19 Top-Rated Places to Travel in October

Written by Lana Law, Michael Law and Shandley McMurray
Updated Sep 29, 2023
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When the stifling temperatures and muggy days of summer recede, no need to be sad. Now on to the best season of all: Autumn. It's time for apple cider, crisp winds, and glowing red, orange, and yellow leaves. And it's also a great time to get away.

October in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
October in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada | Photo Copyright: Lana Law

So, where to go in October? Tourists flock to North America at this time to catch fall foliage at its peak. From visiting Ontario's expansive parks to hiking through mountains in Vermont, the USA and Canada offer a bevy of awe-inspiring venues to catch unbeatable views.

Europe is also a fantastic fall destination, whether you're looking for beaches or interested in exploring historic cities without the blazing heat of summer.

Those craving a beach vacation in October are also in luck, Tahiti is lovely, the Canary Islands are warm and not busy, and Crete still has a mid-summer vibe.

Fall travelers won't have to elbow their way through hordes of tourists, and they have the added benefit of lower prices at hotels, restaurants, and attractions.

For more ideas on destinations for your fall vacation, read our list of the best places to travel in October.

1. The Canary Islands

Late October on Gran Canaria
Late October on Gran Canaria | Photo Copyright: Lana Law

The month of October is perfect here, it's past the busy summer season and right before the November winter high season when European snowbirds start to arrive.

While the rest of Europe starts to experience a distinct chill in the air, you won't find that in the Canary Islands. These stunning volcanic islands, situated off the northwest coast of Africa, offer the perfect warm weather retreat.

The dazzling beaches of Fuerteventura with their soft, powdery sand and crystal clear water create an idyllic setting that's perfect for relaxation.

If adventure is more your style, head to the lush interior of Gran Canaria for some hiking. And for those who just want to kick back and enjoy life, the all-inclusive vacation resorts of Tenerife offer the ultimate in lazy luxury.

Consider Lanzarote for an island getaway that offers the best of the Canary Islands - chill vibes, fascinating volcanic sites, beautiful beaches, and cultural attractions.

Ferries and flights run between the islands. One important tip; book a rental car well in advance if you plan on driving because reasonably priced inventory is limited.

Read More: Top Attractions in the Canary Islands

2. Southern Ontario, Canada

Killarney Provincial Park in Ontario
October in Killarney Provincial Park in Ontario | Photo Copyright: Lana Law

A trip to Canada is cleansing for the soul. Not only will you eat well and be greeted by friendly folk, but the vast, beautiful landscape will help you forget what ails you.

Tourists flock to Southern Ontario in the fall to witness Mother Nature's breathtaking work. Treetops are on fire with bright colors, and the air is fresh and crisp. Areas further north in Ontario peak in September, but October is perfect in the south. This means, Toronto, Ottawa, Niagara Falls, and the surrounding area.

One of the key hotspots for leaf viewing, and just three hours north of Toronto, is Algonquin Provincial Park, near the town of Huntsville. This park is home to some of the province's most captivating panoramas. Whether you want to hike for a day or camp for a weekend, you won't be disappointed by the calming atmosphere. Because this park is a little higher than the surrounding area, the best color change is early to mid-October.

Killarney Provincial Park is a little more remote but offers completely different scenery and stunning fall colors. Leaves here peak a little later than Algonquin.

Fall colors in Algonquin Provincial Park
Fall colors in Algonquin Provincial Park

If you're on a leaf-viewing mission, many of Ontario's top parks are found in southern Ontario. You might even glimpse a bear or two.

Have you never seen Niagara Falls? What are you waiting for? This world wonder is made even more impressive when fall colors surround it. Check into a hotel and enjoy a weekend getaway. Another option is to enjoy all that Toronto offers with its vibrant Entertainment District with the latest Broadway shows, fine dining, and a ride up the CN Tower.

3. Crete, Greece

October at Voulisma Beach on Crete
October at Voulisma Beach on Crete | Photo Copyright: Lana Law

While Athens and the northern Greek islands are closing down tourist infrastructure with shuttered restaurants, closed hotels, and an end-of-season feel, the island of Crete remains vibrant. Crete's southerly location ensures that the days are still warm enough to enjoy the beaches, restaurants are still open, hotels are operating, and the mid-season vibe continues.

The best part? Fewer visitors mean that parking, accommodation, and all the frustrations of traveling in high season are less problematic.

