Where to Take the Kids in October

Spooky Getaways, Renaissance Faire and a Pirate Festival

Latino father and daughter looking at rocks on sunny beach

Hero Images/Getty Images 

October is a great time to travel with kids in tow. Fall-themed happenings, thinned out crowds and a chill in the air make this season magical. Every autumn, the shoulder season, or time between peak and off-peak season, brings lower prices in many destinations, while Columbus Day weekend and Halloween offer many ways to have autumn fun. If you're looking for an October escape with your offspring check out the fall foliage, stay at a spooky hotel or plan a last-minute getaway to cities that cater to the kiddies.

01 of 15

Take Your Family on a Spooky Sleepover: The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado
RiverNorthPhotography / Getty Images

Does your family 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. The Stanley Hotel, in Estes Park, Colorado, for example, hosts paranormal investigators and leads ghosts tours. Staying here in the fall season would be a trip to remember, that's for sure.

02 of 15

Feel Alive in Whistler, Canada

Heli-picnic with Blackcomb Helicopters

 Wendy Altschuler 

Autumn in colorful Whistler, Canada is quite stunning. Go on a night hike at Vallea Lumina, a multi-media forest adventure. Check out the art festivals, galleries and exhibits—Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre and Audain Art Museum feature local art, First Nations creative works and hands-on workshops. Attend Whistler Village Beer Festival, Whistler Writers Festival or Cornucopia, a fall festival of food and drinks. Soak in the hot tub at Fairmont Chateau Whistler, which hugs Blackcomb Mountain. And, of course, there are a number of adrenaline surging, heart-pumping adventures that your family can enjoy. Go mountain biking, zip lining or, for something truly unique, take a flight (weather-dependent) with Blackcomb Helicopters, leaders in heli-tourism: sightseeing, skiing, picnicking, yoga, hiking and even paddle boarding. Red Paddle Co. has a brand-new performance-driven compact inflatable board that packs up tight and can fit in the helicopter's basket. Kids can hop on a sturdy board solo or tandem with a parent—this board is versatile.

03 of 15

Take a Trip to San Diego

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 ​the Kid Kingdom where kids eat, stay and play for free.

04 of 15

Go on a Fall Foliage Drive

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, there are some fabulous road trips that offer the colorful vistas that come but for a few short weeks a year.

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05 of 15

Celebrate Halloween on a Disney Cruise Line

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. Disney cruise ships offer up some spooktacular fun this fall on their line of ships for families.

06 of 15

Take Your Preschooler on a Fall Getaway

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. There are a number of destinations—like Beaches and Club Med—that make fall a special time for preschoolers by offering activities and events, especially for the under-5 crowd.​

07 of 15

Get Spooked in Philly

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. Get spooked in Philly this Halloween season.

08 of 15

Go to the 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.

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09 of 15

Get Away for Columbus Day Weekend

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. There are a number of fantastic fall getaway ideas—even if it's just a fall foliage trip—where you can make the most of a long weekend.

10 of 15

Enjoy Fall in Traverse City

Scenic View Of Field And Lake Against Sky
Laurie Fuller / EyeEm / Getty Images

Looking for an affordable fall getaway in the Midwest? You cannot beat Traverse City, Michigan, 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 money-saving fall promotion where families can enjoy discounts at hotels, restaurants, wineries and local shops.

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See the Northern Lights

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. Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and Michigan's upper peninsula are all color-soaked dark sky destinations where you can spot the Aurora Borealis.

12 of 15

Time Travel at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire

Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire
Mark Peters / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

In Pennsylvania's Lancaster County, the historic 35-acre Mount Hope Estate and Winery makes you feel like you have been transported back to the 16th century for the 13-weekend Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire.

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13 of 15

Enjoy Nature at Ohio State Park Lodges

Hocking Hills State Park
Ron and Patty Thomas / Getty Images

If you are within reasonable driving distance to Ohio, you can find an affordable Midwestern fall weekend getaway with Ohio State Park Lodges. Every year they offer fall packages with 30 percent savings on lodging.

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Live Like a Cowboy at Rocking Horse Ranch

Rocking Horse Ranch: Highland, NY
Courtesy of Rocking Horse Ranch Resort

Located within two hours of New York City, this family-friendly, all-inclusive dude ranch offers a "kids stay free" deal for select midweek stays (Sunday through Wednesday) throughout October. Plus, apple picking starts in September and rolls through fall.

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Hop on a Caribbean Cruise

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—particularly in the fall from late August to early December. Take advantage of the lower prices and go on a family-friendly adventure.

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