Travel pros refer to October as the “gem of the shoulder season.” Fall colors, harvests, and temperatures are at their best, while tourist numbers and prices are at some of their lowest. October is my favorite month to travel!
While most of the places on this list are centered around the beauty of deciduous forests this time of year, I’ve included a few “wild card” destinations if you want a tropical or desert adventure.
So these are my top destinations to visit in October!
Of course, Germany is on this list because of Oktoberfest! This is a celebration you should experience at least once in your lifetime. So while visitors will descend on Munich this month, the rest of the country is blissfully less-crowded and less-expensive.
All Castles, National Parks, and trails will still be open and accessible, and the Autumn foliage will be stunning. The weather will be cool and pleasant, though you’ll want layers for the mornings and evenings, and bring a rain jacket (just in case).
If you’re looking for a tropical October getaway, then Fiji is for you. This month has one of the lowest chances of rainfall all year. The humidity will be low, and temperatures will be pleasant.
Out of Fiji’s best-weather months (May – October), this month has the fewest crowds and lower prices.
Contrary to popular belief, Fiji isn’t just a destination for the rich. This country can be very affordable. It even ranks on my list of the best Budget Destinations Around The World!
The Great Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains is the most-visited national park in the United States, and the beauty of this region is on full display in October. The forests will be vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow, and the surrounding towns and cities will have Halloween, harvest, and wine celebrations.
My favorite “home bases” for exploring the Smokies are Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg or Asheville. All of these places have lots of accommodation options – camping, RV parks, resorts, lodges, hotels, glamping – for any budget.
If you want to splurge on a so-worth-it accommodation, then stay at Blackberry Farm, one of the most luxurious resorts in the Southeast, and one of the only accommodations inside the park.
Morocco’s weather and climate vary significantly within the country, but October gives you the best chance at good weather in almost every part of the country. This is date season in the desert region and apple harvest in the Atlas Mountains.
October is the end of the dry season, so rain is possible, but this risk is worth the lower temperatures. The cooler weather makes the cities and famous sites more enjoyable and is perfect for hiking in the mountains.
Agadir, Sidi Ifni, or Dakhla are your best beach, surfing, and windsurfing spots during this month.
Rome is almost unbearably hot and crowded from May to September, and borderline miserable in the Winter. So this leaves April and October to visit, and October is the better choice because it’s a peak wine month for the country.
The weather is still sunny and warm in October, and you’ll have a good chance of not having other tourists in your photos.
I recommend taking a day trip or two when you’re here, because the surrounding towns and villages, such as Hadrian’s Villa, Pompeii, Assisi, and Castel Gandolfo, will be practically empty.
Los Cabos, Mexico
Located at the tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, Los Cabos is comprised of two towns – Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo. The former is more of the “party scene,” while the latter has retained more of its traditional charm.
Whichever city you visit, you’ll enjoy the sun, sand, and fun of these cities. This is an excellent destination for foodies, and tourist numbers are relatively low this month, so you’ll be able to get any restaurant reservation you want.
New England, United States
Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island make up New England in the Northeast U.S., and this region has some of the world’s most beautiful Fall foliage.
The forests will be ablaze with color by October, so make sure you plan some hikes and scenic drives. I recommend hiking a section of the Appalachia Trail, exploring Acadia National Park, having a city getaway in Boston, and glamping in the Catskills.
I think the best way to see New England is to bring or rent a car so you can visit the small colonial towns. If you’re into Haunted attractions, then New England’s history of Witch Trials makes for some genuinely frightening experiences in the area.
If you want a remote October destination, then head to Mauritius. This island was once a real pirate hangout, and its location in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Madagascar makes you feel like you’ve discovered paradise.
October is Spring in Mauritius, so the island will be covered in tropical flowers. The weather, water, and white-sand beaches will be warm, and the rain and humidity won’t come until later in the year.
The bulk of your trip budget will go towards getting you to and from Mauritius. But once you’re on the island, this is a relatively affordable luxury destination.
Many people are surprised that September – November are some of the sunniest and warmest months in Northern California.
October is also a great time to explore Middle and Southern California, so consider a Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip!
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What are your favorite destinations to visit in October? Tell me in the comments below!
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