As the air turns crisp and the vibrant colors of autumn begin to paint the landscape, a sense of enchantment sweeps across the world. October is here. It offers an opportunity to embark on unforgettable journeys to some of the most spectacular travel destinations. From breathtaking fall foliage to fewer crowds, this magical month holds countless treasures for travelers. Whether you’re looking for a long weekend or the vacation of a lifetime, the best places to travel in October will leave you with unforgettable memories.
While summer often gets all the credit for being the best travel season, there is something to be said about October. If you want to make beautiful memories, there’s no better time than among peak fall foliage. Imagine strolling through enchanting forests and hiking along trails surrounded by a kaleidoscope of colors. Or simply savoring the crisp autumn air amidst breathtaking landscapes. From the mesmerizing Acadia National Park in Maine to the picturesque vineyards of Napa Valley, countless destinations come alive with the vibrant hues of October.
Another notable benefit to traveling in October is the diminished crowds. As the summer vacation season ends, popular tourist destinations become less crowded. Imagine exploring historic sites, meandering through charming towns, and indulging in local cuisines without the hustle and bustle of peak travel periods. Whether you have your sights set on Prague’s romantic castles or the rolling hills of Scotland, you can explore these destinations at a more relaxed pace.
Ready to embark on a fall adventure? Let October’s magic unfold before you as you discover these remarkable locations that promise a truly extraordinary travel experience!
How to find the best travel deals in October
One of the biggest benefits of traveling in October is the deals you’ll find. In most instances, the best places to travel to in October are also some of the cheapest places to fly to because it’s the off-season. Still, even reduced flights can be expensive. That’s why I always recommend looking for flight deals no matter when or where you’re traveling.
By far, my favorite way to save money is Scott’s Cheap Flights (now called Going). I have used this service for years to find the cheapest domestic and international flights. Every time I’ve booked a round-trip flight, I’ve saved hundreds of dollars. The best part? It’s 100% free!
Simply sign up, select your home airport, then receive free email alerts about cheap flight deals. They also send out alerts regarding mistake fares and other too-good-to-be-true savings.
While the free tier is a great way to save money on occasional flights, I recommend looking into the premium-level membership if you travel often. For just $49 a year, you’re the first to know about exclusive deals and incredible savings. I’ve saved thousands of dollars on flights since I started using Scott’s Cheap Flights, and you can see those savings, too. For an even better deal, use my discount code Jon20 to save 20% when you join Going!
Other considerations for finding the best places to travel in October
When finding the best places to travel in October, you must consider several factors to ensure a memorable and enjoyable trip. After all, the term “best” can be highly subjective. While I might prefer a fall camping trip in Maine, you may prefer an escape to South Africa, where October means spring. No matter your ideal fall vacation, there is something here for everyone.
There are many factors to consider when choosing the best travel destinations in October. For one, consider the weather. In some areas, the weather is still mild enough to enjoy many outdoor activities without many layers. However, if you’re venturing to Canada, you’ll want to pack those wool socks, especially if it’s at the end of the month.
Something else to consider is the seasonal highlights of different locations. Much of October’s allure lies in the unique experiences it offers. Consider destinations known for specific seasonal attractions during this month. Whether it’s witnessing the stunning fall foliage in New England, enjoying Oktoberfest celebrations in Munich, or experiencing the grape harvest season in wine regions, aligning your interests with seasonal highlights will enhance your travel experience!
When selecting the best places to travel in October, I looked at weather, seasonal highlights, unique experiences, and overall traveler appeal. These destinations offer diverse experiences, from natural beauty and outdoor adventures to cultural festivities and culinary delights.
Now, without further ado, here are 11 of the best places to visit in October!
1. Acadia National Park, Maine
When looking for the best places to travel in October, you can’t go wrong with anywhere in New England. As a Bostonian, I may be slightly biased, but it’s hard to beat a Northeast Fall. But rather than dominating this list with all my favorite spots in New England, I settled for the number one New England travel destination in October: Acadia National Park.
While Salem, Massachusetts, may reign as New England’s best Halloween town, Acadia takes the cake for its stunning fall foliage, beautiful coastline, and charming seaside accommodations. I’m not the only one who feels that way. Acadia is one of the most visited parks in the United States and North America. And while it’s a great place to visit year-round, it’s truly magical in October.
Picture this: warm, vibrant hues of the fall foliage beautifully juxtaposed with the evergreen trees, blue waters, and rugged rocky coastline. It’s like a painting come to life. In addition to exploring the many hiking trails, driving to the top of Cadillac Mountain, and camping in the woods with a cozy fire, you can also explore the charming town of Bar Harbor. Fall in Bar Harbor is the perfect place to enjoy a warm cup of coffee or some lobster bisque. You will certainly fall in love with the New England coast this October!
