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Destination Ideas

7 Halloween Vacations for SpoOoky Family Fun

Posted 15 days ago

An oversized Jack O' Lantern sits on bales of hay at night.An oversized Jack O' Lantern sits on bales of hay at night.

Nicole Cihock & Tori Ferrante

As part of the Checking In travel blog team, Nicole is a Digital Media Designer from Chicago and Tori is a Copywriter and Editor from Orlando. Both women are dog moms who love hiking, Disney and spending time with their pups … ok, anddd their spouses. Both Nicole and Tori have very similar vacation styles, too — basically anything that includes exploring the great outdoors with their little families.

If your family is looking for a Halloween vacation…

We’ll bring you some ideas with this little incantation.

From Louisiana to Georgia and Virginia to Missouri…

There’s frightful fun, even for the little ones, so don’t you worry.

A young girl wears a witch costume near bales of hay.Ashley’s family (of @southernsudsandsimpleliving) celebrating the season at Villages Resort

With haunted tours and theme park thrills…

We know 7 cities that’ll give you the chills…

So grab a wand, get ready and we’ll give you some reasons…

To take full advantage of this spoOky season.

Without further ado, we bring you 7 Halloween vacations that are ghoulishly great for families of all kinds — from little monsters and teenage mutants to grown-up goblins and tail-wagging werewolves.

1. New Orleans, Louisiana

You might think the Big Easy is just a stomping ground for adults, but there are plenty of fun things to do with kids throughout the year and during Halloween.

The city fully embraces its legendary tales from the crypt, locals show off their creativity with clever costumes and houses are lined with hauntingly beautiful decorations.

A parade float passes Jackson Square at night.Photo courtesy of Krewe of Boo, photo by Paul Broussard

Things to Do in New Orleans on Halloween

Here are some scary-good ideas for your Halloween vacation in NOLA.

Ghost Tours

Start with a ghost tour of the French Quarter — a must-do especially if it’s your first time in the Crescent City. There are tons of options for families with little witches and warlocks.

Cemeteries

Visit the city’s world-famous cemeteries to see the aboveground tombs (during the day, of course).

Trick-or-Treating

Head to kid-friendly neighborhoods (like Uptown or St. Charles Ave.) to get more treats than tricks.

A group of fake skeletons placed in a front yard.Photo courtesy of NOLA.com, photo by Hannah Renton

Voodoo Shops

Peruse a Voodoo shop to learn about this age-old spiritual practice (and learn a spell or two).

Krewe of Boo

See exciting, fully decked-out floats at the official Halloween parade, Krewe of Boo.

Louisiana Children’s Museum

Check out what special events are happening at Louisiana Children’s Museum in October.

Beignets & Café au Lait

Fuel up for all those spooky adventures at a beignet café to try this warm, doughy pastry and a café au lait.

Where to Stay in New Orleans

New Orleans Resort is a great spot for sweet dreams, fun times and all the comforts of home.

A family swims in a dipping pool.@thebutanclan enjoying the boo-tiful rooftop dipping pool at New Orleans Resort

Some features include:

  • Super convenient location just a block away from the French Quarter
  • A warm welcome with a vibrant, musical mural show in the lobby
  • Comfy villas with full kitchens
  • Rooftop dipping pool and terrace
  • Marketplace filled with snacks and souvenirs

2. St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis is a city filled with music, architecture and experiences that allow you to travel back in time.

But for those who enjoy the supernatural, there’s a chance to encounter a few “guests” from the past, too.

Exterior of the Lemp Mansion in St. Louis Missouri at night.Photo courtesy of The Lemp Mansion, photo by Roberto Rodriguez

Things to Do in St. Louis on Halloween

Hi – Nicole here! My fiancé, Edrian, and I are really into supernatural sightings. So much so, we try to visit at least one “spooky” location whenever we travel.

We frequented St. Louis during his time in the army, and we were amazed at how much haunted history was in the area.

Here’s just some of the cool and creepy things you’ll find in St. Louis.

The Lemp Mansion

Our favorite ghostly encounter by far? The Lemp Mansion, where the family of a once successful local brewing company met tragic fates within its walls.

Now known as the Lemp Mansion Restaurant & Inn (where you can stay overnight), it’s safe to say that we were just there for the boos.

::Hold for applause::

Lemp Mansion is ranked as the Fourth Most Haunted House in the U.S., so definitely don’t come here with younger ones who will get scared.

