10 Best Spring Break Getaways for Families

by | Dec 16, 2022 | Caribbean, Destinations, Family Adventures, Mexico, Traveling with Teens, USA

(This article may or may not contain affiliate links. What does that mean?)

 

When people think of Spring Break, they might think of boozy college kids and loud pool parties. But Spring Break is an opportunity for family fun. Spring Break is the best time to take kids on a family vacation since they won’t have to miss school. The key is just to avoid the college crowd. 

Spring Break does not have to be all sunshine and beaches. There are many great spring break ideas for spring travel in the United States. Visit a golf course, see the national parks, or find some great ski resorts. Families don’t need to limit themselves. To help families select the best places for a spring trip, we’ve gathered some of our favorite destinations for family travel.

 

NO TIME TO ENJOY THIS ARTICLE NOW? PIN IT! OR BOOKMARK IT FOR LATER!

 

Nickelodeon Resort

There are 2 Nickelodeon Resorts, one in Mexico and one in the Dominican Republic. The Nickelodeon resorts are all-inclusive resorts, making them the perfect place to kick back and relax. You won’t need to think about anything once you arrive. Just lounge and eat! From costumed characters to a waterpark, there is tons of stuff to keep your kids entertained and busy. Since it’s a kids’ place, you might be thinking the food isn’t good. A good friend of mine, and fellow travel agent, loved the food so much she once went there for a stay WITHOUT her kids. Now that’s saying something. Now I know what my fellow millennials are thinking, and yes, there’s slime. 

If you are struggling to pick which resort, I have a few thoughts. At Punta Cuna, the waterpark is closer to the hotel, so if you know your kids will be living at the waterpark, that should probably be your pick. The resort in Mexico is newer. 

Honestly, though they are very similar, and personally, I would just go with whichever one had better pricing on flights. 

And speaking of pricing, if you don’t have a cellular phone plan for Mexico or the DM included, you can secure an affordable, high-speed, prepaid travel sim card from companies like Simify before you go to help stay connected.

 

 

Clearwater Beach Florida

If you’re looking to stay stateside, Florida is a great destination. Clearwater Beach is a gorgeous area, and since it’s on the gulf side, it’s much calmer than other beaches. There are tons of fun activities to do, including an aquarium and pirate boat rides right in town. Plus, it’s only about 90 minutes from Orlando, so a day at Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, Legoland, Seaworld, or Busch Gardens are all possible. 

 

Where To Stay In Clearwater Beach, FL

I highly recommend the Opal Sands resort. It’s a beautiful resort and has lots of activities to keep everyone entertained. And the gulf views are unbelievable! 

 

Getting To Clearwater Beach, FL From LA

It’s really easy to get to Clearwater Beach too. Fly into Tampa and Rent a Car. Clearwater Beach is very easy to navigate. Just be careful you don’t mix up Clearwater Beach and Clearwater. They are two different towns. And yes, I did that the first time I visited. 

Start your research for flights with exclusive discounts from Scott’s Cheap Flights. Try out their free 7-day membership to save BIG money on flights. I’m not kidding. They have the best deals out there and we’ve tried them all, or so it seems. There’s no need to buy a membership (you’ll still have access to great deals with their free one).

Another excellent discount site for flights (and cars, hotels) is Expedia!

 

Sunset is a great time to try to catch a glimpse of some dolphins! Even if you miss out on the dolphins at least you get this view. Photo Courtesy of Slapp9 via Wikimedia

 

A Cruise

OK, I’m cheating a little bit because a cruise ship isn’t a destination, or is it? Today’s cruise ships come equipped with waterslides, mini-golf courses, wave machines, and ice skating, so I think we can call them “destinations” now. 

Cruises to any destination are a great value for the money, since your food, lodging and entertainment are included. And cruise ships do a great job of accommodating allergies and disabilities, great news for parents!

There’s a lot to consider to pick the right one! Think about the ages and interests of your kids, the budget to stay within, and which ports are close to you.  A travel agent is an excellent source of information. I often tell people who tell me they don’t like cruising that they just haven’t found the right cruise line yet. 

A note on passports: Passports are not required for MOST (most being the important word!) cruises that depart and return to the same US port (called a closed loop cruise). However, we always suggest that everyone, or at the minimum a few members of your party, travel with passports even though they aren’t technically required. If you miss the ship, or if you have an emergency and need to fly home, you’ll need a passport. If you do decide to cruise without one, DON’T MISS THE SHIP. 

