridge Parkway is often considered the best road trip in the United States of America. With 15 million visitors each year, it's the most popular unit of the US National Park system. The parkway spans 469 miles from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. It was constructed between 1935 and 1966 as part of FDR's New Deal initiative. However, the section between the Linn Cove Viaduct and Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina was completed in 1987. The parkway passes through Jefferson, George Washington, Nantahala, and Pisgah National Forests, showcasing stunning scenery. The best time to visit is in mid to late October when the autumn colors are at their peak. Along the way, there are 200 scenic overlooks that provide magnificent views of the mountains and valleys. Visitors can also explore hiking trails and enjoy the beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway waterfalls. The parkway is home to various wildlife, including Black Bears, White-tailed Deer, Wild Turkeys, and numerous bird species. While it's possible to drive the entire route in around 15 hours, it's recommended to take the time to appreciate the breathtaking views, such as Grandfather Mountain State Park, the Linville Gorge Wilderness, and the Linn Cove Viaduct. Other notable attractions include Looking Glass Rock, Mount Mitchell, Pisgah National Forest, and Julian Price Memorial Park. To stay near the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Engadine Inn and Cabins in Chandler is a highly recommended option. (Image Credit: Blue Ridge Mountains Travel Guide)

How to Rent a Car for Your Fall Road Trip

If you're planning a fall road trip, I have two top recommendations for renting a car. First, Discover Cars offers a convenient and reliable service with no hidden fees, 24/7 customer service, and free cancellation. They search all major rental car companies so you don't have to. Second, Turo is a platform similar to Airbnb but for cars. It's a great option for saving money, especially during the pandemic when rental car prices are high. California's Eastern Sierra mountain range, stretching from the Nevada state line to Lone Pine, offers stunning fall scenery and is one of the best places to visit in October in the USA. The region features attractions like Mono Lake, Mammoth Lakes, Mount Whitney, and Yosemite. With its yellow Aspen forests, Mammoth is particularly beautiful during the fall season. Visitors can enjoy activities such as hiking, biking, and scenic drives in areas like the June Lake loop. Exploring historical sites like Bodie Ghost Town and hiking in Lundy Lake are also recommended to fully experience the splendor of the Eastern Sierra in fall.

Bret and Mary | Blue Ridge Mountains Travel Guide

Branson, Missouri

Branson, Missouri comes alive in October with a wide range of live shows, attractions, and outdoor activities. The cooler temperatures and smaller crowds make it an ideal time to explore this family-friendly destination. Silver Dollar City, Dolly Parton's Stampede Dinner Show, and Ripley's Believe It or Not! are just a few of the attractions to check out. The city also hosts the Harvest Festival, featuring craft days and thousands of illuminated pumpkins for great Halloween photos. If you're looking for a rustic fall experience, there are plenty of opportunities for apple picking, pumpkin picking, and navigating corn mazes at local farms. The Ozark Mountains offer breathtaking views when the leaves change color. Take a drive down Highway 76 or hike one of the many trails to capture the beauty of the season. Adventure activities like ziplining and water activities such as fishing, canoeing, and kayaking are also available in Branson's stunning lakes. For accommodations, consider staying in a luxurious cabin in the woods. (Image Credit: Wandering Wheatleys)

Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio is a fantastic destination to visit in October. With its many classic fall activities, such as apple picking, pumpkin picking, and corn mazes, there's something for everyone. The city is known for its walkability, and the cooler weather provides the perfect opportunity to explore its top attractions. Take a stroll through Rittenhouse Square, Washington Square West, or Old City to enjoy the picturesque neighborhoods. Fairmount Park offers beautiful hiking trails and scenic overlooks where you can admire the changing leaves. Cleveland also boasts a variety of dining options, from cozy cafes serving pumpkin spice lattes to farm-to-table restaurants showcasing seasonal cuisine. For a unique experience, consider joining a ghost tour to explore the city's haunted sites or visit the peaceful Morris Arboretum. Water activities like fishing, canoeing, and kayaking are also available at the city's lakes. (Image Credit: Wandering Wheatleys)