Boo at the Zoo at St. Louis Zoo

Need a not-so-scary option? Boo at the Zoo is a kid-friendly Halloween experience for all ghouls and goblins!

An outdoor Halloween display.Photo courtesy of St. Louis Zoo, photo by Micah Usher

The Magic House at St. Louis Children’s Museum

Navigate your way through spiderweb mazes, pumpkin decorations and exhibits at The Magic House.

St. Louis Escape

When in doubt, escape rooms offer lots of exhilarating options — from bright and happy to dark and creepy.

Visit St. Louis Escape to see what adventures you can solve your way out of.

STL Haunted History Tours

Only got an hour and a half to get your “ghost” on? Check out STL Haunted History Tours.

The Exorcist Home

Located in a nearby suburb, you can see the home where paranormal events inspired this classic horror film.

Though it isn’t open to the public, it feels really eerie just driving past the home at night.

Where to Stay in St. Louis

If you’re not up for staying at Lemp Mansion Restaurant & Inn, a brighter and more family-friendly option is just 45 minutes outside downtown St. Louis.

A woman (middle) and two tweens (left and right) kayak in a lake.@clarissalaskey and her family soaking up all the breezy fall weather on the lake

Timber Creek Resort, located in De Soto, Missouri, is a quiet, yet super fun, escape that features:

  • A golf course
  • Lakefront pool
  • Mini golf
  • Kayaking
  • Sports Courts
  • And more

3. Salem, Massachusetts

Despite what you might have heard about “Witch City,” it’s not all scary stuff.

Many of the events happening in Salem during October are tailor-made for families, replacing most of the tricks with treats.

Exterior of the Salem Witch Museum in Salem, MAPhoto courtesy of Salem Witch Museum

Things to Do in Salem on Halloween

The city of Salem itself has curated a month-long festival with special events and happenings at history museums, magic shows, costume balls, psychic readings, haunted harbor cruises, ghost tours and more.

No matter what you choose, we’re confident you’ll have a wicked good time.

Salem Witch Museum

Go inside what life was like in Salem in 1962 with life-sized sets and stories from the Witch Trials.

Salem Kids Tours

The name mighttt give it away, but Salem Kids Tours specializes in family-friendly tours, where you’ll get a one-hour, guided stroll through the city led by a costumed storyteller.

Hocus Pocus Film Sites

Courtesy of the city of Salem, you and your family can visit some of the locations featured in the fan-favorite movie, Hocus Pocus, and “run amok!”

A woman (middle) and two girls (left and right) walk down a brick-paved road wearing safety masks and witch costumes.Photo courtesy of Salem Haunted Happenings, photo by Joseph Prezioso

Cinema Salem

An evening with Boris Karloff and Vincent Price? Count me in! At Cinema Salem, you can see some of your favorite Halloween classics on the silver screen.

Salem Heritage Trail

This free, self-guided tour connects you with Salem’s historically significant sites and neighborhoods.

Halloween Museum

With collectibles from Hallows Eve past, it’s safe to say it’s Halloween every day at this museum!

Where to Stay in Salem

If you want to stay in the bustling city of Boston, check out the Candlewood Suites Boston North Shore for a convenient, 25-minute drive over to Salem.

Want something a little more secluded? There are a ton of ways to find family fun in The Berkshires.

A young girl (left) and woman (right) play on a mini golf course.Melody of @downwithadventure and her fam on the mini golf course at Oak n’ Spruce Resort

Located about 2.5 hours from Salem, Oak n’ Spruce Resort has activities like:

  • Pools
  • Mini golf
  • Sports courts
  • Game room
  • Special activities scheduled throughout the day
  • And more


Looking for More Fall Getaway Ideas?



4. Savannah, Georgia

Hi, Tori here. As someone who literally spent Halloween in Savannah a few years ago, I can tell you from experience that it’s an exciting and frightfully fun time.

Savannah is one of the oldest (and most haunted) cities in America. But it’s also a historic, charming place with so much to do and see — it’s basically like New Orleans’ little sister.

All the old houses are beautiful to stroll through and the city is filled with costumers roaming the parks and squares.

We spent a lot of time just sitting for a spell in Ellis Square people-watching after our ghost tour.

Left: A porch stairway lined with pumpkins in Historic Savannah, Georgia. Right: A couple in costume stand near a mausoleum.You’ll find gourd-geous houses and spirited cemeteries in Savannah (and Waldos — we were everywhere).