 

I’m a big fan of cruising, you wake up every morning in a different city, and you didn’t even have to pack!

 

Universal Orlando Resort, FL

Spring break is a great time to visit Universal Orlando Resort because they host a special event that time of year, and it’s my favorite seasonal event at any theme park ever! And since theme parks are kind of my thing, that’s not an honor I bestow lightly. 

Universal Orlando hosts their own version of Mardi Gras every spring and it’s fantastic! They have concerts every Saturday and Sunday featuring top acts. Last year they brought in artists like Diana Ross, LL Cool J, and Marshmello, just to name a few! 

Universal Orlando also has a family-friendly Mardi Gras parade. The same folks who make the parade floats used in New Orleans design the floats for Universal. You can even sign up to ride on one, as long as your kids are tall enough and old enough! 

 

 

The best part is the food. Universal Orlando brings in chefs from all over the world to prepare special dishes just for Mardi Gras. That counts as an educational experience, right? 

 

Where To Stay At Universal Orlando

I definitely recommend staying on-site when visiting Universal Orlando resort. Their transportation for getting around the resort is really top-notch! Our family loves Cabana Bay Beach Resort because it features a lazy river and a waterslide. 

 

Pro Tip: You can bring your own floaties for the lazy river to save a few bucks. They’ll even inflate them for you. They are not provided.

 

Getting To Orlando From LA

United and Delta both fly nonstop to Orlando from Los Angeles.

Another excellent discount site for flights (and cars, hotels) is Expedia!

If you’d like to be in the know for exclusive discounts to fly anywhere in the world, check out Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights). Their website shows current deals, and they send emails when they find new deals. Try out their free 7-day membership to save BIG money on flights. I’m not kidding. They have the best deals out there and we’ve tried them all, or so it seems. There’s no need to buy a membership (you’ll still have access to great deals with their free trial).

 

Get to Diagon Alley early, it gets more crowded throughout the day!

 

Alaska

I can hear my editor now: Alaska for Spring Break? That girl has finally lost that last marble! But hear me out, folks.

Spring is a beautiful time to visit Alaska! You’ll still get to experience some wild winter weather, including snow, but nothing extreme. Bears are waking up, moose are being born. It’s a big time of transition that you’ll get to see! And since it’s not peak travel season, your vacation dollars will stretch really far. And you’ll encounter far fewer crowds too. 

And if your kids have their spring break a little early, you’ll get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the Northern Lights, they are typically visible until late March. The quickly warming temps make some great Northern Light spotting conditions.

 

DON’T MISS! How To Make Unforgettable Memories At The Grand Canyon With Kids

 

Where To Stay In Fairbanks, Alaska

Since editor Rina Nehdar once lived in Fairbanks, she’s partial to the second-largest city in Alaska. Right in the center of it all is Bear Lodge, a wonderful stay for families. Another great stay is the 7 Gables Inn & Suites which provides privacy and a homecooked breakfast in this B&B.

 

Getting To Fairbanks, Alaska from LA

There aren’t any direct flights from LA to Alaska. But it’s still worth it.

Start your research for flights with exclusive discounts from Scott’s Cheap Flights. Try out their free 7-day membership to save BIG money on flights. I’m not kidding. They have the best deals out there and we’ve tried them all, or so it seems. There’s no need to buy a membership (you’ll still have access to great deals with their free one).

Another excellent discount site for flights (and cars, hotels) is Expedia!

 

Northern lights - best spring break getaways for families

An out of this world vision. Photo by McKayla Crump on Unsplash

 

No matter where you decide to go, get booking! I’m already seeing lots of things selling out for this spring. Whatever you pick, I’m sure your kids will love it! ~ Emily Householder

 

Washington, DC

Spring is the perfect time to visit the nation’s capital for history and sightseeing (without the summer humidity). One of the best things about DC, is that there is so much that is free to do for the whole family!

It costs nothing to stroll the National Mall and view the famous monuments, such as the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial,  Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Likewise, there is no cost to visit the world-famous Smithsonian Museums. The big favorites for kids include the National Air and Space Museum and National Zoo. And if you arrive with kids in April, you can time your visit with the blooming of the famous cherry blossoms, one of the most beautiful sights you will find across the country.