Looking to save BIG on airfare? I recommend signing up for the free version of Dollar Flight Club. Thanks to DFC, I’ve saved THOUSANDS of dollars…so I couldn’t recommend it more!
2. Banff National Park, Calgary
Looking for the best Canadian destination in October? Banff National Park is hard to beat. Nestled in the snow-capped Canadian Rockies in Alberta, Banff National Park is Canada’s first national park and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Much like Acadia, there is so much to do and see here all year, but it is truly a special place to visit in the fall, especially in October.
Canadian Octobers are already chilly, so be sure to pack your warm socks to check out the sprawling vistas and activities within Banff. For the best views, I recommend planning your visit in early October. This way, you’ll get to experience larch season and the fall foliage in its full force before it’s too late.
At the end of September and beginning of October, Banff’s larch trees turn a brilliant golden color that quickly becomes the highlight of many fall hikes. To experience the golden beauty, some of the best hikes include Larch Valley, Arnica Lake, and Healy Pass. October is also the last time to see the famous Lake Louise before it freezes for the winter. This famous Banff destination features bright turquoise coloring and is a stunning backdrop for photos.
In addition to hiking, there are plenty of other things to do in Banff in October. The Banff Lake Cruise and the Banff Gondola are two popular attractions, and October has fewer crowds. You can relax on a 1-hour sightseeing cruise on Lake Minnewanka and then ride to the summit of Sulphur Mountain on the Banff Gondola. If you’re visiting at the end of October, be sure to check out the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival or take a Halloween ghost tour!
3. Napa Valley, California
Do you love wine and beautiful weather? Then you need to book yourself a California getaway this fall. While technically a region, Napa Valley is one of the best places to travel in October. Here, you can experience warm, sunny weather, clear, blue skies, and an abundance of plump, juicy grapes just waiting to be transformed into wine.
October is the tail end of the harvest season, and the entire region is abuzz with the delights of good weather and the “crush.” Beginning in August, wineries begin picking grapes for white and sparkling wine. Come October, it’s time to pick the reds. Many wineries throughout Napa Valley celebrate this season by hosting harvest parties and grape stomping events. Oenophiles flock to California’s wine region to partake in the festivities!
Some of the most popular events with wine include the Grape Stomp at Grgich Hills Estate, Clip, Stomp, and Sip Harvest Party at Bouchaine Vineyards, and Taste the Estate at Priest Ranch. You can still have a fabulous time in Napa, even if you don’t drink! You can take a hot air balloon ride to enjoy scenic views of the valley, enjoy the hot springs and natural mineral spas in Calistoga, or celebrate Halloween in Napa Valley with family-friendly parades or adult costume parties. Whether a honeymoon destination, a girls’ getaway, or a family vacation, Napa Valley is one of the best places to visit in October!
4. Prague, Czech Republic
Looking for a European escape? Prague is one of the best places to travel in October. Known for its rich history, culture, and stunning architecture, Czech Republic’s capital is worth a visit year-round, but especially in the fall. In October, the weather is still pleasant, the crowds are fewer, and the city comes alive with the sound of music.
As the weather cools and the foliage transforms into vibrant hues, the city comes alive with music and art events. Classical and jazz music truly take the stage, especially at the International Jazz Festival, an ongoing tradition for over 50 years. Designblok, the Prague Signal Festival, and the Day of Czechoslovakia Independence are also big celebrations in October.
To take in this region’s mesmerizing views, check out the Petrin Hill Observation Tower. This viewpoint is located near the famous Prague Castle and offers stunning views of the enchanting scenery. While enjoying the sites and festivals of Prague in October, be sure to enjoy some of the delicious food. Try traditional Prague street food, such as rolled pastries hot off the roller and tart-but-sweet mulled wine.
5. Tuscany, Italy
Does your ideal October evening involve dining alfresco amidst a warm backdrop of fall foliage? Do you dream of young wines, hearty pasta dishes, and dipping bread into the best olive oil you’ve ever tasted? If this sounds like your kind of vacation, it’s time to book a trip to Tuscany! This famous region in Italy is one of the best places to travel in October, and I’ll tell you why.
By October, harvest season is in full swing, and the air is filled with the sweet aroma of roasted chestnuts. Even the weather remains pleasant with warm temperatures and sunshine. With such beautiful weather, you will long to spend your days outside enjoying the pastoral countryside and exploring the Tyrrhenian coastline. Head to any region with multiple seasons, and you’ll likely experience stunning fall foliage at some point. But in Tuscany, it just hits differently.
