These Are the Best Places to Take the Kids on Vacation in November: Cancun, California, and More

There's a lot more to November vacations than turkey and trimmings.
View of London from the London Eye (Photo: Visit Britain:Andrew Pickett)
View of London from the London Eye (Photo: Visit Britain:Andrew Pickett)

November may be synonymous with Thanksgiving, a peak holiday travel period in the U.S., but there’s more to traveling in the late fall than turkey and trimmings. In fact, November is a great time to sneak in a trip to some of the best family vacation spots in the U.S., Mexico, and Europe. Aside from the days immediately before and after Thanksgiving, the crowds are generally thinner than peak season when you vacation this time of year—and that can lead to big saving on hotelsvacation rentalsflights, and car rentals, too.

The Best Places to Visit in November

Consider Cancun for a family beach vacation or Utah’s Park City for a late-fall mountain town getaway with crisp air and small crowds. November is shoulder season in London, with lower airfares enticing Americans to cross the pond. Santa Barbara’s balmy climate presents outdoor options year-round. These and other popular family vacation ideas are among the best places to go with kids in November.

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1. Santa Barbara, California

Kayaking under the pier in Santa Barbara (Photo: Santa Barbara Adventure Company)
Kayaking under the pier in Santa Barbara (Photo: Santa Barbara Adventure Company)

A California coastal paradise with near-perfect late fall weather, Santa Barbara should be at the top of any family’s list for November vacation ideas. Start with a city overview via the Santa Barbara Trolley Company‘s 90-minute narrated tour, then head to Moxi: The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation for interactive hands-on fun. A natural history museum and a 30-acre zoo are some of Santa Barbara’s other family-friendly options. 

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To fully soak in the seascape, book a sunset kayak tour at Santa Barbara Adventure Company or catch a ride on Lil’ Toot, a yellow tugboat that’s a hometown tradition. Get your holiday shopping started at the Mujeres Makers Market at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park; held on the first Sunday of the month, it showcases crafts made by local women of color. And when it’s time to dine, join the crowd at La Super-Rica Taqueria, a family-run Mexican spot that serves legendary tacos for a low price. 

Where to Stay in Santa Barbara in November

Book your November vacation accommodations at Rosewood Miramar Beach, situated on one of the most pristine beaches in Santa Barbara’s upscale Montecito community.

2. Park City, Utah

Park City mountain biking in fall (Photo: Visit Park City)
Park City mountain biking in fall (Photo: Visit Park City)

Sure, Park City is best known as a winter resort. But the last touches of fall’s golden foliage paint a pretty picture in the Wasatch Mountains, too. Most ski areas don’t open until early December, making November a tranquil time to go with kids minus the big crowds. Combine cool mountain air with hundreds of miles of easy-access trails and you’ll quickly understand why Park City is a dream for mountain bikers. For beginner cyclists, try Trailside Park’s scenic short loops.

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Though Historic Main Street has retained some of its authentic mining-town character, the Park City Museum is an excellent place to explore how the town reinvented itself as a ski resort when silver prices declined. There’s year-round adventure at Utah Olympic Park, where five events were hosted during the 2002 Winter Olympics. The Eccles 2002 Winter Olympics Museum allows visitors to get up-close with a gold medal. The Alf Engen Ski Museum honors Utah’s rich ski history. Park City’s dynamic dining scene is worth your attention as well. The farm-to-table menu at Tupelo is loaded with fresh flavors. In Deer Valley, Stellina serves up mouth-watering Italian cuisine.

Where to Stay in Park City in November

The luxurious St. Regis Deer Valley offers an array of activities, from biking and hiking trails to candle-making crafts. Its tiered swimming pool, heated year-round, is a stunner.

3. Cancun, Mexico

Cancun beach during sunset
Cancun beach during sunset (Photo: Shutterstock)

November is a relatively calm time to visit Cancun before the flurry of winter visitors arrive to escape frosty weather back home. Spectacular beaches with turquoise water fringed with powdery sand are the main draw. Cancun’s Hotel Zone is a quick 20-minute ride from the airport, so your toes will be tickling the sand soon after you clear customs.

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Gain awareness of the region’s Indigenous population with a visit to the Museo Maya de Cancun, filled with artifacts and exhibits that shed light on Mayan traditions, architecture, and symbolic art. It’s conveniently located in the Hotel Zone. If adventure calls, hop aboard a speedboat at Puerto Maya and snorkel in the Caribbean.

Where to Stay in Cancun in November

You can’t go wrong at Royal Uno, an all-inclusive beachfront resort steps away from the Maya Museum. Dining, a supervised children’s club, and nightly entertainment are perks. 

4. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City mural art (Photo: Visit Oklahoma City)
Oklahoma City mural art (Photo: Visit Oklahoma City)

If Oklahoma isn’t on your vacation wishlist, it might be time to reconsider. With average daytime temperatures in the 60s, November is a fine time to explore Oklahoma City‘s urban parks, colorful street art, and blossoming cultural scene. The First Americans Museum shares the collective histories of Oklahoma’s 39 First American Nations with state-of-the-art exhibits and immersive activities highlighting the unique identity of each tribe. The onsite restaurant serves dishes that accentuate culinary distinctions between tribes. 

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The Oklahoma City Museum of Art has an impressive permanent collection of Dale Chihuly glass pieces as well as a collection of American art with works by Georgia O’Keeffe and Roy Lichtenstein. The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum is a powerful reminder of the tragedy that struck on April 19, 1995, when 168 people were killed during a bomb blast in what was the Federal Building. The Field of Empty Chairs features 168 hand-crafted chairs, one for each victim, while the Survivor’s Wall is a moving tribute to the resilience of the over 600 people who survived.

Where to Stay in Oklahoma City in November

Built as a bank during the Great Depression, The National, Autograph Collection at First National Center has been transformed into a show-stopping hotel that maintains original details such as safe deposit boxes and a vintage mail chute.

5. London, England

Westminster and London Eye in London, England (Photo: Visit London)
Westminster and London Eye in London, England (Photo: Visit London)

November is an excellent time to snag cheap flights to London. Time your visit around Guy Fawkes Day on November 5, commemorating the failure of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, and you’ll be treated to fabulous fireworks lighting up the night sky. By mid-month, Winter Wonderland gets rolling in Hyde Park with an ice-slide and skating rink.

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Soak in the opulence of the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London, a fortress in the middle of the city. If all that bling has you thinking about modern royalty, snap a selfie with the life-like wax figure of King Charles at Madame Tussauds. For a birds-eye view of Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and the Houses of Parliament, take a ride on the London Eye, the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel.

When you’re ready for an edible treat, don’t miss delectable scones, clotted cream, and dainty sandwiches at one of the many tea rooms and hotels that serve traditional afternoon tea.

Where to Stay in London in November 

Located on the South Bank, Sea Containers London is reminiscent of a 1920s transatlantic cruise liner and a memorable place to spend the night with kids.

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Allison Tibaldi
Allison Tibaldi has written for publications including CNN, Business Insider, FamilyVacationist, HGTV, USA TODAY, and Travel Weekly. As a former early childhood educator, she is interested in the way kids experience the world, and thinks that travel is the best education for young minds. Tibaldi is based in New York City.