Table of Contents
- Top Spring Break Destinations in California
- California’s Best Destinations in Every Season
- Best Spring Break Trips in California
- Palm Springs, California
- Santa Cruz, California
- San Diego, California
- Lake Tahoe, California
- San Francisco, California
- Santa Monica, California
- 1. Dominica, Caribbean
- 1. Atlantis, Paradise Island
- 2. Grand Lucayan, Bahamas
- 3. Cayman Islands
- 4. Beaches, Turks and Caicos
- 5. Disney Cruise
- 6. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
- 7. San Diego, California
- 8. Orlando, Florida
- 9. Arizona
- 10. Aulani, Hawaii
- 11. The Florida Keys
- 12. Las Vegas
- 13. Florida Beaches
- 14. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
- 15. Aruba
- 16. Cancun, Mexico
- 17. Los Angeles
- 18. Legoland
- 19. Virginia
- 20. San Antonio, Texas
- 21. New Orleans
- 22. Palm Springs, California
- 23. Mexico’s Riviera Maya
- 24. Great Wolf Lodge
- 25. Palm Coast, Florida
- 26. Tree House Lodge, Costa Rica
- 27. Nashville, Tennessee
- 28. Charleston, South Carolina
- 29. An Indoor Water Park
- 30. Miami, Florida
- 20 Spring Break Ideas for Families- luxe trips that won’t break the bank
- Beach Getaway
- All-Inclusive Resorts – One of my fave Spring Break Ideas
- Cruises – The Ultimate Spring Break Idea for families with extended family
- Spring Break Ideas – Ski Trips
- City Escapes
- Unique Trips
- Budget Friendly
- Southern California & Arizona Spring Break Ideas
- The Iconic Disney World Vacation
- Santa Fe, New Mexico
- Washington, D.C.
- Best Spring Break Destinations in the USA According to Bloggers
- Southern Utah
- South Florida
- Yosemite National Park
- 5 Spring Break Ideas for a Family Road Trip
- 1. San Diego to Los Angeles (120 miles one way)
- 2. Phoenix to the Grand Canyon (225 miles one way)
- 3. Chicago to Indianapolis to Louisville (270 miles one way)
- 4. Miami to St. Augustine (309 miles one way)
- 5. New York to Washington, D.C. (227 miles one way)
- Escape the Florida Crowds and Head to One of These Spring Break Destinations Instead
- 1. South Padre Island, Texas
- 2. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
- 3. Grand Isle, Louisiana
- 4. Tybee Island, Georgia
- 5. Chincoteague, Virginia
- 6. Austin, Texas
- 7. Gulf Shores, Alabama
- 8. Folly Beach, South Carolina
- 9. Golden Isles, Georgia
- 10. Atlantic Beach, North Carolina
- 11. Hilton Head, South Carolina
- 12. Lake Lanier Islands, Georgia
About a little over a year ago, my family resolved to travel more of our home state of California. We realized we were jetting around all over the country and the world while missing out on amazing destinations right in our backyard. In fact, these were the very same destinations that many other people jetted from all over the world to see! We’ve been roadtripping the state on school breaks and weekends ever since. As a result, we’ve discovered a lot of destinations in the Golden State to recommend to other families.
So with spring break planning season in full swing, I wanted to recommend a few of our favorites! Spring break is an exceptionally good time to visit many destinations in California because the hotter areas of the state aren’t quite so hot yet. Plus, if you prefer the cold, the Sierras still have plenty of snow in March and April.
Here are my top 10 recommendations for the best destinations in California for spring break travel.
(Trips With Tykes uses affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission if you purchase through links in this post. See our full disclosure policy here.)
Top Spring Break Destinations in California
1. Palm Springs
Palm Springs is a dream California destination during spring break. It’s warm enough to enjoy the outdoors and the pool but not yet blazing with desert heat. We traveled there for our family’s 2016 spring break and found so much for family travelers – from the Palm Springs Aerial Tram to the Living Desert Museum to a day trip excursion to Joshua Tree National Park. And if you like golf, there is plenty of that too.
The family-friendly luxe resorts are plentiful in and around Palm Springs and surrounding towns like Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, and Indian Springs. Consider the Omni Rancho Las Palmas or the Waldorf Astoria’s La Quinta Resort & Club for great pools and kid-friendly amenities.
2. Monterey & Santa Cruz
Within a short drive of the San Francisco Bay Area are two nearby destinations with a lot to offer families during spring break. Santa Cruz’s laid back beach vibe and world famous Beach Boardwalk provide lots of family fun, but you can also enjoy non-beach activities too. My kids love nearby Roaring Camp Railroads for a ride aboard a real narrow gauge railway through the redwoods. The Mystery Spot is also good clean family fun.
Head about 45 minutes further south to visit Monterey, which is home to one of the best aquariums in the world. The Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa is a well-located lodging option. It has room types big enough for families right on Cannery Row within walking distance of the aquarium.
Nearby Carmel-by-the-Sea is another quaint seaside town worthy of a stop. For a truly unique lodging experience there at a moderate price point, consider the Bavarian-themed Hofsas House Hotel.
3. San Diego
In all fairness, you really can’t go wrong with San Diego during any time of year, but spring break visits are as good as any of them. From the world renowned San Diego Zoo to Sea World, there are lots of activities for travelers with children. Head further north to nearby Carlsbad for a visit to Legoland California for what is becoming increasingly popular theme park alternative to Disneyland (shh – don’t tell Disney I said that!).
Hotel options in the San Diego area abound, but travelers with kids will find the Hotel del Coronado a great family beach retreat. Up near Legoland in Carlsbad, the Omni La Costa is ideal for families with a kids club and cool splash pads.
Speaking of Disneyland, frequent readers know how much my family adores Walt’s original park. I would certainly be remiss in not recommending it to California visitors in the spring when the Southern California weather is glorious.
Even though Disneyland is crowded nearly year round these days, spring break isn’t especially bad all things considered. The Southern California school systems usually don’t all take breaks at the same time, so the crowd convergence doesn’t come from everywhere all in one single week. My family stopped by Disneyland for a day during last year’s spring break and still managed to get in 20 rides on a single day’s park hopper ticket.
Where to stay? If you can splurge, the Disneyland Hotel or Grand Californian are always amazing choices. Off-property, our family loves the Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance. And be sure to check out what’s new this spring at Disneyland as you plan your visit.
5. Lake Tahoe
As much as my family adores skiing, we visit Lake Tahoe more than nearly anywhere else in California. At just about 3 hours from San Francisco and just a hop, skip, and a jump from Reno, it’s easily accessible even for folks coming from much farther than the local crowds.
Unless it is an exceptional drought year (and 2019 has been PRECISELY the opposite with record blizzards thus far), ski resorts are usually open well into April. You can often enjoy some bluebird spring skiing days with excellent snow conditions. You will certainly find us skiing at our favorite family-friendly resort, Northstar California, in April many years!
5. Big Sur
If you want to introduce your kids to one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth, Big Sur should be high on your list. This stretch of California’s central coast features dramatic seaside overlooks, waterfalls, and amazing hiking and beaches. The area is also known for its extremely friendly California hippie vibe so it can make for an intriguing cultural exchange too. You’ll be greeted with smiles wherever you go. Plus, you can do Big Sur on the cheap (just book in advance because limited accommodations do fill up). If you have older kids, a drive a bit further south to San Simeon to visit Hearst Castle is a nice excursion as well.
6. Pinnacles National Park
If you haven’t heard of this national park, you are in good company. Most people – including even me until recently! – haven’t. Up until 2013, Pinnacles was a national monument, but it got called up to the big leagues not long ago, making it America’s newest national park. The park is inland in the Salinas Valley southeast of Gilroy, making it very close to the Bay Area and doable on a trip to Monterey, Carmel, or even Big Sur. Pinnacles is best explored in the spring (or fall) to avoid summer heat. It offers a number of kid-friendly hikes and some amazing geological features formed by the fracturing of the San Andreas fault.
8. Avenue of the Giants
The coastal redwoods are some of the most iconic tourist attractions for visitors to Northern California. The dramatic Avenue of the Giants just south of Eureka is a beautiful drive with trees so high you can barely see the tops. Plan for time for hiking and be sure to make a stop at the Shrine Drive Thru tree in Myers Flat as well as the Chandelier Drive Thru Tree south of the area in Leggett. Head further north towards the Oregon state line to spend time in Redwood National and State Parks for even more redwood exploration. Or combine this trip with stops in Mendocino or Sonoma counties.
Nice family-friendly lodging options are few and far between this far north in the state, but we found the Benbow Inn charming with an amazing outdoor weekend brunch.
9. Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is a bit of a victim of its own success in the summer. Crowds can be truly out of control then, so avoid the masses and go in the spring instead! The waterfalls are often at their most dramatic in April when the snowmelt begins anyway. If the weather is still cold, you can usually still ski at Yosemite ski & snowboard area (formerly Badger Pass) in late March and sometimes into early April.
10. San Francisco
Last but certainly not least is my home city, the City by the Bay! San Francisco has so much to offer no matter how long you have to visit. Spend the entire week exploring sites like Pier 39, Alcatraz, Chinatown, Golden Gate Park, Union Square, and many more family-friendly sites. Or use San Francisco as a jumping off point for other excursions around Northern California.
There are a million different hotel choices in San Francisco but I personally love the Westin St. Francis for its prime Union Square location.
For San Francisco travel planning with kids, these articles can help:
- Top 10 Kid-Friendly Day Trips Near San Francisco
- Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco with Kids: 8 Top Things to Do
- 25 Free Things to Do in San Francisco with Kids
California’s Best Destinations in Every Season
Don’t miss my travel guides for every season in California:
- Best Spring Break Destinations in California for Families – YOU ARE HERE
- Best Summer Destinations in California for Families
- Best Fall Destinations in California for Families
- Best Winter Destinations in California for Families
And for more spring break vacation ideas far and wide, don’t miss Spring Break Ideas for Families – Luxe Ideas that Won’t Break the Bank.
Need more California travel inspiration? Check out 13 blogs that will make you want to visit California and be sure to follow my California Travel board on Pinterest.
California Travel on Pinterest
This is sponsored content written by me on behalf of Northstar California. The opinions, text, and photos are all mine.
Last updated: March 22, 2019
Spring break may be associated with boozy, beachside bacchanals. But for families with school-age kids, it’s something else entirely: a blissful break from school routines. And the very idea of hitting a sandy strand made famous by MTV? Chances are high that what you want is the opposite kind of vacation.
Whether you’re taking the whole week off or happily day-tripping, here are six great family-friendly options, destinations where you can mix a little education with the sun and fun — and T-shirts only get wet if you trip at the tide pools.
1 Carmel-by-the-Sea and Point Lobos
Sea stars, urchins and Turkish towels — not the terrycloth kind, the sea-life variety — await in the tide pools of Weston Beach, one of eight sandy beaches at the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, which lies just south of Carmel.
