Beautiful Fall Getaways To Take In October

October is the month of change, with vibrant fall colors painting the landscapes. It's the perfect time for leaf-peeping enthusiasts to enjoy this scenic backdrop for a vacation. Take advantage of the crisp fall air and immerse yourself in the serenity of nature before the winter weather sets in. There are numerous fascinating destinations to explore during the autumn season! You can visit the charming villages and undulating landscapes of Massachusetts, the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains, or even the stunningly picturesque Oregon wine region.

Similarly, with school now back in session, the crowds that once flocked to the most popular sunny spots have dissipated, allowing for a more peaceful vacation in warmer climes. This also makes October the ideal month to soak up the last rays of the sun. Florida, the Canary Islands, Croatia — in both the U.S. and abroad, you'll be able to enjoy the last beach days of the season without the summer tourists. 

The Berkshires, Massachusetts

While the foliage in some areas of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine can peak during September, the western region of Massachusetts picks up the full breadth and beauty of the fall colors later in the year. This means the Berkshires are the ideal destination for leaf peeping in October. The best vistas of the vibrant leaves are found from the top of Mount Greylock. At 3,489 feet, it's the state's tallest mountain, with acres of peaks, streams, and dazzling colors to gaze across. It's worth the hike to the top; the view stretches over five states in clear weather.

Although it only takes a few hours to travel here from Boston and New York, this beautiful region is a world away from city life — think orchards, winding country roads, farm-to-table dining, and pumpkin decorations. You can tour the small towns during your getaway, enjoying a spot of antique hunting and soaking up the timeless charm. In addition, you can head to one of the picturesque farms to pick apples — another classic fall activity — and sample apple donuts and cider, all freshly made from the local produce. 

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville's high elevations and diverse deciduous forests create prime conditions for spectacular leaf-peeping opportunities in the U.S. The Blue Ridge Mountains come to life in a swirl of vibrant shades in October in a dramatic display that's not to be missed. The best way to experience the range of color and biodiversity is by hiking through the hills. Try the trails around Cataloochee, where you can look for elk and the historic cabins and churches nestled among the trees.

Alternatively, climb to the rocky summit of Rough Ridge for a panorama of the multicolored valley beneath. There are also several beer and cider festivals held during October in Asheville. After an active day in the crisp fall air, head there to enjoy the local hard ciders and small-batch beers brewed for the occasion.

The weather can be changeable in the region at this time of year, but that doesn't mean you can't take advantage of the stunning scenery during the fall. If it's too cold to hike, drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, over 400 miles long. It follows the line of the Blue Ridge Mountains from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, passing through tunnels and past overlooks and cascading waterfalls.

The Poconos, Pennsylvania

The Poconos Mountains are one of the most iconic destinations for a fall getaway in the United States. Residents of New York City love to escape here to enjoy the breathtaking displays of kaleidoscopic foliage that blaze across the mountains, along with the relative quiet of the region. This prime destination for a short or weekend getaway is only a two-hour drive from north of the Big Apple. It's also accessible by bus from the NYC Port Authority Bus Terminal.

For a different perspective on the changing leafage, you can get out onto the water at Lake Wallenpaupack and enjoy its vast shoreline. Rent a kayak or canoe and spend the day exploring hidden coves and islands. Excursions are scheduled throughout October on the Stourbridge rail line, where you can combine old-world charm with scenic views. Departing from Hawley, the historic train winds past rivers, pumpkin patches, and through the vibrant leaves.

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Over on the West Coast, harvest season is also in full swing. In the Willamette Valley, at the heart of Oregon's wine country, this spells delicious produce and views over gold-tinged vineyards. This broad valley, nestled in the Coast Range Mountains and shielded from the Pacific Ocean's meteorology, enjoys a mild climate and abundant sunny days in the fall. An October getaway here is the perfect mix of beautiful autumnal foliage and local wines and delicacies. Fortunately, the Willamette Valley is one of the world's top producers of Pinot Noir and is home to a long list of fine dining establishments.

