September is one of my favourite months to travel. It’s the shoulder season and the weather is great in most parts of the world. It’s officially Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, which means the summer crowds have dissipated. There’s more space to enjoy the surroundings, less queues and cheaper rates on accommodation.
It’s also starting to cool down in the Northern Hemisphere, which means you don’t necessarily have to be pool or beachside to cool off during the midday sun.
For us Southern Hemisphere dwellers, it’s warming up again. It’s the start of the much anticipated Spring and there’s lots to do when the sun starts to emerge from it’s slumber, this year its emerging quite slowly. As it’s on the cusp of the summer peak season you can still find a bargain or two.
The best places to go with kids in September for Australia
1. Hervey Bay, Queensland
We have had a cold winter in Queensland this year, so let’s keep warm in Harvey Bay on the beautiful Fraser Coast . A stunning seaside community made up of a series of small coastal townships of Urangan, Torquay, Scarness, Palba and Point Vernon. Hervey Bay is a place for a sea-change, where people retire to for the fabulous year round weather and outdoors lifestyle.
September is a great time to go, it’s warming up yet it’s not quite the wet season so you miss the tropical electrical storms during the summer (though I hear these can be quite amazing). Hervey Bay has average temperatures of 27 degrees during the day with 62% humidity – perfect conditions in September.
If the weather, serene beaches and laid back lifestyle is not enough, you can get up close and personal to the humpback whales as they are still in town. Hervey Bay dubbed the Whale Watching Capital is a great place to view these majestic mammals of the sea with your family.
Highlight with kids
- Spot humpack whales. The must see attraction whilst visiting Harvey Bay is to take a whale watching boat tour on the clear waters of Hervey Bay. The reason why the humpbacks make a stop here is due to the sheltered coast. The calm waters is an ideal pit stop to rest their little ones before the long journey back home to their summer feeding grounds in Antarctica.
- Play at the beach. Hervey bay has 40km of beach right along the popular Esplanade. As it’s a sheltered by Fraser Island, the waters are calm and very kid friendly. It’s also stinger free year round. Relax on the beach, have a picnic, do a bit of exploring at low tide or go for a swim at high tide.
- Splash at the free WetSide Water Education Park. When the tide is out the water is a bit too far to get to for a paddle at the beach, there’s WetSide Water Education Park. A great set up with a huge water playground, fountains, water slides, and a toddlers wet play area. All free provided by the local council, the only cost is the $6 wave rider attraction.
- Fish at Urangan Pier. In the township of Urangan lies an old historic pier built in 1917 originally used to load cane and coal from the rail to the ships. Now it’s a popular spot for fishing and in September the annual Pier Festival is held which is a all-ages fishing competition to try your luck at the Whiting, Garfish, Flathead Mackrel and Trevally to be caught. Not a fisherman? You can still enjoy festival activities such as magic shows, kids rides, jumping castles, market and food stalls.
- Tour Fraser Island – Hervey Bay is the Gateway to Fraser Coast and an easy starting point to another must-see hot spot of Fraser Island. 4wd along pristine beach, swim the fresh blue waters of Lake Makenzie and spot the resident dingoes of Fraser Island.
2. Sydney, New South Wales
Spring in Sydney is beautiful, in September it’s still cooler at night but offers perfect conditions to stroll the city during the day without the dry heat of the summer. It’s the month that offers blue skies and less chances of rain, reason why it’s a popular month for weddings. If you are in the Royal Botanical Gardens or Opera House you will see many a happy couple getting their wedding snaps.
Highlight with kids
- Take a ferry ride on Sydney Harbour. It’s all about the Harbour for Sydney, board an iconic Sydney Ferry and cruise Sydney Harbour with the kids, sailing pass the icons of the harbour inlcuding; Sydney Harbour Bridge, Luna Park and the Sydney Opera House. Sydney is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and from the water it amplifies the reason why.
- Enjoy an excellent zoo with a stunning view. Taronga Park Zoo is terrific with a huge variety of animals housed in excellent world class habitats. Take a ferry from Circular Quay and bring a picnic to have near the Giraffe encounter, as the view back towards Sydney is picture perfect (lucky giraffes).
- Have fun at historic Luna Park. Every Sydney Sider (myself included) has childhood memories of Luna Park established in 1935, step through the iconic Luna Park clown face and enjoy the classic amusement park rides including carousels, mirror-maze, slides, dodgem cars and roller coasters to name a few.