Whether you day-trip this or combine a tide-pool trek with a longer stay in Carmel or Big Sur, there’s plenty to do in this popular park. Hiking trails wind along the bluffs and valleys. Historical exhibits dot Whalers Cove, offering a glimpse of 19th-century whaling station life. And Weston Beach boasts spectacular tide pools, especially at low tide, when you can spot anemones, spotted nudibranchs and more.
Pack a bag lunch to enjoy at the picnic tables near Whaler’s Cove, Bird Island and Piney Woods, or head into Carmel for a bite.
Details: Point Lobos lies 3 miles south of Carmel-by-the-Sea on Highway 1. Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parking is $10. www.pointlobos.org
2 Santa Barbara and MOXI
Heading down the coast? The year-old Wolf Museum of Exploration and Innovation is a science and discovery museum at the edge of Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, an arty neighborhood with galleries, wine-tasting rooms and eateries, including the Lucky Penny (wood-fired pizza!) and the new Shalhoob’s Funk Zone Patio.
MOXI’s Sky Garden offers expansive views and interactive exhibits, including a fountain and water play area called Whitewater. (Courtesy Jason Rick).
The three-story MOXI offers interactive exhibits designed around seven themes that relate to math, science, engineering, technology and art. It’s modern, beautifully-designed and delightful for curious minds of all ages. Step inside a giant guitar to discover how riffs are made. Conduct a test flight in a super-powered wind column. Build a race car and send it down a test track with other vehicles. Allow at least two or three hours to experience all that MOXI has to offer. With wall-sized versions of Plinko and Lite Brite and a rooftop exhibit featuring a glass sky deck, weather orchestra and fully interactive water feature, it will be hard to tear yourself away.
Details: Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily at 125 State St., Santa Barbara; Adults (13 and older): $14; Children (12 and younger): $10; www.moxi.org
3 San Francisco and the Randall Museum
Staying close to home? How’s this for a perfect, educational spring-break day excursion? This free-of-charge nature, culture and science education center in San Francisco’s Corona Heights has reopened its doors after a $9 million renovation.
Meet a desert cottontail rabbit in the Randall Museum’s new desert habitat. (Courtesy Quincy Stamper)
All three floors have been re-imagined and refreshed with new features, including a STEM lab, zoology and geology exhibits, learning stations and a cafe. Check out the new habitat-based animal enclosures in the live animal exhibit or the expanded science and ceramic studios. Drop into a Science Saturday class, where kiddos can learn about polymers by making goo. Class prices vary, but this one’s only $5 — and you get to take home the goo.
The museum’s new Cafe Josephine, which opens March 13, offers everything from avocado toast to grilled cheese sandwiches, pastries and fresh, organic salads.
Details: Admission is free. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday at 199 Museum Way, San Francisco; www.randallmuseum.org
4 Santa Cruz and Mount Hermon Adventures
Tucked seven miles outside the city of Santa Cruz, Mount Hermon offers epic eco-adventure experiences for people ages 10 and older, whether you’re looking to zip line through a canopy of ancient redwoods or challenge the family to an aerial course set high above the forest floor.
Kids as young as 5 and their adult buddies can enjoy spring break adventures in the Santa Cruz Mountains. (Mount Hermon Adventures)
Now, the younger set can get in on the adventure, too. Mount Hermon offers Discovery Grove, a scaled-down course perfect for budding daredevils as young as 5. The course features seven different activities, at heights up to 25 feet above the forest floor (as opposed to as high as 150 feet), with a short zip line descent back to the ground. The two-hour experience is perfect for a day-trip with friends, and parents are welcome to accompany the kids at Discovery Grove.
Pack a lunch — you get to use the outdoor picnic facilities, too.
Details: $500 for 10-20 people. Office hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Monday and the adventure course is located at 17 Conference Drive, Felton. Visit http://mounthermonadventures.com for reservations and availability.
5 San Diego and Africa Rocks
Combine your beach time and Gaslamp Quarter explorations with a jaunt to San Diego’s famous zoo at Balboa Park, where the immense, $68-million Africa Rocks exhibit began opening in phases last year. African penguins moved into their Cape Fynbos habitat — the coastal South African environment was the first of six habitats planned for the 14-acre spread — in June. The fourth, a Madagascar Forest habitat, opened in September with ring-tailed lemurs, catlike fossas and a honey badger. And the final section, the Ethiopian Highlands, was unveiled just before Thanksgiving.
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park lies just 30 miles north in Escondido, offering safari tours, animal encounters and roar-and-snore overnights. Among those encounters: The Butterfly Jungle, where visitors are surrounded by thousands of fluttering butterflies in an exhibit that runs from March 10 through April 15.
Details: The San Diego Zoo is open daily at 2920 Zoo Drive in Balboa Park; http://zoo.sandiegozoo.org. The Safari Park is open daily at 15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido; http://sdzsafaripark.org/. Admission to each park is $44 for kids and $54 for adults. A multi-park pass, which includes admission to both, is $76 for kids and $86 for adults.
6 Columbia and Gold Rush Days
A perfectly preserved Gold Rush town awaits in Columbia, the state historic park near Sonora. Nineteenth-century history comes to vivid life as costumed docents share tales from the past in the storefronts and saloons. A Wells Fargo stagecoach clatters down the streets. The sounds of iron and anvil ring from the smithy. And gold seekers of all ages line up to splash in the water troughs, swirling pans of sand at the Hidden Treasure Gold Mine.
A stagecoach rounds a corner onto Main Street at Columbia State Historic Park. Bay Area News Group File
It’s a blast to explore any day, but particularly fun during Columbia Gold Rush Days, which are held on the second Saturday of each month. Even more fun? Staying in the town itself at one of the state park’s two historic hotels.
Details: Admission is free and the park is open daily at www.visitcolumbiacalifornia.com.
Best Spring Break Trips in California
When picturing a trip to California, visions of hopping off the plane at LAX with a dream and a cardigan are usually pretty common ( thanks, Miley ), but in reality, the state is much larger than Los Angeles.
The Golden State is worth its weight in destinations, with convenient, unique options for everyone from beach lovers to history buffs to outdoor aficionados. Though Cali might not come immediately to mind as a go-to spring break vacation destination, it’s one of the most Instagram-worthy states in the union.
And with the help of Aceable, make those Instagram photos and memories count even more. Aceable’s #SpringAcers giveaway comes in clutch no matter where you’re heading, from the concrete jungle of New York City to the beachy vibes of California.
Here are some of the best destinations in Cali, beyond just its signature beaches.
Palm Springs, California
From Los Angeles: 1 hour, 49 minutes
From San Diego: 2 hours, 7 minutes
Palm Springs is a little slice of California paradise, an oasis located deep in the heart of the Palm Desert. Though it’s not on the coast, it boasts fun, affordable resorts, impressive golf courses, and killer shopping. In fact, USA Today called Palm Springs the “new capital of cool” when it comes to spring break destinations.
Santa Cruz, California
From San Jose: 41 minutes
From Fresno: 2 hours, 40 minutes
If you prefer to stick to the sandy beaches, Santa Cruz is the perfect destination. Not only is it the site of the seal-filled Natural Bridges State beach, it has Monterey Bay, a breathtaking whale watching spot. No, you can’t take one home with you. Sorry.
San Diego, California
From Los Angeles: 1 hour, 56 minutes
From Santa Maria: 4 hours, 20 minutes
San Diego combines the urban hustle and bustle of the big city with the relaxed, carefree environment of California’s sleepy beachside towns, making it an ideal fit for a group who just can’t decide if they’d rather lay in the sun or do some shopping and tourist-friendly sightseeing.
Lake Tahoe, California
From Sacramento: 2 hours, 5 minutes
From Redding: 3 hours, 51 minutes
Lake Tahoe is every lover of the great outdoors’ dream. Daredevils can enjoy skiing at its many resorts, but a little R&Ris more than possible thanks to the surrounding cities’ spas. After all, everyone’s idea of a break is different.
San Francisco, California
From Sacramento: 1 hour, 29 minutes
From Modesto: 1 hour, 53 minutes
If you’ve been binge-watching “Full House” and/or “Fuller House” nonstop, San Francisco itself is even more magical in person. History buffs will be obsessed with the many historic landmarks that fill the city, including Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Santa Monica, California
From San Luis Obispo: 2 hours, 57 minutes
From Temecula: 1 hour, 34 minutes
The iconic and idyllic Santa Monica Pier is pretty much the picture of spring break. No matter the budget, Santa Monica has a variety of different treats, shopping centers, and activities for groups of friends or for those flying solo.
Krista is a Content Writer and Editor at Aceable where she has written several online drivers ed & real estate courses. She loves using her passion for writing and tracking marketing trends to help Aceable’s students learn necessary skills to succeed in their lives and careers.
Spring break isn’t just for college kids, but it can feel like that sometimes. And the last thing you want to do is plan a family spring break vacation, only to be bombarded by the antics of wild 20-somethings taking time off from the books. We’ve scoured the U.S., Caribbean and Mexico for the the best places (including some surprises you may not have considered!) to whisk your crew away for a wholesome and fun spring break family vacation.
1. Dominica, Caribbean
For a real Caribbean adventure with the family, far from the spring break and mass tourism crowds, set your sights on the Nature Island, Dominica. The English-speaking volcanic island rises between the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe in the Lesser Antilles, and is reached from the U.S. via quick hops from Barbados and St. Martin. Batibou Beach on the island’s Atlantic coast is the best beach around. But this is an island where you’ll likely have more fun rafting down the Indian River, chasing waterfalls and hiking through the lush rainforest and jungle that drapes the entire island. The newest hotel to open here (in October 2019), Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica is also Dominica’s first five-star luxury property. It borders Cabrits National Park, along the island’s northwest coast.
Recommended Hotel: Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica
Ready to ditch the winter blues for a family-friendly vacation in climates warmer than here?
From perpetually wet feet to relentlessly bundling (and unbundling) your kids with layer upon layer, the need to escape grows for many parents as the winter season drags on—and on. Even those families who don’t live with the finicky four-season cycle might prefer their vacation with a side of palm trees, rather than fur-trimmed snow boots. So whether you’re seeking to escape the cold or just don’t want to vacation in it, we’ve rounded up more than two dozen of our favorite warm-weather travel destinations that beckon you to shed your parka and bask in the sun.
Read on to find great all-inclusive resorts, beaches, and charming cities teeming with culture that might not offer bathing suit weather in January but certainly no snow!
Strolling through the incredible aquarium is just one of the many activities a family can enjoy at Atlantis Resort.
1. Atlantis, Paradise Island
This Bahamas resort and island are the fantasy destination for many, not just the kids. The Atlantis Resort offers an out-of-this-world water park with nearly a dozen pools, all manner of activities, kids club, beach and boating, and countless room options on this tropical isle. Also consider the nearby, budget-minded Comfort Suites, which provides free admission to Atlantis, so you can slip and slide the day away but return to your clean and simple room in the evening for a fraction of the price.
