We appreciate the lack of crowds—sometimes having a destination almost entirely to ourselves. In September and October, the Internet is filled with travel articles on the best fall travel destinations. Here are ours.
Our favorite October travel destinations for boomer travelers
I could write an entire article based upon the suggestions that I’ve been reading. But I have plenty of personal fall travel experiences to share. From North America to Europe to Asia, active boomer travelers are sure to find October travel destinations to inspire your next trip.
Explore the American Southwest on an October road trip
The American Southwest is one of our favorite October trip ideas. Temperatures are cooler and the summer tourist crowds have gone home.
I think that October is the best time to visit Monument Valley. To make the most of your visit, I recommend a Navajo guide so that you see off-the-beaten-path areas that are off limits to tourists exploring on their own.
Once you’re finished at Monument Valley, drive on up to Bluff, Utah, for a host of active travel experiences, including Natural Bridges National Monument. Desert Rose Resort & Cabins is our favorite place to stay in Bluff.
- How to take a Monument Valley Scenic Drive
- Visit Valley of the Gods
- Tips for Natural Bridges National Monument scenic drive
Get spooky on an October trip to a Montana ghost town
The Big Hole Valley area of Montana is the epitome of the Old West. Although seldom crowded, you’ll find attractions especially empty in the fall.
October brings a nip to the air or an occasional snow flurry. But if you hurry, there’s time to explore a couple of ghost towns before the snow really flies.
Bannack Ghost Town, near Dillon, is a state park and Montana’s first territorial capital. On our visit, Alan and I enjoyed a day of walking through the town and surrounding area.
Be sure to go into the buildings that are open for a look at a Montana community built upon the ups and downs of the mining industry. Top off the trip with a drive on the Big Sheep Back Country Byway.
Coolidge ghost town, located off the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway, is a more off-the-beaten-path ghost town experience. Walking through the woods to view the tumbled down buildings that are slowly being reclaimed by nature is sort of spooky, but fun.
- Relive gold rush history at Bannack Ghost Town
- Exploring Coolidge ghost town in southwest Montana
- How to drive the Big Sheep Back Country Byway
Capture the beauty of October travel in Arches National Park
Arches National Park is photogenic any time of the year. But on a fall photography tour, we discovered that the golden-colored wildflowers decorating the red rock landscape makes Arches (and Canyonlands) something special to see.
Hiking and photographing the arches is time well spent, especially in the cooler fall weather. Since Canyonlands National Park is practically next door, combine the two for the ultimate national park visit in Moab, Utah.
- Where to take the best photos in Arches National Park
- Discovering Canyonlands National Park
- How to take a self guided photography tour in Canyonlands National Park
Visit a North Carolina Winery on a weekend in October
October in North Carolina is filled with color. Add a visit to a winery and you have a fun, fall travel combination.
On my visit to Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery in the Yadkin Valley, I learned to blend wine. You can too.
- Learning to blend wine at Raffaldini
- Visit Old Salem for a look at Moravian history
- Hiking in Hendersonville, NC
Enjoy the charms of small European towns on a fall getaway
October’s also the time to explore the small towns and countryside of Europe. On a walking tour of Schwerin, Germany, you’ll discover Western Pomerania history, including a castle that’s worthy of Cinderella. On my trip, I stayed at Hotel Niderländischen Hof.
Taking a shoulder season road trip in Provence, France is another option. The lavender fields won’t be blooming but you’ll be charmed by the uncrowded scene.
- Tips for a walking tour of Schwerin
- Enjoy an off-the-beaten-path Provence road trip
- Explore the Gorges du Verdon near Aix-en-Provence
Experience an Italian icon on a fall trip
Do you recognize this scene? This is Riomaggiore, a village along the beautiful Cinque Terre. It’s one of five villages perched on this special part of the Ligurian coast of Italy.
On an October road trip in Northern Italy, Alan and I explored the area for a day. Of course that wasn’t enough time but sometimes you make the best of what you have. Next visit, we’ll rent a villa or an apartment to spend the entire month walking and eating fabulous Italian cuisine.
Walk the Historic Streets of Gdansk in October
Gdansk, Poland probably isn’t at the top of your “where to go in October” list. But if you have the opportunity to visit in the fall, go for it.
A self-guided walking tour of Gdansk explores the complicated history of this Polish city. And of course you’ll want to bring home a piece of amber jewelry, especially after visiting the Amber Museum.
Later, take a taxi to the European Solidarity Centre. You’ll learn the story of Lech Walesa and the Polish fight to defeat communism.
On my visit, I stayed at the Radisson Blu Hotel Gdansk. Don’t miss the archaeological artifacts displayed in the floor near the lobby.
- How to take a self-guided walking tour of Gdansk.
- Discover romantic places to stay in Poland
- Take a Baltic road trip
Go Off-the-Beaten-Path in the Tremiti Islands during an October road trip in Italy
On a road trip in Southern Italy, it’s not hard to veer off-the-beaten-path. But a visit to Tremiti Islands pushes the limit.
Alan and I arrived by commuter helicopter to explore the tiny islands in the Adriatic near Italy’s Gargano Peninsula. Known for sea life and Middle Ages history, we walked, ate and walked some more. I can’t think of a better way to spend an autumn day.
The art-filled Efidicio 15 House Elite in Rodi Garanico served as our headquarters.
Climb the Wall on a fall cruise to China
Beijing was part of the itinerary on a fall cruise from Vancouver to Singapore. By October, we’d reached China and a two-day land excursion in Beijing.
A stop at the Great Wall of China was a highlight, as well as an eye opener. Who knew that the stairs were that deep, rough and steep? They don’t look like it in the photo do they?
But Beijing makes a fascinating October travel destination, if you can deal with air pollution.