There is something about October that invites people to travel, to embark on a new adventure before the year ends. The leaves of the trees begin to change color, painting the landscape in an explosion of orange, red and yellow tones. October marks the beginning of fall and with it a sense of change and renewal.
The 10 must-visit US destinations this October offer a chance to enjoy the great outdoors before the winter months kick in. After a long summer in the sun, it’s time to visit some of the most beautiful regions our amazing country has to offer.
10 Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is an enchanting place to witness the changing of the seasons. As the seasons transition from summer to fall in Yellowstone National Park, visitors can expect a variety of scenery, from breathtaking scenery to abundant wildlife throughout the park. October is a particularly good time to visit, as the park is bathed in an array of vibrant hues, making hiking or biking the trails of Yellowstone fascinating. Autumn is also an ideal time for wildlife viewing as the animals prepare for the long winter ahead. Lucky visitors are often rewarded with the sight of bison grazing on the grasses and moose honking in the woods.
9 Ashville, North Carolina
There’s a reason the small town of Asheville often tops lists of fall must-visit destinations. By October, Asheville has transformed from a lush, green landscape into a tapestry of red, orange, and yellow rising against clear blue skies. October is also the time when many travelers drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, which winds almost 500 miles through the mountains of western North Carolina. The views from the parkway are particularly stunning in October when the leaves are at their peak of color.
8th Telluride, Colorado
Telluride nestles deep in the heart of the San Juan Mountains, which offer year-round outdoor adventures and dazzling views to visitors. Photographers aim their lenses at the iconic Dallas Divide, while hikers take their time trekking up the cliffs of the via ferrata. The city also offers free rides on the gondola, which offers another vantage point of this stunning mountain town. For those with less time to spend in Telluride, consider driving up one of the many mountain passes such as Imogene Pass or Black Bear Pass, but be warned these routes require a 4WD vehicle.
7 Kauai, Hawaii
By October, most of the crowds have dispersed from the Hawaiian island, and the weather has cooled slightly, making it one of the best times to visit. This is the perfect time to explore the legendary Kalalau Trail or one of Kauai’s other amazing hikes, take in the mesmerizing panoramic views, or go on a snorkeling adventure at Hanalei Bay. For a more relaxing excursion, head to Port Allen Marina and consider a sunset dinner cruise aboard a catamaran. No visit to Kauai would be complete without visiting Tunnels Beach, popular with locals and visitors alike for its scenic views and shallow reefs perfect for snorkeling.
6 Jackson, Wyoming
Jackson is often referred to as “Jackson Hole” by Wyoming outsiders who mistake the valley for the city, but neither are bad choices for October travel destinations. Camping in Grand Teton National Park or fishing on Jackson Lake are incredible ways to enjoy the fall days. There are several wildlife tours that will get you close (but not too close) to the beautiful creatures that roam the area, while those seeking a slower pace will enjoy a peaceful drive through the Grand Tetons. This stretch of road is often considered one of the best drives in America, where travelers embark on a 42-mile scenic drive that brings them close to the mountains and diverse wildlife that call the national park home.
5 Sun Valley, Idaho
Known as a winter resort, Sun Valley is a wonderful gem that deserves a spot on your travel list this fall. As the name suggests, Sun Valley gets more than its fair share of bright, sunny days, making it an ideal place to beat those late summer blues. Anglers will love casting their line just north of town in the Salmon River, or finding a spot on the Big Wood River to try their luck at dinner time. The nearby Sawtooth Mountain Range offers miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, as well as scenic campgrounds to enjoy the incredible weather that Sun Valley offers.
4 Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a great place to visit any time of the year, but October might just be the best month of them all. Millions of visitors visit this national treasure each year, making it one of the most popular national park destinations in the United States. Hikers will enjoy nearly 800 miles of trails, while animal lovers head to the Cataloochee Driving Trail for a glimpse of park moose, turkey and other wildlife populations. The park also offers whitewater rafting, horse trails, and zip lines.
3 Jeffersonville, Vermont
Jeffersonville is a small New England town best known for its popular family vacation spot, Smuggler’s Notch. Despite its small size, Jeffersonville is a well-known area for visitors who love the outdoors and enjoy the changing foliage. Outdoor adventurers love the pristine hiking, canoeing and kayaking opportunities the area offers, and with tourists often being drawn to more eye-catching areas throughout the season, you don’t have to worry about overcrowding and spoiled scenic shots of the natural beauty that the area has to offer village surrounds .
2 Yosemite National Park, California
If you’re heading west to California’s Yosemite National Park, be sure to pack your camera and hiking pole, read the guide to help you navigate them all, and pack a few extra layers for warmth. In October, temperatures often hover in the 70s while lows can dip into the 40s, but that shouldn’t stop you from seeing one of America’s most beautiful travel destinations. The park offers incredible photo opportunities and breathtaking views of Yosemite Valley’s mountain peaks. The brave can attempt the famous summit of Half Dome, while stargazers have plenty of time on clear, cold nights to catch a glimpse of a meteor shower or shooting star.
1 Hudson Valley, New York
Stretching along the Hudson River from Westchester County to Albany, the Hudson Valley is known for its vineyards and farms, but in the fall it transforms into a haven for foliage viewing. Visitors from around the world come to areas like Minnewaska State Park to enjoy the seasonal fall changes. Other visitors enjoy picking their own fruit in some of the valley’s many famous orchards or sipping a local cider before embarking on a hay ride. A visit to the Hudson Valley will send travelers home with a clear understanding of why this is one of the top destinations to visit in October.