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, also known as the City of Brotherly Love, is a fantastic destination to visit in October. The city offers a wealth of fall activities and is highly walkable, making it easy to explore. Take a leisurely stroll through Rittenhouse Square, Washington Square West, or Old City to immerse yourself in the beauty of the changing leaves. Fairmount Park provides numerous hiking trails and scenic spots to admire the fall foliage. Philadelphia also offers a range of dining options, including cozy cafes with pumpkin spice lattes and farm-to-table restaurants serving seasonal dishes. For a unique twist, consider joining a ghost tour to explore the city's historic and haunted sites. The Morris Arboretum is a perfect place for a peaceful day surrounded by nature. Explore the city's top attractions, such as the Cleveland Metropark Zoo, Lake View Cemetery, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. (Image Credit: Wandering Wheatleys)

Eastern Sierras, California

Must Visit Places in USA in October: Eastern Sierras, California

For those seeking the ultimate October road trip in the United States, Eastern Sierras in California offers an incomparable experience. The region boasts captivating colors and an abundance of picturesque spots for photography enthusiasts.

The Eastern Sierras is home to some of the world's tallest and largest aspens, with Aspendell being particularly concentrated with these magnificent trees. October is the perfect time to witness the spectacular display put on by the aspens. Additionally, the nearby town of Bishop Creek is a visual delight, offering a feast for the eyes.

Other notable attractions in the Eastern Sierras include Rock Creek Road, which offers a scenic drive, the Little Lakes Valley hiking trail known for its breathtaking beauty, and Mono Lake, a captivating location featuring peculiar limestone formations.

The Hudson Valley, New York State

What Places to Visit in USA in October: The Hudson Valley, New York State

The Hudson Valley in New York State is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable destinations to visit in the United States during the fall season. With October being the optimal time to experience its wonders, this region promises to leave visitors in awe. One noteworthy example is Minneskawa State Park, which is surrounded by stunning cliffs on one side and vibrant, colorful trees on the other.

Moreover, a visit to the Mohonk Mountain House is highly recommended. This magnificent location offers the opportunity to stroll through stunning gardens adorned with autumnal blooms, all set against a backdrop of historic Victorian-era buildings dating back to 1869. The Mohonk Preserve, nearby to the mountain house, boasts lovely trails that are perfect for an autumn hike. For a different outdoor experience, embarking on a cycling adventure along the iconic Wallkill Rail Trail is a great option.

The Hudson Valley presents an array of local orchards and farm stands where visitors can purchase the freshest seasonal produce, including apples, corn, pumpkins, cider, and a variety of delectable fall-flavored foods and beverages.

New York City, New York

Best Cities to Visit in USA in October: New York City, New York

New York City may come as a surprise addition to our list, but October is an exceptional time to visit the bustling metropolis. The weather is pleasant, and tourists can expect slightly fewer crowds compared to the summer season.

One of the highlights of NYC in October is undoubtedly the captivating fall foliage. Almost everywhere you go, whether it's Central Park, Madison Square Park, the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, or simply walking around Manhattan, you'll be surrounded by the enchanting colors of autumn.

The city also hosts numerous festivals throughout October, including the renowned New York Food and Wine Festival, which spans four days and showcases hundreds of events across the city. Other highly recommended events to witness are the Village Halloween Parade and the Columbus Day Parade.

Exploring iconic attractions such as the Oculus building at the World Trade Center, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a must. Additionally, be sure to catch a Broadway show and savor a slice of authentic New York pizza while you're in town.

Salem, Massachusetts

Must Visit Places in USA in October: Salem, Massachusetts

For those seeking a Halloween-themed destination that truly embraces the spooky ambiance, Salem, Massachusetts is an ideal choice. This historically significant city is renowned for its association with the infamous witch trials of 1692, and it continues to honor its bewitching heritage to this day.

During the month of October, Salem thrives with Halloween festivities. The Salem Haunted Happenings celebration, lasting a whole month, offers a plethora of events including parties, parades, vendor fairs, walking tours, museums, attractions, and special happenings. For those intrigued by the witch trials, visiting the Salem Witch Museum or exploring The Witch House, the only remaining structure directly linked to the trials, is highly recommended.

No visit to Salem is complete without a stop at one of the many magical shops in the city. These enchanting establishments provide a wide range of bewitching merchandise, from witch-inspired clothing and jewelry to spell books, potions, and even tarot readings.

