Great Spring Break Destinations for Families

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Spring break is just around the corner, but it’s not too late to plan a family vacation with the kids. We’ve got some great spring break destinations for families, all organized by what your family wants to do!

Family smiling at the Florida welcome center on a spring break family vacation.

First things first. Are you looking for adventure travel? A big city vacation? Or maybe something more relaxed like a family beach vacation or a cruise getaway? Or maybe you’re not sure?

No worries! We’ve got you covered with this list of great spring break destinations for families in the United States (no passport required)! And there’s something for every budget, too! 

Not sure of your budget? Use our vacation cost planner to help you plan!

Adventure travel for your spring break trip

If adventure travel is on your list, there’s so much to do across the country! Consider these great spring break destinations for families who enjoy great day hikes, horse back riding and zip lining!

Some of our favorite adventure travel destinations are:

The Grand Canyon

Skip the crowds at Grand Canyon National Park and head to Grand Canyon West for a true appreciation of the majestic canyon. At Grand Canyon West, you can take hikes, go zip lining and venture out on the famous skywalk for views into the canyon you won’t see anywhere else. Learn Native American culture as you unplug and explore the American southwest.

Skywalk glass bottomed bridge at Grand Canyon West

National Park Spring Break Destinations

Sometimes, though, it’s hard to beat what the National Parks have to offer. The most popular national parks are out west, places like Glacier National Park, Yosemite, and Arches National Park in Utah. It’s not too late to book trips to these popular destinations, but check online to see if reservations are needed or if they are closed due to bad weather.

There are many national parks that are less well known and would make great spring break destinations for families. Book hotels nearby and enjoy less crowds while still appreciating these national treasures. Two of our favorite family friendly destinations are:

  • Congaree National Park in South Carolina. Close to Columbia, this park has easy trails and park ranger guided kayaking tours of this low country, old growth forest. Stay down the road in Columbia, South Carolina for great hotels, restaurants and other family activities.
  • The Flight 93 Memorial near the Pennsylvania Laurel Highlands. This memorial, which is part of the National Parks System, honors the heroes who crashed their plane to stop terrorists back on September 11, 2001. It’s an incredible memorial that tells the story of this horrible day in a sensitive way that offers hope. There’s lots to do nearby, like Fort Ligonier, making this a great spot to visit as part of a family spring break vacation.

Need more? Here’s a list of the 15 least-visited national parks in the country! Plan visits here to avoid the massive crowds.

North Carolina Mountains

We are lucky to call North Carolina home and we love getting up to the mountains whenever we can.

Want to see elk? YES! I said elk! Head to the western North Carolina mountains to see elk, hike beautiful wooded trails or to trek to the top of Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi River. You can even stay at a dude ranch! How cool is that?

Profile view of elk with antlers in a field with trees behind

Family Campgrounds across the United States

Family campgrounds have experienced a great resurgence in recent years. Many campgrounds have fun activities like pools, water slides and kid-friendly themed activities. Others are located in more remote areas with lakes, hiking trails and mountain views. Wherever you are, there’s likely a great family campground nearby. Check our guide to the best family campgrounds in the United States to find one near you!

family friendly camping -- shows kids around a campfire

Big city fun for family spring break

We love exploring new cities whenever we can, enjoying the excitement of big city lights, entertainment and great restaurants.

Some of our favorite big city vacations for spring break are:

New York City

For a fantastic spring break with the family, head to New York City. There’s so much to see and do in New York that the kids will never get bored. Check out the museums, catch a family friendly Broadway show and spend some time at the shops in Times Square. There’s even a Harry Potter store with a butterbeer bar. (I wanna go!!!)

Use our New York City vacation guide to plan your trip. It covers things like where to stay (location matters), how to use the New York City subway, how to choose a Broadway show and more.

