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10 Places in the U.S. That Are Perfect for October Vacations

New Mexico's Balloon Festival in October.

October is at the heart of “shoulder season,” which is what the travel industry calls the time after peak tourist periods when colder weather hits and heavier crowds disperse. While this time of year might not include all the same attractions and amenities as spring and summer, it does offer its own set of advantages that make it a popular month for planning a variety of trips.

The following travel guide is full of great leads for those planning awesome October getaways!

The 10 Best Places to Travel in October in the U.S.

1. Salem, Massachusetts

Love Halloween? It’s difficult to discuss the month of October without immediately thinking of black cats, jack-o’- lanterns, and of course, witches. If Halloween is your jam and you feel the season calling you elsewhere, it’s probably “Salem” you’re hearing spirits whisper on the wind. That being said, this is one of the few October destinations where you might find a surge in tourism, which is scarier than any supernatural creature you can conjure up. Still, the experience is well worth it.

2. New England Area

If Halloween isn’t your thing, the New England area has a lot to offer besides witchy history. Whether you’re a foodie looking to eat your way across Boston, or a city slicker going on a Maine road trip to see fall colors, October is the perfect time to enjoy the New England region without all the heat, humidity, and other tourists.

3. New Mexico

From alien sightings, to deserted Native ruins, New Mexico is one of your top picks if you want to blend sightseeing with the paranormal during Halloween season. Where weather is concerned, it’s also the ideal time of year to explore this southwestern state.

4. Hawaii

Hawaii’s dry season usually runs from April to October. As you can imagine, it’s during this span that most people visit. If you plan your getaway for October, you’re likely to run into fewer tourists. After all, what’s good for the goose definitely isn’t ideal for you ganders.

5. California

While the golden state’s summer months can be hot and crowded, it’s Octobers are some of the best to be enjoyed on the West Coast. Activities and attractions you can enjoy in CA include wine tasting, hot springs, and more.

6. National and State Parks

When the kids are away, the adults will play, as they say. Isn’t that the way? Okay… bad rhyming aside, October is the perfect time to visit national parks if you want to avoid summer crowds, especially families with kids, as they’ll be returning to school. Popular outdoor spots like the Great Smoky Mountains and Acadia National Park are great for those who want to see the many shades of fall foliage while enjoying natural beauty and hiking trails.

7. New York, New York

As with other locations, New York is overflowing with tourists during the summer. Whether you’re planning a simple day trip to the biggest city in the USA, or you’re biking the Atlantic Coast on a retirement-fueled bucket list tour, October is one of the best months to go to one of the best places to travel.

8. Colorado

From the grandeur of the rocky mountains, to the minimalistic simplicity of rolling green golf courses, Colorado is a beast better served in the fall months. Whatever you’ve ever considered doing in Colorado, you’d be wise to do it in October, after the summer rush and before the cold winter settles in.

9. Florida

If you want to enjoy sand beaches and water sports like kayaking without having to push and shove for space, October is one of the best times to enjoy Florida. From state beaches to crystal clear hot springs, the state’s many warm bodies of water will make you forget summer’s over.

10. North Carolina

Just like a lot of southern states, North Carolina’s many tourist destinations and attractions are way to muggy and crowded to enjoy during the summer months. If you can manage it, reschedule your next North Carolina trip for shoulder season.

Bonus International October Destinations

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For you bucket listers who are looking into the future, here are some far off places you might consider visiting some October down the line:

Japan: If you’ve ever thought of going to Japan, October is the best time of year to do it. While the island nation’s summers are hot and wet, its winters are cold and windy. Meanwhile, everyone and their brother is out when the cherry blossoms arrive in Spring. Just so, October trips are an excellent idea.

Europe: From Mediterranean destinations like Italy and Greece, to more northern climes such as Germany and the Basque region of Spain, Europe is far and away one of the most enchanting places to visit on Earth. Whether you want to enjoy an authentic Oktoberfest, or learn the Greek language, think October when you think Europe.

Australia: If it’s October in the Northern Hemisphere, then that means it’s… Spring-tober in the Southern Hemisphere? The point is, whatever season it is up here, its the opposite down under. If leaf peeping during your region’s rainy season sounds like a drag, consider spending sunny days with koalas and kangaroos!

Where’s your favorite October destination? Spread the word on our Wide Open Roads Facebook!

READ MORE: The 10 Best Places to Head on a Road Trip to See Fall Colors

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