Even for those not particularly interested in Halloween, Salem's charm is captivating in October. The beautiful autumn foliage combined with the pleasant weather is perfect for exploring the city's landmarks through walking tours. Notable attractions to include in your Salem itinerary are the McIntire Historic District, Pioneer Village, and Pickering House. For a more relaxed exploration of the city, consider taking a ride on the Salem Trolley or embarking on a sunset sail on a historic schooner.

Door County, Wisconsin

Best Cities to Visit in USA in October: Door County, Wisconsin

Door County in northeastern Wisconsin is a hidden gem and a highly underrated October destination in the United States.

This picturesque peninsula is known for its rocky coastline, charming small towns, and scenic state parks. With the Door Peninsula surrounded by water on three sides, visitors are guaranteed breathtaking views of the vibrant fall foliage and the stunning Lake Michigan.

Some of the best places to appreciate the colors of autumn include Sturgeon Bay, the largest city in Door County, as well as along the Ahnapee State Trail and at Europe Bay Woods State Natural Area. However, it's difficult to go wrong anywhere in Door County, as its natural beauty is truly captivating.

The region offers a myriad of outdoor activities, thanks to its five state parks, a state trail, and 19 county parks. Outdoor enthusiasts can indulge in hiking, biking, kayaking, and numerous other recreational pursuits. Fruits enthusiasts can even pick their own apples at the Oneida Tribe Apple Orchard in the charming village of Hobart or learn the art of cider making at the Washington Island Farm Museum. Those seeking a challenge can participate in the Door County Fall 50 race.

Exploring the Door County Wine Trail and indulging in the local wines is a delightful experience not to be missed. Additionally, the region hosts various harvest festivals during October, adding to the festivities.

Savannah, Georgia

What Places Have Shoulder Season in USA in October: Savannah, GeorgiaSavannah is a beautiful city to visit any time of year, but October is particularly delightful. The weather is mild and there are fewer tourists. Additionally, there's a special ambiance in Savannah in October, with Halloween just around the corner. After all, Savannah is renowned as one of the most haunted cities in the US!

If you're feeling brave, consider taking a walking tour of the city's most haunted locations. You'll get to explore eerie graveyards, hear chilling tales of ghostly encounters, and you might even catch a glimpse of a ghost or two! For a unique twist on the ghost tour, adults can opt for the Savannah Haunted Pub Crawl.

Where to Vacation in USA in October: Savannah, GeorgiaAside from the spooky allure, Savannah offers a wealth of attractions in October. The leaves on the live oak trees in Forsyth Park transform into a beautiful golden hue, and many of the city's gardens continue to bloom with vibrant flowers.

Don't miss the opportunity to wander through the Historic District and admire the grand antebellum mansions. You can also explore the eclectic Starland District or take a leisurely stroll along River Street, the charming waterfront promenade lined with restaurants and cafes.

Since October is a busy month for festivals in Savannah, you'll have plenty of chances to enjoy live music, delectable food, and craft beer while mingling with locals. Consider adding the Savannah Greek Festival, the Tybee Island Pirate Fest, or Oktoberfest to your Savannah itinerary!

Book a Savannah Pub Crawl and Ghost Tour

Kauai, Hawaii

Best Places to Visit in USA in October: Kauai, HawaiiKauai is one of the top choices for a warm-weather getaway in the US during October. The island enjoys an average temperature of 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the ideal time to hit the beach while much of the US is preparing for colder weather.

October is also considered the off-season in Kauai, resulting in fewer crowds. This means you'll have ample space to enjoy the island's renowned beaches, such as Tunnels Beach for snorkeling, Poipu Beach Park for swimming and sunbathing, or Kalapaki Beach for paddleboarding, surfing, and kayaking.

What Places to Visit in USA in October: Kauai, HawaiiIf you're seeking adventure, head to the Napali Coast and embark on a hiking expedition along the rugged Kalalau Trail. This challenging trek takes you through lush rainforests, past cliffs with incredible ocean vistas, and alongside waterfalls cascading into pristine swimming holes. It's no wonder the Kalalau Trail is one of Kauai's most popular trails!

If you prefer a more leisurely stroll, Kauai's state parks offer plenty of trails with stunning views. Check out Koke'e State Park or Waimea Canyon State Park for breathtaking landscapes without breaking a sweat.

