Two swimmers in Queen's Bath in Kauai, Hawaii

This October, book an off-season trip to Kauai and enjoy fewer crowds. (Photo: Getty Images)

Tips + Trends

From Fall Foliage to Island Getaways: Where to Travel in October for Every Type of Traveler

Oh, October. Above the equator, sweater weather has arrived. Below the equator, the days are getting longer. Whether choosing a pumpkin-filled farmers market or an island retreat, October, when others are staying put before the holidays, is an ideal time to travel.

Dive into the list below and pick a place. Then pack your flannel or flip-flops and get ready to enjoy one of these exciting destinations.

As always, check for travel guidelines and closures before planning your trip.

The Outdoor Enthusiast

Kauai, Hawaii

Between peak tourist time and the rainy season, October is a superb month to delight in this lush Hawaiian island.

Spend your days in Kauai zip lining, paddleboarding or snorkeling. For a bird’s-eye view, you can book a helicopter tour to see stunning views of the Napali Coast.​

Arusha, Tanzania

Arusha, the safari capital of Tanzania, sits between Mount Kilimanjaro and Serengeti National Park and is a good starting point before going on safari.

October is at the tail end of the typical dry season, and if you get lucky with timing, you might have the chance to observe herds of zebras, gazelles and other migrating animals crossing the Mara River.

The Food and Drinks Lover

Scottsdale, Arizona

A waiter holds a sea bass and vegetable dish out in front of them at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa
The Scottsdale area is a foodie paradise. (Photo: Marriott International)

October brings ideal weather for dining outside and savoring the cuisine of the American Southwest (and beyond). In Scottsdale, which is just a 25-minute drive from Phoenix, you’ll find a wide range of food options, from budget-friendly eats to upscale restaurants. Old Town Scottsdale is a lively area with buildings dating back to the early 1900s — and plenty of restaurants and bars to explore.

If it’s not too warm, venture to Cave Creek, nestled north of Scottsdale, for a scenic hike. Do some sightseeing and shopping in the Old West–inspired Frontier Town and grab some small-batch ice cream from City Creamery.

On your way back to Scottsdale, grab a meal at Tía Carmen at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. Chef Angelo Sosa creates wildly flavorful dishes, like ceviche tostadas, inspired by his aunt Carmen’s cooking.

Madison, Wisconsin

What’s not to love about a Midwestern town that welcomes you with beer and fried cheese curds? October daytime temperatures are perfectly pleasant in Madison, making it a great month to be outdoors. Fortunately, this cheese-loving town is bikeable and walkable.

Madison makes for a great weekend getaway, and it’s chock full of breweries, restaurants and shopping districts across its historic and burgeoning neighborhoods. Don’t forget to check out the weekend farmers market near the Capitol to pick up some fresh, local food, drinks and other goods.

Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado, in autumn
Denver has an epic food and drinks scene. (Photo: Getty Images)

October in the Mile High City is glorious, with leaves falling like golden confetti and buttery light at day’s end.

Known as the Napa Valley of craft beers, Denver boasts a high density of breweries. In October, you can swig some suds and hear spooky stories on a tour of some of the most (allegedly) haunted places in LoDo (Lower Downtown).

Denver offers foodies great dining options, as well. You might even see stars — Michelin stars, that is. Denver boasts several Michelin-rated restaurants, including Beckon, a contemporary restaurant in the trendy RiNo Art District (River North). This cozy-chic spot has only 18 seats, so reserve your place in advance.

Vancouver, Canada

With a diverse cultural heritage, Vancouver offers a dynamic food scene. Eat your way through the city by taking a dumpling-making class in Chinatown, dining on fall fare at a farm-to-table restaurant or tasting the many types of fusion cuisines on offer. You won’t run out of options here.

October is shoulder season in Vancouver, which means you’re more likely to find better lodging prices, as well.


While October sits in Barbados’ rainy season, the warm temperatures make it a lovely alternative to more autumnal destinations — and it’s not uncommon for days to be sunny and clear, even in the wet season. One highlight for visitors is the Food and Rum Festival, which takes place in Barbados every October. During the festival, the island celebrates its rum heritage (think delicious tastings), and local chefs prepare Bajan cuisine.

For decades, fans have flocked to Oistin’s Fish Fry. The sounds of reggae and the aroma of grilled fish make it the place to be on Friday nights. Oh, and there’s macaroni pie, too.

The Arts and Culture Seeker

Dresden, Germany

Aerial view of Dresden, Germany, in autumn
Dresden’s architecture is complemented by fall foliage. (Photo: Getty Images)

With old-world architecture and works by artists like Rembrandt in the Old Masters Picture Gallery, Dresden feels as refined as a strand of pearls.

Travelers often wait until the Christmas markets open to visit Germany, so October is generally less crowded. And the Dresden Zwinger palace gardens are lovely in October, when fall foliage is at its finest.

If you have time to venture out of the city, take a drive from Dresden to Kromlau Park. There, photographers cluster at Devil’s Bridge waiting for just the right light, when the arch and its reflection on the water beneath create a complete, and completely ethereal, circle.

Bogotá, Colombia

Aerial view of Bogota, Colombia
Nestled into the mountains, Bogotá has a vibrant nightlife. (Photo: Getty Images)

Bogotá, the capital city of Colombia, cherishes its culture, including street art. Take an organized graffiti tour to see how artists express themselves on the city’s walls.

Nightlife is also part of Bogotá’s culture. Join clubgoers and dance late into the night at upscale hot spot Andrés D.C.

October is shoulder season in Bogotá, so crowds have waned.

Almaty, Kazakhstan

In Almaty, known as the City of Gardens, leafy parks and tree-lined avenues turn crimson and gold in October. First President Park, a haven in the heart of the city, shows off lush flower beds, stunning fountains and sculptures of oversized apples.

Visitors will see replicas of the fruit throughout Almaty, said to be the birthplace of the modern apple. The last remaining wild apple forests sit in the nearby Tian Shan mountains — though they are protected and not easily accessible to visitors.

Don’t miss the stunning Ascension Cathedral, which is the color of orange sherbet and has domes decorated in brightly colored patterns. And to see one of the best art collections in Kazakhstan, make sure to visit Almaty’s Museum of Arts.

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