For many people, October means cooler weather, changing colors, and fall treats, such as pumpkins and cider. October is the perfect time to plan a vacation that the whole family can enjoy. Whether you are looking for harvest festivals, foliage viewing, or Halloween fun, there’s sure to be something on this list that sparks your imagination. Check out these 11 . vacation destinations, and you’ll know where to look for a vacation rental for your next October getaway.

1. Salem, Massachusetts

Salem
Source: Flickr / Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

Salem is the perfect vacation destination for spooky Halloween fun. Every October, the city pulls out all the stops for Haunted Happenings, a month packed with activities for all ages. Learn more about the Salem witch trials at the Salem Witch Museum, see swashbucklers come alive at the New England Pirate Museum, or hear ghost stories on an evening candlelight walking tour. Don your costume and head over to Darby Street carnival for food, games, and music. Everything culminates in a spectacular fireworks display on Halloween night.

2. Stowe, Vermont

Stowe
Source: Flickr / Anthony Quintano

Leaf-peepers love heading to New England to view fall foliage, and Stowe is the perfect place to base a road trip. Drive up the Auto Toll Road to the summit of Mount Mansfield for gorgeous views of the valley below, bright with the colors of fall. Stop by nearby farms offering maple sugaring, apple picking, and wine tasting. Back in town, be sure to bring the kids to Ben & Jerry’s Waterbury Factory for samples of the sweet treat, and visit the Trapp Family Lodge to learn more about the real family behind “The Sound of Music.”

3. Albuquerque, New Mexico

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To see a different type of color, travel to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the annual International Balloon Fiesta, the largest balloon festival in the world. Watch as hundreds of balloons soar to the sky, controlled by pilots from 28 different countries. Kids love seeing their favorite characters fly through the air. For more outdoor fun, take the Sandia Peak Ski & Tramway up to the summit to see the city in its fall glory.

4. Dallas, Texas

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State fairs are a fall tradition, and one of the best is the historic Texas State Fair, which has operated since 1886. Take the family to Dallas to ride on more than 70 rides for all ages, including the famous 212-foot Ferris wheel. There are plenty of food vendors throughout the park to satisfy even the pickiest eaters, and college football plays in Cotton Ball Stadium, so fans can catch a game.

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5. Nashville, Tennessee

Nash
Source: Flickr / Ken Lund

As the weather cools, Nashville begins to bustle with an array of fall festivals. Visit Cheekwood Estate & Gardens to see scarecrows take over the Turner Seasons Garden and choose a pumpkin from the 11-foot-tall Pumpkin House. Adults and kids who are ready to be scared will enjoy hearing tales of the Bell Witch at the annual Haunted Museum Festival. Afterwards, head downtown to hear all the great bands found in Music City.

6. Bar Harbor, Maine

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Families who want to make the most of the outdoors during October love visiting Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine. Some of the best foliage is found along the park’s hiking and biking trails and covering its many small islands. If you’re a bird enthusiast, hike up Cadillac Mountain to catch a glimpse of peregrine falcons and the occasional bald eagle, and red foxes, seals, and other wildlife are seen throughout the land.

7. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago

To enjoy Oktoberfest without going to Germany, nothing beats the one held in Chicago. This three-day event celebrates all things German, with plenty of bratwurst and pretzels on-hand. Younger children can learn to polka at the kid-friendly Kinderfest, while adults learn how to brew their own beer. Other not-to-miss Chicago festivals in October include the Jazz Festival and International Film Fest, making October a great time to be in the Windy City.

8. Savannah, Georgia

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Savannah has a reputation for being one of the country’s most haunted cities, making it a perfect choice for a Halloween vacation. Choose from one of the many ghost tours crossing the city, such as the Blue Orb City of the Dead Tour, Savannah Ghostwalker Tour, or Moon River Brewing Company’s haunted pub tour. For a break from the scares, be sure to check out the city’s Oktoberfest, Autumn Harvest Festival, or Pirate Festival.

9. Asheville, North Carolina

Ashe
Source: Flickr / Rebecca Wilson

Asheville, North Carolina is nestled along the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is a great option for those looking to combine outdoor recreation with entertainment. Head to the park for a scenic tour of the local foliage by hiking, horseback riding, or driving. The Ghost Train Halloween Festival at Tweetsie Railroad has been going on for over two decades, and you and the kids can enjoy wandering through the Freaky Forest, exploring a 3-D maze at the Boneyard, or watching the black light show at the Haunted Palace Saloon.

10. Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lanc
Source: Wiki / Ad Meskens

For a more relaxing vacation, turn to Lancaster, Pennsylvania and the surrounding countryside. Things move more slowly here, and families enjoy peace and quiet among the Pennsylvania Dutch farmlands. There’s still plenty to do to keep little ones entertained, such as the flashlight maze at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm and the Sleepy Hollows tour at Rock Ford Plantation. You won’t miss out on Oktoberfest because the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire hosts one throughout the month, with lots of German food and fun activities.

11. Columbus, Ohio

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If October means pumpkins to you, then you will want to travel to Columbus, Ohio for the annual Circleville Pumpkin Show. Walk through the festival and you’ll see scores of pumpkins piled high. Try some pumpkin treats, guess the weight of the largest pumpkins, and see dogs dressed as pumpkins in the pet parade. Be sure to choose a pumpkin of your own to take home at the end of the festival.

 
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