10 Must-See Places to Visit in October

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Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

Whether you are looking to marvel at trees bursting with vibrant fall colors, attend fall festivals or see creepy destinations to celebrate Halloween, there are many great places to visit in October. You can even still enjoy warm weather and beach time, if that’s what your heart desires! From the beer in Germany to apple cider in New England, here are some top picks for an October getaway.

Fall foliage in Massachusetts
Gorgeous fall foliage in Massachusetts. Photo credit: Pixabay

1. New England

When it comes to admiring colorful fall foliage, New England is iconic. October in New England is peak season to see fall color. The weather is crisp and perfect for being outside, admiring the leaves and sipping a hot coffee or cider.

Between the end of September and mid-October, the northern New England states of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont reach the height of their autumn colors. Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island follow close behind!

Take a road trip through New England in early October, and you are bound to see them all! Nowhere else in the USA captures the beauty of autumn like the small towns of New England this time of year.

New England also has two of the country’s most visited national parks – Acadia National Park in Maine and the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Stay in one of the iconic bed and breakfasts in small town Vermont or in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and you’ve found the perfect fall getaway.

Fun Things to Do in New England in October

hot air balloons at Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, a fall festival in the US
The hot air balloons of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. Photo credit: Pixabay

2. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Every year in October, Albuquerque, New Mexico becomes a top tourist destination as the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, a nine-day festival celebrating hot air balloons, comes to town. This nine-day event is the largest hot air balloon festival in the world. Arrive early in the morning for the Mass Ascension, when all the balloons rise together for an amazing photo opportunity!

But the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is not the only reason to visit this beautiful city in New Mexico! Wander the cobblestone streets of Old Town Albuquerque, visit the zoo and botanical gardens or shop for unique southwestern art and clothing.

Fun Things to Do in Albuquerque in October

tree with fall foliage in front of an inn sign in Julian CA
Fall foliage and apple packing mark the changing seasons in Julian, a small town in Southern California. Photo credit: Julian

3. San Diego, California

There really isn’t a bad time of year to visit San Diego, but what makes October special is an annual promotion that arrives every year – Kids Free San Diego.

During the entire month of October, dozens of San Diego hotels, restaurants, attractions, museums, tours and transportation companies will offer families the opportunity to unwind in San Diego while saving big. Participating places include Legoland California, SeaWorld San Diego and many other parks and attractions.

The weather in San Diego is sunny and warm in October, making it a perfect time to enjoy these outdoor activities. There are many other great things to do, as well! San Diego is home to the best zoo in the world – the San Diego Zoo, as well as SeaWorld San Diego, USS Midway Museum, Balboa Park, Mission San Luis Rey, Old Town San Diego State Park and some of the most beautiful beaches and golf courses in California.

Fun Things to Do in San Diego in October

  • Check out the animals at the San Diego Zoo
  • Eat Mexican food in Old Town San Diego
  • Explore the shops and restaurants at Seaport Village
  • Take a day trip to the mountain town of Julian for their famous apple pie
  • Take a harbor cruise
  • Have fun at the Legoland California Resort or SeaWorld San Diego
Salem Witch Museum in Massachusetts, a spooky destination to visit in October
A visit to the Salem Witch Museum is a must-do when visiting Plymouth, Massachusetts. Photo credit: See Plymouth Massachusetts

4. Salem, Massachusetts

If ever there was a time of year to visit a destination known for its history of witch trials, October is the month.

Salem, Massachusetts is famous for the witch trials of 1692, when a number of people were executed for allegedly practicing witchcraft. Learn about the town’s gruesome history on a walking tour or visit to the Salem Witch Museum.

Throughout the month of October, Salem celebrates its legacy with a series of events, including a broom-making workshop, movie nights, Oktoberfest at the Salem Waterfront Hotel, witch costume parade and many other happenings.

Fun Things to Do in Salem in October

  • Visit the Salem Witch Museum
  • Take a Haunted Walking Tour
  • See the Old Burying Point Cemetery
  • Visit the Salem Witch Trials Memorial
  • Explore the city on a bike or scooter
  • See the House of the Seven Gables
  • Check out art at the Peabody Essex Museum
  • Attend a Halloween-themed event in late October
North Carolina Arboretum is a great destination for fall foliage in October
The glorious North Carolina Arboretum shines year round. Photo credit: Explore Asheville

5. Asheville, North Carolina

Take a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina for some of the most vibrant fall foliage in the USA. It is one of the best places to travel to in October!

The road is alive with color and offers lots of spots and overlooks to pull over and take in the beautiful landscape. Asheville is the perfect place to call home base for your October getaway.

The fall weather in North Carolina is ideal for driving with the top down or hiking through the Pisgah National Forest, where there are many hiking trails boasting waterfalls and opportunities for leaf-peeping. Asheville, North Carolina is also home to the famous Biltmore Estate.

 Fun Things to Do in Asheville in October

  • Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway scenic route
  • Visit the North Carolina Arboretum
  • Take a tour of the Biltmore Estate
  • Take a hike in the Pisgah National Forest
  • Visit the Asheville Pinball Museum
  • Stroll through the River Arts District
 the ruins of Pompeii in Italy, a great destination in October
Take a tour of the ruins of Pompeii in Italy. Photo credit: Gwen Kleist

6. Italy

The summer months are high season in Italy and throughout Europe, which is exactly why October is one of the best months to visit. Hotel and airfare prices are at their lowest in the off-season, and the summer crowds are gone, too. That means you can stroll through the country’s many museums, historical sites, beautiful villages without the hassles of summer crowds.

