K.C. was a featured writer for Yahoo! Travel before joining trips to discover in 2013. She is the author of Best Travel Guide for First Time Visitors to Ireland, an Amazon bestseller every year between 2013 and 2016. She has been a featured expert on Newsweek, Travel + Leisure, Travelocity, among others.
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Spring break isn’t just for the kids. Spring break can be an ideal time for a getaway if you’re craving a vacation your whole family can enjoy and don’t want to wait for summer. There are many family-friendly spring break destinations where it isn’t all about the party crowd, with a wide range of options for all, from peaceful seaside escapes to fascinating cities. Whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly escape or luxury getaway, there’s sure to be a great option among this list of best family vacations for spring break.
Hilton Head enjoys pleasant spring temperatures that, while not warm enough for swimming, are ideal for kayaking, paddle boarding, parasailing, zip line rides, and horseback riding. The area is home to over a dozen championship golf courses as well as over 50 miles of scenic hiking and biking trails. You’ll find a variety of beautiful beach resorts, too, including a number of budget-friendly properties that are ideal for families and larger groups of friends.
If you have a family of baseball lovers, Phoenix may be calling. Here you’ll have the chance to catch major league spring training in action. The Cactus League stadiums are all located in the major Phoenix metro area for convenient access to any game you want to watch at a cheap price, along with many other popular attractions. Be sure to wander through the Desert Botanical Garden, which showcases over 50,000 accessioned plants throughout five thematic trails illustrating topics like desert living, conservation, plants and people of the Sonoran Desert and desert wildflowers.
South Padre Island is an ideal destination for families who want to have access to a wide variety of fun at the beach. There are accommodation options for just about everyone, even beachfront properties that are relatively inexpensive. Water sports galore are offered here, including sailing, dolphin watching, kiteboarding, and much more. Schlitterbahn South Padre Island is one of the most popular attractions, a water park and indoor waterpark that hosts 24 rides, slides, and rivers. You can also visit the turtle sanctuary and watch the annual release of the baby sea turtles that occurs every spring, check out the lighthouse, or just enjoy the 60 miles of beach in the area for sandcastle building and relaxing.
New Orleans is renowned for its charming cobbled streets, mouthwatering cuisine, incredible music, and impressive mansions. There are kid-friendly tours of the gator-filled swamps, a wide range of museums, and fun attractions like the Audubon Zoo and the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. You may also want to enjoy a ride on the last authentic steamboat on the Mississippi River.
Ocho Rios on the north coast of Jamaica offers a true slice of paradise for spring breakers, young and old. It’s famous for its pristine beaches that are edged by crystal clear blue waters, as well as places like beautiful Dunn’s River Falls. There are family-friendly hotels at all price points, including fun all-inclusive properties, so you won’t have to worry about pulling out your wallet for every meal and activity. Doctor’s Beach offers shallow waters that are ideal for families with little ones, and there are even hikes that are toddler-appropriate, like the Dolphin Cove Nature Trail Hike.
The Outer Banks region warms up nicely by mid-March, and with most tourists not arriving until Memorial Day, it’s ideal for a tranquil spring break beach escape. This long, narrow strip of land that separates Pamlico Sound from the open waters of the Atlantic offers the chance to enjoy a wide range of activities, including paddle boarding, surfing, and kayaking, with lessons and rentals available at many local shops. It’s also ideal simply for kicking back and enjoying the scent of the salty sea air along with the magnificent scenery.
Joshua Tree National Park, located in the Mojave Desert, is at its bests in the spring. It offers the chance to step inside an other-worldly-like landscape, a place that looks as if you’ve walked onto another planet. There are thousands of bizarrely-shaped trees, strange plants and massive boulders rising hundreds of feet into the sky as far as the eye can see. Early spring typically brings colorful wildflowers and idyllic temperatures in the low to mid-80s for enjoying hiking, climbing, camping and more.
Washington, D.C., is best experienced in the spring when families can enjoy the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which takes place around the Spring Equinox. You’ll also have access to countless attractions, including nearly 20 free Smithsonian museums, galleries & the National Zoo. The pleasant weather makes it a perfect time to see the sights like the National Mall, Lincoln Memorial, and the Capitol itself.
Belize offers an affordable spring break vacation, with springtime often bringing much cheaper flights – early May typically sees the lowest airfares. Plus, there’s something for just about everyone here, including picture-perfect beaches, lush rainforest, and diverse wildlife. There are impressive Mayan ruins, and snorkelers and divers will have access to the Western Hemisphere’s longest barrier reef. The Placencia Peninsula boasts 17 miles of golden beaches that are ideal for swimming, taking a stroll, or relaxing in the sunshine. Don’t miss the nation’s famously delicious artisan chocolates from the Cotton Tree, Moho, and Kakaw chocolate factories, which all produce high-quality chocolate that’s made from Belizean cacao beans.
While Cancun may be associated with spring break crowds, families will find plenty to do. There are not only countless unspoiled white beaches and clear azure waters but plenty of family-friendly activities and margaritas for the adults. Go snorkeling, catch a Captain Hook pirate show and dinner, and take advantage of the many offerings at the kid-friendly resorts, like the family-focused Hyatt Ziva Cancun, which has a great kids’ club. There are lots of great day trips, too, including opportunities to see Mayan ruins, beautiful cenotes, and zip line adventures through the jungle.