Are you seeking adventure and cultural immersion instead of beaches? Look inland where history and breathtaking scenery converge. Immerse yourself in the rich history of Knossos Palace, or challenge yourself with a hike through the awe-inspiring Samaria Gorge.

For a taste of traditional Greek life, explore the charming streets of Chania's Old Town. And don't miss the chance to marvel at priceless relics from ancient civilizations at Heraklion's Archaeological Museum. Other popular tourist destinations on the island are Agios Nikolaos and Rethymnon.

One important tip, in October, the ferries run on a more limited schedule and fewer flights operate.

Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Greece

4. Vermont, USA

Barn in rural Vermont
Barn in rural Vermont

Just because it's not ski season doesn't mean you won't love Vermont. Fresh, crisp air and bright colors abound. Plus, you'll be hard-pressed to find more charm in Vermont's quaint towns.

Don't miss the covered bridge in Stowe; it makes a perfect selfie backdrop. The picturesque town's boutique shops and tasty restaurants are also crowd-pleasers. Pedal along the Burlington Bike Path for an impressive view of Lake Champlain. Or, you could hike for days along Vermont's beautiful hiking trails.

Not a fan of mountain climbing? A moderate two-mile walk will get you from Molly Stark State Park to the much lower summit of Mt. Olga; it's just over 520 feet. Your reward: expansive views of fall foliage at its peak.

All that walking will work up an appetite. Why not indulge in a pint of Ben & Jerry's after experiencing the factory tour in Waterbury – no judgment here! Or, learn how maple syrup is made at the Bragg Farm Sugar House & Gift Shop in Montpelier.

Have a dog? Bring him (or her) to Dog Mountain, a mountain-top haven for our four-legged friends in St. Johnsbury. It even boasts a dog-friendly chapel and gallery.

5. Egypt

Bedouin riding a camel at the Pyramids of Giza
Bedouin riding a camel at the Pyramids of Giza

October offers pleasant temperatures, cheaper hotels, and best of all, fewer tourists competing for the best view in popular Egyptian towns.

Visit Giza for an unforgettable glimpse of the Great Sphinx, Khafre's Pyramid, the Pyramids of Dahshour, and of course, the Pyramids of Giza. Then, head to Cairo (a mere 15-minute drive away) to visit ancient mosques and shop for unique spices, perfumes, and ceramics in the open-air markets. If you're hoping to save your pocketbook, this is one of the cheapest places to travel in October.

On October 22nd, the sun's rays penetrate the Sun Temple, illuminating three statues of Ramses II and Amon. The new Grand Egyptian Museum is slated to open in late 2023 or early 2024. It will be the largest museum in the world and will showcase over 100,000 of the country's most spectacular finds.

If you really want a unique experience, book a 4-day, 3-night Nile Cruise from Aswan to Luxor for an up close and personal tour of the Nile. This stops at some of Egypt's most fantastic sites, allows time to appreciate the scenery found along the Nile, and is one of the most relaxing ways to experience the country. It also allows you to head back to the boat and escape the hawkers and touts on shore.

6. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

A lot happens in Albuquerque in October. Of all the fun festivals and events, however, the most dazzling is the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. During the first week of the month, the sky alights with a rainbow of hot air balloons and thousands of tourists hoping for a ride, so book your hotel room early.

The cooler temperatures (highs in the upper 60s and lows in the high 40s) make this a perfect time to soar above New Mexico's largest city, admiring its top sites and the remarkable Rio Grande from above.

The ABQ Bio Park, Rio Grande Zoo, and Albuquerque Museum of Art and History will appear minuscule from up here, but they're packed with fun things to do.

When you land, check out the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum to learn about the history of ballooning.

Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in New Mexico

7. Munich, Germany

Munich cityscape
Munich cityscape

What do fish on a stick, lederhosen, and dirndl dresses have in common? You'll find them all at Munich's infamous Oktoberfest. One of the largest, oldest, and longest-running celebrations (it began in 1810), this famous festival plays host to more than six million people over 16 days.

Despite its name, the festival actually starts in September, but you can attend its final days in October. Love Bavarian music? Polish your dancing shoes! A fan of carnival rides? They've got those, too. Don't even get us started on the food - from slow-roasted ox to delicious, doughy pretzels, we're salivating already.

