Let’s explore these options.
- Oahu, Hawai’i
- Palm Springs, California
- Anaheim, California
- San Diego, California
- San Luis Obispo, California
- Yosemite, California
- Park City, Utah
- Virginia City, Nevada
- Aspen, Colorado
- Grand Canyon, Arizona
- Lake Powell, Arizona
- Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
- Virginia Beach, Virginia
- Jamestown, Virginia
- Washington, D.C.
- Nashville, Tennessee
- Beech Mountain, North Carolina
- North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
- Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
- Savannah, Georgia
- St. Petersburg, Florida
- Orlando, Florida
- Lake Placid, New York
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1. Oahu, Hawai’i
Best for nature encountersYou could spend your entire week at a beach on Oahu and not regret a moment of it. The North Shore and Waikiki Beach are enough to make the plane trip worth it, but this island has plenty more spring break ideas to keep your family busy. Head to Sea Life Park for interactive experiences with dolphins, sea lions and reef fish. Enjoy a historic ride on the Hawaiian Railway Society’s train for stunning views of the coastline. Hike up Diamond Head, a volcanic crater, for a 360-degree view of the island. Take time to pay your respects at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial before heading to the aviation museum.
2. Palm Springs, California
Best for resortsPalm Springs has been a popular desert oasis for travelers for decades, so it’s well prepared to deliver on your family’s spring break expectations. There are many resorts in Palm Springs, so whether you want to lounge poolside or splash with the kids at a waterpark, there are options for all. Palm Springs has an aerial tram that will carry you 2.5 miles along Chino Canyon until you reach Mt. San Jacinto. Once there, you can take pictures at the observation deck, stop by the natural history museum or take a break for dinner. And Joshua Tree National Park is a short drive from the city, giving you the opportunity to hike and climb among its unique rock formations.
|Fun fact: Palm Springs was once the home of Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack friends. Tours are still held around their old homes.|
3. Anaheim, California
Best for Disney fansDisneyland has more than enough entertainment to keep your family busy for the week, so you’ll never be short of spring break ideas. The Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Avengers Campus attractions give you and your kids experiences well beyond what you’ve seen on the big screen. Branch out from Disney and catch a Ducks hockey game or swing by Angel Stadium for some baseball. For a more affordable alternative to Disneyland, head over to Knott’s Berry Farm for rides, shows or to spend the day at the waterpark.
4. San Diego, California
Best for parks and museumsSan Diego has one of the most temperate climates you can find, which means plenty of spring break options for families. Expect the weather to be in the mid-60s, great for hanging at the beach and strolling through the city. San Diego Zoo and Safari Park provide the chance to see exotic animals, while SeaWorld gives visitors up-close encounters with aquatic animals. Legoland and Belmont Park should quench your thirst for theme parks, but Disneyland is within driving distance, just in case. The city also has no shortage of museums, with 16 located in Balboa Park alone.
5. San Luis Obispo, California
Best for ocean activitiesSituated between Los Angeles and San Francisco, this coastal city is full of spring break family vacation ideas. Head to Morro Bay for kayaking around oyster farms and bird watching. Stop by Mitchell Park for an afternoon picnic. Spend your day at the beach or rent a surfboard to test your skills on the waves. For land-based thrills, the Vista Lago Adventure Park has ropes courses and zip lines. The Avila Valley Barn features a petting zoo and fresh produce to sustain you through all of your activities.
6. Yosemite, California
Best for campingYosemite is another destination that makes this list of spring break vacation ideas, in part due to how the seasonal weather improves the experience. With mountain snow melting, Yosemite’s waterfalls are in top form. The park also doesn’t see peak crowds until summer, so you’ll have more seclusion to get the perfect pictures. Yosemite has bike rentals and miles of paved paths for touring the area. Experienced climbers can take their shot at renowned routes on El Capitan and Half Dome, while everyone in the family can enjoy stargazing.
7. Park City, Utah
Best for outdoor sportsPark City is another spring break destination where snow is at the top of every visitor’s mind. However, the area has lots more to offer in the spring, so no matter the weather, your days will be packed with activities. The mountain streams are great for fly fishing, with expert guides available to help you find the most action. Explore nature with no lift ticket required by strapping snowshoes to your boots. Take advantage of the wide open spaces with a family trap shooting competition.
|Fun fact: Park City was at risk of becoming a ghost town. The miners of the area had the idea to turn it into a resort town and it eventually became one of the top ski destinations in the country.|
8. Virginia City, Nevada
Best for Old West historyVirginia City is a preserved slice of the Old West. It began as a mining town in the 19th century and now is a thriving destination for spring break. The original mines are still open to the public, with tours lasting roughly 30 minutes.There are multiple museums that offer an added taste of what life was like back then. The Fourth Ward School Museum has authentically preserved classrooms, with exhibits and archived resources. The Way It Was Museum provides the opportunity to step back in time and experience the Old West through historical artifacts.