For something slightly under the radar, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center while not as famous as the Air and Space Museum, may be the most impressive of all the Washington-DC area museums. Located near Dulles Airport, you can think of the Udvar Hazy as where they keep the “really big stuff” and is a kid favorite. The museum displays thousands of artifacts from aviation and space. Some highlights include a Concorde, the famous B-29 Enola Gay, and the museum’s signature sight – the Space Shuttle Discovery.

 

Where To Stay In Washington D.C

Stay close to the National Mall and museums to maximize your time in DC. The Hyatt House Washington DC /  The Wharf has incredible waterfront views and is a short walk to the National Mall. The Washington Marriott at Metro Center is centrally located at Metro Center for easy access to all of the city’s attractions.

 

Getting To Washington D.C. From LA

Spirit, United, Alaska, Delta, and Southwest all have nonstop flights from LA to DC.

Start your research for flights with exclusive discounts from Scott’s Cheap Flights. Try out their free 7-day membership to save BIG money on flights. I’m not kidding. They have the best deals out there and we’ve tried them all, or so it seems. There’s no need to buy a membership (you’ll still have access to great deals with their free one).

Another excellent discount site for flights (and cars, hotels) is Expedia!

 

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossoms in DC. Credit: Yeon Choi. Unpslash.com

 

Indian Shores and Indian Rocks Beach, Florida

Not that we’re against, warm weather, beaches and palm trees. While the Florida Keys and Disney World (see below) are popular Florida spring break destinations, the Indian Shores and Indian Rocks Beach area, while sometimes overlooked, is a perfect spring break destination for your family. Located on the Gulf of Mexico and just a short scenic drive from Tampa or St. Petersburg, the two beach communities are a bit quieter than nearby Clearwater Beach, which is more popular with high school and college students on spring break. With miles of beautiful beaches, an abundance of fun activities, and excellent family-friendly dining options, Indian Shores and Indian Rocks Beach are great places for a family spring break. For a bit more excitement, nearby John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk has over a hundred merchants and all of the water activity fun. Busch Gardens Tampa, an African-centered animal theme park, is also a short drive away.

 

Where To Stay At Indian Shores and Indian Rocks Beach

There are plenty of lodging options within Indian Shores and Indian Rocks Beach. The New Hotel Collection Beachside Resort is located on the white sandy beaches of Indian shores with 1, 2, and 3-bedroom vacation condos. The nearby Harbourside Resort is located on the Intracoastal waterway and also contains a first-class outdoor water park. 

 

Getting To Indian Shores From LA

Delta, United, and Alaska Airlines all fly nonstop to Indian Shores, FL from LA. It takes about four and a half hours. Like driving from one part of the county to the other on a Friday night.

Start your research for flights with exclusive discounts from Scott’s Cheap Flights. Try out their free 7-day membership to save BIG money on flights. I’m not kidding. They have the best deals out there and we’ve tried them all, or so it seems. There’s no need to buy a membership (you’ll still have access to great deals with their free one).

Another excellent discount site for flights (and cars, hotels) is Expedia!

 

Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico

Another spectacular Florida sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. Credit: Fallon83 Pixabay.com

 

Yosemite National Park

Located in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, Yosemite National Park is famous for giant ancient sequoia trees, deep valleys, and stunning waterfalls. Yosemite is a great family destination any time of the year, but it is also a great place for a Spring Break destination to enjoy the famous hikes while avoiding the busier summer crowds.

If you can visit in mid or late February, there is an opportunity to see one of the most phenomenal sights in the country: the Firefall at Horsetail Falls. Throughout most of the year, Horsetail Falls is unremarkable. It is not as impressive as the larger Yosemite Falls or Bridalveil Falls and it dries up in the summer. But for a few weeks in mid or late February, Horsetail Falls is the star of the park and an international sensation. If the conditions are just right, the setting sun illuminates the falling water, giving it the appearance of glowing orange and red lava. While reservations are not generally required, you should review National Park guidance on timing and restrictions to see this once-in-a-lifetime event.  

 

Where To Stay In Yosemite

Families have plenty of options to stay near Yosemite. Some standouts include the Ahwahnee Lodge, considered a “crown jewel of the National Park lodges,” and the Tenaya Lodge, which is an LA. Family Travel favorite. 

 

Getting To Yosemite

From Los Angeles, it’s about 280 miles, depending on where you start, and takes about 5 hours to get there (traffic depending). From San Francisco, it’s about 167 miles and takes about four hours.