While in Munich, make time to see the Chinese pagoda and Japanese tea house in the city's English Garden. The main public square, Marienplatz is lined with historic buildings, restaurants, and the Glockenspiel (the largest and most intricate cuckoo clock you'll ever see).

Then soak up some culture at the vast Residenz Museum, one of the top museums in Munich. Have time to spare? Head off on a road trip.

In six hours, you'll reach Neuschwanstein, one of the most picturesque castles in the world. It served as inspiration for Walt Disney's Cinderella Castle, just to give you an idea of the romance it holds. Or, pick one of the many rewarding Munich day trips to enhance your German experience.

8. Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Tegalalang rice terraces near Ubud
Tegalalang rice terraces near Ubud | Photo Copyright: Lana Law

October offers less rain and lower temperatures in this Indonesian paradise. Expect to reach highs of 88 degrees, which is average for Bali.

The town of Ubud is a busy place in the interior of the island of Bali, where you can find an assortment of open-air restaurants, stores, and temples. In the evenings you can watch a traditional Kecak Fire Dance (book your ticket in advance) or simply head to a local venue to see musicians playing. As you walk down the streets in the evening you'll hear everything from rock and country to reggae music.

The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud is not to be missed. A sprawling nature reserve, this unique forest is home to temples, shrines, and over 600 Balinese Macaques monkeys. Babbling brooks, moss-covered ruins, and intricate tree roots make this a remarkable experience.

Monkey Forest in Ubud
Monkey Forest in Ubud | Photo Copyright: Lana Law

Another major tourist attraction is the Tegalalang Rice Terrace in the Tegalalang village just north of Ubud. You'll find more than just rice terraces here. This place is set up to handle and entertain large crowds of tourists. Get a photo of yourself swinging out of the rice terraces on a Bali Swing or have your picture taken in a huge man-made bird's nest. Nearby you can also tour a coffee plantation and enjoy a tasting.

9. Bruges, Belgium

A picturesque canal in Bruges, Belgium
A picturesque canal in Bruges, Belgium

Step back into medieval times in this UNESCO World Heritage City. Bruges boasts impeccable architecture; delicious food; and romantic canals, which dissect the town.

Visiting in the fall allows you to escape the heat and crowds that plague this Belgian district during the summer months. Spend time in the Historic Centre, soaking up the culture and Gothic buildings.

Bruges looks like a postcard, no matter the weather. Take a boat cruise along the famed canals and visit the Rozenhoedkaai, a truly romantic and picturesque pier. We dare you NOT to take a photo with this as your background.

The smell of chocolate will sweeten your stay, especially once you've tasted the delicacy for which this region is most famous. Dumon Chocolatier, nestled in the most adorable brick building, should top your list.

Nearby lies Ostend, a port city on the North Sea coast. Visit the Atlantic Wall Museum, walk along the boardwalk at Plage d'Ostende, and step inside the Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. If you're up for more sightseeing further afield, consider taking a day trip from Bruges.

10. Nepal, South Asia

Prayer flags at Annapurna Base Camp
Prayer flags at Annapurna Base Camp

Comfortable temperatures (the average high is 79 degrees) and low humidity levels make this the best time to trek in Nepal and one of the best places to visit in October.

Want to climb a mountain? Home to the Himalayas (Mount Everest and the Annapurna Mountain Range), this is the best place and a good time of year to enjoy some trekking. Craving a hike through the jungle? Chitwan National Park is a perfect spot to see some wildlife.

Kathmandu, Nepal's capital, is a must for your city break. Visit the royal palace, Hanuman Dhoka, for a glimpse into the life of the rich and famous.

The impeccably restored Swapna Bagicha (a.k.a. Garden of Dreams) is a soothing spot for a picnic made from fresh vegetables you bought at the bustling Asan Tole market.

If you still haven't quenched your thirst for adventure, try rock climbing, rafting, bungee jumping, or paragliding. The adrenalin rush is made even more powerful when you're surrounded by flawless views of the Himalayas.

11. Tahiti, French Polynesia

Ocean view from a Tahiti resort
Ocean view from a Tahiti resort

While you may pay a bit more for hotel rooms (October 31st marks the end of the high season), Tahiti's weather is fantastic at this time. With highs hovering around 75 degrees, and the dry season about to come to an end, you'll be visiting at the height of perfection.