2. Grand Lucayan, Bahamas
This beachfront family resort is everything you’ve dreamed of from your frost-bitten state. The Grand Lucayan Beach & Golf Resort is one of the largest hotels on the island and considered by many to be the finest. The hotel offers the sandy beaches, warm sun, and ocean breezes for which the Bahamas are known. Expect lots of amenities, dining options, and planned activities. It’s in the island’s touristy Lucaya district, making it easy enough to take in some of the local sights if you want.
3. Cayman Islands
This chain of three islands features glorious shallow water and calm sea, so all ages may enjoy a dip in the Caribbean. Diving and snorkeling are popular activities. Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort has recently completed an extensive transformation, making it an excellent choice for families staying on Grand Cayman.
Stunningly blue water surrounds you at Beaches, Turks and Caicos.
4. Beaches, Turks and Caicos
It’s hard to beat Beaches Resorts for a family vacation. These all-inclusive resorts are designed from top to bottom to ensure that every member of the family has a spectacular time. Turks and Caicos is a jewel in the Beaches family crown with stunningly blue waters and a long coral reef with amazing aquatic life to take advantage of the only resorts where scuba diving is included.
5. Disney Cruise
If running around a theme park isn’t your idea of fun, taking a Disney Cruise can be a great way to get your Disney on. The magic makers pull out all the stops from impressive theme restaurants, magical entertainment and, of course, one-on-one time with your favorite characters. With lots of grown-up only areas to enjoy while your kids are busy at the incredible kids’ clubs, this is a lux vacation everyone will enjoy. We’ve tried several different cruises, including a Star Wars-themed ship, a ride with Beauty and Beast, and even a tour of Europe with an incredible kids’ club.
Soak up the sun, pools, and family fun in Cabo at the Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort.
6. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
There’s so much to do in Cabo San Lucas in Mexico’s Baja California, especially for families. During the winter season, get up close and personal with whales migrating from the Arctic to the warm, calm waters surrounding the Baja Peninsula. You can go zip-lining, rock-climbing, swimming with dolphins and even camel riding in the desert! We were thoroughly spoiled at the all-inclusive Grand Velas Los Cabos with its spa, pools, and attention to detail. A stay at Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort will also leave you sun-kissed, relaxed and well-fed.
7. San Diego, California
With its near-perfect year-round climate, a world-class zoo, miles of beach, and cute Old Town, San Diego is loaded with personality. Take a scenic cruise around San Diego Bay before you enjoy some fresh Pacific seafood for dinner. The Hotel Del Coronado is an iconic resort that caters to kids, but we’ve also rounded up another half-dozen kid-friendly hotels in this coastal California town.
Orlando is a kid’s paradise and not just at the theme parks. Enjoy the pools at the Grove Resort and Water Park. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala
8. Orlando, Florida
With mild to hot temperatures year-round, plenty of hotel rooms designed for multigenerational families, and yes, a certain mouse-themed series of amusement parks, it’s no surprise that Orlando tops any list of family vacations. But step outside of Disney World mania for a moment, and you’ll discover that Orlando has dozens of family-friendly attractions, from a science center and museums to balloon rides and boating. There are even Orlando activities to tempt your teens into smiles.
Scottsdale is a golf, tennis and spa mecca, and families are welcomed with open arms. The dry desert air works magic on winter-weary bones of all ages. The Westin Kierland Resort offers tweens and teens nonstop fun with the FlowRider, a machine that lets you pseudo surf in the desert. Giant swimming pools and numerous children’s programs are also on the menu. More kid-friendly attractions are available in nearby Phoenix, including the Phoenix Zoo, Arizona Science Center, a water park, and the must-visit Desert Botanical Garden.
Meet Minnie Mouse and other Disney characters while hanging out in the water park at Disney’s Aulani Resort.
10. Aulani, Hawaii
The Hawaiian Islands are a fantasy destination for many. Whether you want to learn to surf on popular Waikiki Beach on Oahu or visit the volcanic wonders on the Big Island, this chain of islands is paradise. Families are flocking to Aulani, a Disney resort that has garnered numerous accolades, including from our own reviewer who called it “an absolutely luxurious resort vacation with enough family fun that parents can enjoy without feeling like they are vacationing in Romper Room.”
11. The Florida Keys
The laid-back beach vibe and sparkling, turquoise water that surrounds the towns that make up the Florida Keys are sure to charm all ages. Myriad family-friendly outdoor activities abound in this south Florida charmer of a region, from dolphins to boating and snorkeling, but also a stunning marine sanctuary, state parks, lighthouse, and more.
Circus Circus in Vegas has just about every activity a kid could wish for, including a splash pad.
12. Las Vegas
Love it or hate it, this Nevada oasis has succeeded in becoming a family town with pools aplenty, a children’s museum, aquarium, and even numerous babysitting options for parents looking for a night out. Consider a stay at Circus Circus, offering thousands of hotel rooms right on the Las Vegas Strip, an indoor theme park, live circus acts, and cheap and cheerful buffets. If you’re feeling Lady Luck on your side, there’s an onsite casino. Or try The Orleans Hotel and Casino with its onsite child care, indoor jungle gym, arcade, and more family entertainment.
13. Florida Beaches
We’ve already named a few of our favorite Florida destinations, but really the Sunshine State offers a number of charming options to help everyone thaw out. Try one of these top beach towns now or on spring break when temps really start to soar in the south.
Kids will enjoy the characters (and slime), while grown-ups hit the pool and beach at the Nickelodeon Resort Punta Cana. Photo by Jaime Sumersille
14. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is easy to reach, thanks to numerous nonstop flights from many East Coast cities, and we’ve enjoyed several of the island’s top beachfront resorts that cater to families. Club Med Punta Cana features cool activities from Creactive by Cirque du Soleil, boutique-hotel styling, and a full kids program. The Nickelodeon Resort is another great option for families, with a water park, character visits, kids club, and stunning beachside pools.
Treat the kids to a Caribbean-getaway to the friendly and gorgeous island of Aruba. Relax at the pool or on one of the many stunning beaches on Aruba, but if you have older kids, don’t miss exploring the rugged eastern shore of the island with its national parks and sea caves. We also indulged at the many beach shacks and enjoyed befriending the creatures at several animal sanctuaries, including donkeys. A stay at the Aruba Marriott Resort was just right for all ages with its pool, spacious rooms, and even the island’s largest casino.
The Caribbean glimmers just outside the Azul Beach Resort Riviera Cancun.
16. Cancun, Mexico
You could grab a lounge chair and never leave the silky sand and the Caribbean Sea at one of the dozens of hotels in Cancun, like Azul Beach Resort Riviera Cancun, which makes travel with kids as seamless as possible, but it would be a shame to miss out on excursions to places like the Mayan ruins in Tulum and many other unforgettable destinations nearby.
17. Los Angeles
Trade your snowy city for palm trees and SoCal sunshine in Los Angeles, a sprawling family playground filled with museums, top-notch eats, and of course, a few nearby theme parks! Relax after a day of exploring with a stay at one of these kid-friendly LA hotels. Save time to visit another popular locale, such as Santa Barbara, where botanic gardens, sailing, and more family-friendly seaside pursuits will put everyone in that laid-back California state of mind. If it’s beach season, check out these kid-friendly LA-area beaches.
Speaking of theme parks, whether you visit the Legoland in Southern California or the Winter Haven, Florida location, the kids are sure to reward you with big smiles as you all warm up at these amusement parks based on everyone’s favorite building brick. You might even tack on a visit to the Florida Legoland park with a Tampa beach vacation, or Orlando theme park bonanza. The Carlsbad, California park is a great add-on for a visit to San Diego, as is its water park. Bonus: Each amusement park offers some fun, Lego-themed lodging options, including Florida’s Legoland Hotel and its Beach Retreat, and the brand-new Legoland Castle Hotel in California.
Virginia isn’t tropical to be sure; it even has mountains and gets some snow, but come springtime, Virginia makes for a lovely warm weather vacation destination. Explore Richmond and all the capital city of Virginia has to offer, or hit the surf and boardwalk of Virginia Beach.
20. San Antonio, Texas
This charming Texas town is loaded with appeal. Take a narrated cruise or stroll River Walk, visit the Alamo, and enjoy delicious Mexican food. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, head indoors to the San Antonio children’s museum, The DoSeum. The Witte Museum is a fabulous place to discover Texas heritage with a smattering of science and natural history thrown in for good measure. Embassy Suites Riverwalk and the Mokara Hotel and Spa are fine hotel options on the River Walk.
21. New Orleans
From swamp tours to a children’s museum, there is plenty in New Orleans to entertain families. So forget about that image of a 24/7 Mardi Gras drinking fest and make your way to the French Quarter for live jazz and outdoor family brunch.
The Saguaro in Palm Springs is known for its hipster-meets-diaper poolside scenes.
22. Palm Springs, California
Welcoming Palm Springs is a popular destination for LGBT families, design, and architecture buffs, or anyone who enjoys stylish mid-century hotels with giant swimming pools shaded by palm trees. Family favorites include The Saguaro and the Ace Hotel, which are both popular for their hipster-meets-diaper poolside scenes, but the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa offers a family-friendly water park that’s hard to beat. Beyond the pool, there’s hiking galore, dinosaur fun, and museums, too.
23. Mexico’s Riviera Maya
Along Mexico’s Caribbean coast lies the Riviera Maya region with stunning beachside towns, such as Playa del Carmen and Tulum. Myriad outdoor family-friendly activities abound, including underwater tours, snorkeling, animal interactions, a natural outdoor water park, zip lines, and Mayan ruins. You’ll quickly forget all about mittens and hats with a week spent here.
You can’t go wrong with guaranteed warm weather at the indoor water park, Great Wolf Lodge.
24. Great Wolf Lodge
If airfare isn’t in your budget this year, a drive to the closest Great Wolf Lodge might be just the ticket to thaw out your bones. This national chain of resorts offers indoor water parks that kids go ga-ga for, including in the Pennsylvania Poconos and the Los Angeles areas. Trek to one of its southern or western locations, including Atlanta, Charlotte, North Carolina, or Scottsdale, Arizona, to truly warm up.
25. Palm Coast, Florida
This quiet little northern Florida beach area is the perfect place to let your stress melt away. The beach may be cold during winter, but you can enjoy Hammock Beach Resort’s Fantasy Pool Complex, golf, tennis, a huge spa, kids club and more. There’s lots to do within a few hours drive including Orlando theme parks, Kennedy Space Center, and Marineland Dolphin Adventure.
Surround yourself with the tropics during a stay at the Beach House at the Tree House Lodge in Costa Rica.
