Sea Witch Festival: Rehoboth Beach, Del.
The 23rd annual Sea Witch Halloween & Fiddler's Festival takes place on Delaware's family-friendly Rehoboth Beach October 26 to 28. Kids can enjoy both Halloween-themed fun and activities, including a Sea Witch hunt, Pirate Treasure Challenge, magic shows, Pirate Adventures, a costume parade, and free outdoor movies in the park at dark. As a Fiddler's Festival, fiddles and banjos will be providing foot-stomping music. On Saturday, kids are invited to participate in Old Fashioned Beach Games to receive ribbons for winning games like the Beach Ball Roll, Hula Twist Off, and Pumpkin Dash.
Neptune Festival: Virginia Beach, Va.
For nearly 40 years, Virginia Beach has celebrated its endless summer with a month-long festival that culminates with Boardwalk Weekend. The Neptune Festival kicks off August 31 with an Endless Summer Beach Bash and then fills in September weekends with wine festivals, symphony performances, sporting events and galas. Boardwalk Weekend, September 28 through 30, is a series of outdoor concerts along the 35 blocks of Boardwalk, as well as Saturday night fireworks, surfing and sailing competitions, a parade with more than 100 floats, a sand sculpture competition, and a 275-artisan show. A Teen Stage and Youth Art Show even keep the teens happy during the weekend event.
National Shrimp Festival: Gulf Shores, Ala.
Visit the Gulf Shores October 11 through 14 for its 41st annual fall event, the National Shrimp Festival. More than 250 vendors will be on hand to sell arts and crafts, as well as, what else? Shrimp! Two stages provide continuous live entertainment, and the Children's Activity Village will keep little ones busy with arts and crafts of their own. There is even a sand sculpture contest -- may the best shrimp win!
Harbor & Seafood Festival: Santa Barbara, Calif.
A relatively young festival when compared with the others on this list, the 11th Annual Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival is a chance for West Coasters to hit the beach in October. On October 13th, local seafood vendors and fishermen will bring on a seafood feast filled with lobster, crab, chowder, gumbo and more. Arts and crafts vendors will also be displaying their wares, as families tour tall ships, enjoy free boat rides and dockside tours, and get close to sea life in maritime exhibits and touch tanks. Live music rounds out the day-long event.
Endless Summer Festival: Myrtle Beach, S.C.
North Myrtle Beach celebrates the end of summer by enjoying its seemingly never-ending warm weather on its sandy shores. This year, on Saturday, October 27, the festival will offer free live entertainment from a stage on Main Street, along with carnival rides, a children's play area, arts and crafts, a car show, and plenty of festival food. The entire event is free and takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunfest: Ocean City, Md.
Visit the Ocean City boardwalk for an end-of-summer festival that has been luring families to the shore for 37 years. This 38th year, Sunfest will continue its reign as one of the biggest free crafts shows in the country, September 20 to 23. While parents will enjoy the artisans and crafters, children will enjoy the inflatables and hayrides. Live entertainment is provided all day, and at night, grab a ticket to see headlining acts Sha Na Na, Lonestar and Poison frontman Bret Michaels.
Bourne Scallop Fest: Cape Cod, Mass.
Visit the Cape Cod shores of Buzzards Bay for the 43rd annual Scallop Fest, where local scallops are harvested from the ocean and celebrated from September 21 to 23. Midway rides and games, live entertainment and arts and crafts are available all weekend, and kids 12 and under are free into the festival overlooking the Bourne Bridge.
Outer Banks Pirate Festival: Outer Banks, N.C.
With the shores of North Carolina once a haven for pirates, the Outer Banks celebrates its history with a fun family festival honoring its pirate legacy. From September 13 to Saturday 15, history will be revealed through pirate reenactments, shows and storytelling. Kids will have the chance to walk the plank, as well as enjoy other kid-centric pirate games. Dress in costume and really get into the fun!
Harvestfest & Kidsfest: Coastal Maine
Coastal Maine's York Beach is home to this 28th fall festival -- this one featuring a Kidsfest just for kids to enjoy games, entertainment, crafts, hayrides and a special Saturday night pumpkin stroll. The event, which takes place October 13 and 14, provides plenty of adult festivities as well. Live bands, food and beverage vendors, crafters and a marketplace fill the weekend with fun.
Cranberry Festival: Nantucket, Mass.
Ride the ferry from Cape Cod to Nantucket to witness the island's intimate, seafaring charm, and to enjoy the 10th annual Cranberry Festival. The event takes place Saturday, October 6, featuring kids' events, hayrides, sheep shearing, wool spinning and sheep herding demonstrations. Of course, cranberry dishes will be featured, alongside homemade clam chowder and other festival food.