Obviously, you're going to want to spend time soaking up some rays at the pristine beaches. Lafayette Beach on Tahiti's eastern coast is one of the best black-sand beaches in the world, and an incredibly peaceful place to spend a day.

When you're not lounging beachside, take a walk through Paofai Gardens and admire the water lilies in The Water Gardens of Vaipahi. Grab a snack and some souvenirs at the Municipal Market, then hail a taxi to visit the Faarumai Waterfalls.

The island is known for its waterfalls, so you'll want to travel through the Papenoo Valley to find Topatari, Vaiharuru, and Puraha Falls as well.

Next, board the Aremiti Ferry for a quick trip to Moorea. Pack a swimsuit, snorkel, and mask as this island is a popular base for snorkelers and scuba divers searching for life along the coral reef.

Bora Bora is one of the most famous Tahitian islands. You'll want to snorkel, scuba dive, or jet ski while you're here. Oh, and maybe lie on a beach and read - or do nothing!

In the mood for a beach vacay but can't make it all the way to Tahiti? Check out other ideas for tropical vacations for your next trip.

12. Hawaii, USA

Na Pali Coast, Kauai
Na Pali Coast, Kauai

When you're not sampling food, swimming, or lounging poolside, visit Maui's Punakea Palms Coconut Farm, hike through Haleakala National Park, or follow the Pipiwai Trail. Swim with dolphins, test your courage on an outing with Oahu Shark Dive, or experience the history at Pearl Harbor.

Then head to Honolulu, Oahu's capital, to walk through Diamond Head State Monument – the stunning vista is worth the hike. If you have an itch for surfing, scratch it at Waikiki Beach. You'll never be at a loss for fun things to do in Hawaii.

Those who savor peace and quiet will love laid-back Kauai, a less touristy island with plenty of tranquility on offer. Ten miles long and 3,600 feet deep, Waimea Canyon is the optimal spot to appreciate nature.

At some point during your trip, head for the skies – a helicopter ride will help you see the impassable, untouched beauty along Kauai's coast.

13. Acadia National Park, Maine

Autumn colors in Acadia National Park
Autumn colors in Acadia National Park

Nature lovers will adore visiting Acadia National Park in October. Not only will they have the place much to themselves, especially on weekends, but this month sees the beginning of fall's magnificent color display. Plus, the weather is perfect at this time – not too hot, nor too cold, which makes it the perfect place to take a hike.

With such an ideal climate, popular activities like biking and hiking the numerous trails are intensely pleasurable. This is one of the top tourist attractions in Maine, and it's easy to see why this natural wonderland is so beloved.

Lush forests; ragged, rocky cliffs; and sparkling lakes wow visitors with their beauty, and entice cameras to start snapping. If you're planning to stay a while, which you really should, pack a picnic and drinks as you'll be hard-pressed to find concessions.

The adorable town of Bar Harbor is the main jumping-off point for visitors to the park, but be warned: some of its shops and restaurants close during the offseason.

14. Serengeti National Park

Elephants crossing a river in Serengeti National Park
Elephants crossing a river in Serengeti National Park

Visiting Africa without embarking on a safari is akin to touring Rome without seeing the Sistine Chapel. One of the best places to enjoy an unforgettable trip through open plains spotted with nature's most fantastic animals is Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.

The second largest protected area in the country, this park sprawls across more than 30,000 square kilometers of impressive landscape. Grassland meets acacia trees, providing a lush home to the Big Five (lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalos, and leopards) as well as cheetahs, wildebeest, zebras, and a bevy of birds.

The end of the dry season, October offers "short rains" over about nine days in the month. Some herds begin to move as the rain arrives, offering optimal viewing conditions as they migrate into the region from the Masai Mara. The temperature hovers at 28 degrees Celsius, with lows hitting 15 degrees Celsius.

15. Salem, Massachusetts, USA

Salem graveyard
Salem graveyard

There's no better place to celebrate Halloween than this haunted town. Home to the famed Salem Witch Trials, this historic haunt highlights its murky past in a myriad of ways.

A visit to the Salem Witch Museum will transport you back to the trials of 1692. Stop by Crow Haven Corner, Salem's oldest witch shop for books, candles, jewelry, and a magic ritual and spell.

Don't miss the Salem Psychic Fair & Witches' Market for a psychic reading. It's a perfect place to find magical gifts (spell kits and voodoo dolls included) and runs throughout October.