26. Tree House Lodge, Costa Rica
Costa Rica offers so many unique and wonderful experiences. We’ve raved about the new Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort in Costa Rica before, but how about taking an Into the Woods adventure, sleeping in a beachside treehouse in the Gandoca-Manzanillo Refuge with a visit to the nearby Jaguar Rescue Park Tree House Lodge is a fairy tale getaway to be sure.
27. Nashville, Tennessee
Tour Music City by trolley, or stroll around the Tennessee Capitol building by foot in this country-music loving southern city. There are kid-friendly museums, a science center, outdoor adventures, and plenty of local grub to savor.
28. Charleston, South Carolina
The charm of this low country hot spot is not to be missed in any season. The newly minted southern foodie city offers a bit of everything, from beaches to a historic French Quarter to an aquarium popular with families. Charleston is also renowned for its hospitality, another sure-fire way to melt away those winter blues.
29. An Indoor Water Park
Kids go crazy for water parks, and during the winter months, we don’t mind hanging in these steamy, faux tropical environments, too. We’ve rounded up our favorite indoor water parks for families across the country. Most of them are attached to resorts with additional amenities, from spas to arcades and skiing.
30. Miami, Florida
It’s hard to go wrong with a quick weekend getaway to Miami. Swim, soak up the sun, enjoy fruity drinks at outdoor restaurants, and you’ll forget winter ever existed. Kids might enjoy a visit to Jungle Island, a dip in the stunning public Venetian pool, or just eating their weight in ice cream! There are fabulous children’s museums and a science center here, too.
This article was first published in November 2015 but has since been updated and revised. Additional reporting by Rose Gordon Sala.
All photos courtesy of the hotels except where noted
Finding the perfect spring break location can be tricky for families as college craziness takes over some of our favorite destinations. That is why I have put together a list of 20 Spring Break Ideas for Families. Whether you are looking to spend spring break with the fam on the slopes, on a beach or in a saddle… I’ve got an awesome recommendation for you + tips on how to SAVE money when you book below.
Table of Contents
20 Spring Break Ideas for Families- luxe trips that won’t break the bank
We only get 18 summers with our kids. We have to make each school vacation count. Here are my 20 FAVORITE spring break ideas for families. I have made sure to include plenty of options to appeal to every member of the family + tips on how to SAVE BIG this spring break on each of them.
When you are looking for the best spring break destinations for families you need to think first about the type of trip you want to have!
Tropical getaways are a favorite among spring breakers. Here are a few spring break ideas for families looking to thaw out. Grab your swimsuit because it’s time for some serious sun.
Disney’s Aulani Resort & Spa – One of the Best Spring Break Destinations
- One of our ALL TIME FAVORITE RESORTS is Disney’s Aulani, the resort is incredible, it is a beautiful hotel with the amazing Disney service. You might find yourself spending the whole day at the hotel.
- You can save up to 50% off Rooms by Booking a Disney Vacation Club Villa through David’s Vacation Club Rentals – (You can read all about renting Vacation Club rooms here)
- Book a spring break trip right now & SAVE up to 30% off room rates!
- Or Save Big by Renting DVC Points (Disney Vacation Club points). Read my ULTIMATE Guide to Disney’s Aulani to see ALL my tips & tricks for making this luxurious stay more affordable. Including where and how to rent DVC points.
- We LOVE the Complimentary Activities at Aulani including:
- Free kids camp at Aunty’s Beach House
- Incredible Pools
- Gorgeous Beaches
- Fireside Storytelling
- Character meet-ups
- Movies under the stars
- Teen areas & more
Check Current Aulani Prices Here!
If you need help planning and booking your magical Aulani vacation, contact our friends at Tink’s Magical Vacations. They are truly Disney Experts, and not only are their services FREE, but they will save you both time and money. So all the prices listed above, they can usually match it or beat it, plus provide incredible service.
Margaritaville – Hollywood Fl.
I recently got to visit Margaritaville in Hollywood Florida and all I have to say is WOW! This is a perfect destination for families with kids of all ages. First off, there is a FREE Kid’s Club for kids ages 3-12, so mom and dad can sit back and relax by the pool and check out the incredible beach while the kids are having a blast in the kid’s club.
The resort is also right on the boardwalk so you and the family can hop on one of their free bike rentals and cruise the boardwalk.
In addition to those amenities, there is a FlowRider to practice your surfing or boogie boarding skills, amazing beachside and poolside cabanas. And for all those foodies out there, this was some of the best food I have had in a hotel. Plus of course, you have to have the world’s biggest flip flop and some pretty great tunes playing throughout the resort.
Margaritaville truly is an amazing resort they have properties all over the U.S., the Caribbean and Costa Rica. Check Current Prices Here! Or check out our 7 Reasons Why Families Will Love Margaritaville Hollywood Beach here.
Kona Kai Resort & Spa in San Diego
My husband and I stayed at the recently renovated Kona Kai Resort & Spa last year and absolutely fell in love. You can’t beat the amazing location on San Diego’s historic Shelter Island (just 10 minutes from the San Diego airport). It is the perfect place for families because you are close to all of the popular San Diego attractions too!
Plus, the property boasts a great kid-friendly pool (and the NEW Paloma Adults-Only Pool too!), private beach,7,020-square-foot state-of-the-art spa, an incredible restaurant on property, complimentary beach cruisers, and nightly bonfires. Plus, the views of the marina are just gorgeous and oh, so peaceful too!
Stay Four or More- Guests who book four or more nights at the resort will receive a $300 resort credit and a cabana rental at the new Paloma Pool and Bar overlooking the Kona Kai Marina, steps away from the new luxury suites. The credit can be used for additional amenities at the hotel, such as brunch at Vessel featuring bottomless mimosas and live music every Saturday and Sunday, signature cocktails enjoyed at the pool or bar, stand-up paddle boarding, couples massages and more.
SoCal Suite-ness- The resort’s new spacious, waterfront, adjoining suites are the perfect coastal accommodations to keep the family close this spring break, but with enough space to relax. The SoCal Suiteness package offers guests the following:
- Two of the resort’s brand-new waterfront suites
- Adventure credit for water sports of $100 per day
- A couple’s amenity and kids’ amenity
- Poolside cabana rental
Spring it On- This package provides all you need for a fun and stress-free getaway for the whole family. The package includes:
- Daily breakfast credit for four
- A daily $100 adventure credit to enjoy all the amenities and activities the resort has to offer, such as kayaking, pedal boats, or Jet Ski rentals
Check prices for this gorgeous family-friendly resort here.
All-Inclusive Resorts – One of my fave Spring Break Ideas
Finest Playa Mujeres – Our Favorite All-Inclusive!
This was probably our favorite trip last year. Finest resorts sets all-inclusive to a new level. There are incredible activities for everyone in the family. The kids club was my daughters favorite our of every resort we have been to (it even has it’s own water park).
The food is top-notch and the rooms, well they are beyond amazing. With swim up suites available (pictured above) your family will be in heaven at this resort. (You can check out my full review soon!)
Sailing at Finest Playa Mujeres
The price of rooms is from $450 and up for a family of four and that includes pretty much everything, all your dining, activities, cocktails, room service, entertainment and more! Check out more details here!
Hard Rock Hotel in Cancun – One of our Most Surprising Spring Break Ideas for Families
- Mexico is one of my favorite warm weather escapes. The beaches are some of the most gorgeous in the world. There are plenty of affordable luxury resorts that are also kid-friendly and Hard Rock Cancun happens to be one that we could keep going back to OVER & OVER.
- This resort is actually incredibly family-friendly (YES REALLY) they have amazing food, a beautiful beach, and excellent cocktails. Plus a ton of included activities for the kids.
- Included Kid-Friendly Activities at the Hard Rock Cancun:
- Barney, Thomas the Train, Angelina Ballerina and Bob the Builder characters + LIVE Shows
- Awesome Kids Club
- Teen areas with unique experiences like “Learn to DJ”, make a rock band music video.
- Amazing Pools + Beaches
- Poolside crafts, ice cream, water balloon fights & more
- SAVE 40% right now on their special Spring Break deal
- See why Hard Rock Cancun ROCKED our Family Vacation here
- Included Kid-Friendly Activities at the Hard Rock Cancun:
Nickelodeon Resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
- My family travel writing friends just came back from a stay at this incredible NEW resort and they cannot say enough wonderful things about it. I hear that it is super luxe, kids activities are separate so you can still feel like you are staying at a gorgeous all-inclusive resort there just happens to be amazing offering for your kids including getting slimed.
- Save up to 50% on Winter Package
- Rates starting at $202 per person per night + you get 2 kids FREE (with 2 paying adults)
- Puerto Vallarta All-Inclusive Deal-
- Travel Zoo has some awesome deals for families in Mexico right now including this one for a 4 star Family Friendly All-Inclusive in Puerto Vallarta.
*Curious to know what the average vacation costs? Check out this great post from Stuffed Suitcase.
Cruises – The Ultimate Spring Break Idea for families with extended family
Traveling with extended family can be difficult. We have traveled numerous times with around 25 of us and I have to say the easiest by far is doing a cruise. No restaurants to worry about and everybody can do their own thing throughout the day and then meet up for dinner. Right now Disney has some killer sales.
Disney Cruises –
- Book a Guaranteed Space Rate and SAVE OVER A THOUSAND DOLLARS on several different cruises including:
- 5-night Cruise to the Bahamas that is cheaper than a 3 Night Cruise to the Bahamas
- Just go to the Disney Cruise website > Sort by dates (March + April) and look for “Guaranteed Space Rates”
- Learn more about how to SAVE on a Disney Cruise + Why Disney Cruise is AMAZING for families here.
When it comes to booking a Disney cruise I highly recommend checking out Tink’s Magical Vacations. They booked our last cruise, saved us a ton of money and helped book every detail of the cruise for us. It was amazing.
Spring Break Ideas – Ski Trips
Northstar Resort, Tahoe
- This resort is incredibly family-friendly and they have received an EPIC amount of snow this year making it one AMAZING ski destination. Check out all the amazing activities you can do with the kids BOTH on & off the slopes here.
- Tahoe is located near three major airports, you can drive in, or take the train so there are plenty of ways to get there. Southwest flys in which is a great option that is also budget-friendly.
- Plus, RIGHT NOW they are running deals for spring break. You can find lodging as low as $159 a night.
- If you want to go Super Luxe check out the Ritz Carlton at Northstar! It is Amazing. Check Prices Here!
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
- Another super family-friendly ski destination with TONS to do with the kids. Our family enjoyed dog-sledding, bumper cars on ice and snowboarding. Read my ULTIMATE Guide to Steamboat Springs with Kids here.
- Steamboat has some great spring break deals going on including 50% off your second night and 25% off rates and rental packages. See their deals page for details.
Park City & Deer Valley, Utah
- We have now taken three ski trips to Park City and we are excited to go again this year for spring break in 2019. Main St. is absolutely adorable.
- If you have 5th & 6th Graders Park City has an amazing pass which is only $45 and your 5th or 6th grader can ski at 13 amazing resorts. Check it out here!
