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27 Best Places to Visit in October in the USA for Stunning Fall Colors

Fall paints the states of America in vivid colour as luscious green leaves turn over to red, orange, and yellow. With the dramatic change, October kicks off the beginning of the spooky season, which means Halloween, pumpkins, hay rides, and more. It is a perfect time to visit the United States.

This is the time when people swap out their usual coffees for pumpkin spice lattes, and the summer heat is replaced by a crispness in the air. Whether you’re looking for sunny US destinations in fall or want to embrace the season of change, there’s plenty for you to do.

So, get ready to have a look at some of the best places to visit in October in the USA.

27 Best Places to Visit in October in the USA

Find the best events and activities to do in October right here, from exploring the great outdoors in Wyoming and Minnesota to cosy fall activities in New England. Whether it’s apple picking, getting lost in a corn maze, or going on a scary ghost tour, you’ll be sure to have a great time this fall. 

1. Las Vegas, Nevada

things to do in vegas besides gamble
Mini welcome to Las Vegas sign on the LINQ promenade

Sin City is definitely a bucket list location, and taking a trip to Vegas in October is great for many reasons. 

If you enjoy the outdoors, check out Red Rock Canyon. It’s a beautiful spot that stands out in the desert with a pop of red colour. It’s perfect for hiking, especially in the cooler seasons. Valley of Fire is another must-see for the outdoor lovers. This state park is filled with amazing rock formations made from Aztec sandstone. 

The annual Las Vegas Food and Wine Festival happens in October and is great for the foodies. If you’re feeling the spooky season, go on a haunted ghost tour. There are a few, and you can choose a walking or bus adventure. Your trip may include stops at haunted hotels, casinos, and iconic landmarks like the High Roller. 

Next Read: The best pumpkin patches in Las Vegas

2. Albuquerque, New Mexico 

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Photo by cajunbutton on Pixabay.

If you’re planning a visit to Albuquerque in October, check out the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival. Thousands of people from all around the country gather to witness this magnificent event. Get ready to see over 500 hot air balloons take to the sky and fill it with an array of colours. This could be the best time of year to visit Albuquerque. 

Explore one of the USA’s most diverse cities without the heat. The annual New Mexico Brew Fest takes place this time of year and is a lot of fun. Over 70 breweries come together to showcase what this state has to offer. 

If you’re looking for something spooky, take an Old Town ghost tour. Learn about the history as you explore the neighbourhoods, listen to the ghost stories, and hear about all the paranormal encounters. 

3. Sleepy Hollow, New York 

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Photo by Steven Van Elk on Pexels

A town known for its ghost stories, especially one in particular, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. A headless horseman and a missing man? It sure sounds interesting. And you can enjoy your October in this small town built on Washington Irving’s iconic short story. 

The annual Jack O’Lantern Blaze takes place this time of year at the Van Cortlandt Manor and is an absolute must. Make your way through the 18th-century land as you enjoy the beautiful set-up of over 7,000 hand-carved pumpkins. Each section tells a story or depicts a beautiful scene. 

Another fun activity is the Sleepy Hollow Haunted Hayride and Block Party. Enjoy all the jump scares on your hay wagon ride as you make your way down Albany Post Road. Don’t forget to visit the Old Dutch Church and cemetery. 

4. San Diego, California 

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Photo by Lucas Fonseca on Pexels

San Diego is a great place to visit in October. The weather is perfect, and the crowds are minimal. This city doesn’t shy away from its Halloween activities, and it’ll be pretty hard not to be in the festive spirit. 

The Birch Aquarium, Seaworld, and the San Diego Zoo all offer Halloween-themed adventures. It’s a great way to see these wonderful sights while celebrating All Hallows’ Eve. The annual La Jolla Art and Wine Festival also occurs this time of year and is an absolute must. Enjoy the works of over 150 artists while enjoying the delicious wine and tasty food. 

If you’re a film enthusiast, check out the San Diego International Film Festival. This five-day event screens over 100 films from around the world. 

