There are so many perks to look forward to when fall emerges after a long, hot summer.
The beautiful colors, the milder weather, the quiet buzz of life getting back to normal after vacations come to an end (for most of us) are just a few highlights this change of season has to offer.
And all this makes October a great time to visit some of America’s most coveted destinations.
Fall festivals, breathtaking scenery, and cheaper travel costs are the perfect recipe for an autumn getaway. So check out America’s five best places to visit in October!
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
This national park may not get as much attention as the Grand Canyon, but it delivers just as much natural beauty.
Covering parts of the Appalachian and Oconaluftee River Trail on the North Carolina-Tennessee border, this park is a great place to catch what Mother Nature does best in the fall.
Hike to see cascading waterfalls among the colorful landscape of changing leaves. And with temperatures cool and crisp, the drive along the Clingmans Dome or Blue Ridge Parkway makes a refreshing journey.
San Diego, California
October is definitely one of the best times to visit San Diego with its warm weather and warm ocean waves.
About 35.8 million people visit San Diego every year, according to Sand Diego’s tourism website, so you can imagine their peak season is a standing room only situation.
But traveling there after the hordes of people have made it back home gives you the opportunity to enjoy the clear skies with minimal hindrances.
Plus, peak surf season and peak tuna fishing runs in October. And if those aren’t your thing, Fleet Week is held annually in October to honor military serviceman and women.
San Francisco, California
We’ve already mentioned the near-perfect weather California offers in October, but San Francisco has its own special perk in October – the summer fog is gone!
The beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge is often concealed under a constant rotation of fog, but not during the “Indian summer” (as peak sightseeing time in October is called).
Florida is a tourist hot spot, but is best enjoyed during the off-season. October is ideal not only because it’s near the end of hurricane season, it also offers warm (but not sweltering) weather, smaller crowds, and great festivals.
Biketoberfest in Daytona Beach brings in 100,000 visitors (not all of which are bikers) to soak in the sun, enjoy good food, rock out to live music, and admire the wheels of connoisseurs nationwide.
If you want to enjoy the waves washing over you on a quiet beach, then stop by Coco Beach an hour outside of Orlando, as Proud American Traveler has previously recommended.
And of course, there’s the bread and butter of family vacations – Orlando, full of theme parks and attractions galore, but half the people!
Vermont’s Route 100
Vermont is a picturesque state that only gets more beautiful in October.
The famous Route 100 is one of the rare highways in this country not tainted with billboards.
Stop at one of the many roadside apple cider and donut stands or pop into a country store for some local fall harvest goodies.
The best view will be found on Mount Killington, which offers a manageable hike for the whole family if they’re up for it.
End the day in Mad River Valley for a farm-to-table dining experience or stop in Stowe to fly among the foliage at ZipTour Adventure.
Traveling in October is a much more intimate and comfortable vacationing experience for those who want to take in the moments without fighting the crowds of tourists and the heat of summer.
Plus, you can’t beat America’s autumn foliage in October – a perk to any road trip.
(h/t Proud American Traveler)