- If you want to go luxe but still have it affordable, check out the Silver Baron Lodge in Deer Valley
- If you want to go Ultra-Luxe, check out the Stein Eriksen Lodge. It is unbelievable!
- Each room comes with its own hot tub, and the rooms are massive. Our room slept over 16 people.
- Check out my full Deer Valley review here!
Solitude Mountain, Utah
- Just down the road from Park City is Solitude Mountain Resort. The thing I love about Solitude Mountain is that it is not as crowded as some of the park city resorts.
- We found ourselves skiing down the mountain more because we were waiting in much smaller lines.
- There are also some delicious bites to eat in Solitude, check out the Honeycomb Restaurant it is worth a visit.
- Also, getting some Ski Lessons, ask for Helen, she is 81 years old (yes 81) and the best ski instructor you’ll ever have.
- If you are looking for the most scenic spring break idea, you can’t find a more beautiful place than Banff, Canada. This is probably my favorite place I have visited in years.
- There is so much more to do than skiing (you can check out my things to do in Banff review here)
- Looking for a luxurious place to stay for your family. Check out the Moose Lodge & Suites, the rooms can sleep up to 10 people and the rooftop pool and spa are definitely worth a visit.
Washington DC – One of our favorite places to go for Spring Break
- Visit this super kid-friendly town in the spring and get the added benefit of seeing the Cherry Blossoms in bloom + fewer crowds
- DC has a ton of FREE museums to explore, parks perfect for picnics and you get the added benefit of squeezing in a few awesome history lessons too!
- Check current rates on Family-Friendly Washington DC Hotels here.
- Seattle has a ton to offer traveling families including the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and Frye Museum.
- Find great rates on flights to Seattle here.
- Check out current deals for Family-Friendly Seattle Hotels here.
Tanque Verde Ranch
- If you are looking to do something new that is both an amazing experience and also an incredible lesson in bravery and independence I CANNOT recommend Tanque Verde Ranch enough. It’s WONDERFUL!!!
- I wasn’t sure that my family would like a dude ranch experience. My boys (and husband) had ZERO riding experience. But, it ended up being our favorite vacation in 2015. Read all about our experience here.
- This AMAZING resort is also ALL-INCLUSIVE so meals, lodging, riding lessons, trail rides, kids club and more are included and during Spring Break they are running some fantastic promotions.
Knoxville & Chattanooga Tennessee
Tennesse might night be on the top of your list, but let me tell you, it’s an absolute blast. We visited both Knoxville and Chattanooga and both cities could not be more beautiful and more kid-friendly.
In Knoxville, check out the Ijams Nature Center. This is not your typical ziplining, there is an amazing ropes course and you are set back amongst thousands of trees. For little ones, the zoo is absolutely adorable and the Muse children’s museum is a ton of fun. When you are hungry, head over to Market square, it’s a great place to grab a bite to eat and just hang out.
Where to Stay:
I recommend staying at THE TENNESSEAN, the rooms are beautiful and they have super spacious double king rooms with two showers for families.
Over in Chattanooga, there is a ton of activities to do and so many are withing walking distance. The highlight of our trip was high-point climbing. It is one of the biggest rock climbing gyms. It is perfect for families as it has different areas for small kids and older kids as well. If you are daring head outside and climb their outdoor climbing wall.
You should also check out the Tennessee Aquarium, Children’s Museum, Rocky Point and Ruby Falls.
My son enjoying some of the cool decorations at the read house
I recommend staying at The Read House. It is a throwback to the days of the Great Gatsby. The hotel has corner double rooms so if you have a large family you can turn the two rooms into a giant suite. There is a great indoor pool, and honestly, you can’t beat the service.
- Our first ever adventure type travel trip was to Costa Rica and it was INCREDIBLE!!!
- Book an Airbnb Rental to save on accommodations, food and activities are already offered at incredible values once you are there 🙂
- Check out some of our Costa Rica experiences here
Southern California & Arizona Spring Break Ideas
Loews Coronado Bay Resort-
- Located on Coronado Island in San Diego California this hotel offers SO MUCH for local SoCal families to do.
- Excellent pools
- Beach service (they actually take you and your fam over to a gorgeous beach in a golf cart and help set up chairs etc… for you)
- Kids Club (seasonal)
- Gifts for the kids (when available)
- + they are Pet-Friendly too!
- When you stay at Loews Coronado Bay you also can easily visit the SD Zoo, Balboa Park Museums, Petco Park Baseball Games, Hiking & More!
- Check out our ULTIMATE GUIDE to Coronado with Kids + a Review of the Coronado Bay Resort here.
- Check out Prices for Loews Coronado Beach Resort Here!
Arizona Spring Break Training
- There are 3 Family-Friendly Resorts we recommend when visiting AZ with kids in tow.
- 1) The Arizona Grand
- We love their on-site water park and super fun family restaurant, where kids get to enter the restaurant by wearing a bull horn hat and sliding down a slide.
- Check out Why we LOVE this resort in further detail by reading this post here.
- Find current rates for the Arizona Grand here.
- 2) Loews Ventana Hotel
- This hotel has a gorgeous location, beautiful pool, tons of hiking trails right from the resort, and it also has very spacious rooms.
- See our review for the Loews Ventana Hotel here
- Check Prices Here!
- 3) Hilton El Conquistador
- Another awesome choice for families is the Hilton El Conquistador Hotel
- This resort is located in Tucson and it has a beautiful pool with a waterslide & the BEST churro waffles!
- Check out our resort review for this hotel here.
- Check Prices Here!
The Iconic Disney World Vacation
You might be saying to yourself, How is Disney World Luxe? How is Disney World Cheap? You are very right about both questions but there actually is a way.
- Disney has 9 Deluxe Properties on their property, our personal favorites are Beach Club and Animal Kingdom. When you book a room through a DVC Member you can save close to 50% on your room. We highly recommend people use David’s Vacation Rentals to book their rooms and save 50% off as they have the largest inventory of DVC Rooms. You can read more about booking a DVC room here.
- 9 Fascinating Facts I Wish I Knew Before Booking a DVC Rental
Spring break as a parent has an entirely different meaning than it did back in college. While the latter was likely filled with booze-fueled parties, the former keeps things G-rated with kid-friendly activities. Luckily, there are plenty of excellent spring break destinations for families with kids in tow. Whether you have a little one in elementary school, a teen in high school, or a mix of ages in your growing brood, there’s a great, family-friendly spring break spot for you.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Canyon Road, Santa Fe
Santa Fe is serious about its family-friendly spring break options, and its Kids Free Spring Break initiative proves it. Families visiting this southwestern city between March 1 and April 21 can cash in on tons of discounts, freebies, and fun. Not only do kids stay free at select hotels, but they also receive free activity passes, free meals off the kids’ menu, and fun hotel packages designed with youngsters in mind. Kids can learn to skateboard, go on a four-by-four canyon adventure, or spend the afternoon indoor rock-climbing — all for free. It doesn’t stop there, every Wednesday from Mach 7 to April 4, kids get free lift tickets from Ski Santa Fe. Other fun discounted or free adventures include learning about the history of chocolate and making chocolate bars at The Art of Chocolate, getting close to rescued animals at the Wildlife West Nature Park, and enjoying free admission to museums. A few important things to note, though: At least one adult ticket purchase is required to get the free kid’s ticket, and most deals only apply to kids 12 and under.
Where to Stay: While a handful of hotels have perks and discounts for Kids Free Spring Break, La Fonda on the Plaza goes a step further and extends their deals to anyone with children under 17. Families score free breakfast for two adults and two kids, four free tickets to Meow Wolf – House of Eternal Return, and a family pass to The Harrell House Bug Museum. They also offer a fun scavenger hunt around the hotel for kids, and boast no hidden resort fees.
Book Your Hotel:
Pricing for La Fonda on the Plaza
Washington Monument, Washington, D.C.
Spring break is just around the corner! As I planned my trip, I found some great spots for college students like me, or anyone for that matter. In my opinion, these are some of the best places to visit, so grab your friends, check your vacation dates and plan your trip for some spring break fun! My top 10 favorite road trip destinations for spring break are as follows:
Manhattan Beach, CA
With the famous California beach atmosphere, Manhattan Beach offers visitors a young people’s scene fun-filled with shops, beaches, restaurants, and exciting nightlife. You can walk the pier during the day, play a little beach volleyball, go surfing and enjoy dinner by the water at night. I can’t think of anything better. Los Angeles is not far away if you are looking for a little add-on to your spring break road trip.
New Orleans, LA
New Orleans is a gorgeous city with so much to do for a spring break trip. You can walk the French Quarter, stop in Jackson Square, or visit City Park to enjoy some outdoor activities during the day. After visiting these fascinating sites, grab some incredible, traditional New Orleans food before heading to Bourbon Street or Uptown for a fun night with friends.
South Padre Island, TX
An accessible beach destination for many southern colleges, South Padre Island’s white sandy shores and warm, calm waters bring visitors back year after year. In fact, it has been such a successful spring break spot for so long that it’s starting to spawn festivals to attract year-round traffic to the Gulf scene.
If you’re looking to travel in Texas but hoping to avoid the craziness of South Padre, then Galveston is a great place to stay. It’s an adorable town by the beach, with the Pleasure Pier amusement park and great shopping (filled with surf shops and candy stores), in which to walk around and enjoy your day. There are some great restaurants along the strand (seafood and more) where you and your friends can enjoy a classic dinner in this cute little beach town.
Fort Lauderdale, FL
A classic spring break destination for many families and groups of friends. With the amazing Florida feeling of beaches and parks, topped off with beautiful waters and a river walk, Fort Lauderdale has a lot to offer. With a college spring break following as well, there is a lot to do for people of all ages. Rent a house or condo with your friends and you won’t be disappointed by this destination.
Key West, FL
Key West is an amazingly scenic destination at which to stop on a spring break road trip through the Florida Keys. With coral reefs and marine life, you and your friends can enjoy a boat ride and even go scuba diving or snorkeling in the waters along the beautiful Florida coast. With everything Mallory Square has to offer – shopping, great restaurants and nightlife – Key West is ready to provide the setting for a memorable spring break road trip.
Myrtle Beach, SC
A gem on the east coast, and at the center of a 60-mile stretch of beaches called the Grand Strand, Myrtle Beach is one of the most affordable and beautiful places on this list. From the traditional attractions of the huge Ferris wheel and amusement park along the boardwalk to its celebrity-designed golf courses, this is a destination with appeal for families and college spring-breakers alike.
Virginia Beach, VA
At the southern tip of Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Beach kicks off its warm weather seasons with a bang, and the fun doesn’t stop until the cold winds blow in from the Atlantic again. There are in fact three beaches to choose from here: Resort Beach, Sandbridge Beach and Chesapeake Bay Beach, along with plenty of free and almost-free activities.
Las Vegas, NV
Bright lights, world-class food and entertainment are both abundant and renowned, but don’t overlook the natural beauty nearby. The surrounding area is popular with mountain bikers, hikers and campers, and if you can get far enough from the city you’ll see some pretty amazing stars at night. Spring is also a pleasant time to enjoy it with temperatures in March typically reaching highs of 69 degrees.
San Diego, CA
And rounding out my list is a city that is no stranger to year-round beach beauty and fun: all the way from Dana Point to Tijuana, you’ll find people who take beach fun pretty seriously. Soak up the laid-back Californian culture, take your pick from an array of eateries and, for something different, visit the famous San Diego Zoo.
Among so many options, these are some of my favorite spring break road trip destinations (especially for college students like me). For more getaway ideas, at home and abroad, and to check your college spring break dates, have a look at “When is spring break? Dates, destinations and details to help plan your trip.”
Make planning easier still with our what-to-pack tips, and enjoy your road trip from start to finish with these road trip music recommendations.
Best Spring Break Destinations in the USA According to Bloggers
Looking for fun things to do this spring break? There are many amazing places in the United States where you can enjoy the sun, sand, views, and nightlife. VroomVroomVroom asked some of our awesome travel blogger friends to share their favorite spring break destinations to help you plan your vacation.
Contributed by: Donna of My Itchy Travel Feet
Southern Utah offers an alternative to spring breakers looking for more than a sandy beach. While you could concentrate your time in Moab to explore Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, you won’t escape the spring break crowds here. Instead, venture further south to the small town of Bluff for a few days of hiking on Cedar Mesa or exploring four-wheel-drive trails near Combs Ridge. Monument Valley, and her little sister, Valley of the Gods, are just down the road. Or visit Natural Bridges National Monument, the first designated dark sky park in the U.S. And whatever you do, don’t miss driving the treacherous curves of the Moki Dugway.
Contributed by: Justin and Tracy of A Couple of the Road
Our favorite Spring Break location in the United States is our own “back yard” – South Florida. We’re home to one of the most beautiful stretches of coast in North America, going from Palm Beach down to Miami’s iconic South Beach, and truly boast an impressive variety of different vibes along the way. Culturally, you can get lost in South Florida – in a very good way. Whether having your first Cuban cigar in Little Havana, partying along Lincoln and Washington on South Beach, camping in the Florida Keys or boating to the nearby Bahamian island of Bimini, South Florida really offers that freedom of feeling and exploration that we want in travel, and absolutely look for on Spring Break.
Yosemite National Park
Contributed by: Josh of California Through My Lens
Since I am not a huge ‘sit on the beach’ type person, for spring break I always liked doing something a little more adventurous. If that sounds like you, then I would recommend taking a trip to Yosemite National Park during spring break as it is a great time to visit and beat the summer rush. Also, I would recommend taking a road trip on Highway 395 which goes along the Eastern Sierras (mountain range). On the drive you can visit breweries, hang out in hot springs, fish in alpine lakes and hike some of the most beautiful places in California.
5 Spring Break Ideas for a Family Road Trip
Spring break is the perfect time to pile everyone in the car and hit the road. No matter how many miles you drive, it’s great to just be together and see beauty unfold mile after mile. Travelocity Ambassador Kirsten Maxwell of Kids Are A Trip has taken countless road trips with her family and shares some favorite spring break road trips to take with your family.
1. San Diego to Los Angeles (120 miles one way)
San Diego is one of our all time favorite spring break getaways. Spend part of the day at the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park, then head to Coronado Island for one of the best beaches in the county. Other not to miss sites in San Diego include Torrey Pines State Park, the USS Midway Museum, the seals and sea lions in La Jolla, and LEGOLAND California.
Head north on I-5 and in less than two hours you will be at Disneyland and California Adventure in Anaheim. There are many other theme parks in this area if your family enjoys them: Knott’s Berry Farm (Buena Park), The Wizarding World of Harry Potter/Universal Hollywood (Universal City), and Six Flags Magic Mountain (Valencia). If coaster thrills aren’t your thing, there’s still plenty to explore in Los Angeles.
LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) has plenty of hands-on experiences that kids will enjoy, and next door is the La Brea Tar Pits, which is perfect for dinosaur lovers. Griffith Park and its observatory are all about the stars (not the Hollywood ones), and they provide a beautiful setting for hiking and seeing the city. Of course there’s visiting downtown Los Angeles to see the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the TCL Chinese Theatre. If you find yourself needing beach time, head to Santa Monica where you can walk the boardwalk and play games at the pier.
San Diego beaches can’t be beat! Photo: Kirsten Maxwell
2. Phoenix to the Grand Canyon (225 miles one way)
One of the best times of year to visit Phoenix is during spring break. Visitors are almost guaranteed good weather and it’s spring training time, which means 15 different Major League Baseball teams come to town to play. If sports aren’t your thing, head to the Arizona Science Center, Phoenix Zoo, or Rawhide Western Town.
It is possible to drive non-stop to the Grand Canyon from Phoenix, but why not make an overnight stop in Sedona? Take a Pink Jeep Tour or hike through the red rock formations, or drive to Jerome where you can explore an Old West ghost town.
The Grand Canyon can have snow at spring break, so come prepared. It will be quite a bit colder than Phoenix. The South Rim of the canyon is open year round so it is possible to hike a bit and take it all in. It’s definitely worth the drive if you’re in Arizona for spring break.
Family fun in the Valley of the Sun Desert Botanical Garden
3. Chicago to Indianapolis to Louisville (270 miles one way)
We live in Chicago, so we have taken many spring break road trips. One our kids love is heading from Chicago to Indianapolis to Louisville. It’s an easy drive from Chicago to Indianapolis, and there’s a ton to do there with kids.
One of my favorite places is The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and their Sports Legends Experience (think every possible sport in miniature for kids: golf, tennis, race cars, hockey, basketball, etc.) which will entertain kids for an entire day. There’s also the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum which presents the history of the sport and since it’s adjacent to the Indy 500 Speedway, it’s fun to take a tour or even a lap around the track. Don’t miss White River State Park with the Indianapolis Zoo and multiple museums, as well as an opportunity to take out a paddle boat on the river.
After your time in Indianapolis, hop on I-65 and head south to Louisville. One of our kids’ favorite stops is the Louisville Slugger Museum where you can see the process of wooden bat making and try some hands-on baseball games. There’s also an amazing cave system called Mega Caverns, where visitors can zip line or run a ropes course. Churchill Downs is also in the city, and its Kentucky Derby museum is a fun stop with kids too.
Indianapolis is a great halfway point between the two cities. Photo: Kirsten Maxwell
4. Miami to St. Augustine (309 miles one way)
Running 330 miles along the eastern coast of Florida is State Road A1A, one of the most scenic drives in the United States. Starting at the southern part in Miami, families will love South Beach (yes, the beaches are family friendly), the Frost Museum of Science, and a food tour of Little Havana. Kids might enjoy taking a walking tour of the Wynwood Art District followed by delicious treats at Mr. Kream.
Heading north from Miami, there are plenty of beaches to visit along the way. We recommend Fort Lauderdale, Delray Beach, and Melbourne Beach. Don’t miss a stop at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, where everyone will enjoy learning about the history of the space program and the hands-on exhibits.
The final stop on this road trip is St. Augustine, the oldest city in the United States. Castillo de San Marcos, is the main attraction and the oldest masonry fort in the United States, built in the 17th century. Make time for the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum, the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, and the Alligator Farm. After your day of exploring, be sure to hit the local beaches and soak up the sun.
Miami has beaches, art, and culture. Photo: Kirsten Maxwell
5. New York to Washington, D.C. (227 miles one way)
Most of the drive between these two major destinations is fairly direct on I-95. If you want to make the trip a bit longer, consider spending a day or two in Philadelphia where the kids can learn about our nation’s history. Start with the The Liberty Bell Center, The National Constitution Center, the Betsy Ross House and Independence Hall. After everyone is done with the history lessons head to the Please Touch Museum or Adventure Aquarium. With little kids you might want to make a stop at Sesame Place; take the older ones to Tree Top Quest Philly so they can climb the trees and burn off some energy.
Washington, D.C. has an endless amount of family-friendly adventures. Take a walk or bike ride along the National Mall and visit some of the free museums. We would recommend the National Air & Space Museum, National Museum of Natural History, the National Archives (just north of the mall), and the National Museum of the American Indian. There are many other fabulous free museums, so just find the one that suits your family, and head off to explore. Other favorite things to do with kids in Washington, D.C. include touring the United States Capitol and White House (both must be booked in advance), visiting the monuments on the Mall, checking out the International Spy Museum, and a cruise on the Potomac. If time allows, consider a visit to Arlington Cemetery or Mount Vernon.
D.C. is the perfect spring break destination to play and learn.
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Spring break is our favorite time to get away with the family, an ideal time to travel affordably between the pricey winter holidays and crowded summer months. Before the crowds hit the beaches and mountains for summer vacation, spring break is a treasured time for getaways for most American families. Vacations between February and April also can be easier on your budget and easier to plan.
These days, you likely will find more families on spring break—often with grandparents in tow—than college kids.
We are joining our colleagues at Family Travel Forum to recommend getaways that are guaranteed to please, whether you’re planning a reunion of several generations, a wild time with a bunch of friends, or some “we” time with loved ones. We hope you’ll find this roundup of the top adventure, beach, resort, cruise, festival, city, historical and international short breaks a helpful starting point.
Why is spring break such a wonderful escape? Maybe because you’ve been working so hard all year. Maybe because you get to feel the sun on your shoulders after being cold for months. Or maybe because you get to spend a week making great memories with your family.
Here are 24 fresh destinations and family adventure ideas selected with our partners at TakingtheKids.com. Whatever appeals, remember that things can go awry during even the best-planned trip, which is why travel insurance is an absolute must for spring break trips (of course, terms, conditions and exclusions apply).Before you forget: get a quote for your vacation!
Alternative Spring Break
The alternative spring break movement began on college campuses and today, many non-profit organizations organize volunteer vacations where you can work together on sustainable projects. Start local; once the kids are ready, opportunities for volunteering are varied and exist in countries throughout the world.
Atlanta, after the Super Bowl
It’s the city of the hour with the Super Bowl coming Feb. 3, 2019, yet this Georgia peach is always busy because of Atlanta’s family attractions. Practice your own football skills at the College Football Hall of Fame, meet dolphins at the Georgia Aquarium, explore the human condtion at the multimedia National Museum of Civil and Human Rights, or get out in Centennial Park and admire the view. Craving a taste of spring with that dose of culture? Head to the 83rd annual Atlanta Dogwood Festival April 12-14, and join 250,000 other festivalgoers at art shows (including the best local high school work), international performances, midway rides and a “Backyard Bites & Brews” food fest; Family Friday offers big discounts on admission and rides.
