While some settle in back home after a busy summer of travel, October for others is the perfect invitation to get out and explore. The hunt for awesome Oktoberfest and Halloween celebrations draw some of us to travel this month, while others find themselves flying south in search of a never ending summer. Not to mention the mild weather is ideal for enjoying the great outdoors and the extraordinary colors of fall foliage! For all this and more, we have compiled an inspiring list of where to go in October in the USA. Read on to see our top ten picks for October getaways in the USA and learn more about how to stay with HomeExchange for your October travels.

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1. Door County, Wisconsin

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Located on a scenic peninsula between Lake Michigan and Green Bay, Door County is a picturesque destination in October. Here you'll find Wisconsin's best foliage at this time of year. A great way to enjoy the area's vibrant fall colors is by taking a scenic drive along the Coastal Byway or exploring charming waterfront villages like Fish Creek and Ephraim.

You can also indulge in local harvest festivals at this time to savor the flavor of the region. Go apple picking or fill up on fresh local cherry pie...yum! The numerous quaint villages in the area offer excellent dining and shopping. You also won't want to miss the stunning sunsets over Lake Michigan. Ready to cozy up in this part of the midwest in October? With HomeExchange you can find the perfect waterfront cabin to make your stay extra charming.

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2. Cape May, New Jersey

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While it may be called Cape May, October is an excellent time to visit this serene coastal retreat. The charming seaside town beckons visitors with its rich history, Victorian architecture, and pristine beaches. While summer is the peak tourist season, October unveils a different side of Cape May, offering a delightful blend of pleasant weather and vibrant fall colors. It's the perfect autumn getaway for anyone looking where to go to October in the USA. October is a time of harvest, and Cape May also celebrates this bountiful season with a variety of festivals and culinary delights.

In fall, the town itself transforms into a tapestry of warm autumn hues. The tree-lined streets, adorned with Victorian homes, become a breathtaking sight as the leaves turn shades of red, orange, and gold. Take a leisurely stroll through the Historic District, where you'll be captivated by the vibrant colors and intricate architectural details. Don't miss Jackson Street, known for its canopy of colorful trees, offering a picturesque backdrop for memorable walks and photo opportunities. Plus, firey fall sunsets on the beaches are even more spectacular than those in summer!

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3. Charleston, South Carolina

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With its rich history, elegant architecture, and vibrant culinary scene, Charleston, South Carolina is a captivating destination year-round. However, October brings a special allure to this charming southern city. As the balmy southern summer subsides, a pleasant breeze sweeps through the cobblestone streets, making Charleston more inviting than ever and ideal for fall cultural festivals and outdoor adventures.

Wander through the cobblestone streets of the charming French Quarter, and explore iconic landmarks such as the Battery, Rainbow Row, and the historic City Market. Join a guided walking tour to learn about the city's rich history and even haunted tales just in time for Halloween. Enjoy the city's renowned culinary scene, featuring fresh seafood and Lowcountry cuisine. October also brings the MOJA Arts Festival, celebrating African-American and Caribbean arts and culture. You can also head to nearby plantations such as Boone Hall or Middleton Place, or take a boat tour to Fort Sumter.

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4. Mount Desert, Maine

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October is an ideal time to visit Mount Desert Island, home to Acadia National Park. Experience the beauty of rugged coastlines, granite peaks, and pristine lakes. While summer draws visitors to this picturesque destination, October showcases vibrant colors of autumn and a tranquil atmosphere with fewer crowds. Beginning in October, its landscape transforms into a kaleidoscope of fiery reds, oranges, and yellows, living up to Maine's reputation as one of the best places to visit in October in the USA.

Take a scenic drive along Park Loop Road and lace up your hiking boots and embark on a journey through Acadia National Park's diverse trails to the summit of Cadillac Mountain for panoramic views. Explore the charming village of Bar Harbor and witness the fall colors reflected in the island's lakes while enjoying fresh seafood from local eateries. This time of year also lends itself to interesting wildlife encounters as many species of birds and whales pass the island as they migrate south for the coming winter.

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5. Eureka Springs, Arkansas

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We recommend the charming town of Eureka Springs for visiting the famous Ozarks. October brings vibrant fall foliage to the scenic Ozark Mountains and waterways. While many love to visit in summer for water sports, October is every bit as beautiful. Explore the Ozark National Forest with its rugged trails, stunning waterfalls, and opportunities for fishing and boating. You can also enjoy outdoor activities such as zip-lining, canoeing, and scenic drives through the winding roads of the region.

Eureka Springs is one of the most renowned towns in the region, exuding an character and authenticity with its Victorian architecture and arts scene. Stepping into its vibrant downtown, you'll discover a refreshing absence of chain stores, replaced by a myriad of one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants creating the town's distinctive ambiance. True to its name, Eureka Springs has numerous springs adorning parks and gardens, which serve as a draw for visitors seeking natural beauty.

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6. Burlington, Vermont

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Vermont doesn't disappoint in autumn, and is renowned as the best place to visit in October in the USA to see falls colors. Nestled on the shores of Vermont's Lake Champlain, we recommend the charming city of Burlington to experience Vermont's quintessential autumnal beauty. It offfers a captivating blend of natural landscapes and cultural experiences. The surrounding Green Mountains and shores of Lake Champlain become a canvas of fall colors as a backdrop for outdoor exploration. Take a scenic drive along the Lake Champlain Byway or venture into the nearby mountains for hiking trails that reveal breathtaking vistas of nature's transformation.