View of Manhattan and Central Park

Washington, DC

For a surprisingly budget friendly spring break destination to the big city, a family trip to Washington, DC is great! The Smithsonian family of museums are free. There are lots of parks and monuments, like the Lincoln Memorial, to see. And, with a wide variety of cuisine and lots of hotels in every price point, this is an easy to plan, great spring break destination for families.

A can’t miss attraction in Washington, DC is the Monuments by Moonlight Tour. It’s incredible. For more great tips, read our guide to kid friendly Washington, DC.

Savannah, Georgia

One of our favorite cities is Savannah, Georgia. This historic city is surprisingly kid-friendly and modern. The historic squares of Savannah’s city center are beautiful, with Ellis Square being especially suited to families. Restaurants on just about every block make dining an easy choice. And, it’s really hard to beat the weather in springtime.

We have lots of articles to make planning a Savannah, Georgia family vacation easy:

Planning tip: If visiting around St. Patrick’s Day, Savannah becomes a party town, so plan carefully!

Other cities, like New Orleans, San Diego and San Antonio are on our radar, but we haven’t gone yet!

Theme park spring break destinations

Of course, theme parks have long been popular spring break destinations.

It might be hard to get Disney World reservations at this point, but it’s not impossible. Check with our partners at Undercover Tourist to see what’s still available. And check out popular hotels near Walt Disney World that might still have room available. It’s Disney…. Magic happens!

If you don’t want to fight the Disney crowds, check out other popular theme park destinations for a thrilling getaway great for kids and teens!

We have gone to Busch Gardens, Carowinds and Universal Orlando in March. These were some of our favorite theme park getaways for our teens because the parks were less crowded and it wasn’t too hot!

Swings in background with roller coaster in foreground at an amusement park

Family Beach Vacation Destinations

Some of the most relaxing family travel destinations are resorts, especially beach resorts. And, for spring break, they can be some of the best budget vacation locations. With lots of activities and reduced accommodation rates since the beach isn’t quite warm enough for swimming, the family can have loads of fun, great views and long walks along the shore. Or, spend a bit more for warmer destinations and jump in!

Beachfront resort in the Caribbean with water, beach loungers, and thatch roofed buildings behind.

Alabama’s Gulf Coast

The Gulf Coast of Alabama is one of the best spring break destinations for families. In Orange Beach, you’ll find hotels for every budget and luxurious condo accommodations (like my daughter’s favorite, Turquoise Place). Just a few miles down the road in Gulf Shores, you’ll find more hotels and condos, and a variety of beach houses from simple to expansive for multi-generational travel. Gulf Shores restaurants never disappoint. And, it’s a great place for spring break with teens!

Outdoor pool and beach at Turquoise Place in Orange Beach Alabama.
Turquoise Place at Orange Beach, Alabama

Sun Outdoors Resort in Sarasota, Florida

Ellie and I took a mother-daughter spring break trip to Sun Outdoors Resort in Sarasota, Florida several years ago, and it was one of our favorite trips ever. The resort offers campground spaces if you have your own RV. But if not, they have rental units with bedrooms, kitchens, living space and a screened in lanai. The resort has lots of activities the whole family will enjoy. And, it’s close to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world (without the oceanfront prices). It’s about a 15 minute drive to Sarasota Beach at Siesta Key, which has great amenities including a bath house.

Resort pool with blue sun shade over lounge chairs and palm trees.

Jekyll Island in Georgia

Jekyll Island, one of Georgia’s Golden Isles, regularly makes lists for best beach vacations. And, for great spring break destinations for families, we think Jekyll Island is best this time of year with moderate temperatures and shoulder season prices. Enjoy uncrowded beaches, miles of bike trails under a canopy of live oak trees draped in Spanish moss, and family friendly attractions. One of our favorite beaches in all the world is Jekyll Island’s Driftwood Beach.

For families, we wholeheartedly recommend the Holiday Inn Resort at Jekyll Island. This beachfront hotel has spacious, airy rooms in beachy pastels with a large, outdoor pool, a firepit for cool evenings all in a great location. In the off-season, resort fees are often waived.