Things to Do in Savannah on Halloween

Check out some of these fun activities for your own Halloween vacation in Savannah.

Noble Bones Scavenger Hunt

Get outside to explore the city and work with your family to find “Noble Bones” using clues in the form of QR codes.

Wag-O-Ween

Dress yourself — and your pet — in costume, grab a map and pop in and out of over 100 businesses giving out dog treats and human treats. All to support local animal welfare.

A young girl and her dog are dressed for a safari.Photo courtesy of Wag-O-Ween Savannah, photo by Wildflower Photography

Halloween Hike at Oatland Island Wildlife Center

Up for a little family adventure? Take a walk down a forest trail at Oatland Island Wildlife Center to get goodies from friendly animal characters.

Tricks, Treats & Trains at Georgia State Railroad Museum

Get a unique trick-or-treating experience at this outdoor, historic railroad museum, and get your choo-chew on! (Get it? Can you tell we’re having fun over here?)

Savannah Children’s Museum

Look up all the Halloween-themed happenings at Savannah Children’s Museum for a fun way to mix in a little education on vacation.

Ghost Tours

Hear spooky stories of all the haunted houses, mansions and buildings during a family-friendly ghost tour.

Our Halloween tour guide had a whole underworld persona, which was awesome and totally added to the creepy factor.

You can even do a tour in a hearse — if you dare.

A tree with hanging Jack O' Lanterns on it's branches.Photo courtesy of Visit Savannah, photo by Kelsey Champion

Where to Stay in Savannah

There are several places to stay in Savannah within our IHG partner network.

For super-convenient locations, check out the Holiday Inn and the Staybridge Suites — both in the Savannah Historic District.

5. Williamsburg, Virginia

Williamsburg is so charming, so historic and has justttt the right amount of spookiness to make it the perfect Halloween vacation for kids (and adults who aren’t a big fan of thrills and chills).

A woman in period costume stands outdoors at night holding a lantern.Photo courtesy of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Things to Do in Williamsburg on Halloween

Here’s some inspiration for spending Halloween in Williamsburg…

Ghost Walk Junior

Uncover hidden clues during Ghost Walk Junior, an interactive storytelling experience for the younger crowd.

Family Fright Nights at Jamestown Settlement

Enjoy fang-tastic festivities, like trick-or-treating, costumed characters and spooky settings with a sprinkle of colonial history.

A family sits on a horse-drawn carriage driven by an actor wearing period-appropriate attire at Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Virginia.Spend a day in Jamestown like Kari and her family (@gracefulmommy).

Paws at the Riverwalk Yorktown Market

On Halloween weekend, Paws at the Riverwalk Yorktown Market will feature lots of pups, trick-or-treating and even a Pet Parade (pawsitively adorable!).

Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream

If you’re looking for a big night of scares with your (brave) teenagers, family members or friends, experience theme park thrills and chills at Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream.

The entire theme park will be overrun with haunted houses, “terror-tories,” shows, roller coasters and more.

Where to Stay in Williamsburg

Williamsburg Resort is one of the best places to stay in Williamsburg, located just 15 minutes from the colonial area.

Adult and child bowling at Williamsburg Resort.Jehava’s family (from @onlygirl4boyz) knocking down some pins at Williamsburg Resort!

Special resort features include:


6. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga is a gorgeous fall getaway filled with outdoor adventures like hiking, fishing, festivals and events.

several children sit on a cliff overlooking fall foliage in the mountains.The crew from @bring_the_kids taking a hike break with the perfect backdrop

Things to Do in Chattanooga on Halloween

Whether you like pumpkin patches or hunting for ghosts, Chattanooga has plenty of ways to make fun fall memories with your family or friends.

Oddtober at Tennessee Aquarium

Discover the weird and wonderful side of nature on an ODDtober scavenger hunt at Tennessee Aquarium.

Mayfield Farm Park Fall Festival

Fall is in full swing at Mayfield Farm Park with three corn mazes, a pumpkin patch, hayrides and pig races.

Chattanooga Ghost Tours

Choose your own adventure during this award-winning murder and mayhem tour (with family options!).

Fresh-Air Hiking Tours

Mix up all the frightful fun with some time in the sun during a guided hiking tour that’ll take you through the beauty of Tennessee.

Rocktoberfest

Get into the spirit of Oktoberfest with German music, food, dancing and fantastic fall foliage — all from high atop Lookout Mountain in Rock City.

Where to Stay in Chattanooga

You can stay right up close to all the downtown action at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Chattanooga Downtown.

Or if you’re looking to take a day trip from Gatlinburg, Chattanooga is under 3 hours from our Smoky Mountain Resort.

An indoor water feature.Trade spooky for splashes at Smoky Mountain Resort’s Splash Hollow.

7. Orlando, Florida

You might think of Florida as a hot spot for summer family vacations, but if you’re wondering what Orlando’s like in the fall, you’re in for a real trick-or-treat.

Things to Do in Orlando on Halloween

During the fall, Orlando is BOO-ming with Halloween events and activities, from its world-class theme parks to smaller festivities.

Walt Disney World® Theme Parks

There are truly SO many things to do at Walt Disney World® Theme Parks, and you can even plan your fall trip around special events like:

  • After Hours Boo Bash at Disney’s Magic Kingdom® Theme Park, which features Halloween cavalcades, trick-or-treating, themed décor, and specialty foods and drinks. (Sold out for 2021, but there’s always next year!)
  • Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival, which has 20 global marketplaces full of deliciousness from around the world.
    • Our team recently went and tried a ton of the festival’s offerings, and we’ve gotta say: It is 110% worth going.

Cinderella's Castle at Magic Kingdom is decorated for the Fall season at Walt Disney World.

Disney Springs

Get a taste of Disney without a theme park ticket at Disney Springs, which will have Halloween-themed photo-op spots, special entertainment and unique treats.

SeaWorld® Orlando Spooktacular®

Find out what spooky surprises are hiding at SeaWorld® Orlando Spooktacular®.

(Spoiler: There’ll be candy, dance parties and Sesame Street® characters.)

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando

So Halloween Horror Nights is NOT for kids — but it can be for those teens, friend groups and other adults in your life brave enough to bear the night. (Squad ghouls, am I right?)

The haunted houses are scary, the scare zones are haunting, and the specialty food and drinks are terrifyingly tasty.

A woman and man perform with fire onstage.Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort™

Brick or Treat at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort

Experience one of the best kid-friendly Halloween events in Orlando with trick-or-treating, characters and more at this Lego-themed playground.

Halloween Lights at Jeater Bend

Drive (or walk) through Jeater Bend in the city of Celebration to see a row of houses that go all out with Halloween displays.

We’re talking lights, projections, synchronized music, the whole 9 lives ... er, yards.

Zoo Bash at Central Florida Zoo

Spot your favorite wild animals while hitting up all the trick-or-treat stations at Zoo Bash hosted by the Central Florida Zoo.

Where to Stay in Orlando

Orange Lake Resort is located right near the major theme parks and has tonnnns of activities and opportunities for R&R.

A man and young boy share an inner tube down a lazy river.The @growingupgodfrey family resting their bones in the lazy river at Orange Lake Resort’s River Island.

Here’s a little snapshot of what you can do between all your Halloween adventures:

  • Lazy river
  • Pools and splash pads
  • Putt-Putt® and mini golf
  • Playgrounds
  • Watersports
  • And soooo much more

And if you’re looking for a quieter escape this fall, check out Orlando Breeze Resort, which has:

  • Pools
  • Mini Golf
  • An arcade
  • Hot tubs
  • And, again, more!

With comfy beds to rest your head after all those delightfully frightful festivities, you really can’t go wrong with either one.

An outdoor pool area with a sunset in back.Trade ghoul time for pool time at Orlando Breeze Resort.

Soooo now that you’ve got the scoop on some places to find skele-fun this October, there’s only one thing left to do: Trick-or-treat yourself to a Halloween vacation with your family.

We hope you have a howlin’ gourd time with the pumpkins of your eye! (Last corny joke, we promise. 😉)


All information is subject to change. This article is a curated guide and is neither sponsored nor considered an official endorsement. Please be sure to check information directly with any/all tours, guides or companies for the most up-to-date and direct details.

Checking In logo

Nicole Cihock & Tori Ferrante

As part of the Checking In travel blog team, Nicole is a Digital Media Designer from Chicago and Tori is a Copywriter and Editor from Orlando. Both women are dog moms who love hiking, Disney and spending time with their pups … ok, anddd their spouses. Both Nicole and Tori have very similar vacation styles, too — basically anything that includes exploring the great outdoors with their little families.