- Spend the day at the beach, Sydney has some amazing beaches so it’s imperative you spend a day on one or more of them. Whilst Bondi Beach maybe one of the more popular beaches for tourists, think flexing men and bikini babes. There are other more family friendly crowds including; Shelly Beach, easily accessible from Circular Quay it’s a surf beach with family friendly facilities. Milk Beach, Vaucluse whilst you may not be able to afford the million dollar properties you can swim in the isolated beach with stunning views of Sydney and lastly Bronte Beach, perfect spot with a natural rock pool popular for families as it is sheltered from the big waves and strong currents.
3. Alice Springs & surrounds, Northern Territory
Experience the Aussie outback in Alice Springs, the best time to go visit this part of Central Australis is in September, with cool desert days, clear blues skies and little rain. As well as visiting the bustling outback town of Alice there are some spectacular attractions not far from Alice Springs, including; Uluru and the Olgas.
As we have already mentioned these amazing places before in Best Places to go in May we shall focus on on the other equally stunning areas within close proximity to Alice Springs.
Highlights with kids
- Check out Alice Springs Desert Park. An outdoor park with open-air exhibits of local flora and fauna, a great introduction to the Northern Territory. They have exhibits of animals you may not be able to spot normally including a bibly, ghost bat and various birds of prey. The park also offers daily talks by Aboriginal guides.
- See a variety of reptiles at the Alice Springs Reptile Centre. There are over 30 species of reptiles to see at the centre. Get a up close during live handling experiences and interactive shows held throughout the day.
- Admire the sprawling MacDonnell Ranges. There are both East and West MacDonnell ranges and spreads out either side of Alice Springs. The “West Macs” have breathtaking scenery of the outback including rugged gorges, serene waterholes, hiking trails and secluded picnic spots. Have a paddle at beautiful Ellery Creek see Ormiston Gorge and Redbank Gorge . The “East Macs” are home to walking tracks, Aboriginal rock art, waterholes including beautiful Trephina Gorge and Ruby Gap. Also home to Arltung a long abandoned ghost town used during the 1930’s gold rush.
- Fly over Kings Canyon. Take a scenic flight over Kings Canyon and see spectacular Aussie scenery including the Domes of the Lost City and the Garden of Eden.
- Climb Red Sand Dunes. See deep red sand and allot of it in the Simpson Desert. Remote, vast, serene and uniquely Australian.
- Visit the historic town of Hermannsburg. Established as a Lutheran mission in the 1880’s and one of the first settlements in Central Australia. It’s now a National Trust listed precinct with restored German style building which houses Kata Anga Tea rooms a museum and art gallery.
The best places to go with kids in September for the rest of the World
Europe & UK
With the kids back in school, there are less holiday makers travelling in Europe and the UK, making it a great place to go with young kids. September is a perfect time to visit, whilst it’s getting cooler in northern Europe. It’s prime time to hit the southern parts of Europe. You can’t go wrong with any European country on the Mediterranean Sea, or the Iberian and Balkan Peninsula.
Granada, Andalusia, Spain
The Alhambra in Spain is definitely a must see and easily walkable with the kids. An amazing place filled with culture, great food and friendly people. Typically the summer in Granada is uncomfortably hot, however in September its still beautiful where flowers are in bloom, it’s gorgeously sunny without the extreme heat. There’s plenty to see and do outdoors which also means lots of walking around, so it’s best to do so in the Spring (or Autumn).
Highlights with kids
- It’s all about the amazing Alhambra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site Rebuilt and expanded by the Moors in the 13th Century. The Alhambra is a stunning hilltop palace and fort overlooking the city of Granada. Not to be missed is sunset at Alhambra.Explore the spectacular Nasrid Palaces with intricate Moorish carvings along every archway, ceiling, wall and door. There are also palatial rooms of beautiful hand painted tiles of every pattern and colour. There are beautiful courtyards with stunning water features, fed by acqueducts built centuries ago that ensure a constant flow of water to the Palace.The Generalife Gardens are also a highlight with colourful blooms, manicured hedges, grand elm tress and scents of rose, myrtle and orange. It’s such a serene and wonderful place where the kids can immerse themselves in Andalusian history.
- Sample the best tapas in town there is more to Granada than just the Alhambra, dining with children in Spain is relaxed and family friendly. The kids will love sampling variety of foods that come free with mum or dads beer. The tapas start small with a few light nibbles such as olives, jamon, artichokes and anchovies and gradually gets heartier such as meatballs, patatas bravas or a spanish version of a hamburger slider.
- Play in the historical plazas. You will find families with young kids playing in the ancient cobblestoned laneways or strolling through the many gorgeous plazas throughout the city. The best part of Granada is wondering the city and getting lost in the moment. Some plazas to note include: Plaza Nueva, Plaza Isabel Catolico and Plaza Bib Rambla. Some areas to wander include: El Albaicin the old Moorish quarters and Sacramonte.