9. Aspen, Colorado
Best for skiingTheme parks and oceans aren’t always the priority for spring breaks. Some families want to stretch out winter for as long as possible and get an extra week of use out of their skis. If that sounds like your family, Aspen has what you need. In addition to skiing, the Rocky Mountains have trails accessible for all skill levels, with learning programs that cater to children. You can hop on a dog sled for a rustic tour of the backcountry or swap your skis for ice skates at the free Snowmass Ice Rink.
10. Grand Canyon, ArizonaBest for views and hikingThe Grand Canyon is a national treasure for good reason, and with that status comes big crowds. However, if you choose to take your family here for spring break, the number of visitors will be far fewer than at peak times in the summer. If you plan on going for a hike, you’ll have a much easier go of it since the daytime temperature hovers around 60 degrees. If hiking isn’t of interest, helicopter tours can take you to the bottom of the canyon. Kids also have the option to participate in the Junior Ranger program.
11. Lake Powell, Arizona
Best for boatingIf you need to be on the water but know you want to avoid the raucous crowds of Lake Havasu, Lake Powell is a great alternative spring break destination for families. You can sleep in a rented houseboat and cruise around for the week. Nearby attractions include Rainbow Bridge National Monument, one of the largest natural bridges in the world, and Antelope and Secret Canyons. Lake Powell is connected to the Colorado River, providing miles upon miles of shoreline to be explored. When you find a spot you like, go ashore for a picnic in privacy.
12. Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
Best for water parksFamilies from around the world travel to the Dells to experience the greatest concentration of water parks they could ever hope to find. Weather in Wisconsin is notably unpredictable during spring breaks, but don’t worry about your plans being left to chance — the area has plenty of fun to be had indoors, too.If the sun refuses to come out, you can head to indoor water parks like the Chula Vista Resort. Spring break ideas don’t solely revolve around water, though. Families can rent ATVs and go on guided tours, complete high ropes courses or zip line above the Wisconsin woodlands.
|Fun fact: Wisconsin Dells is home to America’s largest outdoor water park, Noah’s Ark, which spans 70 acres and has three miles of waterslides.|
13. Virginia Beach, Virginia
Best for kite flyingTake advantage of Virginia Beach’s beautiful coastline by spending the day at the beach, either by jumping into the water or flying a kite in the gusting winds. Multiple festivals are held in the spring as well, focusing on food, art and even Monster Trucks. If your family values farm-to-table food, you’re going to want to check out Virginia Beach. The city is the largest producer of strawberries in the state and, beginning in April, offers the opportunity to pick them for yourself. Other produce and wildflowers are also options.
14. Jamestown, Virginia
Best for colonial reenactmentsJamestown was the first permanent English settlement in the New World, and residents continue to preserve its important role in American history. Visitors can experience live reenactments of what life was like in the 1600s, with accurate re-creations of forts, ships and villages. Your visit to Jamestown doesn’t have to be all educational. The James River is great for kayaking on your own or with a guided tour.
15. Washington, D.C.
Best for blossoms and historyThe nation’s capital is one of the best spring break destinations for families. It has plenty of entertainment to offer year-round, but seeing springtime cherry blossoms makes it extra special. From late March to mid April, the National Cherry Blossom Festival offers performances and cultural events around the district, plus the blooming trees surrounding the Tidal Basin. Parents can take their kids to a parade, watch fireworks and sprinkle in visits to national monuments and museums. The kids will be having so much fun they might not even realize they’re learning at the same time.
16. Nashville, Tennessee
Best for country musicGoing to Nashville on spring break with kids is a great way to mix your interests with theirs. Take the family to the Country Music Hall of Fame to learn all about the genre’s greatest musicians, then catch a live show at the Grand Ole Opry. Animal lovers will feel right at home at the Nashville Zoo. There are parks galore in Nashville, where your kids can run themselves tired. Of particular note is Centennial Park, home to a full-scale re-creation of the Parthenon.
|Fun fact: Nashville is the hometown of The Seeing Eye, the first organization to bring service dogs to the United States.|
17. Beech Mountain, North CarolinaBest for mountain bikingBeat the summer crowds to Beech Mountain and take your pick of its many springtime activities. The town, tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains near the Tennessee border, has a number of affordable resorts with late-season skiing, snowboarding and tubing. As winter recedes, nearby Buckeye Lake is a hotspot for fishing and canoeing. The area is also becoming well known for its bicycling routes. Whether you prefer to ride on the road or along rocky trails, Beech Mountain has you covered.
