10/05/2013 05:32 pm ET Updated Dec 05, 2013

5 Exceptional October Getaways

2013-10-05-Oct_VisitWilliamsburg.jpg(photo: Williamsburg Destination Marketing Committee)

With the arrival of autumn, many destinations enter the sweet shoulder season of lower prices and tamer temperatures. Here are five places that make for an outstanding October escape.

Williamsburg, Virginia
After Williamsburg's long, sweltering summer comes an absolutely gorgeous fall, with ideal sightseeing temperatures, thinner crowds, and foliage that explodes in a riot of gold, orange, and scarlet. Hotels are less pricey now, too.

(MORE: Read parents' reviews of kid-friendly hotels in Williamsburg.)

Aspen, Colorado
2013-10-05-Oct_MaroonBellsAspenCO_FCC_USDAgov.jpg(photo: Flickr: USDAgov)

Every autumn the aspens put on a stunning show for Coloradans, splattering Rocky mountainsides with dollops of vibrant ocher. One of the state's most beautiful drives is Maroon Creek Road, just southwest of Aspen, which rewards in early October with glorious views of the 14,000-foot Maroon Bells.

Kansas City, Missouri
2013-10-05-Oct_AmericanRoyalBBQ_KansasCityMO1.jpg(photo: American Royal)

Those looking for a true taste of the Midwest will find it right now in Kansas City, where the two-and-a-half-month American Royal extravaganza is already underway, celebrating heartland heritage with pageants, rodeos, parades and the wildly popular World Series of BBQ (Oct. 3-6, 2013).

(MORE: View a family trip itinerary: 4 days in Kansas City with kids.)

San Diego, California
2013-10-05-OCT_SanDiego_Kidvasion.jpg(photo: San Diego Tourism Authority)

While many would argue that San Diego's near-perfect climate makes it a good bet any time of year, families have an added reason to visit during this month's city-wide Kidvasion promotion. Throughout October, kids eat, stay and play for free at over 100 participating partners in San Diego, with many offers for free admission for kids to top museums and theme parks such as Legoland and SeaWorld.

Outer Banks, North Carolina
2013-10-05-Oct_OuterBanksNC.jpg(photo: Outer Banks Visitors Bureau)

Locals are adamant that fall is the optimal time to visit the OBX. After all, the weather on these barrier islands stays mild until the end of December, summer crowds are long gone, and the winds have picked up for superb windsurfing and kiteboarding.

Suzanne Rowan Kelleher contributed this to

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