Book a Napali Coast Snorkeling Boat Tour

Aspen, Colorado

Must Visit Places in USA in October: Aspen, ColoradoWhile winter is Aspen's busiest season, visiting in October offers a unique experience that is far from quiet. You'll have the chance to enjoy the stunning landscapes, restaurants, shops, and attractions of this charming mountain town without the bustling crowds of the ski season.

The Rocky Mountains are especially breathtaking in October. The aspen trees turn a vibrant golden color, creating a striking contrast against the evergreen backdrop. The Hunter Creek Trail is particularly enchanting, with its abundant aspens in various stages of fall transformation.

The view from above is equally awe-inspiring, so don't miss the opportunity to take a ride on the Elk Camp gondola and soak in the colorful mountain vistas.

What Places Have Shoulder Season in USA in October: Aspen, ColoradoIf you're seeking a more active way to experience Aspen's autumn beauty, there are countless outdoor recreation opportunities awaiting you. Hike to Maroon Bells and marvel at the colors reflected in Maroon Lake.

Alternatively, try fly fishing for rainbow trout in one of the many mountain streams. Roaring Forks is particularly lively during this time of year! For those seeking a thrill, whitewater rafting, kayaking, or tubing down the river are also exhilarating options.

When you need a break from outdoor adventures, explore the eclectic shops and eateries of downtown Aspen. Don't miss the bustling Aspen Saturday Market, where you can find an array of fall produce and tasty seasonal treats if you're in town in early October!

Book an Aspen City Highlights Walking Tour

Burlington, Vermont

Where to Vacation in USA in October: Burlington, VermontThere's nothing quite like New England in October! If there's one destination you must visit in Vermont during this month, it's Burlington.

The mountains transform into vibrant shades of red and gold, and the crisp weather is perfect for cozying up in thick sweaters, scarves, and beanies. Savor the dreamy experience of sipping a mug of hot cocoa while gazing at the picturesque Lake Champlain!

What Places Have Shoulder Season in USA in October: Burlington, VermontOctober in Burlington is filled with an array of activities, many of which take advantage of the beautiful lakeside setting. You can hop on a cruise to explore the lake, go kayaking or paddleboarding, or learn about the area's natural history at the ECHO Leahy Center.

For the best shopping and dining in Burlington, head to Church Street Marketplace. This pedestrian-only avenue is lined with local boutiques, art galleries, and delightful eateries. While you're in Burlington, be sure to take a scenic drive along Vermont Route 100 to admire the state's renowned covered bridges.

Burlington is an excellent choice if you're wondering where to go in October!

Like this post?! How about...

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Best Cities to Visit in USA in October: Grand Teton National Park, WyomingGrand Teton National Park is undeniably one of the most captivating destinations in the US to explore in October. During this month, the park's foliage transforms into a radiant red-orange, creating an idyllic setting for leaf peeping and photography!

Outdoor enthusiasts will find a paradise in Grand Teton National Park. With over 200 miles of unspoiled mountain trails, hikers can embark on thrilling adventures. The Jenny Lake Trail offers a relatively easy 7-mile climb with stunning views.

Take a stroll along Leigh Lake to witness bison and elk grazing near the rocky shores or go horseback riding through forests and meadows blooming with wildflowers. For a more challenging experience, try crossing Clear Creek's natural bridge!

What Places to Visit in USA in October: Grand Teton National Park, WyomingThe park offers numerous other activities in October, including rafting, biking, fishing, and kayaking on the Snake River. If you plan on staying overnight in one of the park's campgrounds or lodges, be sure to bring your flashlight, as the days get shorter in this season, providing excellent opportunities for stargazing!

Keep in mind that some campsites in Grand Teton National Park may close in September and October, so it's best to check beforehand.

Book a Grand Teton National Park Bus Tour

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan

When it comes to breathtaking fall destinations, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore should definitely be on your bucket list.

Situated along the wild and rugged Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Pictured Rocks stretches for 42 miles along the stunning coastline of Lake Superior.

While it's a fantastic place to visit any time of year, autumn is particularly special. The fall colors at Pictured Rocks are absolutely breathtaking, making it one of the top vacation spots in the USA for October.

The name Pictured Rocks comes from the magnificent sandstone cliffs that tower along the shoreline. One of the best ways to admire these colorful cliffs is by taking a boat or kayak tour.

There are also miles of hiking trails to explore, including the North Country National Scenic Trail and the Chapel Loop Trail. Driving along scenic County Road H-58 is another great way to experience Pictured Rocks.