City universities and colleges come in all shapes and sizes, with personalities your kids will pick up on during a campus tour. Remember that children get a better feel from a campus tour when school is in session, so plan your travel dates accordingly. If you are interested in more than 28 institutions of higher learning, head west to San Francisco, a good base for touring UC San Francisco, “Cal” (UC Berkeley), Stanford, the Jesuit Santa Clara University and University of San Francisco, plus many others. Book ahead to find a deal at San Francisco’s top family hotels for spring weekend specials. Eileen Ogintz’ Kids Guide to San Francisco will help younger sibs plan fun activites at the city by the Bay. And whatever the kid’s ages, San Francisco is a foodie’s paradise.
Caribbean Side of Mexico
All-inclusives can be a great bet, whether you are traveling with young kids, tweens or teens or girlfriends, as I was recently at the Grand Residences Riviera Cancunin Porto Morelos, just a 25-minute drive from Cancun International Airport. Families raved about the staff, the food and the kids’ activities. Karisma Hotels & Resorts, also on the Riviera Maya with their beautiful white sand beaches, offer deals as much as 50 per cent off. Their resorts designed to suit different age kids and family groups include Generations Riviera Maya by Karisma that is meant for multigenerational groups, with expansive suites from one to three bedrooms. If you can tear yourselves and your kids away from the pool and the beach, there is the chance to visit ancient Mayan ruins in Tulum, snorkel in the world’s longest underground rivers or the world’s second largest barrier reef.
Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC
Feast your eyes and learn about our cultural ties to Japan during the National Cherry Blossom Festival (Mar. 20-Apr. 14) which includes a special Blossom Kite Festival on March 30. There are more free attractions than in most other cities and it’s also a great base to explore programs at the 20 colleges and universities in the area. Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement are the focuses of new exhibits at National Museum of American History and at the Newseum. Another option that celebrates the presidency is having tea with Martha Washington at Mount Vernon, just outside of Washington on select dates from Jan. 9-Mar. 9. You can get the new edition of Eileen Ogintz’ book “Kids Guide to Washington DC” and let the family lead the way. Even if the government shutdown returns, there is still plenty to see in DC!
Cruises are always a good option for relaxing reunions because supervised programs for infants, tots, kids and teens – not to mention the scheduled bridge games – keep everyone in the family busy. Carnival Corporation, with its diverse portfolio of brands and nearly two dozen U.S. homeports, has cruises at every price point including the famous transatlantic Cunard Line, ideal for crossing the pond on a multigenerational trip. For those thinking of a Caribbean Cruise, Holland America, long popular with multigenerational groups, debuts the 2,666-guest Nieuw Statendam with purpose-built staterooms for families and solo travelers in February, 2019. It will be sailing the Caribbean this spring, featuring BBC programming, the line’s luxurious amenities and 19 different workshops presented with “America’s Test Kitchen” so guests can hone their cooking skills.After a nearly $200 million bow-to-stern makeover of Carnival Triumph, the totally transformed ship renamed Carnival Sunrise will re-enter service with a variety of voyages in the spring of 2019 and programs including Seuss at Sea; Hasbro, The Game Show and the WaterWorks water play area. Carnival carries more kids than any line in the industry.
Our Family Cruise Section has reviews of the major cruise lines and their family offerings.
Daycation at a Theme Park or Water Park
Family spring break programs are the rage at the major U.S. theme parks and water parks, where all ages can find thrill rides, themed attractions and live shows to their taste. No need to travel far; most of the local parks open with spring and Easter themed weeks in preparation for the summer crowds and many offer great season pass deals. Amusement parks are especially welcoming for those with special needs too.
By the way, couples with babies in tow can take advantage of the Rider Switch policies at the major theme parks, which allow one parent to wait with baby at the head of the line while the other one rides, then switch without waiting again.
Denver is More than Rocky Mountain High
Denverites are perplexed that family visitors don’t spend more time in Denver before heading to the mountains, especially with so much green space everywhere and sunshine. The Denver Art Museum offers kids’ activities in most every gallery and free backpacks to borrow with more interactive games inside. At the Denver Museum of Nature & Science you can virtually climb one of Colorado’s famous “fourteeners,” mountains that are more than 14,000 feet high, or conduct experiments in the Science Kitchen. We love the thoroughly interactive History Colorado Center, complete with a time machine that helps you explore Colorado in different times. Hipster parents love The Maven, two blocks from Union Station and adjacent to the Dairy Block with plenty of local eats with take-away and dine-in options (Skip the car while exploring Denver and take the 37-minute train back and forth to Denver International Airport—just $10.50 fir adults, $5.25 for seniors and $3.20 for students!) Walk or rely on Uber or Lyft and there’s plenty of green space everywhere! If you want to head to the mountains, take Amtrak’s ski train right from Union Station to the base of Winter Park on weekends.
The popular Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival returns to Disneyland in Anaheim from Mar. 1-Apr. 23, 2019. The culinary marketplaces will present unique food and beverages, celebrity chef demonstrations, live music and a complimentary Junior Chef experience with hands-on fun led by Chef Goofy, for children ages 3-11. Guests are thrilled with the new themed food offeringsat the re-imagined Pixar Pier.
At Orlando’s Walt Disney World, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival runs Mar. 6-June 3, 2019, featuring millions of blooms and delightful topiaries (now at the entrance), concerts featuring hits from the 60s-90s, 15 new Outdoor Kitchens and Morning Tea Tours at the UK Pavilion. And everyone will feel like a kid again at Toy Story Land, which opened last summer at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. (And, for Star Wars fans, big doings coming to Disney’s California and Florida parks this summer.)
Adventures by Disney has new Southern California land packages available to add on to 2018 Disney Cruise Line vacations setting sail from San Diego. ABD’s new cruise vacations for 2019 include all-new sailings down France’s Seine River for spring break and other European rivers.
Take a break from the norm this spring and treat your family to a one-of-a-kind authentic vacation at a dude or guest ranch. There’s much more to do than just horseback riding, with hiking, fishing, kids’ programs and other adventures, everyone in the family will have a great experience on a dude ranch. Located in both warm climates like Arizona and cold climates like Wyoming and Oregon, spring breakers can choose to experience the “Old West” while basking in the sun or bundle up for a romp in the snow. No matter which climate you prefer, visit the Dude Ranchers’ Association to find the perfect guest ranch for your next vacation. And if you are already looking towards summer, it’s never too early to book your summer stay!
Grandparents Give the Gift of Learning
Look ahead in spring to plan the perfect grandparent-grandchild vacation for this summer. Road Scholar offers grandparents an escorted learning experience from 5,500 different adventures in 150 countries and 50 states, guaranteeing travel memories all ages will treasure. One of the more thrilling offerings for summer of 2019 is authentic camping adventures in National Parks led by naturalists and expert local staff, for Road Scholar participants and their grandchildren (ages 8-18.) Read more about the variety of exciting programs on TakingtheKids.com (read our blog here and Family Travel Forum’s post here).
As grandmother Jane from Elkhart, Indiana notes, “Want to have the time of your life with your grandchild? Come on an adventure in Yellowstone National Park with Road Scholar. Lots of outdoor activity and happy faces on the children!”
Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues Can Only Mean Spring Training
If baseball rules in your household, take your team to spring training, a mainstay at small stadiums in Florida that host the Grapefruit League, and at Arizona’s Cactus League parks. In Peoria, Arizona, spend the afternoon watching the San Diego Padres or Seattle Mariners get into form. Tickets start at $9! These are only two of the 15 Major League teams playing more than 200 games between Feb. 21-March 26 in and around Greater Phoenix. The city has plenty of great family resorts and the kids will love a night vision Jeep tour of the starlit desert and its nocturnal creatures. Here’s an account of a family’s experience checking out the Cactus League. If you are trying out a new sport or outdoor skill during spring break, make sure to reinforce it during the summer so that it becomes an ongoing part of your family’s fitness routine.
Holland is Tulip Heaven
Spring is Holland’s most festive season, the time when tulips are in full bloom at Keukenhof Gardens and visitors can catch the latest museum shows. Families with younger children will love the Innovation Gallery at the NeMo Museum for science, and the viewing booths at the Eye Film Museum (open until midnight), whose ship-like architecture stands out on the harbor. Among the many Amsterdam attractions for families is the small Hermitage Amsterdam, where traveling shows from the extraordinary palace museum in Moscow go well with a delicious lunch in the picturesque outdoor garden.
Japan’s Traditions Come to Life
Japan is topping many of the “Where to Go in 2019” lists since the Japanese Yen has remained low against the U.S. dollar and the country has recovered from recent natural disasters. While most first-timers will want to visit the anime museums and animal-mascot cafes of Tokyo, we urge famiies to get out to the countryside. Nearby Nikko is the place to enjoy the cherry and pine trees coming back to life, a historic theme park where kids can dress up, noodle-making workshops and more, amidst this serene city’s traditional architecture and stunning temples. Kids can explore Japanese pop culture at the International Manga Museum in Kyoto and see more than temples on bike tours with locals.
London Cultural Immersion
If you have always wanted to take your kids to see the sights of London, spring is a good time for your wallet and may be warm enough to enjoy a boat ride on the Thames River. Greenwich, a half-hour trip up the Thames, is home to the Royal Observatory, the National Maritime Museum, the Cutty Sark and the famous Greenwich Market, the best bet for souvenirs and a bite. During the U.K.’s school breaks, take advantage of extra programming for kids at already free museums. London’s Imagine Children’s Festival runs Feb. 13-24 with theater, crafts and storytelling events geared to toddler through age 12, many of them free. Use The Grange Holborn’s SCHOOLHOL coupon to get a School Holiday package starting at $150 per night, valid Feb. 17-24. It includes free continental breakfast for all, free kids meals when they dine at the hotel’s restaurants with paying adults, access to their beautiful swimming pool (plus spa, sauna and steam for adults) and tickets to your choice of one of the three Royal Palaces.
Mardi Gras in New Orleans
New Orleans is famous for its huge Mardi gras celebration. NOLA honors its rich immigrant past and the blend of French, Spanish and African cultures that spawned Mardi Gras, which is comprised today of 135 yearly festivals including more than 35 Second Line parades. In addition, there are street festivals, concerts, commemorative displays in museums and around town. Notice signs of development including a new airport, a revitalized riverfront, and a focus on the city’s medical industry and infrastructure all over town. The big day is Tuesday, March 5, 2019 and, even if you’re not in New Orleans, there is always a party somewhere as you can see in our roundup of the world’s top 15 Carnivals.
Museum as Destination
Did you know there are approximately 850 million museum visits each year? That’s more than the attendance for all major league sporting events and theme parks combined according to the American Alliance of Museums. Families don’t have to spend their time only at children’s museums, but one of our favorite places is The Children’s Museum of Indiana, and it’s a great centerpiece to an Indianapolis getaway. Learn a new sport at the Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience, a 7.5-acre campus next to the current museum celebrating its first birthday in March. With indoor and outdoor activities, it’s an all-weather facility designed to introduce kids to motion, recreation and responsibility for their own health.