Posing at the petrified forest of Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island.

Hilton Head Island in South Carolina

When my kids were growing up, we made lots of wonderful spring break vacation memories on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. The island is quite large and has been carefully developed. You won’t find many high rise hotels or neon signs advertising $5 beach t-shirts.

What you will find is clean beaches, kayaking, golf, great restaurants and lots of seasonal events. We prefer beach condo rentals which offer space to relax and great resort amenities like pools, kids’ clubs, and entertainment.

Biking along the miles of bike trails under the trees at Hilton Head Island.

The Sea Pines Resort at the tip of the island has everything you could want in a beach getaway — spacious condos, golf, horseback riding, beach access, pools, tennis, playgrounds, restaurants and much more. For shoulder season and in winter, they offer vacation packages to make this luxury vacation more affordable.

The Disney Resort at Hilton Head Island is a smaller property at Shelter Cove Harbor, tucked between the marsh and the marina. It’s got spacious condos with large porches overlooking the marsh or the pool, an incredible recreation staff with activities for all ages each day. Outdoor movies under the stars, campfire s’mores and hammocks under the trees add to the relaxed vacation vibe. There’s also a beach house with casual dining, a large outdoor pool, and beach access. We recommend booking through David’s Vacation Rentals for the best price.

Outer Banks of North Carolina

Another popular spring break beach destination is the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The barrier islands that make up the Outer Banks stretch more than 100 miles, and we recommend staying somewhere near Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills or Nags Head when traveling with kids at spring break.

You’ll find year-round activities in the central area and easy access to the other areas like Corolla (wild horses), Duck (donuts) and Hatteras Village (famous lighthouse). First time visitors to the Outer Banks will benefit from using an Outer Banks vacation guide to familiarize themselves with the geography before booking a vacation home.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse at the Outer Banks which is white and black diagonally striped with a red brick base.
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in Buxton, NC

March and April are likely too cold to play in the ocean, but the beaches and main road through the barrier islands won’t be crowded. We live in North Carolina and many locals consider spring the best time to visit the Outer Banks.

Spring Break Cruise Vacations

For easy spring break vacation planning, cruises probably top the list. Pick a departure date, a departure port, and the cabin that fits your budget. After that, everything is done! No meal planning, activities to schedule. Cruises make some of the best spring break vacation destinations for families.

My daughter and I are taking a short, five day cruise to the Bahamas for her spring break this year. It’s our fourth spring break cruise, and I’m sure we will take at least one more before college is over.

Mother and daughter in sunglasses on a pool deck on a cruise.

If you’re new to cruising, we have lots of articles on what to expect on a cruise, how to pick the best cruise line for families and even what to pack for a cruise vacation.

Budget travel ideas for spring break

If your budget is too tight to travel far, consider a day trip close to home. We use sites like GROUPON to find discounts on attractions and activities close to home.

PRO TIP: Purchase for the day of the activity so you don’t forget to use them!

And there you have it, our top spring break destinations for families this year. From big city vacations to beaches and cruises, there are lots of options to choose. And, it’s not too late to plan your vacation!

Spring Break Planning: Frequently asked questions

How do you plan a spring break budget?

Use a step by step vacation cost planner to budget for each aspect of your spring break vacation: travel costs, hotel, food, entertainment and activities. This one has a free download.

How far in advance should you plan a spring break trip?

For the best prices, plan your spring break trip four to six months in advance, especially if you plan to fly as airfare gets more expensive as travel dates approach. But, there are lots of spring break trips you can plan with much less lead time like Washington, DC, the Carolinas and cruises from nearby ports.

What are the best spring break destinations for families?

Some of the most popular spring break destinations for families are cruises, the Outer Banks in North Carolina, Orange Beach in Alabama, Washington, DC, Seattle and New York City.