Next Read: The best pumpkin patches in San Diego

5. Portland, Oregon

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Photo by MOHANN on Pixabay

Fall in love with the fall foliage in Oregon’s largest city. If you enjoy the outdoors, Portland is one of the best places to visit in October. Enjoy breathtaking hikes while being surrounded by the various shades of autumn. 

Portland loves all things Halloween, and you’ll find plenty to do in this rainy city. From corn mazes to pumpkin patches and, of course, haunted houses, the fun-filled opportunities are endless. The Spirit of Halloweentown is great fun and includes some spooky stories, movie locations (think Twilight), and a ton of jack-o-lanterns. 

If you’re a beer lover, you must attend one (or all) of the days at Fresh Hop Pop-Up Beer Fest. For 17 days, you can expect a rare seasonal beer with special tappings. 

6. Chicago, Illinois 

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Photo by juergen-polle on Pixabay

Paying a visit in October is also worthwhile since the city embraces fall. You can admire the colours of autumn as the leaves change shades, and exploring Chi-town on a river cruise is a popular activity for tourists and locals alike. Pay a visit to The Bean, Millennium Park, and the Chicago Riverwalk for some of the best fall foliage. 

As things cool down, apple picking and pumpkin patches heat up. Harvest your own delicious apples, and depending on where you go, enjoy corn mazes, sunflower fields, and playgrounds. Another must-do is pumpkin patches. Walk about as you view hundreds of pumpkins in different shapes and sizes. 

The Lincoln Park Zoo has its annual Fall Fest in October, and it is a lot of fun. Every weekend, they offer something new, like musical entertainment, story time, pumpkin carvers, and a pumpkin patch. 

7. Asheville, North Carolina

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Photo by adrimarie on Pixabay

If you want to explore the outdoors this October, Asheville has one of the best fall displays. Since this town sits in the mountains, you can expect dramatic fall foliage. 

The Asheville Oktoberfest takes place this time of year and is a little taste of Europe in the heart of the US. Celebrate German culture with delicious food and tasty beer. There are competitions, music, and other entertainment. 

Take a scenic drive to enjoy the welcoming of autumn. Some great spots to visit are the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Biltmore Estate. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in nature, pop in at the WNC Nature Center. Here, you’ll find various animals, such as red wolves, black bears, and otters. There’s also a special Halloween event called Boo at the Zoo. 

8. Aspen, Colorado 

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Photo by Abhardphoto on Pixabay

Before this town becomes a snow heaven, it’s a fall paradise. Enjoy breathtaking hikes while enjoying the yellow-speckled hills of Aspen. The golden aspen trees are actually how this city got its name. 

Take advantage of the fall harvest by visiting the Aspen Farmers Market. Enjoy fresh organic produce along with arts and crafts. Don’t forget to taste the apple cider. If you’re visiting in early October, be sure to visit the annual Oktoberfest. Dress up and join in the festivities celebrating German culture.

If you’re looking for something a bit more spooky, try one of the nighttime ghost tours, which is spooktacular. 

9. Maui, Hawaii

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Photo by hmmunoz512 on Pixabay

If you’ve been dying to visit Hawaii, October can be a great time. The cooler temperatures mean everything is a lot cheaper, from flights to accommodation. The weather this time of year is still great, and you’ll still be able to watch some beautiful Maui sunsets.

Walk along black sand beaches and take a stroll through lush bamboo forests. Go chasing waterfalls while you enjoy beautiful hikes. Snorkelling and scuba diving should also be high on your list, as it’s one of the best things to do in Maui. 

The annual Maui Fair kicks off this time of year and is great fun for everyone. Think rides, games, live entertainment, and yummy food. 

PS: Halloween in Lahaina is one of the island’s biggest events of the year and is a must-do.

10. Stowe, Vermont

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Photo by 1778011 on Pixabay

Enjoy New England’s finest. Stowe fully embraces fall, and you can expect to get the full experience. Enjoy it all, from beautiful autumn colours painting the town to local breweries and, of course, handcrafted cheeses. 

Enjoy a cooler hike and outdoor activities, and then in the evening, cosy up next to a fire with some apple cider. Take part in Oktoberfest at the Von Trapp Family Lodge. There’ll be contests, great food, and lots of beer. Take in the view from Mount Mansfield, and if you’re feeling adventurous, visit the Great Vermont Corn Maze. This is the largest corn maze in New England and offers quite a challenge. 

11. New York City, New York 

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Photo by Marta Wave on Pexels

No matter what time of year you go, there’s always something happening in New York. You can check out New York’s historic attractions, such as Times Square, Central Park, or Top of the Rock. Perhaps the local festivities are more your vibe. Simply put, there is never a bad time to go. 

The annual Oktoberfest NYC takes place and is definitely a must. This is the perfect place to dress up and celebrate German culture with authentic beer and mouth-watering food. 

Visit the Beetle House, a Tim Burton-inspired bar, for a spooky experience. Enjoy the Halloween decor and specially brewed cocktails. If you’re a fan of the movies, you will definitely love this location. 

Head to Greenwich Village on October 31 for the annual Halloween Parade. Watch as people parade in their costumes, and feel free to join in if you’re dressed up. 

12. Salem, Massachusetts 

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Photo by 12019 on Pixabay

Salem is the spookiest of all the towns. This witchy city is constantly in October mode and ready to give its visitors a good scare. If you’ve heard of the Witch Trials, well, Salem is where it happened. So naturally this would be one of the best places to visit. 

Make your way through the town as you explore all the themed shops. You’ll find everything from crystals, Halloween-themed decor, eerie costumes, and even an aura photo booth. As October hits, Salem has a bunch of themed events leading to Halloween. Visit the Salem Psychic Faire & Witches Market and attend the Zombie Walk. 

You can’t go to Salem without going on a haunted tour. There are a few to choose from, but you definitely should go at night. Don’t forget to visit the Salem Witch Museum to learn more about this spooky town. 

13. Bar Harbor, Maine 

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Photo by FrankyFromGermany on Pixabay

This New England town is famous for its fall foliage. As things cool down after a busy summer, you can expect fewer crowds and more freedom to explore this picturesque town. 

Visit the Acadia National Park trails for some fall hiking. Enjoy the scenery as you spend time with Mother Nature. In the evenings, don’t forget to look up for some of the best views of the Milky Way. Another great outdoor adventure is whale watching. Take to the sea to get a glimpse of these majestic creatures. 

Learn more about the history of the town with a walking tour. One of the best ways to see any city is by foot, and you’ll discover all the hidden gems. 

14. Orlando, Florida

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Photo by eduneri on Pixabay

You may be wondering why the Sunshine State is listed among the best places to visit in October, but Orlando makes the cut. The weather is cooler, the days are quite enjoyable, and peak season is over, which means more affordable accommodation. 

If you love Halloween, this is a great late October destination. Disney World goes all out for the spooky season, from decor and events to themed food at each park. Visiting an amusement park means a lot of walking, and since the weather is milder, it makes for a much more comfortable trip. 

If you’re looking for more themed park adventures, Universal Studios is another must. You can also expect the full spooky experience, with haunted houses, scare zones, and live shows. 

15. Memphis, Tennessee 

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Photo by BruceEmmerling on Pixabay

Welcome to the Home of the Blues and Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Memphis offers an unforgettable experience, and in October, it’s even better. Less crowds and heat means more freedom to explore without breaking a sweat.

Enjoy the classics like Graceland, Beale Street, and the National Civil Rights Museum. Don’t forget to check out one of the many live music spots for an authentic experience. Memphis embraces the Halloween season, so expect corn mazes, haunted houses, hayrides, and other spooky events. 

The city also has great fall foliage and offers a few tours to explore the many shades of autumn. Choose a bike, bus, or walking tour and learn about the city’s history while admiring the fall colours. 

16. Nashville, Tennessee 

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Photo by mana5280 on Unsplash

Another Tennessee city known for its bustling music scene is the hometown of the country genre, Nashville. As the seasons change, the weather becomes more pleasant, with a certain crispness in the air. 

Explore the city and discover the many bars, food joints, and live music acts. Some October highlights include the Fall Family Fun Festival, which runs for the whole month. This event includes a corn maze that’s been named Tennessee’s #1 Corn Maize seven years in a row. 

If you’re looking to get your pumpkin on, visit the Cheekwood Harvest and Pumpkinfest for more Halloween fun. If you’re a foodie, don’t forget to check out the Nashville Cultural Festival, which includes delicious treats from around the world. 

17. Jackson Hole, Wyoming 

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Photo by MikeGoad on Pixabay

This town is known for its scenic landscape full of mountains and breathtaking open lands. In October, Jackson Hole becomes the perfect fall setting, covered with various shades of brown, orange, and green. 

There’s tons to do in this town, like visiting the famous national parks, Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Visit the National Elk Refuge to see these beautiful animals in their habitats. Enjoy more of the outdoors with a horseback ride, which offers stunning views of the surroundings. 

After all the exploring, relax at the Granite Hot Springs. If you’re looking to soak up the atmosphere, take a scenic drive. While there are plenty of routes to take, Moose Wilson Road is popular to enjoy the warm-tone foliage. 

18. Savannah, Georgia 

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Photo by Ashley Knedler on Unsplash

Get ready for a spooky adventure in what’s known as one of the most haunted cities in the USA. Savannah is one of the best places to visit in October for many reasons. The weather is perfect, and it fully embraces the Halloween season. 

There are plenty of events to attend in October. The annual Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival takes place and promises some of the best seafood cuisine. Another fun one is Savannah Pride, which features a masquerade, parades, music, and great food. 

If you’re looking for a scare, go on one of the many ghost tours around the city. If that’s a bit too scary for you, there are also some amazing pumpkin patches and corn mazes. 

19. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

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Photo by Kelly on Pexels

Oktoberfest, fall foliage, and cool temperatures are just a few things to expect in Philadelphia this month.

Visit a pumpkin patch to pick out the perfect squash for carving or for the ultimate fall photoshoot. The apple orchards are not to be missed either, for delicious apples and tasty cider. The Philadelphia Zoo gets festive with their annual Boo at the Zoo, which is great fun for all. 

If you’re seeking more spine-chilling thrills, Terror Behind the Walls is highly recommended. This event takes place at an abandoned penitentiary and is hands down guaranteed to scare. Make your way through the ghostly prison while enjoying themed bars, tours, and live performances. 

20. Cleveland, Ohio

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Photo by Lance Anderson on Unsplash

Welcome to Cleveland, the city that not only rocks but is one of the best places to visit in October. You can expect to see some of the best fall foliage without having to travel too far from the city centre. 

The Metroparks are really the stars of the show. Cleveland has 18 of these special parks, which include hiking trails, waterfalls, and golf courses. October brings many themed events, such as Corn and Pumpkin Weekends and the Trick or Treat Fest at the Cleveland Zoo. 

For a more spooky itinerary, visit the Buckland Museum of Witchcraft & Magick, which showcases special items collected by the “father” of the modern Wicca movement.

21. New Orleans, Louisiana 

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Phoetol by Harold Wainwright on Unsplash

New Orleans is a fantastic place to visit any time of year. The streets are always bustling, and there’s such a rich history and culture. What makes a visit in October especially great is the cool weather that comes after summer and the start of the spooky season. 

New Orleans is known for its many festivals, unique music, creole cuisine, and ghostly urban legends. Start things off with a mysterious ghost tour of the city. Make your way to eerie cemeteries and haunted hotels, or learn about the voodoo history of the city.

If you’re a foodie, don’t miss the annual Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival. This is a free outdoor event that takes place in October and combines two great things: Blues and Barbeque. 

22. Boston, Massachusetts

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Photo by Abdullah Almutairi on Pexels

Boston is a great place to visit in October since the weather cools down and most of the crowds have seemed to disappear. As it’s the end of the whale watching season, you can still get a peak at these beautiful sea creatures without fighting for the best spot on the boats. 

This time of year, visitors can enjoy the annual Oktoberfest. There are a few venues that host the event, so you can take your pick. If you’re a sports lover, Boston is the place to be. There are plenty of games in October where you can watch the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, or Boston Bruins in action. 

Visit a vintage store for an authentic Halloween costume. Next, visit a pumpkin patch and corn maze for some fall fun. Take the ghosts and gravestones tour for the ultimate spooky adventure. 

23. Burlington, Vermont

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Photo by Michelle_Raponi on Pixabay

It’s safe to say that New England is quite popular in the fall season. Burlington is a fantastic spot for those looking to embrace the cosy weather. 

Expect beautiful fall foliage and mountains that turn red and yellow. There are plenty of events in October, and many of them happen around Lake Champlain. Attend fun events while fall colours serve as your backdrop. 

Top Tip: When at Lake Champlain, go on a cruise, kayak, or paddleboard for even more majestic views. 

Make your way down Church Street Market. Here, you’ll find plenty of boutiques, cafes, and art galleries. Support the local businesses and do some shopping, and if you’re a Ben & Jerry’s lover, don’t miss the factory, which is just a short drive away. 

24. Seattle, Washington 

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Photo by Caio on Pexels

Seattle is a popular destination all year round. People come for the Twilight vibes, coffee, sightseeing, and beautiful outdoors. The weather is cool but not too cold, and it’s not so crowded compared to the summer months. 

As it’s known as the Emerald City, it’s surrounded by beautiful lush forests. In October, the leaves change colour, and the vivid green becomes an array of fall foliage. It’s really beautiful to see, so going on a short walk or hike should be high on your list. 

If you enjoy beer, don’t miss the Pumpkin Junction for delicious pumpkin beverages. Also happening this time of year is Oktoberfest, which celebrates German culture. 

Looking for something spooky? Visit the Georgetown Morgue, a haunted house in an actual historic morgue. 

25. New Haven, Connecticut 

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Photo by 12019 on Pixabay

At this point, it should come as no surprise that another New England state has made the list. While New Haven usually attracts visitors for its Ivy League University, October makes this city even more delightful. 

If you’ve watched Gilmore Girls, you’d know exactly what vibes to expect during fall. Beautiful autumn colours line the streets, people are dressed in cosy wear, and it’s warm beverages galore. New Haven is known for their fun fall fairs like Smoke in the Valley, Guilford Fair, and Shoreline ArtsTrail Open Studios Weekend. 

Enjoy the change of season with pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and apple picking. And if you’re looking for something spooky, check out the New Haven ghost walk

26. Sonoma, California 

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Photo by SoCali on Pixabay

For those who enjoy sipping on fine wine and exploring the vineyards, Sonoma is the perfect spot to visit in October. As things cool down, you can pleasantly enjoy sipping on some liquid gold on a wine based road trip without burning in the hot sun. 

This time of year, you’ll also find great events, such as the Sonoma County Harvest Fair. It’s also the perfect opportunity to visit the Sonoma Coast State Park for amazing hikes and outdoor adventures. Since this city is known for its wine, you absolutely have to take a Sonoma wine trolley tour. Enjoy a wine tasting and sample grapes that are native to this region and take a bottle home to savour the flavour. 

And Sonoma isn’t too far from the amazing Yosemite National Park, also a great place to visit in October. 

27. Lutsen, Minnesota

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Photo by Avinash Murugappan on Unsplash

This is probably one of the most underrated spots on the list, considering Lutsen is beautiful this time of year, and there’s plenty to see and do. While it may be a little cooler than other spots, it just makes an October visit even cosier. 

For those on the hunt for the ultimate fall foliage, Lutsen is the ideal location. The luscious area turns bright red, orange, and yellow. Make your way up Moose Mountain with the Summit Express Gondola. Once you’re at the top, go for a scenic hike and enjoy the views from above. 

For more outdoor adventures, Cascade River State Park is another perfect setting. Waterfalls, hiking trails, and wildlife spotting are just a few things to expect as you make your way through the state park.     

Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Visit in October USA

No matter which season you prefer, no one can deny that fall definitely brings its own beauty along with an abundance of fun activities. 

Whether you prefer to peek at the fall foliage and cosy up by a fireplace or get out there and explore pumpkin patches and apple orchards in small towns, October is the month to do it all. Maybe you’re looking to get your scare on with haunted houses, ghost tours, or attending a Halloween event. 

Whichever you decide on, there is something for everyone.

Next Read: If nature walks are your go-to, have a look at my experience of Yosemite in October

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