Start looking for your fall vacation destination with our list of the 10 best places to visit in the USA in October! Alternatively you can check out our list of the 11 best places to visit in the USA in November.
October is not exactly the most popular month for vacations, and it’s pretty easy to see why. Everyone is just settling back into school and work after the summer break, which is why most trips are scheduled for Thanksgiving and winter breaks. We just don’t imagine fall activities as anything more than cute little walks in the park and quick fall foliage drives and fruit picking trips on the weekend.
But let me tell you why October may be your designated vacation month for this year (and basically why it is my go-to month for vacations). For one, the weather is so much milder – you don’t have to die in the sweltering summer heat while exploring a new place, and you certainly don’t have to bring as many clothes as you would in winter. And because fewer people take their vacations on this glorious fall month, hotel and airline rates are generally cheaper. In fact, almost everything else is cheaper (except in places and attractions that specialize in fall activities like apple farms) and so you can take your money farther than you would on crowded summer, spring, or winter vacations.
Speaking of crowds, they are mostly absent in popular attractions at this time of the year. You won’t be wasting your precious vacay time stuck in entry lines several miles long. That’s a vacation anyone can live with, yes?
But I think the best thing about October is the feel of it. There’s a certain sense of calmness that hangs in the crisp air and everyone seems more relaxed – none of the grumpiness of summer and the sleepiness of winter. It’s just about right for day-long frolicking, making new friends, and early nights in with a glass of organic, farm-made ales and brews. See what I mean about relaxing?
Of course, it isn’t too bad either that October, the peak of fall and the last days of warmth, that the views are just unbelievably beautiful. There are all shades of browns and reds and oranges everywhere, held against a backdrop of the brightest blue, unless you’re enjoying your idea of a perfect October vacation is in Hawaii for the Ironman World Champions, then your scenery will not be the same. Just as breathtakingly beautiful, in a more summery, tropical view way, that is.
Now, normally I wouldn’t have any trouble compiling this list – or compiling the list of the 11 Best Places to Visit in the USA in September. I am a self-proclaimed fall-vacation advocate, after all. The problem with compiling this list is ranking them to include everyone else’s tastes on what makes a vacation fun or exciting or memorable. I can go on and on and on about taking the best spots in the US for fall foliage, but certain people – like say, my husband – would find that boring and a perfect waste of Oktoberfest opportunities.
So to come up with a more comprehensive and inclusive, unbiased list of the best places to visit in the USA in October, I have consulted America’s (and perhaps the traveling lot’s) most trusted travel guides, Travel and Leisure, Travel Channel, and US News Travel. I’ve also taken some hints from Weather. To rank them, we use two major categories that make up our definition of ‘best destination’: the popularity (decided on by how often it is mentioned in the sources), and the variety of seasonal activities offered. If a place is beautiful and popular but only for fall foliage drives, it might not get as many points as a semi-popular destination that offers festivals, theme parks, beaches, and camping opportunities in October.
So, which favorite American destinations made it to this list of the 10 best places to visit in the USA in October? Read on to find out!