You can make the most of the temperate weather and the stunning scenery with hikes through the Willamette National Forest or an epic bike ride along the 134-mile Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway. The latter follows the river through quaint towns, farmlands, and past vineyards and hop fields. For sampling excursions, over 700 wineries and vineyards offer a taste of some of the valley's renowned wines. During October, to celebrate the harvest, there are also special releases, wine dinners, and other events scheduled.

Sedona, Arizona

October presents an opportune time to explore Sedona. Summer temperatures have subsided, and the mild fall weather is perfect for outdoor activities and enjoying everything this unusual desert landscape offers. New England is perennially popular for leaf peeping, but the foliage also changes color in Arizona dramatically against the backdrop of the red rocks. This is because the weather remains warm, so there is no need to bundle up in your rain gear to see it.

Sedona is surrounded by more than 1.8 million acres of national forest, and a hike along West Fork Oak Creek Trail is the ideal way to immerse yourself in the beauty of its changing colors. It will take you along streams and through canyons, with the foliage reflected in the water. You can also enjoy a rafting or kayaking trip down the Verde River for a different perspective of the forest. Some routes and tours even have the bonus of wine tasting along the way!

Kyoto, Japan

Farther afield, Kyoto is one of the most popular international destinations for leaf-peeping vacations. The ancient capital of Japan, this historic city is a haven of temples, traditional tea houses, and tranquil gardens. In October, you can enjoy the glory of the changing leaves of the Japanese maple trees as they set the town ablaze with dazzling shades of red and gold. 

Strolling along the famous tree-lined Philosopher's Path in the city's northern district or hiking up to Kiyomizu-dera Temple at the top of the peaceful Otowa Mountain are perfect ways to take in the leafy views. The temple also holds special nighttime illuminations for visitors at this time of year. Thanks to the comfortable and pleasant weather, October is a busy time for festivals and sources of entertainment in the city. Discover the richness of Japanese culture at geisha performances, traditional processions, archery demonstrations at Kamigamo Shrine, and the spectacular Kurama Fire Festival.

Gauja and Kemeri National Parks, Latvia

To escape the crowds at some of these more popular leaf-peeping destinations, why not head to the off-the-beaten-path to search for fall color in Latvia? Over half of the country is forested, and the changing colors are at their peak in October, making this month one of the best times to visit and enjoy the majesty of this unspoiled country. Gauja National Park — the biggest in the country — is the place to go for kayak trips along forested rivers, which meander at the foot of the rust-colored sandstone cliffs and past mysterious caves.

Nearby Kemeri National Park, meanwhile, is home to unique wetlands, including the Great Kemeri Bog. Here, you can marvel at the biodiversity and scenery as you traverse the bog on one of the many boardwalks or cross this strange realm on a bog-shoeing adventure. You can take a guided tour off the usual paths through the mosses and wild berries, marveling at the volume of the bog. The park is only 45 minutes from Riga, the capital city of Latvia — this makes a convenient base from which to explore the natural surroundings and history of the region.

Andaman Islands, India

Alternatively, if you would rather use your chance for an October getaway to escape the chill of the coming season, head out to the remote Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal instead. This underrated tropical vacation spot gets sunshine all year round, but October is the start of its high season. This means excellent weather, lower humidity, and cheaper prices than during the peak months of December and January.

Stunning beaches, pristine seas, lively coral reefs, and verdant green forests — the Andaman Islands have all the hallmarks of a tropical paradise. The perfect destination for relaxing on the beach and enjoying a spot of snorkeling or scuba diving, you can truly get away from it all here in October, including the crowds. As there's only one point of entry in the capital of Port Blair, these unspoiled islands are still challenging for many tourists. However, this is all part of their charm as it means you're unlikely to share the salt-white beaches with other visitors, unlike popular winter-sun destinations.

Dalmatian Coast, Croatia

In the southern regions of Europe, average temperatures can remain warm throughout October, perfect for enjoying the lingering sunshine in Croatia. Ever since it featured on the popular TV series "Game of Thrones," the Dalmatian Coast has been heaving with crowds in the summer. Therefore, leisurely exploring the islands and historic towns is much more satisfying once most tourists have dispersed.

