Where to Take the Kids in October

Every autumn, the shoulder season brings lower prices in many destinations, while Columbus Day weekend and Halloween offer myriad ways to have seasonal fun. Here are some great recommendations for a fun October escape. 

  • 01 of 14
    San Diego zoo
    ••• Interacting with a hippo at the San Diego Zoo. John and Lisa Merrill / Getty Images

    Looking for the perfect time to visit San Diego? You'd be hard pressed to beat October, a month when crowds have thinned following the back-to-school period. On top of that, October is 'Kids Free San Diego Month' with a fabulous city-wide promo known as  Kid Kingdom.

  • 02 of 14
    Road nr. Lake George, New York State, USA
    ••• Demetrio Carrasco / 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, here are road trips that offer the colorful vistas that come but for a few short weeks a year.

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    DisneyCruiseLine_Halloween_MattStroshane.jpg
    ••• Matt Stroshane/Disney Cruise Line

    Halloween on the High Seas is taking place on most voyages aboard all four Disney Cruise Line ships from late September through October. Find out about spooktacular fun happening this fall on Disney cruise ships.

  • 04 of 14
    Beaches_Sesame
    ••• Courtesy of Beaches Resorts

    For families with preschoolers, the back-to-school season is perhaps the very best time of year to grab a getaway at a top family resort, as prices tumble and the focus shifts to younger kids. Here’s a sampling of destinations that make fall a special time for preschoolers by offering activities and events especially for the under-5 crowd.

    Continue to 5 of 14 below.
  • 05 of 14
    Eastern State Penitentiary
    ••• Stacy Pearsall / Getty Images

    While rumors persist year-round of real ghosts and goblins inhabiting some of Philadelphia’s most historic sites, Halloween definitely dials up the spooky factor in the City of Brotherly Love. Here 10 ways to get spooked in Philly this Halloween season.  

  • 06 of 14

    Tybee Island Pirate Fest

    Pirate Fest
    ••• Courtesy of Pirate Fest

    Just 20 minutes east of historic Savannah, the annual Tybee Island Pirate Fest  is set to deliver plenty of swashbuckling family-friendly fun. Every Columbus Day weekend, the island transforms into a lively pirate village, celebrating the colorful seafaring history of the Georgia coast.

  • 07 of 14
    Monument Of Christopher Columbus Against Cloudy Sky
    ••• Artem Dunaev / EyeEm / Getty Images

    For many families in the United States, Columbus Day weekend offers the first long weekend break in the fall school calendar. Here are some fantastic fall getaway ideas where you can make the most of this seasonal break.

  • 08 of 14
    Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado
    ••• Stanley Hotel. RiverNorthPhotography / Getty Images

    Does your teen love Halloween and things that go bump in the night? Consider spicing up the spooky season with a sleepover at a haunted hotel, inn, or vacation rental.

    Continue to 9 of 14 below.
  • 09 of 14
    Scenic View Of Field And Lake Against Sky
    ••• Laurie Fuller / EyeEm / Getty Images

    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 one of America’s Top 10 Fall Foliage Destinations. Families have an extra reason to visit from September through mid-December thanks to a city-wide fall promotion.

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    Aurora Borealis - Northern Lights - Upper Peninsula, Michigan
    ••• Lake Superior Photo/Michigan Economic Development Corporation

    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.

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    Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire
    ••• Mark Peters / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    In Pennsylvania's Lancaster County, the historic 35-acre Mount Hope Estate & Winery is transported back to the 16th century for the 13-weekend Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire.

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    Hocking Hills State Park
    ••• Ron and Patty Thomas / Getty Images

    Looking for an affordable Midwestern fall weekend getaway? Ohio State Park Lodges are offering fall packages with savings up to 30 percent on stays this fall.

    Continue to 13 of 14 below.
  • 13 of 14
    Rocking Horse Ranch: Highland, NY
    ••• Courtesy of Rocking Horse Ranch Resort

    Located within two hours north of New York City, this family-friendly, all-inclusive dude ranch offers a 'kids stay free' deal for select midweek stays (Sun-Wed) throughout October.

  • 14 of 14
    Caribbean Cruise
    ••• Sergio Pitamitz / Getty Images

    One big advantage of taking a Caribbean cruise during hurricane season is that prices tend to drop, often to their lowest point in the whole year—and particularly in the fall from late August to early December. Take advantage of the lower prices but follow these tips.