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There’s a lot to love about the fall season – from apple cider and pumpkin-spiced everything to the cooler days and the promise of holidays around the corner. But, for some, the changing leaves of Autumn can be a little bittersweet.
Oh sure, there’s lots to love about fall, especially with fun activities like pumpkin carving and haunted houses running through October (sometimes starting in September!).
But, gone are the hot days of summer spent lazing around on the beach. We’re here to say there’s no need to let the end of summer mean the end of those beach days! Our family loves once cooler weather rolls into town. That’s when we start packing up our sunscreen, snacks, and toys for our mini fall getaways.
Check out our list of what we think are the best family beach vacations in October so your family can have one last hurrah before the cooler temps take over!
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Manhattan Beach, California – A Short Trip from Los Angeles
When it comes to vacations, Los Angeles families are surrounded by opportunities to get closer to nature, from national parks to beautiful beaches. There are tons of great choices, but Manhattan Beach is really the perfect place for Los Angeles families. For starters, the pier. Walk the 928-foot-long pier, visit the aquarium, or play volleyball on the many volleyball courts along the beach. While the aquarium wasn’t the most spectacular one we’ve seen, young children will enjoy it. Plus, it’s free!
Manhattan Beach is also near the 18-acre Polliwog Park, complete with an amphitheater and an impressive duck pond, Sand Dune Park, and the Manhattan Beach Botanical Garden. Plus, parents of teens might appreciate One Wave Surf, where they can learn some new surfing techniques!
The best part for Los Angeles families is that Manhattan Beach is a short drive away for a quick weekend getaway! Pack up a few weekend bags, load up the family, and hit the road – it takes less than an hour!
Where to Stay in Manhattan Beach
We loved the Seahorse Inn at Manhattan Beach. It’s so close we could taste the ocean air, plus there was a pool. While this isn’t a necessity so close to the ocean, it is nice to take the kids down after dinner to wear them out when we’re winding down for the day.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – Fun for Kids of All Ages
Myrtle Beach is one of the best beaches for colorful foliage in October and families can take in all of its beauty while visiting the Brookgreen Gardens and Lowcountry Zoo. Younger kids can enjoy the trampoline park or Ripley’s Aquarium, while older kids might enjoy visiting one of Myrtle Beach’s many escape rooms.
Visitors will also love visiting the Family Kingdom Amusement Park with the Skywheel, one of the tallest Ferris wheels in the entire country. Plus, Myrtle Beach is home to the Broadway Grand Prix, where families can race on seven go-kart tracks, play two mini golf courses, climb the rock climbing wall, or visit the expansive arcade.
Keep in mind that with any of these beautiful beaches on the Atlantic Ocean, from northern beaches like Cape Cod to the southern Gulf shores, hurricane season does run until late November. Travelers should check the weather before going to be sure rain won’t keep them off the beach!
Where to Stay in Myrtle Beach
For an affordable hotel, check out the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton. This oceanfront hotel has easy beach access. Despite being one of the more affordable hotels, this property has plenty of amenities, including indoor and outdoor pools, a lazy river, a fitness center, and a breakfast buffet. Plus, it’s pet-friendly!
Outer Banks, North Carolina – Visit One of the Most Haunted Beaches in America
Get the whole family ready for adventure during a visit to Outer Banks! There are so many fun activities for families here, from kayaking and parasailing to go-kart tracks and shipwreck diving sites. The calm beach is still warm enough for swimming, and October is the last month for dolphin tours, so be sure to book one of those too!
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Outer Banks is also one of the best places to visit during October because of its spooky history. Families can learn all about Roanoke Island during lantern-led ghost tours along Outer Banks beach.
Where to Stay in Outer Banks
We highly recommend the Beachwoods Resort in Outer Banks. There are plenty of activities for kids, plus golf, tennis, and a game room. We also loved staying here because there is an indoor pool, an outdoor pool, and a hot tub. The adults really appreciated the hot tub after adventuring with the kids all day!
Virginia Beach, Virginia – An East Coast Vacation with Fall Festivities
Virginia Beach has no shortage of fun-filled activities during October. With the average temps ranging around the 70s, visitors can stay cool while they check out popular activities like the annual Neptune Festival that is all about celebrating beach life!
Plus, the Neptune Festival is home to the International Sandsculpting Challenge. My kid’s eyes lit up when they saw how those tiny grains of sand became spectacular sculptures!
The Neptune Festival isn’t all that Virginia Beach has to offer, though. Travelers will also appreciate the live music at different venues along the beach and fun activities like the Virginia Living Museum, Virginia Aquarium, or Ocean Breeze Water Park. The changing foliage at First Landing State Park is also stunning this time of year!
Where to Stay in Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach is a family vacation hotspot during the warmer months, but it shouldn’t be nearly as busy during an October beach vacation. Still, this means that there are plenty of places to stay along the expansive Virginia Beach coastline. One of the best places to stay is the Ocean Front Inn, where guests are so close to the ocean that they can hear waves crashing all night long. Plus, every room in the hotel offers ocean views.
The changing colors of fall don’t have to mark the end of summer beach days. Chase away those end-of-summer blues with any of these best family beach vacations in October!
Amelia Island, Florida – Warm Waters on the East Coast
If water activities are important during family vacations, Amelia Island in Florida has no shortage of activities. Being in the south, travelers also don’t have to worry that the water will be cooled off too much for swimming. My kids might not care about the cooler ocean temps in October, but us adults do!
Amelia Island is surrounded by public beaches with soft sand, crystal clear, calm waters, and picnic tables in case families want to pack a lunch. I do love the water, but what I love even more is that Amelia Island is known for its sea turtles, and nesting season is from May to October.
Plus, while Amelia Island might not have amusement parks or zoos like some other destinations, there is still plenty to do. Check out some of the many mini golf courses, go horseback riding, or visit one of the multiple nature preserves. There’s plenty of wildlife to see, too! While there isn’t a national park on Amelia Island, there is a state park with 200 acres of wilderness and nature trails that can be explored.
Where to Stay in Amelia Island
For a one-of-a-kind place to stay, check out the Amelia Island Williams House. The expansive mansion was built in 1856 and has since been converted to a bed and breakfast with a sense of style and comfort beyond any of the hotels we’ve ever stayed in. While it doesn’t have a pool, they do offer free breakfast!
Carlsbad Beach, California- A Short Drive for an Activity-Packed Vacation
This California destination is a little farther than our first driveable recommendation, but LA families can still make the trip in under 2 hours. While there is no shortage of San Diego beaches, October in Carlsbad Beach is one of the best times to visit because there are fewer crowds this time of year. It’s a great place for families who don’t want to deal with the high levels of tourists who visit this popular spot during the summer months.
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Oh, and did I mention that families will be close enough for a Legoland adventure? Legoland amusement park is not only for the kids- adults are going to have a great time too! Plus, you’ll be a short drive away from places like the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Botanic Garden, where visitors can see 5,300+ different plant species.
Where to Stay in Carlsbad
Carlsbad has plenty of great hotels for families, many of them right on the beach like the Carlsbad by the Sea Hotel. This hotel has a spacious outdoor pool filled with crystal-clear water. There’s no free breakfast, but kids stay free and this is also a pet-friendly option!
Planning Your Family’s October Beach Vacation
Don’t let the kids going back to school, and fall’s changing weather mark the end of summer fun! Take one of these best family beach vacations in October and make some memories instead. Whichever destination families choose, be ready to chase away those end-of-summer blues with a beach vacation that the whole family can enjoy!
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