Leaf peepers, get ready! This is your month. For those of you planning trips this month, here are the best places to visit in October in USA.
October is by far our favorite month out of the year. Not only is it time to chase the fall foliage, but the weather is finally perfect for exploring the outdoors again. Plus, we love all the fall festivals, pumpkin patches, and any excuse to get dressed up for Halloween.
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Last Updated: September 14, 2021
15 Best Places to Visit in October in USA
Don’t Miss: The Strip, Red Rock, Valley of Fire
What to Eat: Oyster Bar, Poke Express, Mizumi
Where to Stay: NoMad Las Vegas (luxury), Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace (mid-range), Mandalay Bay (budget)
Weather Avg: 83° / 46° F
Las Vegas is one of the best places to visit in October in the US. We live here, and we always tell our friends to wait until now to visit. September can be hit or miss with the weather, but October is the first real month where it’s nice to consistently get outside.
That means you can explore some of our favorite spots like Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire without the summer crowds.
Check out our ultimate Las Vegas bucket list of 101 things to do or the best bucket list experiences to make most of your time here.
Things You Can’t Miss: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Sandia Peak Tramway, Petroglyph National Monument
What to Eat: The Grove Cafe & Market, Fork & Fig, Frontier
Where to Stay: Hotel Chaco (luxury), Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town (mid-range), La Quinta Inn & Suites (budget)
Weather Avg: 72° / 46° F
Every October, thousands gather in Albuquerque to witness the largest hot air balloon festival in the world. It’s such a magical experience to go up in a balloon and see the other balloons launching from a birds eye view.
If you’re not there to see the ABQ Balloon Festival, it’s still a beautiful time to explore the outdoors since the weather is nice during the day.
Pack your puffies and hand-warmers just in case. Be warned, if you go to the early events (we went at 5 am), it can be freezing.
Things You Can’t Miss: Cadillac Mountain, Scenic Park Loop Road, Precipice Trail or Beehive Trail
What to Eat: Havana, Café This Way, Café This Way
Where to Stay: Acadia Inn, Bar Harbor Inn, Acadia Pines Motel
Weather Avg: 55° / 38° F
October in Acadia was on the cold side for my taste especially on the windy mountain tops. However, it’s also the best time to go leaf-peeping. After spending all day hiking, climbing, or driving through the park, you can cozy up for food and drinks in Bar Harbor.
4. Sleepy Hollow, Hudson Valley
Don’t Miss: Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, Headless Horseman Bridge, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
What to Eat: Lefteris Gyro, Bridge View Tavern & Beer Garden, Sweet Grass Grill
Where to Stay: Castle Hotel & Spa (luxury), Sleepy Hollow Hotel (mid-range), Budget Motor Inn (budget)
Weather Avg: 65° / 46° F
It’s best known as the setting of Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, so naturally, October is the best time to visit! Since peak foliage starts earlier in the Hudson Valley than NYC, you’ll get a chance to appreciate all the colors.
They also have festivals and events that celebrate Halloween and the fall season. Don’t miss the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze with over 7,000 hand-carved pumpkins.
We really wanted to go while we lived in NYC, but we planned too late, and tickets sold out before we knew it. In other words, get them ASAP.
Things You Can’t Miss: San Diego Zoo, North Park, Balboa Park
What to Eat: Carnitas Snack Shack, Tacos El Gordo, Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream
Where to Stay: Fairmont Grand Del Mar, Pendry San Diego, Pantai Inn
Weather Avg: 74° / 61° F
San Diego is a destination you can visit any time of year, but October is a great time for festivals and events. First, there are a ton of Halloween-focused events. Second, with so many breweries, it makes sense to be in San Diego to celebrate Oktoberfest.
Another plus is that you’ll see a drop in visitors and hotel rates.
October Events in San Diego: Haunted Aquarium Remix (1-31), Seaworld Spooktacular (1-31), Halloween in Miniland (2-4, 9-11, 16-18, 23-25, 30-31), Annual Pacific Beachfest (2), Encinitas Oktoberfest (3), HalGLOWeen at the San Diego Zoo (9-11, 16-18, 24-25), La Jolla Art and Wine Festival (9-10), San Diego International Film Festival (14-24), Halloween Trail at Petco Park (23-1), A Grand Halloween (31)
October is the peak season for fall foliage in Oregon, and it brings some of the city’s favorite events. There’s nothing more beautiful than hiking to waterfalls surrounded by fall colors.
Grab your rain boots and coat (it’s the wet season, and Oregonians don’t use umbrellas) as you make your way through corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and haunted houses.
You’ll also catch the end of the fruit season with Harvest celebrations.
7. Chicago IL
Don’t Miss: Millennium Park, Willis Tower, Navy Pier
What to Eat: Au Cheval, Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings, Smoque BBQ
Where to Stay: The Peninsula Chicago, The Whitehall Hotel, Lowes Chicago Hotel
Weather Avg: 64° / 47° F
As the temps continue to drop, fewer people will be visiting Chicago. On top of exploring all of Chicago’s famous landmarks, there are plenty of fall festivals, Halloween celebrations, and movie and music festivals!
