Where to Take the Kids in November

The end of the autumn shoulder season brings lower prices in many destinations, only to be interrupted by Thanksgiving kicking off the holiday season. Before things get hectic during the December holidays, is a great time for a family getaway.

Whether it's a theme park, a stay at a resort or just a day trip from home to a corn maze, there are some ways to make memories with your children on a November trip.

  • 01 of 12
    Great Vermont Corn Maze

    Suzanne Rowan Kelleher

    All over the country, giant corn mazes are cropping up to the delight of families who flock to this quintessential fall experience. Wear comfy shoes and bring your sense of adventure.

    Some corn mazes are cut in intricate patterns, visible only from observation towers or from the air. The Midwest's largest corn maze is located on the 33-acre Richardson Adventure Farm, located an hour north of Chicago. For the state's bicentennial, the maze was cut in the shape of the state and featured landmarks and state emblems.

    Many corn mazes can be found on farms where there are many other things for kids to do like petting the farm animals, going on a hayride, and buying something sweet to take home from a farm stand. 

  • 02 of 12
    Aurora Borealis, Michigan

    Layne Kennedy/Getty Images

    Are the Northern Lights on your bucket list? You don't have to cruise to Alaska, fly to Scandinavia, or drive to Canada. You can stay put in the Lower 48 and head to the Great Lakes region for a spectacular light show.

    While there are places you more likely to see the lights, some of the northern states like Washington and Idaho have been known to surprise residents and visitors with an unexpected show of the beautiful lights. 

    Pennsylvania has an edge when it comes to viewing the Northern Lights. Cherry Springs State Park is a Dark Sky Reserve where you can stay overnight to view the lights display. 

  • 03 of 12
    Santa Barbara Lil Toot

    Damian Gadal/Flickr

    Santa Barbara's mild year-round temperatures make it a great escape when the mercury drops around the rest of the country. Families will find plenty to do and see, including going to the beach and the visiting the famous San Diego Zoo.

    Kids of all ages can explore the hands-on marine exhibits at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center. Highlights include a leopard shark touch pool and a 1,500-gallon tidepool tank with sea anemones and sea stars.  

    There are many hotel options in Santa Barbara, some of which are especially suited to families. Hotels like the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort and the Brisas Del Mar are right on the beach. 


  • 04 of 12
    Blue Ridge Parkway

    Pierre Leclerc Photography/Getty Images

    Cooling temperatures mean it's time to pack the car and grab the kids for a weekend road trip to view fall foliage. From sea to shining sea, there are road trips that offer the colorful vistas that come but for a few short weeks a year.

    A great way to see the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway during fall would be to rent an RV and spend the weekend. 

    In Maine, you can travel the back roads from Portland to see the fall foliage, stopping to shop at the LLBean outlet, go lobstering or take a fall foliage boat trip on a lake.

    In California, head up to Apple Hill, not far from the capital of Sacramento, for apple picking, children's events and bring home an apple pie or gallon of cider. 


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  • 05 of 12
    Jacksonville Zoo

    Jacksonville Zoo

    Looking for a place to take the kids in November? You'd be hard-pressed to find a better place to visit than Jacksonville, Florida which offers a whole month of free admission for children at some of the city's most popular family attractions.

    One of the favorite things to do in Jacksonville is to visit the Jacksonville Zoo. The zoo's spacious animal habitats are dotted throughout a botanical garden setting. There are restaurants, a train, and playgrounds, including a small water play park.   ​

    There is a range of hotel options in Jacksonville, including downtown hotels and beach getaways.  

  • 06 of 12
    Cayman Islands Pirate Festival

    Pirates Week

    Whether you're a swashbuckler or a scallywag, consider charting a course in November for the Cayman Islands, which host 10 days of treasure-hunting and buccaneering during the annual Pirates Week National Festival.

    In George Town, Grand Cayman’s capital, you can watch a fun pirate invasion, complete with two pirate ships. During Pirates Week, there are fireworks, costume contests, and a children's' fun fair. 

    There are family-friendly hotel options in the Cayman Islands.

  • 07 of 12
    Traverse City Fall Foliage

    Traverse City Tourism

    Looking for an affordable fall getaway in the Midwest? You'd be hard-pressed to beat Traverse City, in Michigan's "True North," which TripAdvisor.com named as one of America’s Top 10 Fall Foliage Destinations. 

    Children can explore Jacob's Corn Maze, visit the sky-high dunes at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore only 25 miles away and try out the zip line course at Pirate's Cove Adventure Park

    Families have an extra reason to visit from September through mid-December thanks to a city-wide fall promotion

    There are family-friendly hotel options in Traverse City.

  • 08 of 12
    Macys Thanksgiving Parade

    Anthony Quintano/Flickr

    As one of the longest weekends in the fall school calendar, Thanksgiving break offers a stellar opportunity for families to snag a break for four or five days. 

    In New York, the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade will provide children with a once in a lifetime experience. Imagine seeing those huge helium balloons in person! 

    Plan ahead and bring the family to a special Thanksgiving feast at one of the many hotels and restaurants. And, there are sightseeing attractions open on Thanksgiving day, too. Places to go after you enjoy your turkey include the city's three major observatories: Top of the Rock, the Empire State Building, and One World Observatory.

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  • 09 of 12
    Plimoth Plantation
    Kevin Fleming/Corbis/VCG

    Celebrate Thanksgiving where the first historic gathering happened, in Plymouth, about 45-minute drive south of Boston. Any time of year, you can explore Plimoth Plantation and explore the Mayflower II. 

    But November is special a very special time thanks to an annual extended Thanksgiving celebration that brings history to life.

    The event brings three days of activities including an impressive parade, concerts, waterfront activities, and a food festival focused on the best dishes of New England. The parade is known as one of America’s only historically accurate chronological parades, representing each century from the 17th through the 21st. The participants wear accurate costumes and you'll see marching bands and re-enactment units from every period of American history.

    You'll find family-friendly hotel options in Plymouth such as the Hampton Inn and Suites.

  • 10 of 12
    Micky Mouse
    Matt Stroshane/Walt Disney Parks

    'Tis the season when top destinations and family resorts start decking their halls and making the season merry and bright. With some resorts starting holiday festivities in early to mid-November, many families will turn the season into an opportunity for a festive getaway.

    In Orlando, Disneyworld's holiday celebrations start in November with special decorations, parades and evening lights spectaculars. 


  • 11 of 12
    The Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center

    Rudy Sulgan/Getty Images

    The holiday season is arguably the most exciting time to visit New York City and definitely a time with a popular family appeal. Beginning in mid-November, the Big Apple is transformed into a festive holiday destination, from the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center and the beautifully decorated storefronts along Fifth Avenue to the Christmas light displays in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. 

    There is a range of hotel options in New York City that will put you in the middle of everything such as The Westin at Times Square.

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    Polar Express

    Grand Canyon Railway

    The magic of Christmas comes alive in The Polar Express, the beloved children's book, and a perennial favorite holiday movie. Dozens of Polar Express trains have popped up all over the country, offering families the opportunity to recreate the magical Polar Express experience through readings of the story, music from the movie soundtrack, cups of cocoa and, of course, meetings with Santa.

    In Arizona, the Grand Canyon Railway’s Polar Express takes you on a journey from the nighttime wilderness of Williams, Arizona, to the enchanted beauty of “the North Pole” where Santa Claus and his reindeer are waiting. On the same trip, you can visit the nearby south rim of the Grand Canyon National Park and the red rocks of Sedona. 

    Be sure to book ahead, as these trains can sell out months in advance.