Burlington's downtown area is know to be vibrant and lively. It's centered around the lively Church Street Marketplace, a hub of activity and a haven for shopping, dining, and entertainment. Explore this pedestrian-only street, lined with local boutiques, galleries, and cafes. Fall is also an amazing time to enjoy New England's farm-to-table dining at local restaurants, sample craft beers at the city's renowned breweries in time for Oktoberfest, or savor a hot cup of coffee while immersing yourself in the cozyness that comes with autumn in the area.  

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7. The Outer Banks, North Carolina

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October provides an ideal time to experience the tranquil charm of The Outer Banks' stunning beaches. With the summer crowds gone, you can relish the peaceful ambiance and enjoy long walks along these unique sandy shores. Sink your toes into the soft sand, listen to the soothing sound of crashing waves, and bask in the gentle coastal breezes as summer fades and autumn slowly settles in. The lighthouses up and down the coast serves as beacons for passing ships, and punctuate this beautiful coastline unlike any other.

Most of the Outer Banks spans Dare County, with plenty of stunning stays and stops like Cape Hatteras, Bodie, Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Corolla and more. Climb to the top of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the tallest brick lighthouse in the United States, or visit the Bodie Island Lighthouse, offering panoramic views of the surrounding marshland and ocean. October also brings a variety of festive events to the Outer Banks. The Outer Banks Seafood Festival celebrates the region's rich culinary heritage with delicious seafood, live music, and activities for all ages, while The Outer Banks Halloween International Film Festival showcases independent horror and Halloween-themed films for a cinematic experience.

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8. Sleepy Hollow, New York

Nestled along the banks of the Hudson River, Sleepy Hollow, New York, is a place shrouded in mystery and folklore that comes alive with enchantment during the month of October. As the leaves turn to fiery hues and a slight chill fills the air, Sleepy Hollow offers a captivating blend of history, haunting legends, and seasonal festivities. If you are crazy about Halloween and all things spooky come fall, then Sleepy Hollow should be at the top of your list for the best places to visit in October in the USA.

The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze, held at Van Cortlandt Manor, illuminates the night with thousands of intricately carved pumpkins, creating a magical spectacle. Enjoy harvest festivals, where you can indulge in apple picking, cider tasting, and hayrides. Take part in haunted hayrides and corn mazes that add an extra touch of spookiness to the season. Sleepy Hollow also hosts a variety of Halloween-themed events, including costume parties, parades, and street fairs that showcase the community's creativity and love for the holiday.

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9. San Diego, California

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Some seem to think California is the place to be to come summer, but many locals know that in summer the beaches are often foggy and cold while inland temperatures drawing in the coastal cover are unbearably hot. Autumn is actually a more ideal time to experience California's world famous weather, with warm but mild temperature and beautiful crystal clear days. Nowhere is this more apparent than in beautiful San Diego. You can enjoy a warm day at the beach when the sun is up, and cool coastal evenings cozied up in a sweater. If you're wondering where to go in October in the USA in the west, consider this favorite coastal city.

Some of the best things to do in San Diego in October include heading offshore for a whale watching boat trip, as this is the start of the migration season. You can also take part in annual Oktoberfest celebrations with traditional German food and beer. Take advantage of the idyllic weather by spending time at Coronado Beach or La Jolla Cove. Make the most of sunny days by strolling Balboa Park or visiting the San Diego Zoo, home to a vast array of exotic animals and renowned for its conservation efforts. As the sun sets, stroll along the waterfront at Seaport Village, where charming shops, waterfront dining, and stunning views of the harbor await.

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10. St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

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Come October, not everyone is happy to see the leaves change and the temperatures drop. Can't stand to see summer go with September? If you prefer to chase to summer days and sun rays all year round consider heading to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands to ease your post summer sadness. St. Thomas boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. October is somewhat of a sweet spot to visit. It marks the tail end of hurricane season (which spans half the year) but as high ocean temps taper off you're less likely to be bothered by a tropical storm. It's also before the return of high season tourism, so visit now to enjoy the beaches before the crowds come back.

Some St. Thomas highlights include the world-famous Magens Bay Beach, with soft white sands and calm turquoise waters, as well as the secluded Secret Harbour Beach, where you can snorkel amidst colorful coral reefs. Coki Beach and Sapphire Beach are also great spots for snorkling and October conditions are ideal for diving and other water sports as well. Take a relaxing boat ride or simply kickback in a beach lounger to enjoy the breeze and a cold beverage. On land you can also explore the historic district of Charlotte Amalie, with its colorful colonial architecture and cobblestone streets, and see the melting pot of culture and history that St. Thomas is.

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Let HomeExchange Host You This October

where to go october USA

Whether you fancy catching the foliage or chasing endless summer, in our best places to travel in October in the USA HomeExchange hosts are ready to welcome you. Suggest an exchange and enjoy the comforts of home away from home for your October getaway, all while keeping your autumn vacation affordable. HomeExchange is the #1 home exchange network in the world, with over 100,000 hosts worldwide. Travel more with less and make the most of October and every month by staying with HomeExchange for your next trip...