Where to Take the Kids in September

The beach, Disney destinations, and Renaissance Faire top the list

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Outer Banks
Diane Cook and Len Jenshel / Getty Images

As the kids head back to school and summer draws slowly to a close, many places across the United States are heading into a glorious season with milder temperatures and fewer crowds. As the unofficial end to summer, Labor Day weekend falls after many kids have already returned to school and yet it offers one last opportunity to end the season on a high note. These destinations make fabulous getaways for families in late summer and early fall. 

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    Cinderella's Castle at Disneyworld
    Testa Images / Getty Images

    Looking for the perfect time to visit Orlando and Walt Disney World? You'd be hard-pressed to beat September, a month when hotel rates are at their lowest of the year and crowds have thinned with the back-to-school season. 

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    Narcisse Snake Dens in Manitoba, Canada
    Dan McKay/Flickr Creative Commons

    If your kids are fascinated with snakes, plan a bucket-list trip to the Narcisse Snake Dens in Manitoba, Canada, where you'll find the world's largest concentration of harmless garter snakes. In early September, the snakes return to their dens before spending the winter in the limestone bedrock fissures below the frozen ground.

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    Fall, Smuggler's Notch, Vermont
    John Warden / Getty Images

    Smuggler's Notch resort in Smuggler's Notch, Vermont, puts on a FallFest on Sept. 7 and 8, 2018, with live music, a pig roast, mountain biking, and rock climbing. And you can enjoy all this while your kids are entertained in the AutumnFest Children's Program, for children 6 weeks to 7 years old.

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    Franconia notch state park during fall
    Praveen P.N / 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, you can take road trips that offer the colorful vistas that come but for a few short weeks a year. One of the many spectacular drives is through Franconia Notch State Park in Franconia, New Hampshire.

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    Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire
    Courtesy of Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire

    In Pennsylvania's Lancaster County, the historic 35-acre Mount Hope Estate is transported back to the 16th century for the 13-weekend Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, which runs from Aug. 4 to Oct. 28, 2018, and includes Labor Day Monday. It's populated with costumed characters strolling through a 35-acre Renaissance village with music in the air, royal kitchens to visit, and local artisans' work to buy and admire.

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    Disneyland Paradise
    Paul Hiffmeyer/Walt Disney Parks

    While Southern California weather beckons year-round, three fall months deliver at Disneyland when it comes to low prices, fewer crowds, and mild temperatures. September kicks off the best season to visit Disneyland, every child's dream vacation.

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    Eastern State Penitentiary
    J. Smith/Visit Philadelphia

    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 are 10 ways to get spooked in Philly this Halloween season, which is long; it begins in September.

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    Traverse City Tourism
    Courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

    If you're 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. Families have an extra reason to visit from September through mid-December thanks to a city-wide fall promotion. 

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  • 09 of 11
    Sesame Place
    Courtesy of Sesame Place


    If you have young children and want to give them a Halloween treat that's fun and not frightening, Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, is a good bet. It celebrates Halloween with its annual Count's Halloween Spooktacular event, which includes mazes, hayrides, and fun costume events.

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    Cape Hatteras Lighthouse at Sunset
    Zach Frailey / Getty Images

    The 200-mile string of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina known as the Outer Banks—and commonly known as the OBX—is a popular family destination renowned for its temperate climate and wide expanse of open beachfront. The weather's still warm in North Carolina in September, and a trip to the Outer Banks makes for a great September weekend getaway that still has the taste of lingering summer.

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    Kayaking in Laguna Beach
    Courtesy of La Vida Laguna

    Known for its mild year-round climate and artist community, the California seaside resort town of Laguna Beach is a great destination for families, with its scenic beaches and lots of kid-friendly attractions, like sea lions; tide pools with hermit crabs, starfish, and scallops; cool playgrounds; and an old-fashioned candy store.

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