Finish your day with a ghostly walk. The Salem Night Tour is particularly spooky.

16. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee, USA

Fall foliage in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Fall foliage in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

If you're looking for fall colors, this national park won't disappoint. Stay in Gatlinburg, Tennessee for optimal access to this foliage-viewing mecca.

Kids will thank you forever (well, at least for a couple of hours) after a trip to see over 10,000 sea creatures at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies. You'll also top their best parents list if you take them to make pottery at Fowler's Clay Works.

Now that they've been placated, head to the main attraction: Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This spectacular spot boasts over 800 miles of roads and hiking trails, all with astounding views of more than 100 different species of trees.

The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is an easier option for those pushing strollers or struggling with mobility.

Cades Cove, one of the most popular places to visit in the park, sits in a valley surrounded by tree-covered mountains. You can drive along the 11-mile loop or get out to walk the trails, and if you're lucky, you'll spot a deer, black bear, or coyote.

Other popular hikes within the park include Chimney Tops, Andrews Bald, Rainbow Falls, and Alum Cave Bluffs. Kids will do well with less serious terrain – Kephart Prong Trail and Porters Creek are your best bets for family-friendly trails.

You might also want to consider seeing the highlights of Nashville while you're close by. Or, check out some of the small mountain towns in North Carolina.

17. Barcelona, Spain

Autumn foliage along La Rambla street in Barcelona
Autumn foliage along La Rambla street in Barcelona

A haven for art, food, and soccer lovers, Barcelona is a fabulous place to visit during October. Unique at all times of year, Barcelona is best enjoyed when you don't have to elbow your way through crowds to see its top tourist attractions, like the stunning Basílica de la Sagrada Família and captivating Casa Milà.

During October, you'll be able to visit Barcelona's best parks, like the fascinating and postcard-perfect Parc de Güell, without hordes of tourists getting in the background of your photos.

With comfortable temperatures at this time of year (highs in the low 70s and an average of six days of rain), visitors will enjoy spending time outdoors. Plus, they can easily occupy a day at the city's best beaches.

Barcelona is also one of the cheapest places to visit in October. That means you can enjoy affordable rates at some of the city's most opulent hotels and best restaurants. With all the money you'll save, perhaps you'll tack on another day or two to your stay.

Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in the Gothic Quarter, Barcelona

18. Asheville, North Carolina

Fall colors along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville
Fall colors along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville

If you're looking for outdoor adventure in the most awe-inspiring of landscapes, Asheville, North Carolina is the place for you. A haven for nature-lovers, this beautiful city lies in the west of the state, offering guests a fun and artsy base for exploring the Great Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Parkway. Just imagine how captivating it will be when the trees are aflame in fall colors.

When it comes to top attractions, Asheville has plenty to choose from. Wander through the eclectic downtown core, meet the local wildlife at the Western North Carolina Nature Center, or wander the gardens in the North Carolina Arboretum.

Once home to the Vanderbilts, the Biltmore Estate is unmissable, especially if you relish any chance to get a glimpse into the life of the rich and famous. You can top off your trip with a stay in its opulent hotel, which tops the list of the best mountain resorts in North Carolina.

In addition to good weather, October offers visitors plenty of opportunities for fall-based fun, including the haunted Asheville Ghost Tours and the ever-popular Oktoberfest at Pack Square Park.

Read More: Top-Rated Mountain Towns in North Carolina

19. Hudson Valley, New York

Popolopen Bridge in the Hudson Valley
Popolopen Bridge in the Hudson Valley

There are few places that can top the vibrant palette of New York's Hudson Valley in October. Artists delight in nature's most flamboyant display, setting their paint brushes to canvas or clicking their camera's shutter repeatedly when visiting this breathtaking region.

Peppered with lush mountains and sparkling lakes, and dotted with sprawling historic estates, there's no shortage of beauty in this vast region. Don't miss the area's top things to see and do, like the outdoor statues at Storm King Art Center, the mesmerizing Walkway over the Hudson, and the interesting New York State Museum.

Entertaining festivals like the Fall Family Fun Fest in Olivebridge, Annual Windham Autumn Affair, and Scribner's Fall Fest will keep everyone dancing to live music and munching on the season's best produce. Come hungry and pack comfy shoes, as you'll want to head out on at least one hike while you're here.

Read More: Best Drives to See Fall Foliage in New York