Florence is a popular destination to start. You can visit the Boboli Gardens, the famous Medici Chapel, and wander around Piazzale Michelangelo. If you venture north, you can enjoy the Apennine foothills and the Orecchiella Nature Reserve Park. These are some of the best places to enjoy the scenic autumn. Then, drive through picturesque Lucca to explore the bucolic Siena and Chianti wine regions. Fewer tourists visit Tuscany in October, so you can enjoy the sites, the festivals, and of course, the food and the wine without the crowds.
6. Scottish Highlands, Scotland
While Scotland is known for its lush, rolling green hills, there is something completely mesmerizing about the Scottish Highlands in the autumn. If you truly want to experience the magic of fall in the United Kingdom, Scotland is one of the best travel destinations in October.
When visiting the Scottish Highlands in October, you will be blown away by the spectacular colors in nature. Not only are the trees ablaze with yellow, orange, and red but the atmospheric skies of purple and blue truly shine. The Uath Lochans Trail near Kingussie in the Cairngorms National Park will give you unparalleled views of a woodland wonderland.
Daytime isn’t the only time to enjoy the Scottish Highlands in the fall. October is a great time to view spectacular sunsets and stargaze during dark nights. Tomintoul & Glenlivet Cairngorms Dark Sky Park is the most northern place in the world and the darkest in the UK. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a romantic night staring up at the stars. And for gazing at the milky way, add Abriachan Community Forest near Loch Ness to your itinerary. You may even spot Nessie if you’re lucky!
Speaking of Nessie, October is the perfect time to go wild. From hiking the highest peak, Ben Nevis, to biking the Highland Wildcat Trails in Golspie (the longest freeride descent in the UK), there is something for every adventurer. You can also golf on one of 30 courses in the Highlands, including the championship course of Royal Dornoch.
7. Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is the place to go for an October vacation destination without the cool, crisp fall weather. It is one of the best places to visit in October because this month signals the height of springtime in the summer hemisphere. With mild weather and longer daylight hours, it’s an ideal time to explore the city’s outdoor attractions and enjoy hiking, beach visits, and picnics.
If you’re not wowed by the fall foliage, then perhaps wildflowers are more your speed. October is the start of the wildflower season in Cape Town’s surrounding areas, particularly in the West Coast National Park. In October, the region bursts into a riot of colors as fields and hillsides become covered in beautiful blooms, creating a breathtaking spectacle for nature lovers and photographers. You can also find beautiful flowers in Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, renowned for its diverse plant life and scenic walking trails.
To fully enjoy the beauty of the season, I recommend hiking up Table Mountain or Lion’s Head for stunning panoramic views of the city and coastline. For a family-friendly activity, try whale watching in nearby Hermanus! October is the peak of the whale watching season, and you can find great views of whales as they come close to shore to breed and calve. You can take a boat trip or simply enjoy land-based whale watching from the cliffs.
Cape Town also offers wonderful beaches you can enjoy in October. Camps Bay Beach and Windmill Beach are both highly-rated. After some fun in the sun, indulge in fresh seafood, sample local wines, and explore the city’s vibrant food culture.
8. The Bavarian Alps, Germany
While Oktoberfest is more of a September activity, there is still plenty to do and see in Southern Germany in October. In fact, October is one of the best times to visit the Bavarian Alps, especially if you love crisp weather and beautiful mountainscapes. It’s also ideal for outdoor enthusiasts, as recreation activities are abundant.
Hiking is a popular choice during an October trip to the Alps. Be sure to dress in layers and explore the scenic trails and enjoy breathtaking views of the mountain peaks, valleys, and lakes. The Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak, offers various hiking routes suitable for different skill levels. You can also visit the Partnach Gorge, a stunning natural wonder with narrow pathways carved through the rock.
For adventure seekers, consider activities like paragliding, mountain biking, or even skiing on the glacier slopes, depending on weather conditions. The alpine lakes, such as Lake Eibsee or Lake Kochelsee, offer opportunities for boating, kayaking, or simply enjoying a leisurely lakeside stroll.
Be sure to leave plenty of time for visiting the picturesque towns and villages of the Bavarian Alps. Explore the charming town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, known for its Bavarian architecture, quaint streets, and traditional markets. Another must-visit is the fairytale-like Neuschwanstein Castle, nestled amidst the mountains. Take a tour of this iconic castle and marvel at its enchanting beauty.
