Here’s a list of the best National Parks to visit in October with tips to help you plan a national park vacation.
If you’re looking for US National Park vacation ideas, consider October because many parks display autumn colors, the air is cooler and there aren’t as many visitors.
You’ll find travel guides, things to do, what to pack, where to stay, and more to plan an October vacation to US National Parks!
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National Park Packing List
When you are visiting US National Parks it is important to be prepared. This includes wearing the proper clothes and shoes to be comfortable for the climate and the terrain.
→ CHECK OUT: National park packing lists for spring, summer, fall and winter!
- Merrell Moab hiking shoes or Oboz hiking shoes
- Darn Tough hiking socks
- Water – carry a hydration pack or a refillable water bottle in your backpack
- Healthy food that’s portable and filling!
- Columbia fleece jacket
- Wicking, quick-drying clothing
- Lip balm with UV protection
- Sun protection – sunscreen (even in the winter) and a sunhat
- UV sunglasses are good for summer and winter
- Travel hand sanitizer
- Flashlight or headlamp
- US National Park travel guides and maps
- First aid kit
- Insect repellent
- Camera gear – DOWNLOAD the free checklist!
Visiting US National Parks in October
Check out our guide for finding the best National Parks to visit by month.
During each season and month of the year, national parks will have different activities and services available.
Here’s a list of US National Park vacation ideas for the month of October.
Canyonlands in October
Canyonlands National Park in October is one of the best times to visit! It offers cooler temperatures than other months throughout the year.
Two days is the perfect amount of time to explore this National Park. You will want to spend one day exploring Canyonlands National Park Island in the Sky and the other at Needles Canyonlands.
There are so many things to do at Canyonlands National Park like exploring the Canyonlands hikes and the Island in the Sky scenic drive.
Where to Stay Near Canyonlands
Crater Lake National Park in October
Did you know Crate Lake National Park is opened year-round, 24 hours a day?
Visiting Crater Lake in October usually means fewer people and better views when you stop at the beautiful overlooks. With over 30 overlooks to choose from, you will be amazed by the views in this unique park.
Crater Lake National Park is a great place to visit in Oregon with kids.
Sometimes there are early snowfalls, so be sure to check the road conditions before visiting.
Lodging and Tours Near Crater Lake National Park
Death Valley in October
Death Valley National Park is best explored in the fall months due to lower temperatures than summer months.
If going on a guided tour is something you want to do, these do not start until late October.
Planning your trip to Death Valley National Park should include an early arrival for a breathtaking view of the sunrise at Zabriskie Point.
Death Valley Lodging & Tours
USA AUDIO TOURS (GyPSy Guide)
“Download the app to your phone – no cell or wifi service needed. Based on your GPS location, the app takes you on a guided tour of the area and points out all the interesting features and stops. It’s like having a guide in the car with you.”
Denali National Park in October
Since Denali National Park is located in Alaska, there are very short periods to visit without snow.
October is the perfect time to visit because the end of September is when cruise ships stop porting which means fewer people are visiting the park.
Visiting Denali National Park in October is a great time to do some fall hiking and even see the northern lights!
Lodging & Tours Near Denali
Everglades National Park in October
Visiting Florida in the summer months is not ideal at all. Planning a trip to the Everglades in October is a great way to avoid the hot sticky weather.
A must-do activity at Everglades National Park is riding an airboat on the swamps to view alligators. This is an adventurous visit that you don’t want to miss!
Everglades National Park Lodging & Tours
- Hotels Near Everglades National Park
- Vacation Rentals Near Everglades National Park
- Tours Near Everglades National Park
Great Smoky Mountains in October
Visiting the Great Smoky Mountains in October will be a real treat for your eyes.
The red, yellow, and orange colors that fill the tree-lined mountains make for a beautiful display.
No matter if you are exploring in your car or motorcycle these colors are one of the real reasons why visiting the Great Smoky Mountains in the fall is a must!
Great Smoky Mountains Lodging & Tours
- Hotels Near Great Smoky Mountains
- Vacation Rentals Near Great Smoky Mountains
- Tours Near Great Smoky Mountains
North Cascades in October
Northern Washington in October is pure beauty. The start of October brings some fall foliage that is so breathtaking, which is surprising to many because when one thinks of Washington State they think green thick Douglas Fir Trees.
North Cascade National Park offers jagged peaks, deep valleys, and cascading waterfalls. There is so much to see and do here.
Exploring the outdoors in cold weather is not always fun. That’s why visiting in October is smart before it gets too cold and covered in snow.
Lodging Near North Cascades
Rocky Mountain National Park in October
Looking to view all kinds of wildlife, including moose, black bears, and bighorn sheep? Then October is a great time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park.
You may even get lucky and see some wildlife head-butting and playing around while visiting. To get the full experience of the trails and wildlife, sign up for a horseback ride to explore the park.
Rocky Mountain National Park Lodging & Tours
- Hotels Near Rocky Mountain National Park
- Vacation Rentals Near Rocky Mountain National Park
- Tours Near Rocky Mountain National Park
Shenandoah in October
During the first week of October, the leaves start changing into the most beautiful fall colors at Shenandoah National Park. The higher in elevation you go the more color changes in the leaves you will see.
If you are a lover of bird watching there are over 500 miles of trails where you can enjoy seeing all types of birds that make this park their home.
Located near Shenandoah National Park are the Luray Caverns, which is a US Natural Landmark. They are the largest underground caverns you will find on the east coast.
Where to Stay Near Shenandoah National Park
Yellowstone in October
Our all-time favorite month to visit – Yellowstone in October. There are fewer people, cooler temperatures for hiking and greater wildlife activity.
You do need to be prepared for a trip to Yellowstone in the fall. The weather is unpredictable in the fall so pack for sun, rain, and snow.
Also, the lodges, stores, gas stations and roads begin to close for the season so do your research in advance.
But if you enjoy waterfalls, wildlife, and nature photography, and can do without some park services, use our Yellowstone vacation planning guide.
Places to stay in West Yellowstone
- Holiday Inn, West Yellowstone
- ClubHouse Inn, West Yellowstone
- Kelly Inn, West Yellowstone
- West Yellowstone hotels!
Places to stay in Gardiner
- Yellowstone Gateway Inn, Gardiner – full kitchen and comfy bed, one of our favorite places to stay!
- Park Hotel Yellowstone, Gardiner – charming place to stay and loved by guests!
- Absaroka Lodge, Gardiner – beautiful location with river views!
- Gardiner hotels!
Places to stay in Cooke City or Silver Gate
- Sunny Log Home on the Creek, Silver Gate (VRBO) – the most AMAZING location with an awesome fireplace and comfy bed!
- High Country Motel and Cabins – local owners who love what they do, and make you feel so welcome!
- Rent an RV – have it dropped off at your vacation destination!
Zion National Park in October
Crowds may still be a factor at Zion National Park in October, but it’s not as HOT as the summer months.
Where to Stay Near Zion
- Places to stay at to Zion National Park
- Where to stay near Bryce Canyon and Zion
- Camping in Zion National Park
- Camping Near ZNP and Bryce Canyon
- RV parks near Zion National Park
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