OARS Escorted Adventures on Land and Sea
Journey into the Great Unknown with OARS, the legendary outdoors company celebrating 50 Years of Adventure in 2019. They’re pioneers in taking adventurous families into a secret world of hidden canyons and spectacular scenery on all-inclusive adventures led by top-notch guides. All you and your family need to do is show up! Here is your chance to disconnect from the stresses and strains of daily life and embrace splashing rapids as you paddle through America’s canyons less traveled at the heart of the Colorado Plateau. All ages will live and breathe the legacy of John Wesley Powell, one of America’s greatest explorers of all time. This time around, the expedition is yours. What will you uncover?
Two and a half million visitors during the season make Orlando one of the country’s top Spring Break destinations, and the variety of teen activities is one of the reasons. No matter what your budget, there is a flight, train or bus on its way there right now and there are hundreds of hotels to choose. Check out hotel deals and special theme park ticket offers for Canadian visitors in nearby Kissimmee and, if you want to save on hitting all the major theme parks, consider the new Orlando CityPASS, a discount ticket booklet that gets you first in line privileges.
Outside at National Parks
Despite the damage caused by the partial government shutdown that kept many park rangers from their duties earlier this year, the National Parks are our treasures. This year, thanks to Every Kid in the Park program, 4th graders and their families can again visit all national parks, designated lands and waters at no charge. Order your parks pass online and help the national parks reach their goal of attracting 500,000 children this year. And make sure the kids sign on to become Junior Rangers!
Princess in Alaska: 50 Years of Adventure
Princess Cruises first began sailing to Alaska in 1969 with Princess Italia carrying 525 guests to this breathtaking bucket-list destination. This year, the leading cruise line in Alaska is celebrating its 50th anniversary sailing by introducing new entertainment, shore excursions, culinary and retail offerings.
New Alaska programs will be available onboard seven Princess Cruises shipsfor the upcoming May through September season, including the debut of Royal Princess, the largest ship ever deployed to this region, carrying more than 3,500 guests. Special activities include guest speakers, a new Northern Lights Planetarium onboard, special “Glacier Tea” cocktails and Alaskan-themed Chef’s Table, among others.
Quebec Carnival in Full Swing
This year’s Carnaval de Quebec is the week before the President’s Day break, Feb. 8-17, 2019, with more than 150 events and competitions taking place over the over 10 days. Long a favorite multigenerational affair, Canadians have celebrated winter and their beautiful city with the puffy white mascot, Bonhomme, who appears for meet n’ greets at several venues. Now, in addition to outdoor vendors, ice canoeing, races, snowshoeing, sleigh rides and hill climbing, the Videotron Music Box will stage almost 20 live, next generation shows with a mixologist on hand at the rustic Jos’ Cabin. Throughout the extensive grounds, warm up tents are packed with kids dance parties, workshops and crafts events. Do not miss the ice and snow carving demonstrations; Bonhomme festival passes are sold online and at the venues. And if you want to get active this spring, there are several family-focused alpine and snowboard mountains, plus cross-country ski resorts, within an hour of the city with their own shuttle services.
Space and Beyond in Huntsville, Alabama
With buzz about successful Space X launches, Virgin Galactic’s progress toward manned sub-orbital flights and “LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” battling aliens when it opens Feb. 8, it is time to plan your trip to outer space. The celebration of Apollo 11and the 50thanniversary of the moon landing has already begun in Huntsville, Alabama. Although July 19 is the actual flight day, commemorations have already begun at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, art museums and more.
How many websites do you have to visit to plan the perfect family ski or snowboarding vacation? In spring, it is all about the weather and conditions at your destination. Check out our annual roundup of the Top Family Snow Sports Resorts for dozens of destination ideas to help you plan a spring break skiing or snowboarding adventure. And if you only need one idea, head to the self-styled “Spring Skiing Capital” at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows in Lake Tahoe – here are a dozen reasons we love Squaw Alpine now. And if your family are beginners, consider a smaller, less expensive resort like Breckenridge, which has just announced it will remain open until Memorial Day! A good dog-and kid-friendly option is the slopeside Beaver Run Resort that is offering good late season discounts.
In terms of ski and snowboard gear, let us share some wisdom. As critical as your gear is, most of it can be rented. If you prefer to travel with your own, keep in mind that expert families usually carry their customized boots and rent the latest model performance skis or snowboards on arrival. For the ultimate convenience, Ski Butlers delivers all your ski and snowboard equipment rentals directly to your accommodations at 47 Resorts in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, California, British Columbia Canada and France., fitting you and your family right there—no need to wait in line at a rental shop! The company will swap out your equipment, meaning if you have any issues with your gear, would like to try a new ski or boot, etc they will meet you within 45 minutes of a phone call at the resort. At the end of the rental, they pick everything up after your final ski day, Kids rent free in Telluride, Steamboat and Sun Valley with a matching adult package.
With over 228 inches of snow so far this season and a whole lot more on the way, this spring is shaping up to be an incredible time to plan a ski vacation in Breckenridge CO. Ample snowpack, fresh powder and bluebird days will make for the best March and April the mountain has seen in decades. Numerous activities and events in town – from Spring Fever to the Breckenridge Beer Fest – make for even more fun when you’re done skiing for the day. Access everything Breckenridge has to offer this spring when you stay at Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center. Their ski in, ski out property is just a short walk or shuttle ride to town and there are more than enough amenities on-site if you opt for a day in. Enjoy up to 40% off when you book today.
Volcano Trekking in Hawaii
America’s 50th state is a great destination for outdoor adventures, especially the Big Island of Hawaii with its diverse habitats and eco-systems. Remember the 2018 eruption of Kilauea and the terror of families who had to flee their homes? After several months of apparent dormancy, tour operators are again leading hikes across lava fields to a new beach. Did you know your family can also swim with manta rays in the dead of night and summit the world’s tallest mountain for stargazing? Check out 3 Bucket List Adventures to Check Off in Hawaii and start planning for spring.
We hope you’ll use our guide to make your spring break or summer vacation planning easier — and please share your own discoveries below.
Wherever you see ads or images within this special FamilyTravelConsulting.com travel section, the advertising and custom content has been brought to you by our sponsors. All other content and opinions are based upon the authors’ actual travel experience and knowledge.
Escape the Florida Crowds and Head to One of These Spring Break Destinations Instead
Rachid Dahnoun/Getty Images
Florida has long been the go-to spring break retreat, and for good reason. With its vast, tranquil beaches, fun-filled theme parks, and alluring nightlife, it’s no wonder throngs of college students and families flock to the Sunshine State for a mid-semester vacation. But, if you’re ready for a change in scenery and some much-needed rest and relaxation, you don’t have to travel to the Southernmost state to brave those crowded shores.
When you’re ready to ditch the jam-packed sandy beaches in Florida, journey to these 12 off-the-beaten-path locales for a warm-weather getaway not too far away from home:
1. South Padre Island, Texas
Every year the island is transformed into spring break central for college co-eds, complete with parties and DJs. But, there’s more than enough family-friendly activities to take part in both on the beach and in Corpus Christi, including windsurfing, camping, sailing, dolphin watching, and kayaking.
2. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
At the heart of the Grand Strand, sits one of the most popular tourist destinations for beachgoers. Myrtle Beach attracts millions of people each year, particularly during summer, but spring is the perfect time to visit. In April and early May, you don’t have to worry about high humidity or navigating the city in congested traffic.
3. Grand Isle, Louisiana
Most vacationers will be in the lively city of New Orleans during April to attend the annual Jazz Fest, but the Grand Isle, located about 100 miles south, offers a scenic swath of sandy beaches and water sporting activities at Wakeboard Park.
4. Tybee Island, Georgia
Looking for a bit of coastal rustic charm? Well, look no further than the east of Savannah, where long stretches of beaches and salt marshes await you. Tybee Island is a picturesque barrier island that offers a peaceful escape from the bustling cities of Savannah, Atlanta, and Charleston.
5. Chincoteague, Virginia
Nestled on the coast of Virginia’s Eastern Shore region, surrounded comfortably on either side by the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay, lies Chincoteague Island. Whether you circle the island on a pontoon boat or on a guided trip, you’re going to want to pack your binoculars. This island offers an up close and personal view of marshes, bays, and the wild ponies made famous in the Misty of Chincoteague novel.
6. Austin, Texas
You’re probably well aware that the Texas state capital boasts a cowboy boot-tapping live music scene like no other, as well as sweeping raceways and plenty of green space. But, Austin’s very own Barton Springs Pool is the reason it topped our list of spring destinations. The man-made recreational pool, filled with water from one of the largest springs in all of Texas, is the perfect swimming hole in springtime. For more aquatic adventures like canoeing and kayaking, head to Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin.
7. Gulf Shores, Alabama
Just south of Mobile rests Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, a little-known retreat on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. For a blissful Southern escape with lots of great food and outdoor recreation, it doesn’t get much better than these shoreline towns. Each April, you can get in on the action like a local at the Mullet Toss and Beach party. Speaking of fish, there’s no shortage of seafood along the powder white beaches here.
8. Folly Beach, South Carolina
This surf town, just 15 minutes away from Charleston, is sought after because of its expansive beaches, rich history, cozy cottages, and casual atmosphere. You’ll soon discover why the locals refer to it as the “Edge of America.”
9. Golden Isles, Georgia
The ocean’s the draw for Georgia’s Golden Isles, which consists of coastal attractions such as St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Jekyll Island, and Little St. Simons Island. But, the four small barrier islands are also home to a historic lighthouse, Bloody Marsh, placid waters, golf and tennis, sailing, dirt track racing, and beautiful shops. The coastal destination is the South’s best-kept secret.
10. Atlantic Beach, North Carolina
Surf, sand, and sun. Those are the three things that come to mind when thinking of a spring vacation spent on the Crystal Coast’s Atlantic Beach. When you’re ready to take a break from the water, you can rent bikes to peddle around the Rachel Carson Reserve, where you just might see a few ponies galloping down the shore.
11. Hilton Head, South Carolina
Ah, the beloved Hilton Head, where adventure meets luxury. Known as the golfer’s paradise, the beautiful resort town rounds out South Carolina’s coastline. While the attractive destination is heavy on the sports and outdoor recreation, there are plenty of restaurants, boutiques, museums, and beaches to lure you to this Lowcountry favorite for spring.
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12. Lake Lanier Islands, Georgia
You only need to make a 45-minute drive to sneak away to Georgia’s lake oasis, just outside of Atlanta. Once home to the 1996 Olympic water sporting events, the 1,500-acre resort offers a glimpse of nature in its full glory. Here, you can hike, bike, or walk around the shore of Lake Lanier. But, you can also visit the busy waterpark, LanierWorld, which houses Georgia’s largest wave pool, waterslides, and a mile-long beach.