During autumn, the trees along this road and throughout the park transform into vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow.

Late September to early October is the best time to witness the stunning autumn foliage at Pictured Rocks, although this may vary depending on weather conditions.

There is no entrance fee to visit Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. For more information and updates on park conditions, please refer to the official website.

Where to stay at Pictured Rocks: Stay in a cozy waterfront house right on the bay with a private beach. It's a truly beautiful setting.

Check price and availability for the cozy waterfront house here.

Katy | A Rambling Unicorn

winding single track road through a forest of green, gold, orange, and red treesPhoto credit: A Rambling Unicorn

North Cascades National Park, Washington

North Cascades National Park, as well as the whole state of Washington, is one of the best US vacation destinations in October and an incredible west coast national park.

Not only does it boast stunning autumn foliage, but it also has a particular attraction that is unique to this region: larches!

Larches are conifer trees with pine needles that turn a beautiful golden color from late September to October before shedding their needles. Unlike most conifer trees, larches are deciduous and grow at high altitudes. They are predominantly found in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Canada.

One interesting thing about larches is that the exact timing of their color change varies each year. In mid to late September, hikers eagerly await reports on websites like the Washington Trail Association to find out when the larches will begin turning. Once they start, you have about two to three weeks before they disappear until the next year.

The best way to experience the beauty of the larches is through hiking. One of the top larch hikes is the Ingall Falls, a challenging nine-mile trail that takes you through a stunning display of larches. Another famous but demanding hike is the Colchuck Lake, an eight-mile trek that rewards you with a turquoise lake surrounded by larches.

For a less strenuous experience, you can visit Blue Lake, a 4.4-mile hike, or Cutthroat Lake, a 3.8-mile hike near North Cascades National Park. Just remember to start early to avoid crowds and have the larches all to yourself.

Where to stay near North Cascades National Park: Stay in a romantic little cabin in Mount Vernon, just steps away from a clear blue pond where you can enjoy fishing from the deck. The cabin is set on six private acres.

Check price and availability for the romantic cabin here.

Adria | The Emerald Palate

Photo credit: Paul Weeks

New York City, New York

Visiting New York City in October is a fantastic choice, as it is one of the best US cities to experience during this time of year.

You can take a leisurely stroll through Central Park and marvel at the vibrant fall foliage that surrounds you. Don't miss the opportunity to pick up some fresh pumpkins at the Queens Fall Festival to carve.

To kickstart the Halloween spirit, attend New York City's famous Comic Con and dress up as your favorite superhero.

For a true taste of the season, make a stop at SERRA by Birreria, a rooftop bar and restaurant located in the Flatiron district. Here, you can enjoy the stunning seasonal decor while savoring a delicious cocktail inspired by Italian flavors.

Finally, end your 4-day New York City exploration by joining the annual Halloween Parade in the Village. This iconic parade, which has been a tradition since 1973, features over 80,000 people dressed in various costumes. It's the only parade in the U.S. held on Halloween night and offers a spectacular display of puppets and live bands that the whole family can enjoy.

Where to stay in New York City: Stay at The Bowery Hotel in trendy Nolita, where you can enjoy cozy and stylish rooms with jaw-dropping views.

Check price and availability at The Bowery Hotel here.

Kelly | Girl with the Passport

Manhattan Central Park with bridge and skyscraper in Autumn in New York CityPhoto credit: Paul Weeks

Yosemite National Park, California

October is the perfect time to visit Yosemite National Park and escape the summer crowds.

During this month, the park receives half the number of visitors compared to the summer season. This means you can enjoy popular hiking trails without the usual crowds, and finding parking in Yosemite Valley becomes much easier.

October offers ideal hiking weather, with temperatures usually ranging from the 60s to 70s during the day—a perfect climate for exploring the park on foot.

The main attractions in October are the trails in the Glacier Point and Tioga Pass areas, which are about to close for the season. Don't miss the opportunity to hike to Taft Point, Sentinel Dome, and Glacier Point. Exploring the shores of Tenaya Lake off Tioga Pass is also a wonderful way to spend a fall afternoon.

Yosemite National Park showcases beautiful changing leaves in October. The best time to witness the fall colors is from mid to late October. During a scenic drive around Yosemite Valley, you'll be treated to the sight of yellow and orange-toned trees. The park's meadows also change color, creating a stunning golden landscape.

Where to stay in Yosemite: Stay at the adorable and peaceful Sage Cabin located inside the park, just 15 minutes away from the valley floor.

Check price and availability for Sage Cabin here.

Julia | Well Planned Journey

Golden wildflowers and golden trees on Tioga PassPhoto credit: Well Planned Journey

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

If you want to witness vibrant autumn colors, including stunning fall foliage, Mount Rainier National Park in Washington is a must-visit destination.

The park is known for its picturesque landscapes, and in October, it showcases the beauty of the Pacific Northwest in full autumnal glory.

The changing leaves aren't limited to towering trees; you'll also find shrubs, succulents, and other flora adding to the colorful scenery.

For a low-impact exploration of Mount Rainier in October, drive along the Chinook Scenic Byway. This 107-mile route bypasses the park and Mount Baker, offering breathtaking views of the cascades.

Snoqualmie National Forest is another fantastic option for immersing yourself in the stunning landscapes of the Cascade Mountains.

If you prefer hiking, there are plenty of trails that will take you closer to Rainier and its fall colors. The Skyline Trail, a 5.5-mile hike, offers incredible views of the mountain and the park's colorful autumn foliage. Naches Peak Loop is a 3.2-mile portion of the Pacific Crest Trail that takes you through subalpine meadows ablaze with fall colors.

Where to stay in Mount Rainier National Park: Stay in a cozy cabin in the woods, nestled amidst ferns and cedar trees. The cabin features a hot tub and a fireplace.

Check price and availability for the chipmunk cabin here.

Jessica | Uprooted Traveler

snowy mountain peak with pine trees in Mount Rainier in OctoberPhoto credit: Uprooted Traveler

Napa Valley, California

If you're seeking a picturesque October destination, look no further than the beautiful wine region of Napa Valley in California. The rolling hills covered in vineyards undergo a stunning transformation from lush green to a blend of yellow, red, and orange—a sight to behold.

The best wines of Napa Valley are full-bodied reds, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel, and they are particularly enjoyable in autumn by a cozy fireplace as the weather cools.

Napa Valley comprises several charming towns along the wine trail, and St. Helena is a standout choice for an October visit. Start with a cellar door wine tasting at the famous Auburn James winery just outside the town center. Then, explore the vineyards that are literally at your doorstep.

For a special dining experience where you can savor the local wines paired with incredible food, visit The Farmstead at Paddock to Plate—a farm-to-table restaurant that exemplifies the flavors of the area. It's the perfect way to end a delightful autumn day among the leaves.

Where to stay in Napa Valley: Stay at the quirky El Bonita Motor Inn, where you can enjoy the cooler weather by gathering around the open fire pit with fellow guests.

Check price and availability at El Bonita Motor Inn here.

Emma | Emma Jane Explores

sunset over a vineyard with golden grape vinesPhoto credit: Emma Jane Explores

Asheville, North Carolina

Nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville, North Carolina, is a charming mountain town that truly comes alive with vibrant fall colors in October. It's one of the best vacation spots in the USA during this time of year.

To experience the enchantment of autumn in the mountains, consider spending a weekend or even a full week in Asheville.

With pleasant hiking weather, October is the perfect time to explore the fresh mountain air and admire the changing leaves. There are numerous hiking trails to choose from, including Craggy Gardens, Looking Glass Rock Overlook, and Mount Mitchell for panoramic views of the colorful peaks. Graveyard Fields, Crabtree Falls, and Dupont Forest offer the bonus of beautiful waterfalls along the way.

If hiking isn't your preference, you can still enjoy leaf-peeping by driving along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, which offers numerous overlooks with breathtaking views.

Don't miss a visit to the famous Biltmore Estate, the largest private home in the United States. The estate's gardens and grounds also showcase their own fall foliage.

And of course, indulge in the specialty fall beers from the area's 45+ local craft breweries, including pumpkin ales.

Where to stay in Asheville: Stay at the iconic Omni Grove Park Inn, which offers incredible views of the Blue Ridge Mountains while being conveniently close to downtown.

Check price and availability at the Omni Grove Park Inn here.

Julia | The Cure for Curiosity

Photo credit: The Cure for Curiosity

Savannah, Georgia

Savannah is renowned as one of the most haunted cities in the US, making it a perfect October destination for those seeking a spooky experience. But there's much more to Savannah than just its haunted reputation.

During October, homeowners in Savannah go all out with picturesque fall decorations. Fancy mansions in the Historic District display pumpkins at their entrances, and private gardens are adorned with fall foliage.

Popular shops like River Street Sweets welcome visitors with yellow and orange flowers, enticing them inside to savor caramel apples, warm pralines, and other delectable fall treats.

Of course, while in Savannah, you can also explore the city's rich history, stroll through its charming squares, and enjoy its local cuisine.

Where to stay in Savannah: Stay at The Bohemian Hotel Savannah Riverfront, Autograph Collection, which offers a unique blend of luxury and historical charm.

Check price and availability at The Bohemian Hotel Savannah Riverfront here.

Jessica | Practical Wanderlust

Photo credit: Practical Wanderlust

Kansas City, MO

October is the perfect time to visit Kansas City, Missouri, with its Halloween festivities, haunted houses, pumpkin patches, and other fall activities. The city boasts stunning fall foliage, making it a prime location for leaf peeping. Kansas City is home to numerous fountains, second only to Rome in terms of quantity. Taking a fountain tour during October provides an excellent opportunity to capture breathtaking photos that showcase the combination of fountains and fall colors. Among the city's iconic landmarks is the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain, located near the Plaza.

Sports enthusiasts will discover a passionate football culture in Kansas City, as the locals take their Chiefs team seriously. Catching a fall game at the Power & Light outdoor venue, which features the largest screen outside the stadium, is a must for an unforgettable KC Game Day Experience and a chance to connect with locals while cheering on the Chiefs.

No visit to Kansas City would be complete without trying the city's renowned barbecue. Arthur Bryant's, Joe's, Jack Stack, and Q39 are all excellent choices for award-winning barbecue, with their mouthwatering dishes like ribs, burnt ends, brisket, smoked jalapeno cornbread, and cheesy corn bake.

Where to stay in Kansas City: For a beautiful boutique hotel in a convenient midtown location, consider The Truitt. This nostalgic yet modern establishment offers a memorable stay.

Check price and availability at The Truitt here.

Alexa | Travel in Missouri

fountain in Kansas CityPhoto credit: Alexa from 52 Perfect Days Pin it for later!

country road with colorful leaves and text overlayDisclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Bar Harbor, Maine

What Places to Visit in USA in October: Bar Harbor, MaineBar Harbor, Maine, is a charming small town located on Mount Desert Island. It is famous for its stunning coastline, rich history, and delicious seafood. For nature lovers, Bar Harbor serves as an ideal base to explore Acadia National Park during the autumn months.

Leaf peeping is a popular activity in Acadia National Park in October, with numerous viewpoints offering breathtaking scenery. Begin your exploration on Park Loop Road, which winds through the forest and provides access to highlights such as Thunder Hole, Jordan Pond, and Otter Cliff.

Best Places to Visit in USA in October: Bar Harbor, MaineTo truly appreciate the beauty of the area, make sure to drive up Cadillac Mountain, the highest point in Acadia National Park. October offers an exceptional opportunity to witness breathtaking sunrises from this vantage point, making it one of the best spots in the United States for this experience.

Bar Harbor also boasts a variety of excellent restaurants and cafes where you can indulge in a bowl of chowder or savor a freshly caught Maine lobster. After a day of exploring, consider visiting one of the town's breweries or distilleries for a cozy nightcap.

Book an Acadia National Park & Bar Harbor Self-Guided Tour

That concludes our list of the top 15 travel destinations in the United States for October. We would love to hear about your favorite October travel destinations in the U.S.!

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out our favorite travel books!


Best Places in the USA to Visit in October

In October, the United States offers an array of captivating destinations that are perfect for exploring autumn's vivid colors and crisp air. From the vibrant Eastern Sierras in California to the charming Door County in Wisconsin, there is a destination for every type of traveler. Immerse yourself in the rich history of Philadelphia and Salem, take in the breathtaking landscapes of the Grand Teton National Park and the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. For those seeking city vibes, New York City and Kansas City offer an unlimited array of entertainment options. Whether you prefer secluded beach paradises or bustling urban centers, these destinations will leave you in awe of the beauty that October brings. Now is the time to plan your autumn escape to one of the best US destinations this October.

Showing page 1 of 11