As the days can still reach 72 degrees Fahrenheit, thanks to the Dalmatian Coast's location along the Adriatic Sea, it's still a pleasant time to marvel at the beautiful beaches of this 300-mile stretch of coastline and swim in the warm waters that hold their temperature at the end of the summer season. You can hop between the 1,200 islands and numerous islets and bays along the shore to make the most of the quiet.

October is also the month when white truffles are harvested in Croatia, and the region of Istria celebrates this gourmet delicacy with a plethora of markets, workshops, food events, and fairs. Other local seasonal produce during the harvest season along the coast includes pomegranates, figs, and tomatoes. 

Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

Gran Canaria is another excellent choice for a beautiful fall vacation elsewhere in Europe. The weather here is even sunnier than on the Dalmatian Coast. Set in the North Atlantic Ocean, the Canary Islands have their own enviable microclimate with hot days that average above 80 degrees Fahrenheit and balmy evenings. The sea is typically at its warmest during this season after being heated by the summer sun for a few months.

The varied geography of Gran Canaria — the third largest of the island group — means that you can find golden sandy beaches on the south shores and rocky coves with natural pools to the north. Both areas are perfect for a relaxing beachside vacation in October, away from the crowds during the hottest months, with the highest prices. You can also take advantage of the pleasant weather in the fall by exploring further inland, where charming villages dot the pine forests and the volcanic landscapes the islands are known for, as well as spas and wellness centers.

Petra, Jordan

Farther afield, the drop in temperatures during fall means that October is also the ideal time to visit some of the world's hottest tourist destinations. After the summer heat has peaked, the weather is less extreme in the Middle East in October, so this is the perfect time of year to explore the ancient city of Petra in Jordan. 

The fall and winter light similarly gives the sandstone of this unique archeological site, which combines carving and construction techniques, its distinctive color variations. This is more so than during the summer when it can often appear muted. This month is great for active travelers, too, as the climate is ideal for cycling, and you can traverse the whole country on the 450-mile Jordan Bike Trail.

The best place to base yourself is in the gateway town of Wadi Musa, where a range of accommodation and dining options are available. Visits to the UNESCO World Heritage Site should start with the sandstone corridor known as Al-Siq, or "The Shaft" — the same path that chariots and wagons took into the heart of Petra over 2,000 years ago. It's an architectural adventure through tombs, temples, and channels, up the 800 steps to the elaborate monastery façade.

Amelia Island, Florida

If you're looking for sun closer to home for a fall getaway, head to Amelia Island in Florida. At this time of year, it is tranquil and uncrowded, and you can make the most of the beautiful beaches — the sand won't burn your feet in the fall! However, it's still plenty warm enough for swimming and sunbathing here, and there's little chance of rain. It's also a great option for cost-conscious travelers; Amelia Island is one of the best budget-friendly beach towns on the East Coast.

In addition to enjoying the 13 miles of pristine beaches and the historic downtown on the island, visiting in October means festivals, too. The Island Hop Craft Beer Fest in Central Park celebrates the local brews in the area, offering unlimited tasting alongside food trucks and live entertainment. Or, if you're a music lover, you can enjoy the Amelia Island Jazz Festival, held each year during the first week of October. The event attracts world-class artists and acts performing in venues across the island, and the opening night concert is free.

Aspen, Colorado

Aspen is best known for winter vacations, but you can avoid some of the snow and winter sports crowds here by visiting during October instead. With its wide blue skies and pleasant temperatures — although there can be sudden dustings of snow as well — fall in Colorado holds some of the best weather for hiking and biking. While some of the quieter mountain towns close the doors on their restaurants and other amenities during the off-season, plenty stay open for business in Aspen. There are concerts at the Wheeler Opera House and famous bands performing at the Belly Up all year round.

The leaves on the trees the town is named after start to turn in September, becoming a gorgeous shade of gold during October that lights up the forests and mountains. Leaf peeping is at its peak in the highest elevations this time of year, and the Elk Camp Gondola still runs up Snowmass Mountain in the fall. Take the short trip to the top for incredible views and access to more than 50 miles of mountain bike trails through the trees. Closer to town, stroll from the Roaring Fork River along Hunter Creek to enjoy the changing foliage.