Located just a few hours from Rome, the Italian Riviera along the Mediterranean coast is amazing this time of year! Check out Sicily, Positano, Cinque Terre, Tuscany and Naples to enjoy sightseeing without summer crowds.

Fun Things to Do in Italy in October

  • Visit Vatican City in Rome
  • Enjoy the scenic vistas along the Amalfi Coast
  • Tour the ruins in Pompeii
  • Take a tour of the Colosseum
  • Go wine tasting at one of Italy’s many wineries
  • Take a ferry to the Island of Capri
  • Take a Puglia road trip
  • Enjoy a romantic gondola ride in Venice
Lafayette Square Fountain in Savannah, Georgia, a great place to visit in October
Lafayette Square Fountain in Savannah, Georgia. Photo credit: Visit Savannah

7. Savannah, Georgia

Savannah maintains an air of mystery and eeriness all year long – with its old Southern architecture, fountains and streets set under a veil of Spanish moss – but an October visit is extra special.

Known as one of the USA’s most haunted cities, visiting Savannah during the Halloween season just makes sense! There are ghost tours, cemeteries and spooky spots of all kinds waiting to be explored.

In addition, Savannah is home to some top notch attractions, including a phenomenal civil rights museum, 22 park squares and the historic River Steet and City Market.

Fun Things to Do in Savannah in October

greetings form austin postcard mural, a must stop when visiting Austin in October
A popular stop for tourists and locals alike, the Greetings from Austin postcard mural is a great photo spot. Photo credit: Nasreen Stump

8. Austin, Texas

October is a super time of the year to visit this hip Texas city, known for its good food, craft beer and live music.

Though it can get very hot in the summer, by October temperatures have cooled down and bright fall foliage offers a splash of color along the river and throughout the city. Spend time exploring the city via a brewery tour or on bikes or venture outside for a hike at along the Barton Creek Greenbelt.

You’ll find lots of events happening in October, including an Oktoberfest celebration and the Austin City Limits Music Festival, an annual music festival held in Zilker Park.

Fun Things to Do in Austin in October

  • Listen to live music
  • Take a brewery tour
  • Visit the Texas Capitol
  • Take a road trip through Texas hill country
  • Check out the Congress Bridge bats at sunset
  • Go paddleboarding or kayaking on the lake
  • Take a bike tour of Austin
  • Eat bratwurst at the famous Scholz Garten
  • Hike to a waterfall at McKinney Falls State Park
  • Admire the abundant fall foliage
  • Hike in the many state parks
  • Visit a pumpkin patch or go apple picking
Oktoberfest celebration in Munich, Germany, a great destination to visit in October
The Oktoberfest celebration in Munich, Germany is the largest in the world! Photo credit: Oktoberfest.de

9. Germany

When you think of October, you think of Oktoberfest! And although there are many Oktoberfest celebrations all around the world, why not go to the source of all the fun – Germany!

October is considered the shoulder season in Germany, so you can enjoy the lull between the busy summer months and start of the Christmas markets in December. The weather is pleasant, there are fewer crowds, and rates for flights, accommodations and rental cars are more affordable this time of year.

Though Oktoberfest fall festivals typically starts in September, you can still be part of the fun if you visit Munich – home of the world’s largest Oktoberfest celebration – in early October.

Take a trip to the Bavarian Alps to explore snow-free hiking and biking trails. You can also see Neuschwanstein Castle, a gorgeous sight with its white turrets against a backdrop of colorful fall foliage.

Fun Things to Do in Germany in October

  • Drink beer at Oktoberfest
  • Take photos of Neuschwanstein Castle
  • Hike in the Bavarian Alps
  • Take a guided bike tour of the Berlin Wall
  • Enjoy the outdoors at Berchtesgaden National Park
  • Visit the museums in Berlin
  • Take a tour of Cologne Cathedral
  • Take a guided beer tour
  • Stroll around the fairytale-like Old Town of Quedlinburg
  • Go to the BMW Museum in Munich
  • Take a river cruise in Rhine Valley
Autumn colors in NY's Central Park, one of the best places to visit in October
Central Park offers an escape for visitor and locals alike. Photo credit: Pixabay

10. New York City

Just like springtime in New York is magical, so is the fall! The weather is cool, the leaves are changing color, and there is a crispness in the air! Temperatures average in the 50s and 60s.  October is an ideal time to experience the best of autumn in New York.

Explore New York City’s many great neighborhoods and parks – especially Central Park, where the leaves are sure to be in full color and are especially beautiful with the NYC skyline as a backdrop. Head to Times Square to catch a show on Broadway or one of the many small theaters and comedy clubs throughout the city. There are an endless number of attractions, museums, shops and architectural wonders waiting to be explored.

If you are visiting over Halloween, don’t miss the Village Halloween Parade, the best-known Halloween celebration in New York!

Fun Things to Do in New York in October