After a long winter, lots of families are ready to hit the road for a family spring break trip. What makes a great spring break destination for families? They fit into week-long school breaks, have lots of kid-friendly activities, aren’t filled with college kids and won’t break the bank.
There are dozens of locations that fit the bill across the U.S.! These eight destinations are perfect for your spring break family vacation.
1. San Diego, California
San Diego welcomes families all year round with beautiful weather. There are plenty of family-friendly beaches to explore, including the 2,000-acre Torrey Pines State Beach and Moonlight Beach, which has a great playground and renovated bathrooms.
When you get tired of the beach, there’s also plenty to do in and around San Diego. Balboa Park is home to museums, gardens, shops and, most importantly, the San Diego Zoo. Your family may also enjoy Old Town San Diego. Outside of the city, you’ll find SeaWorld and LEGOLAND California.
2. Yosemite National Park, California
Almost any national park makes a great family spring break destination. There are accommodations nearby for any budget, including lodges with heated pools, historic inns, cabins and campgrounds, and chain hotels with family-friendly amenities. Yosemite National Park offers families easy hikes, gentle rivers, a Junior Ranger program and lots of wildlife.
3. Outer Banks, North Carolina
The Outer Banks is a good alternative to Myrtle Beach, especially during spring break. Kids will love the North Carolina Aquarium, Children at Play Museum and seeing the exact place where the Wright Brothers flew for the first time at the Wright Brothers National Park. There are also quiet beaches, mini golf courses and lighthouses to explore during your vacation. Consider renting a house with a pool, as the rough surf and jellyfish can keep kids from the ocean.
4. Orlando, Florida
Orlando is home to a huge variety of attractions made for kids: Disney World, Universal Studios, SeaWorld and LEGOLAND Florida. There are also other, less expensive, ways to spend a family spring break trip in Orlando. Try the Crayola Experience, Chocolate Museum, or just hang out at the hotel pool and enjoy the warm weather!
5. Steamboat Springs, Colorado
The city of Steamboat Springs, located just outside a national forest 150 miles northwest of Denver, is home to ski resorts, hot springs, planned kids’ activities and an old-fashioned soda fountain. What’s not to love?
Ski resorts are often just as luxurious as beachfront all-inclusives, but without any of the college students you’ll find lounging on the sand – Steamboat is no exception. There are slopes for all levels of skiers, as well as tubing, cross-country and snowshoeing trails, dog sledding, and ice skating here.
6. Washington, DC
One of the best parts about Washington, DC is the free admission to the museums, galleries and zoo that make up the Smithsonian Institution. Try the Air and Space Museum, Botanic Garden and National Zoo. You can also tour the Capitol building, White House, Supreme Court and Library of Congress or see the monuments celebrating Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington and King. Even if you miss the National Cherry Blossom Festival, you’ll see blooms during a spring break family vacation.
7. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina
Scenic drives and short hikes make it easy to take in beautiful views without carrying little ones up a mountain. There are log cabins, churches and mills dotting the Park, some of which are still used. Just like other national parks, your kids can become Junior Rangers here.
Located along the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, you could easily divide your vacation between the Park and the city of Nashville (3.5-hour drive), Asheville (50-minute drive) or Charlotte (2.75-hour drive). Even if the majority of your family vacation is spent in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, take a day to explore Dollywood.
8. Stowe, Vermont
Enjoy a family ski vacation in Vermont’s Green Mountains. Stowe is home to multiple ski resorts, as well as a picturesque town and family-friendly bike paths. Take advantage of discounts on lift tickets outside of peak ski season or take in the view from the comfort of a gondola.
Spring in Vermont means fresh maple syrup. Kids can join in the fun of sugaring season at local farms. The whole family can also fish, hike and see wildlife together. In fact, early spring is the best time to spot moose!