 

Horsetail Falls, Yosemite National Park, firefalls

“Firefall” at Horsetail falls in Yosemite National Park. Credit: Katie Rodriguez, Unsplash.com

 

Disneyland and Disney World

A proper list of the best spring break destinations is not complete without the Disney Theme Parks: the smaller, historic Disneyland in Anaheim, California, and the colossal Disney World near Orlando, Florida. If your children love Disney characters, a spring break trip to one of the Disney theme parks is almost like a parenting rite of passage. If you are on the west coast or within a reasonable road trip distance, then Disneyland is a good option. If you are on the east coast or you want the big-time multiple-day Disney experience, then Disney World is a better fit.  

 

DON’T MISS! Why Universal Orlando Is Better For Families Than Disney World

 

Disneyland has two theme parks within its nearly 500 acres: Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure. Disneyland Park is older, constructed in 1955, and has more historic charm. It is also smaller and more walkable than its Florida counterpart.

At over forty square miles, Disney World is huge! To put that in perspective, Boston, Massachusetts, is slightly larger. You can fit over fifty Disneylands inside Florida’s Disney World! Disney World opened in 1971 and benefited from updates in theme park design in the 16 years after Disneyland opened. Disney World has more to do for a multi-day stay, and while Disneyland only has fireworks on select nights, Disney World hosts its iconic fireworks display every night at 9 PM. 

 

Where to Stay At Disneyland

There are three hotels on the property: Disney’s Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. There are also several Great neighbor hotels near the property.

 

Where To Stay At Disney World

Disney World has four theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, Universal Studios, and Animal Kingdom. Disney World has 34 hotels on the property across five categories: Deluxe Villas, Deluxe Resorts, Moderate Resort Hotels, Value Resort Hotels, and a Campground.

 

DON’T MISS! Best Resorts At Disney World For Families

 

Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks – Utah

With fewer crowds and cooler temperatures, Spring Break is a great time to visit Zion National Park. Located in Southwest Utah, Zion’s sandstone cliffs, narrow slot canyons, and variety of plants and animals have been captivating families since the park first opened in 1919.   

Zion is known for its many hiking trails, and most of the popular day hikes take place in Zion Canyon, which has easy, moderate, and strenuous hikes.  Angel Falls is the park’s ultimate, most popular hike but is rather strenuous throughout, with the last half mile requiring the use of safety chains. Therefore, it is only suitable for older children who are experienced hikers.  

March and April have moderate temperatures in the mid-60s and low 70s, perfect weather for family hikes. This contrasts with the summer months, where daily highs are in the mid-90s and often exceed 100 degrees, which limits the hiking options. Later in the spring, you may also have a chance to see some of Zion’s wildflowers blooming among the green foliage.  In 2000, the National Park Service introduced a shuttle system to reduce traffic and protect the park. The shuttle system is incredibly easy to use, with only two lines and stops numerically ordered.

 

Where To Stay At Zion

If you are staying multiple days, the Zion Lodge, located within the park, offers historic cabins, hotel rooms, and suites, and the Cliffrose Lodge, just a short walk away from Zion’s entrance, features rooms, suites, and villas and even has multiple pools and hot tubs that are open all year round. 

 

Beautiful View of Angels Landing in Zion National Park, Utah

A Beautiful View from Angels Landing Hiking Trail. Credit: Samantha Jones

 

Another benefit of a spring break trip to Zion National Park is the proximity to Bryce Canyon National Park, another phenomenal park in Southwestern Utah.  Bryce Canyon is less than two hours from Zion and is known for the crimson-colored irregular spire rock formations called “hoodoos.” The main park road is 18 miles long, and the first three miles feature viewing points of The Bryce Amphitheater, which has the largest concentration of irregular hoodoos in the world, with many viewpoints along the main road. Bryce Canyon is a Gold Tier International Dark Sky Park, and since the park is open 24 hours a day, your family can get phenomenal views of the night skies on your own or with a night sky ranger program.

 

Where To Stay In Bryce Canyon

The Lodge at Bryce Canyon is the only lodging inside the park and is an excellent choice for families but there are other affordable hotels in the area.

 

Getting To Zion / Bryce NPs From LA

It’s about 430 miles from LA to drive to Zion NP via the I-15 N and takes about 7 hours.

~ Matthew Jones

 

Bryce Canyon National Park Hoodoos in Utah

One of the thousands of interesting Bryce Canyon Hoodoos. We think this one looks like it’s smiling! Credit: Samantha Jones

 

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE CONSIDER SHARING OR PINING IT!