- See one of the best sunsets in the world. Get the best sunset vantage point at Mirador de San Nicolas, perched high atop a hill opposite the Alhambra with the Sierra Nevada in the background. The palace is bathed in a beautiful golden light due to the pinkish red colour of it’s castle wall. When the sun hits the walls of the Alhambra the colours are breathtaking. There’s plenty of open space for the kids to play as you soak up a glorious sunset.
Greek Islands, Greece
Greek Islands are perfect to goto in the summer except for the large crowds. The Greek Islands are very popular with blue skies and sunshine in the summer. I recall chatting to a german staff member working the summers in Santorini, stating how it becomes boring without a single cloud in the blue sky.
The start of spring in September is a great time to go, not because holiday workers are happy to see a few small fluffy white clouds in the clear blue sky, but for the smaller crowds and better value for money. The summers also gets scorching hot, whilst spring is cooler and more manageable with kids in tow, yet the waters are still warm (the water can be quite cool otherwise).
Highlights with kids
- Go island hopping there are thousands of islands from which to choose from, over 200 of the Greek Islands are inhabited. The best and most popular way to visit them is by passenger ferries. Whilst staying on one island and gazing into each others eyes is good for some, for families it’s best to break it up between several islands, each with it’s own characteristics. All very beautiful.
- Stay in a sugar cube shack in Santorini, by far the most picturesque island. The main town of Oia is home to the iconic sugar cube shacks (plunge pool essential with kids) perched high on a cliff overlooking the Caldera, once the rim of a Volcano now surrounded by deep blue sea. Here is where your family can witness one of the best sunsets in the world. It’s pure magic. Whilst you are there, Splash at Santorini Water Park with a huge outdoor pool and kids water-slides. Due to the Santorini being a volcanic island, there are beaches with black sand, red sand and pebble beaches.
- Explore family friendly Naxos, a popular family island with beautiful calm beaches (Agios, Prokopios and Plaka) all set up with children’s facilities. It also has a great little village to stroll through and historical sites such as Portara an icon to the island, it was once the gate to the Temple of Apollo. Other historical sites to see include; Bazeos Castle, Monastery of Kalamitsia and Temple of Demeter.
- See stunning Zante, part of the Ionian Islands is Zakynthos (Zante). Zante has stunning scenery and wonderful attractions including; the Blue Cave, see truly blue azure waters whilst sailing under sandstone arches. Navagio is stunning accessible by boat where the water is azure blue and there’s even a shipwreck that kids can check out.
The fall is a superb time to visit America, the days are still long and warm but not overly hot, the cities are great to visit as its comfortable for walking the city streets. Places such as New York, Chicago, Denver, New Orleans, Boston and Las Vegas are great in the fall.
Not limited to just the cities, there are some wonderful fall drives to catch the fall foilage of vibrant red, orange and browns. Anywhere in the Mid-West will showcase the changing of the leaves.
The Southern American States is also wonderful to visit as it’s cooling down, places like New Orleans, Jackson and Savannah are great in the fall.
Chicago in the fall is wonderful, the heat and humdity is over yet the days are still warm and the great green parks that Chicago has is just starting to change colour. It’s the best time to go with many kid friendly things to do in this wonderful city. Check out my Best of Chicago with Kids post.
Highlights with kids
- Enjoy a drink with a view from the John Hancock Tower. Catch a sunset 96 floors up all for the price of a drink.
- Play at the Lakefront & Beaches. There’s still time to play at the beautiful calm fresh water beaches of Lake Michigan.
- See Chicago from the river, architectural boat tours. Check out the historic buildings from Chicago river and learn about the great Chicago fire.
- Step out on the Sky Deck at the Sears Tower (Willis Tower). Step onto a floor of glass and see the city below at the Sky Deck in Willis tower. Kids wills love it (or perhaps hate it).
- See a Chicago Bulls game (Fall / Winter). The Bulls are in town, check out pure sensory overload with music, food, live shows, dancing and of course the beloved Chicago Bulls.
- Must eat hot dog, deep dish pizza and Italian beef. The beef frankfurt on a poppyseed bun, dragged through a salad garden hold the ketchup. A pizza more like a pie with layers of cheese and sauce and roast beef on a italian roll dipped in it’s juices with either sweet or hot peppers. Iconic foods of Chicago and a must try.
Where would you like to travel to or have travelled to in September? What are your best places to go with kids in September? Please leave a comment below: