Autumn is a beautiful, less busy time of year to travel the world. The chilly air and the cozy atmosphere make it an ideal time to travel and explore new places. Summer crowds tend to dwindle by late September, while fall foliage showcases splendid colors in early October. From California wineries to road trips across Europe, a wonderful getaway awaits you! If you’re wondering where to travel this fall, we’ve got you covered with eight October vacation ideas that are sure to leave you spellbound!

Best October Vacations

Our autumn sightseeing guide has something for everyone — regardless of whether you picture yourself relaxing on a white-sand beach in Hawaii, hiking trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or sipping espresso at a café in Rome. Here’s a closer look at some of the best October vacation destinations.

1. Munich, Germany

Men and women wearing lederhosen during a traditional Oktoberfest celebration.

Munich is the capital city of Bavaria, the largest state in Germany. If you’re searching for one of the best places to travel in October, look no further than Munich vacation rentals. This city is the birthplace of Oktoberfest, the world’s biggest beer festival that’s over 200 years old. Oktoberfest’s famous beer tents, delicious food, and carnival attractions draw in more than six million people annually. Dressing in traditional Bavarian costumes — dirndl for women and lederhosen for men — helps visitors fully immerse themselves in the experience.

Oktoberfest usually lasts over two weeks, from late September through the beginning of October. Located in Southeastern Germany, Munich experiences warm weather in early fall. Chilly days and nights are more common by late October. If you want to skip the Oktoberfest crowds, though, there’s still plenty to experience in the city later in the month.

Fun Things to Do

As the third-largest city in Germany, Munich is home to over a million residents, which provides it with its nickname, Millionendorf, or the “Village of a Million People.” There is so much to do and see here:

  • Visitors will find plenty of shops, museums, and historical sites to explore. There are also parks, lakes, and beer gardens to enjoy on warmer days.
  • Getting around is made easy with reliable, well-connected public transportation accessible from a number of vacation rentals in Munich, so you’ll have no trouble exploring all the sights and shops in the city’s hot spot, its medieval Old Town.
  • From Nymphenburg Palace to the famed Hofbräuhaus beer hall, Munich has something for everyone to enjoy.

2. Sicily, Italy

The turquoise water found along the Scilian coast.

Italy, as a country, is well-known for its fantastic cuisine. Sicily, the largest Mediterranean island located right off the toe of Italy’s boot, is no different. Fall is a fabulous time for foodies to visit, as bountiful harvests grace the restaurant scene in addition to fresh pasta, bread, and fish. There are also food festivals all across the island in October. The most famous are Ottobrata Zafferana, Funghi Fest, and Chocomodica — the last one a festival in Modica that celebrates hundreds of years of Sicilian chocolate creations. Deliziosa!

October marks the beginning of the low season, so travelers can find great Sicily vacation rentals at more affordable rates and enjoy smaller crowds at popular destinations, like Taormina, made famous by The White Lotus series on HBO.

Fun Things to Do

The weather and sea are still fairly warm, and rainfall is possible but rare. Here are some of our favorite things to do in Sicily in the fall:

  • Outdoor activities like hiking Mt. Etna, day trips to the beach, and snorkeling are popular this time of year.
  • October also offers pleasant weather for touring the capital city of Palermo and many ancient Greek and Roman ruins.

3. Traverse City, Michigan

Downtown Traverse City in the fall.

Traverse City sits at the southern end of the Grand Traverse Bay, a freshwater bay on the coast of Lake Michigan. This Midwest city is so high on our list of the best places to visit in October because it’s northern location boasts a moderate climate that’s perfect for wine-making and fall leaf-peeping tours. Yes, you read that right!

Traverse City rentals will put you near 40 wineries in the region, which is fittingly known as the “Traverse Wine Coast.” The area also promises scenic roadways with miles of spectacular fall colors, rolling vineyards, idyllic small towns, and lakeside vistas, so it’s perfect for a romantic trip for two, and equally as fun if you’re looking for Traverse City vacation rentals for large groups.

Fun Things to Do

  • If breweries are more your style, you may enjoy exploring the city on a group brewery tour.
  • Adventurous kayaking and biking guided tours are available to take you on the waterways and around downtown for the day. It’s a fun and unique way to experience the Traverse City in the fall and learn more about the area from a local guide.

4. Sydney, Australia

A hot air balloon ride over Sydney.

Known as the Emerald City, Sydney is the perfect place for a luxury vacation. October in Sydney is like springtime in the northern hemisphere. The days are long and warm up to more comfortable temperatures. October is part of Australia’s spring shoulder season, offering cheaper rates and fewer crowds than peak summer months, and more favorable weather than off-peak times. That means finding reasonably priced rental apartments in Sydney and airfare is a lot easier, which is good news all around!

For top accommodations, look for vacation rentals in exclusive neighborhoods like Bondi, Paddington, and Vaucluse. Double Bay is another great location and one of the prettiest areas of the eastern part of the city. It offers quiet sandy beaches, lovely parks, and other desirable amenities like cafés and boutique shops.

Fun Things to Do

  • Sydney offers world-class restaurants, designer shopping, entertainment venues, and luxe spas.
  • You can even book a private hot air balloon tour to see spectacular views of the city from above!

5. Reykjavik, Iceland

The famous Blue Lagoon in Iceland.

The capital of Iceland, Reykjavik is a safe and friendly coastal city. Reykjavik is easily walkable due to its compact city center, and there are also buses to nearby attractions. Renting a car is another option if you want to go at your own pace. Going on a whale-watching tour, visiting a local swimming pool, and hiking outside the city are all popular things to do in this area. Grab one of the many upscale Reykjavik rentals near the City Centre or Norðurmýri neighborhoods and you’ll be near plenty of attractions like the city’s art, maritime, and history museums, as well as the famous Blue Lagoon.

Autumn in Iceland is chilly and windy, and the weather is known for making sudden and unpredictable changes. Remember to wear layers and pack a raincoat, just in case!

Fun Things to Do

  • Touring the Golden Circle is a top Iceland bucket list item. The driving tour is at least a three-hour journey by bus or car that starts in Reykjavik and goes to waterfalls, geysers, and Thingvellir National Park.
  • The Blue Lagoon is another must-see destination just south of the city. Book tickets in advance to make sure you can gain entrance into this relaxing geothermal spa that’s popular with locals and tourists alike.
  • Visit the surrounding areas in October for the best fall colors and a chance to see the northern lights.

6. Santorini, Greece

The white-marbel buildings along the cliffside in Santorini.

The natural beauty of Santorini, Greece, will take your breath away. Known for stunning sunsets, beautiful blue waters, and scenic architecture, this island is amazing to visit in the fall. October is the last month of the tourist season for Santorini, so you can enjoy all the island has to offer, plus sunny weather and fewer crowds at better prices.

Oia, on the island’s northern side, is the most picturesque place to stay. Watching the sunset from Oia Castle is why many people journey to this village. Santorini has an ancient and dormant volcano that can be seen from Oia and other places along the coast. You can also take a boat out to see it up close. Santorini rentals with views of the caldera — the depression left behind in the sea by the volcano’s eruption thousands of years ago — are usually in high demand. Not to worry, as vacation rentals can be found all over Oia, including villas with private pools.

Fun Things to Do

Fira is the other main village on the island and the capital of Santorini. It’s the cultural and commercial center of the island where you can find everything from art galleries and shops to bustling bars and cafés.

  • To get to the old port city of Ormos from Fira, you’ll walk down 600 stone steps or take a cable car from the cliffs.
  • For a unique experience, ride a mule down to the harbor and have a meal at a tavern.

7. Asheville, North Carolina

The Blue Ridge Parkway in fall.

Asheville is an artsy, vibrant place with plenty of cultural, historical, and outdoor activities to enjoy. The city lies in the Blue Ridge section of the Appalachian Mountains, the highest part of an ancient mountain range that extends from Pennsylvania to Georgia. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic route through the mountains that links Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. Touring parts of the parkway by car or motorcycle immerses travelers in the splendor of autumn. The abundance of outdoor activities available in the area make it a prime destination to select one of the many available Asheville cabin rentals.

Fun Things to Do

The months of September and October, in particular, offer some of the best weather in Asheville. Thanks to cooler temperatures that aren’t too cold, it’s ideal hiking weather. It’s also the perfect time to enjoy a cabin rental with a hot tub and take in the mountain views.

Start your morning at one of downtown Asheville’s vacation rentals, and drive just 30 minutes to Mount Mitchell State Park. At over 6,000 feet in elevation, it’s the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. It’s free to enter the park, and you can drive close to the summit’s observation deck for 360-degree views. October is peak time to see fall leaves on display, starting at the highest elevation in the first week!

  • The Biltmore Estate features the Biltmore House — the largest private residence in the United States — plus indoor and outdoor gardens, an on-site winery with complimentary wine tastings, and a historic farming village.
  • The nearby Great Smoky Mountain cabin rentals are a great way to experience the region’s beautiful tree-covered mountain peaks misted with a bluish haze.

8. Burlington, Vermont

Burlington, Vermont illuminated at night.

New England is one final place to consider visiting for breathtaking fall colors, warm hospitality, and crisp days. In fact, the six states that encompass this region in the Northeast of the United States are some of the best places to go on vacation in October. This area is rich in history and includes Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Autumn is much cooler in the north, with average daily temperatures in the 40s and 50s, so pack a warm coat and clothes if you’re not used to the cold.

Burlington is a small city on the eastern shores of Lake Champlain. It’s a good place to begin a road trip around New England.

Fun Things to Do

  • Steps from a number of enjoyable Burlington vacation rentals, be sure to visit the brick-paved Church Street, a pedestrian-only thoroughfare located downtown, for local shops, cafés, bookstores, and restaurants.
  • From there, you can easily reach the lake’s waterfront boardwalk and enjoy the park or a sail on the water.
  • A tour of Burlington wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the original Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop on the corner of College and St. Paul Streets.

If you’re still wondering where to travel in October, this mini road trip idea has you covered! From Burlington, drive south through New Hampshire to stop in interesting places along the way to Massachusetts. Concord, Exeter, and Portsmouth are rich in American Revolutionary War history like Boston. If you’re in the area during Halloween, it’s worth taking a short trip north and staying in one of the older vacation rentals in Salem, MA, where the infamous witch trials were held in the 1690s. The city celebrates Halloween in style with fun events, like a parade and ball, organized by Salem Haunted Happenings.

Why Should You Travel During October?

October is an ideal time to travel for a variety of reasons. Autumn is a shoulder season — the time between peak summer months and off-peak seasons for many destinations. Airfare, entertainment, and rental rates can be cheaper in the fall because of off-peak pricing. October also boasts cooler temperatures, fewer crowds, and stunning fall colors.

Before booking one of these fall travel destinations, be sure to research the area’s seasonal weather in advance. You don’t want to end up vacationing during the rainy season, especially if you’re planning outdoor activities like biking or kayaking.

Where Will You Travel This Fall?

October is the perfect time to visit many top travel destinations around the world. Whether you want to down a stein full of beer in Munich or attend a party dressed as a witch in Salem, VacationRenter can help you book your next vacation.