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 

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 seasonal 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.

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    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.

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    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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    Halloween on Disney Cruise Line

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

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    Fall Getaways Designed for the Preschool Crowd

    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. 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.​

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    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.

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    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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    Where to 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.

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    Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado
    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.

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  • 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 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 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 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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    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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    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.

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    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.