18. North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Best for beachesIf you’re coming up short brainstorming spring break ideas for families, why not fall back on a trusted favorite? North Myrtle Beach has activities for all ages and a perfect climate for fun under the sun. It has a slightly more laid-back feel than Myrtle Beach, and has smaller crowds as a result.North Myrtle Beach is still in a convenient position for visitors to benefit from everything the area has to offer. Families can fish from the Cherry Grove Pier, kayak in the ocean or enjoy a swashbuckling dinner and a show at Pirates Voyage.
19. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Best for wildlife toursHilton Head Island is brimming with spring break ideas for families. There are over 50 miles of trails that make exploring the island convenient either on foot or by bicycle. The area is relatively flat, so family members of all ages can traverse with relative ease. The weather is warm come springtime, so the public beaches are a big attraction, as are tours to see the island’s alligators and dolphins.
20. Savannah, Georgia
Best for festivalsThere’s no better time to visit Savannah than in the spring, beating the summer heat and enjoying all of the outdoor attractions. Riverboat cruises serve dinner complemented with live music for a luxurious yet relaxed experience.Or stick to land with a series of spring festivals. St. Patrick’s Day is the most popular, but other renowned festivals showcase art and music. Those with a penchant for the supernatural can attend one of their famous ghost tours, which are conducted via trolley, foot and even hearse.
21. St. Petersburg, Florida
Best for beaches and gardensFlorida is a top destination for spring breakers, and there’s no reason why families should be left out of the mix. St. Petersburg is a great spring break option for families that bypasses the wild side of places like Daytona Beach. St. Petersburg is home to the Sunken Gardens, a haven for over 50,000 tropical plants, along with waterfalls and exotic birds. The celebrated Busch Gardens in nearby Tampa gives family members of all ages the chance to hop on amusement park rides, hand-feed animals and shop for souvenirs.
22. Orlando, Florida
Best for theme parksIf you’re looking for spring break destinations for families, you can’t go wrong with Orlando. The city has a high concentration of world-class theme parks, no matter your interests. Walt Disney World needs no introduction — classic attractions like Cinderella’s Castle and the Animal Kingdom draw visitors from around the world. If you’re looking for something new, Universal Studios has immersive attractions like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Legoland features kid-friendly rides and SeaWorld has the Seven Seas Food Festival through early May.
23. Lake Placid, New York
Best for water sportsLake Placid is well known for being a great summer destination for families, but this mountain retreat has plenty to offer in the spring as well. The surrounding Adirondacks have miles of trails for hiking and biking. Spring is also the perfect time to view the blooming wild flowers before the summer heat takes over. Melting snow adds to the rushing rivers, providing a thrilling experience for adventurous travelers who want to try their hand at whitewater rafting. While the weather is warming up at this time of year, Whiteface Mountain is still in operation, allowing your family to ski the slopes that hosted the 1980 Winter Olympics.
24. Boston, Massachusetts
Best for urban toursFamilies that prefer urban beats should set their sights on Boston. The city is brimming with history, and there’s no better way to experience it than by walking the Boston Freedom Trail. You’ll see attractions like the Paul Revere House, the Massachusetts State House, King’s Chapel and more. Boston is also home to the USS Constitution, the country’s oldest warship still afloat. Tours of the boat are offered Wednesday through Sunday, with the museum open daily.
25. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Best for botanical gardensCity sights might be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Pittsburgh, but a healthy mix of greenery — indoors and outside — makes it a great choice for family spring break. From mid-March to early April, the Phipps Conservatory puts on the Spring Flower Show, showcasing a unique theme each year.Continue to take advantage of the weather with bike rides along the river or through the woods on hundreds of miles of trails. You can even take the family on a multi-day ride on the Great Allegheny Passage or C&O Canal Trail, stopping at bed and breakfasts along the way.
Spring break planning tipsGetting the most out of your spring break requires more than simply picking a spot with the most attractions. Let these tips guide your brainstorming of spring break vacation ideas:
- Set a budget: The average vacation cost for just one person is $1,919 per week. That includes lodging, food, transportation and entertainment. Depending on where you travel and what you want to do, your price could greatly exceed that. Setting a budget early on will help with the rest of your planning by narrowing options and, ultimately, leading to less stress.
- Pick a destination: Find out what everyone in your family wants to do and look for a destination that can deliver on the greatest number of desires. The destination should also work within your budget. For instance, if everyone wants to hang at the beach, a week at North Myrtle Beach is going to be more affordable than a week on Oahu.
- Research the area: The internet is filled with travel blogs covering nearly every destination on the planet. Use them to spark new ideas and gain valuable insights into what’s worth your time and money. Always be sure to verify the claims — some blogs could be years out of date and not accurately reflect prices or which businesses are still in operation.
- Pack efficiently: Think in terms of essentials, not what you might need for every possibility. It’s a lot less stressful getting from point A to point B when each person has only one suitcase. For added benefits, look into how to properly pack bags to get the most out of the space.