9. Kyoto, Japan
Kyoto may be most famous for its spring cherry blossoms, but this Japanese city on the island of Honshu is one of the best places to travel in October. Visiting Kyoto, Japan, in October offers a captivating experience with pleasant weather, stunning autumn foliage, and cultural festivities. It will truly leave you with an unforgettable vacation!
One of the highlights of visiting Kyoto in October is witnessing the vibrant fall foliage. The city’s numerous temples, gardens, and parks transform into a breathtaking canvas of red, orange, and gold hues. Stroll through iconic sites like Kiyomizu-dera, Tofuku-ji, or Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, and immerse yourself in beautiful nature.
October is also a time for cultural festivities in Kyoto City. The Jidai Matsuri, one of Kyoto’s three major festivals, takes place on October 22nd. It is a grand procession showcasing costumes and historical events from different periods of Kyoto’s history. Witness the parade as it winds its way through the streets of the city, offering a glimpse into its rich cultural heritage.
Visiting Kyoto in October allows you to explore the city’s temples and shrines without the crowds of peak tourist season. You can appreciate the tranquility and serenity of iconic sites like Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion), Ryoan-ji (Zen rock garden), and Fushimi Inari Taisha (with its famous torii gates). Daigoji Temple is normally known for its cherry blossoms, but it is equally beautiful in the fall!
10. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
If you’ve always wanted to visit Yellowstone National Park but dreaded the large crowds, now is your chance. While the park’s vast wilderness, geothermal wonders, and abundant wildlife make it an extraordinary destination year-round, it is particularly wonderful in the fall. As the park transitions into autumn, it offers a unique blend of stunning landscapes, wildlife encounters, and fewer crowds.
In October, Yellowstone’s landscape undergoes a breathtaking transformation as the foliage turns vibrant shades of gold, orange, and red. The park’s vast forests, meadows, and mountains become a photographer’s paradise. It’s also a good time for wildlife viewing. As the park prepares for winter, animals become more active and visible. You may spot elk, bison, moose, and even grizzly bears as they engage in mating rituals and forage for food. Just remember to keep your distance and never approach the wildlife!
As the temperatures cool in the fall, it becomes an ideal time for outdoor activities. Explore the park’s extensive trail network, such as the scenic hikes to Grand Prismatic Spring or the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River. Fishing, horseback riding, and cycling are also popular activities in October.
One of the biggest reasons Yellowstone is one of the best places to travel in October is fewer crowds. October is considered the shoulder season in Yellowstone, meaning fewer visitors compared to the summer months. This allows for a more peaceful and intimate experience as you explore the park’s iconic sights without the crowds. You can enjoy Old Faithful, Mammoth Hot Springs, and Norris Geyser Basin without a large crowd.
11. Santorini, Greece
Have you been dreaming about a Grecian getaway? Santorini, Greece, with its enchanting beauty and idyllic landscapes, stands as an irresistible destination throughout the year. However, October unveils a unique allure, making it one of the best times to experience the magic of this Aegean gem. With its stunning vistas, pleasant weather, and quieter ambiance, Santorini is one of the best places to travel in October.
One of the most compelling reasons to visit Santorini in October is the weather. As the scorching summer heat gives way to cooler temperatures, the island basks in the embrace of a gentle autumn breeze. The milder climate is ideal for exploring the island’s unique architecture, wandering through its charming towns, and indulging in outdoor activities. Rent a bike and cycle through the vineyards of Megalochori, explore the traditional settlement of Pyrgos, or pedal along the coastal road for stunning ocean views.
October also brings a sense of tranquility to Santorini. The island takes on a more serene atmosphere as the tourist crowds thin out. This allows travelers to fully appreciate its natural beauty and iconic vistas. Whether you’re admiring the iconic whitewashed buildings perched on the cliffs of Fira and Oia or sampling the island’s signature Assyrtiko white wine, the absence of crowds enhances Santorini’s intimate and romantic ambiance.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the best places to travel in October
Are you looking to make some big travel plans this fall? Information is power! Here are some of the most common questions (and answers) regarding the best places to travel in October.
Where is the best place to visit in October?
If you’re planning an October getaway, you’re in for a treat. This month offers a world of possibilities, from fall foliage to spooky celebrations. Here are a few top picks:
- New England, USA: October is prime time for leaf-peeping in New England. The region’s forests explode in a riot of reds, oranges, and yellows, creating a stunning backdrop for hiking, apple picking, or simply enjoying a scenic drive.
- Munich, Germany: If beer and bratwurst sound like your idea of a good time, head to Munich for Oktoberfest. This world-famous festival actually starts in late September and runs until the first weekend in October.
- Kyoto, Japan: While most people associate Japan with cherry blossoms, autumn in Kyoto is equally beautiful. The city’s temples and gardens are surrounded by vibrant fall colors, making it a serene and picturesque destination.
- Transylvania, Romania: For a spookier October adventure, why not visit the home of Dracula? Transylvania offers Gothic castles, medieval towns, and plenty of Halloween fun.
Remember, the best place to visit in October will depend on your personal interests and travel preferences. So whether you’re after natural beauty, cultural experiences, or a bit of Halloween thrill, there’s a perfect October destination out there for you. Happy travels!
What are some popular destinations for fall foliage in October?
One of the best parts of traveling in the fall is experiencing the fall foliage, especially in early October. Some of the most popular destinations known for their stunning fall foliage in October include New England in the United States (particularly Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine), Banff in Alberta, Canada, Tuscany in Italy, and the Scottish Highlands in Scotland.
What are the best places to travel in October?
October offers a range of wonderful destinations to explore, ranging from the Northeast US to the islands of Japan. Here are some of the most popular destinations in October:
- Acadia National Park, Maine
- Santorini, Greece
- Kyoto, Japan
- Cape Town, South Africa
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Napa Valley, California
- Yellowstone National Park
- Tuscany, Italy
- Banff National Park
- Scottish Highlands
- The Bavarian Alps
How can I find the best flight deals for traveling in October?
Thankfully, in addition to great weather and stunning views, fall travel has the added perk of cheaper flights. Since fall is a shoulder season, in most cases, it isn’t a super popular month for tourism, so airlines may offer cheaper flights in October.
However, you don’t have to rely on airlines lowering their airfare to find the most affordable tickets. To find the best flight deals for October travel, I recommend signing up for airline newsletters or fare alerts to stay updated on promotions and discounts. My favorite has always been Scott’s Cheap Flights (now called Going) because it’s free, easy to use, and has saved me a LOT of money on flights over the years.
In addition to fare alert sites, utilize flight comparison websites and search engines to compare airline prices. Sometimes prices will vary significantly depending on the airline and the airport. I also recommend that you be flexible with your travel dates. Consider flying on weekdays or during off-peak hours to find better deals.
Is October a busy time to travel?
October is generally a less busy time to travel compared to the peak summer months and major holiday periods. As the summer vacation season ends and children return to school, tourist numbers tend to decrease in many popular destinations.
However, it’s important to note that the level of busyness can still vary depending on the specific location and destination type. Some places may still experience a moderate influx of visitors, particularly those known for their fall foliage, festivals, or other seasonal attractions during October. For example, Munich is a very popular destination in September and October because of Oktoberfest.
Additionally, some popular tourist destinations that enjoy pleasant weather year-round, such as cities with mild climates or tropical beach destinations, may still see a steady flow of tourists in October. Certain events, festivals, or holidays specific to the month of October can also draw crowds to particular destinations.
In general, compared to the peak travel seasons, October offers a more relaxed and less crowded travel experience. It allows for easier access to attractions, shorter lines, and better availability of accommodations and flights. However, it’s always advisable to research and plan ahead, especially if you have specific destinations or activities in mind. This ensures a smoother and more enjoyable travel experience.
Where is the cheapest place to fly in October?
With plenty of cheap travel deals in the fall, there are plenty of cheap destinations to fly to in October. Of course, finding the best places to fly in October on a budget will depend on your departure location, travel preferences, and current flight deals.
Still, here are some popular destinations that are among the cheapest places to fly in October, in no particular order:
- New Orleans, Louisiana
- Denver, Colorado
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Montreal, Canada
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Bali, Indonesia
- Mexico City, Mexico
- Athens, Greece
- Lima, Peru
- San José, Costa Rica
Which country is best to visit in October 2023?
If you’re planning an epic adventure for October 2023, I’ve got a destination that’s sure to make your heart sing: Italy.
Why Italy? Well, October is a magical time to visit this Mediterranean gem. The summer crowds have thinned, the scorching heat has cooled, and the harvest season brings a bounty of delights. Imagine strolling through vineyards in Tuscany, sipping on the year’s new wine, or joining in on a truffle hunt in Piedmont.
In cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice, you’ll enjoy shorter lines at famous sites like the Colosseum or Uffizi Gallery. And let’s not forget about the food! October is prime time for wild mushrooms, chestnuts, and pumpkins, which feature in many delicious Italian dishes.
Plus, Italy in October offers a range of festivals, from Alba’s White Truffle Festival to Rome’s Film Festival. Is this one of the coolest destinations to visit in October? You bet!