8. Memphis TN
Don’t Miss: Graceland, Beale Street, National Civil Rights Museum
What to Eat: Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, Central BBQ, Marlowe’s Ribs & Restaurant
Where to Stay: River Inn, ARRIVE Memphis, The Central Station
Weather Avg: 75° / 54° F
We love fall weather in the south. The cooler temperatures make it the perfect time for live music, sports, food festivals, and events. That and Halloween brings corn mazes, hayrides, haunted houses, and other spooky events.
Asheville isn’t great if you want to avoid crowds, but it’s crowded for good reason. The fall foliage in the Blue Ridge Parkway is hard to beat. While in Asheville, there are plenty of other ways to celebrate fall, including corn mazes and Oktoberfest celebrations.
Don’t Miss: The Parthenon, Printer’s Alley, Country Music Hall of Fame
What to Eat: Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, Peg Leg Porker, Biscuit Love
Where to Stay: Thompson Nashville (luxury), The Hayes Street Hotel (mid-range), La Quinta Inn & Suites (budget)
Weather Avg: 72° / 49° F
October is one of the best times to visit Music City. The weather is still warm enough to enjoy the city, and there are tons of music acts that come through this month. In addition, there are a handful of culinary and food festivals to keep your belly happy.
October Events in Nashville: Nashville Film Festival (30-6), Fall Family Fun Festival (1-31), Cheekwood Harvest (1-31), Nashville Brew Fest (1), Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival (2), National Banana Pudding Festival (2-3), Old School BBQ Festival (2-3), Tennessee Honey Festival (3), Pumpkinfest (30)
11. Salem MA
Don’t Miss: Salem Witch House, Salem Witch Museum, Peabody Essex Museum
What to Eat: Turner’s Seafood, Howling Wolf Taqueria, Gulu Gulu Cafe
Where to Stay: Harbor Light Inn (luxury), Hawthorne Hotel (mid-range), Motel 6 (budget)
Weather Avg: 62° / 45° F
What better place to celebrate the spooky season than a town known for the Salem Witch Trials. The town fully embraces it during Halloween, and you can go on a ghost tour, explore Hocus Pocus movies sites, or attend one of the many witch-themed events and pop-ups.
12. Shenandoah National Park
Don’t Miss: Skyline Drive, Dark Hallow Falls, Old Rag Mountain
What to Eat: Blue Wing Frog, Spelunker’s Burgers & Frozen Custard, PaveMint Taphouse
Where to Stay: Salamander Resort and Spa (luxury), Omni Charlottesville (mid-range), Best Western Battlefield Inn (budget)
Weather Avg: 58° / 39° F
If you love the outdoors, Shenandoah National Park is one of the best places to visit in the US in October. It’s extra magical during its peak fall foliage. In early October, higher elevations start seeing colors, and from mid to late October, the foliage moves to lower elevations.
You can see the colors from Skyline Drive, one of the best scenic drives in the US, or hit the trails to see them up close.
October Events in Shenandoah National Park: Exploring the Skies in Shenandoah National Park, Fall Festival at Massanutten Resort (9)
Don’t Miss: Castello di Amorosa, Lake Berryessa, Domaine Carneros
What to Eat: French Laundry, Morimoto Napa, The Boon Fly Cafe
Where to Stay: Elm House Inn (luxury), Candlelight Inn Napa Valley (mid-range), Hampton Inn & Suites (budget)
Weather Avg: 77° / 49° F
August through October is Napa’s peak season, which goes hand and hand with their harvest season. The weather in October is gorgeous in Napa, and the leaves on the vine change color. Mix the great weather with all the harvest celebrations, and you have a recipe for a good time.
If you stay towards the end of the month, you’ll find Halloween parades and costume parties with wine tastings.
Don’t Miss: Grand Teton NP, Granite Hot Springs, National Elk Refuge
What to Eat: Persephone Bakery, Hand Fire Pizza, Snake River Brewing
Where to Stay: Snow King Resort Hotel (luxury), Mountain Modern Motel (mid-range), Four Winds Motel (budget)
Weather Avg: 57° / 24° F
October is a season of change in Jackson Hole as services and hotels in the National Parks close for winter. Luckily before heavy snow comes, you still have access to the roads to catch the peak fall foliage.
October Events in Jackson Hole: Annual Ski Swap
15. Savannah GA
Don’t Miss: Bonaventure Cemetery, Forsyth Park, Historic River Street
What to Eat: The Old Pink House, Savannah Seafood Shack, The Ordinary Pub
Where to Stay: Luxury, Mid-Range, Budget
Weather Avg: 78° / 58° F
October is one of the busiest times to visit Savannah with the beautiful weather perfect for sightseeing and festivals. Since it’s one of the most haunted cities in the US, it’s also the perfect Halloween destination.
Best Places to Visit in USA in October Map
More Halloween Towns to Visit
- Anoka, MN – Known as the Haloween capital of the world
- Chatham, MA – Pumpkin People in the Park (15-31)
- Dearborn, MI – 1000 jack-o-lanterns at the Hallowe’en at Greenfield Village (7-10, 14-17, 21-24, 28-31)
- Independence, KS – 9-day long celebration called Neewollah
- Irvington, IN – Irvington Halloween Festival
- NYC, NY – Foliage usually comes later for the city than upstate NY, but there’s a Halloween parade, and we love seeing everyone’s decor on their brownstones.
- Romeo, MI – Terror on Tillson Street – over-the-top Halloween decor
- St Helens, OR – Scenes from Disney’s Halloweentown were filmed here and the Spirit of Halloweentown Festival
More Places to Visit in October for Fall Foliage
Keep in mind, these are approximate dates for peak fall foliage, but it changes year to year.
- Allegheny National Forest, PA – mid-Oct
- Aspen, CO – late Sept to mid-Oct
- Bend, OR – Drake Park for fall foliage in late October.
- Boston, MA – mid-October. Events – Fall Pumpkin Float, Head of the Charles Regatta, Boston Marathon
- Bozeman, MT – early October
- Cape Cod, MA – mid-Sept to late October. Events – Wellfleet Oysterfest (postponed)
- Charlottesville, VA – by Blue Ridge Parkway and Shenandoah NP
- Cooperstown, NY – Sugar maples (NY’s official trees) show off their colors.
- Cuyahoga Valley NP, OH – third week of Oct
- Denver, CO – Oct to mid-Nov. Event – Great American Beer Festival
- Door County, WI – Fall Festival in Sister Bay, Lighthouse Festival, Jack O Lantern Days
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park – peaks at mid and lower elevations mid-Oct to early Nov.
- Harper’s Ferry, WV – sometimes early, sometimes late Oct.
- Kansas City, MO – mid-October
- Lutson, MN – Highland peaks mid-Sept to early October while shoreline peaks late September to mid-October.
- Mammoth Lakes / Eastern Sierras, CA – mid-Sept through October
- Minneapolis / Twin Cities, MN – late-September to mid-October
- Mt Rainier National Park, WA – mid-October to early November.
- Nantucket, MA – late October to early November
- New River Gorge NP, WV – mid-October
- Newport, RI – mid to late October
- North Adams, MA – mid-October
- Portsmouth, NH – mid-October
- Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, MI – mid-October
- Providence, RI – Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular, WaterFire lanterns on the river, Haunted Boat Ride.
- Rocky Mountain NP, CO – mid-Sept to mid-Oct
- Salt Lake City, UT – early October
- Vermont – late September in the north (Burlington, Stowe) and mid-October in the South (Barnard)
More Places to Visit in October in the US
- Austin, TX – Oktoberfest (canceled for 2021), Austin Film Festival (21-28), peak foliage is in late Nov.
- Bennington, VT – Fun fall-themed events
- Big Island, HI – Fewer crowds
- Big Sur, CA – monarch butterflies return to Andrew Molera State Park
- Bodie State Historic Park, CA – not as crowded
- Charleston, SC – Mild temps and less humidity, better hotel deals
- Flagstaff, AZ – Fewer crowds, temperatures are nicer.
- Grand Canyon, AZ – great hiking weather
- Gulf Shores, AL – Less busy, nice temps
- Hawaii – Kauai, Kona, Maui – nice year-round, but it’s shoulder-season with fewer crowds and better deals than summer and holidays.
- Ketchum, ID – Trailing of the Sheep Festival (6-10)
- Los Angeles, CA – JazzTrx on Catalina Island, Oktoberfest, Rise Festival LA
- Miami, FL – Summer tourists are gone. Events – South Beach Seafood Festival, Water Lantern Festival
- Mississippi Coast, MI – mild temperatures, less humidity, Cruisin’ the Coast event
- Moab + Arches NP, Utah – Great weather for hiking, fewer crowds
- Monument Valley, AZ – Weather is nice, not as crowded
- New Orleans, LA – Better weather, summer crowds gone. Events – Voodoo Music and Arts Festival, massive Halloween celebrations, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Oktoberfest, Fried Chicken Festival, Halloween parade
- Palm Springs, CA – better weather for enjoying the outdoors and nearby Joshua Tree NP.
- Phoenix, AZ – Great weather to go outdoors, Oktoberfest, Arizona State Fair, Local First Arizona Fall Fest, Arizona Taco Festival
- San Antonio, TX – Dia de los Muertos (23-24)
- San Francisco, CA – Fleet Week (3-11), SF Street Food Festival, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival
- Peak fall foliage changes each year based on temperature and moisture. Check the fall foliage map to see when the leaves are changing.
- Pack layers since most places will be decently warm during the day but cool significantly at night.
- Book early, especially for popular fall foliage spots or during special events.
Have you planned any travel for October? Any other places we should add for the best places to visit in October in USA?
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Esther + Jacob
Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.