Fall is absolutely my favorite season to travel. Although I love the winter and it’s a close second, there is just no beating those gorgeous fall colors. Fall foliage is everywhere and you can find it in places you might least expect. Because of my love for the autumn season, I wanted to share my best places to travel in October. Whether for a quick fall break or full-length fall vacation, I truly found these destinations to be fantastic choices for this peak month of travel!
Best Places to Travel in October
I’ve now profusely proclaimed my love of October travel. Besides December, it’s my favorite time to be on the move and, if given the choice, I would be gone October 1-31 every year. So little time, so many places to see in this popular fall month. I will definitely be adding more in the future but these are currently my recommendations for the best places to travel in October!
Note: As of December 2018, the I amsterdam sign is no longer located at the museum.
Most people think of Amsterdam in the spring for its famous tulip season. While I can personally attest that the tulips near Amsterdam are gorgeous, don’t discount the Dutch capital during the fall. It is one of the best places to travel in October and for good reason.
New England is known as one of the top destinations for October travel but Maine is particularly beautiful. Acadia National Park is definitely a fan favorite with hot spots such as Cadillac Mountain for both views and fall foliage. However, I highly recommend road-tripping throughout the area from Bar Harbor to Bangor and the surrounding areas. Quaint, little towns, beautiful bridges, and endless opportunities for fall colors are the many draws to the area.
Also, don’t forget that Bangor is home to Stephen King and the available tours make for the perfect activity in October. In addition, the entire area is known for yummy eats so there is something for all the foodies visiting Maine too!
Japan in October…oh my, where to start? It is in my top three all-time favorite places but for fall travel, it might rank number one! Similar to Amsterdam, Japan is thought of mainly in the springtime for cherry blossom season. Admittedly, I haven’t been in the spring (but it’s on my list!). Instead, I went in October and was highly rewarded with some of the most gorgeous fall colors I have ever seen!
From Kyoto to Nachi Falls to Mount Fuji, the views and colors are epic. I definitely recommend visiting towards the end of October and sticking around into November for peak colors and the start of Christmas decorations. If doing so, Tokyo Disneyland for Halloween makes for a super-fun adventure!
Didn’t expect this one on the list? Well, surprise…Alabama is definitely a hidden gem! Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachians, northern Alabama boasts beautiful hikes and drives for fall colors. Alabama has much to explore from state parks to canyons, caverns, caves, and even…glow worms!
Probably my favorite place to see fall foliage is DeSoto Falls in DeSoto State Park. The colors are gorgeous and the entire surrounding area is perfect for leaf-peeping. Don’t miss Little River Canyon and Lookout Mountain Parkway for beautiful fall drives. For fall hiking and camping, Cheaha State Park is a great option. Home to Mount Cheaha, Alabama’s highest peak, the park boasts both pretty drives and lookouts for fall colors!
Located in the Canadian province of Alberta, Calgary should definitely be an October travel goal. I’ve actually visited this area in all four seasons and the fall is my favorite! Fall colors are gorgeous around Calgary but a really popular area is near the Peace Bridge. Go a little before sunset for the lighting and stay to watch the main event. A happening foodie town, definitely check out all the delicious treats in Calgary. I was pleasantly surprised at the range of unique options.
While there, Banff is only about 1.5 hours from Calgary and is a very scenic drive. About 30 minutes farther is Lake Louise and the Icefields Parkway. All of these boast gorgeous views and drives making this area one of the best places to visit in October!
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New York City
I know what you’re thinking on this one but hear me out. Yes, New York City is perfect to visit in late October. It takes a little while for the leaves to change in the city but when they do, they are amazing! Central Park is obviously a go-to but there are also areas in Brooklyn and the other surrounding boroughs worth hitting up as well. Even if you only went for the knockout views in Central Park, NYC is still a great idea for fall travel.
Be sure to take advantage of all New York City has to offer while visiting. There are options galore from museums, history, skyscraper views, bridges, Broadway, and shopping. Two of my personal favorite highlights are NYC street art and these NYC restaurants for the foodies!
Iceland, the land of fire and ice, is a year-round destination. However, I visited in October and was quite happy with this choice. Why? Well, there was snow, fall colors, and the northern lights! The roads are still accessible and the fall colors against the glacial blue waters of the waterfalls and geothermal pools are a beautiful, contrasting combination.
Photographers will find Iceland in October to be lucrative while nature lovers and wildlife watchers will be perfectly in their elements. In October there are always chances to see and photograph the northern lights, ride Icelandic horses, see incredible black sand beaches, hike glaciers, try unique food, and more!
As a city-lover myself, if you don’t love the outdoors or rural areas, I still highly recommend Iceland. In addition to the beautiful scenery, the culture is very interesting and the people are quite friendly!
The perfect place to mix big-city vibes with a plethora of nature opportunities is Seattle, Washington. Generally, the fall colors start earlier in the Pacific Northwest making October a fantastic choice for a fall getaway. With Mount Rainier National Park and Olympic National Park both around a two-hour drive from Seattle, fall colors and mountain views are plentiful!
In the city, gorgeous leaf-peeping can be found all around particularly in the area of the Space Needle. Right next door, don’t miss Chihuly Garden and Glass for gorgeous art installations. Look for fall colors to provide stunning backdrops in the garden as well. For foodies, Seattle brings the heat. Asian, Russian, poke, bakeries, Italian…you name it, Seattle has it and does it well!
I don’t know anyone who has been to Greece and hasn’t loved it, myself included. What makes Greece one of the best places to visit in October isn’t necessarily fall colors but more the fact that it’s shoulder season. This means cooler temperatures, fewer people, and it’s less expensive. All sounds great, right? I can personally assure you that it is. I landed in Greece in mid-October and stayed through November 1st and I would most definitely do this timeline again!
You can’t go wrong with any area you choose in Greece. However, I highly recommend island fun and sunsets in Santorini, historical adventures in Athens, driving the mainland, and the stunning views of Meteora. If you have even more time, Olympia, Nafplio, and Zakynthos are good options too. And, most definitely, eat ALL the Greek food!
Where is your favorite fall destination? Where do you like to travel in October? Since it’s one of my favorite months, I’m always looking for cool new places. Drop your suggestions in the comments below, please. I always love hearing from you!
‘Til next time…