For legions of kids in the United States, spring break is a week-long hiatus that falls anytime between mid-March and mid-April. It's an excellent opportunity for families to start putting away their winter gear and embrace the warmer times ahead.
From adventure-seekers to culture mavens, and beach bums to nature lovers, there are tons of great ideas for family-friendly getaways for the spring.
Orlando, the world's number one family destination, is wildly popular during spring break. Disney World is one of the main attractions.
One of the most essential tips for surviving a trip to Disney World during spring break is choosing the right accommodations. Although many resorts in Orlando offer free shuttle service to the Disney parks, the closest and easiest to navigate is from the Disney resorts. Bus, monorail, and boat transportation is free, so you won't have to worry about fighting for a place to park, or trekking to the theme park entrance in the heat.
Every spring, the nation's capital explodes with blooming cherry blossom trees. The National Cherry Blossom Festival takes place from mid-March to mid-April—smack in the middle of spring break for many families.
The cherry blossom trees grow in three National Park Service locations: Around the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park, in East Potomac Park (Hains Point), and on the Washington Monument grounds. Signature Festival events include the Opening Ceremony, the Blossom Kite Festival, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade.
A caveat: the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC is scheduled ahead of time, but you can never be sure that the cherry trees will cooperate.
For many families, a cruise offers the best of all worlds. The most family-friendly cruise lines provide a slew of activities to keep everyone happy with many itinerary options.
In determining which cruise line is the best fit for your family, you'll want to explore the different cruise lines. They all have distinctive personalities—some are boisterous and loud, some active and sporty, others more elegant and reserved. The ideal cruise for a family with young children might not be the best pick for a multi-generational family reunion.
2019 marked the 102nd anniversary of the acquisition of the US Virgin Islands from Denmark for $25 million. Just two hours from Miami, the US Virgin Islands offer an authentic Caribbean experience without many of the hassles of traveling to a foreign country.
Three distinct islands-- sleepy St. Croix, bustling St. Thomas, and eco-treat St. John-- serve up white-sand beaches, super snorkeling, a major National Park, colonial towns and forts, duty-free shops, and more. Buck Island, one of only three Underwater National Monuments in the US, is a terrific place to snorkel or scuba. Swimming behind a giant sea turtle is sure to thrill kids and grown-ups too.
The transition from winter to spring is a tasty time to be in New England. March and early April make up maple sugaring season when buckets appear on maple trees and sugar shacks transform maple sap into delectable maple syrup.
Vermont's Smugglers' Notch Resort, a top kid-friendly ski resort and fabulous vacation for babies and toddlers, holds an annual Maple Fest Celebration during the spring-break period. Complimentary transportation is provided to a local sugarhouse, and families receive a maple welcome gift, product samplings, an activity book, and can enjoy a weekly winter carnival. For an additional fee, families can embark on maple-themed snowshoe treks or take an artist's class.
Smugglers' Notch vacation packages are priced at the season's lowest rates and usually include lodging, lift tickets for skiing or snowboarding, and use of the indoor pool, hot tubs, and FunZone with games and bouncy houses, and family and adult entertainment.
Spring break doesn't always have to mean heading someplace hot. In Vancouver, BC, you can walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge and spend the day in a park packed with adventure, history, and culture—and only 20 minutes outside of downtown Vancouver.
Families can visit the historic walled Quebec City and go all the way up to the top of the CN Tower in Toronto to the EdgeWalk, where they can walk on and around the roof of the main pod of the tower at 1,168 ft.
Canada has outdoor recreation activities from skiing to hiking and sailing.
Country music fans will enjoy a visit to Music City. Go to concerts at the iconic Ryman Auditorium, tour the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum and visit the Bluebird Café. Grab a bite at any of the classic BBQ joints in town like The Stillery or Arnold's Country Kitchen for a taste of mac & cheese that will satisfy any fussy eaters.
When you're not catching a concert, kids will love the Nashville Zoo and Adventure Science Center for hands-on exploration of all types of science.
Since 2015, when the U.S. and Cuba resumed diplomatic ties for the first time in more than 50 years, travel to Cuba has been opening up for Americans. While the kind of allowable trips is still limited to specific categories of travel, you no longer have to apply for a visa. Travel with older children might be a learning opportunity.
While Americans can now legally travel to Cuba, there are restrictions. The easiest route is to book a tour through a company that has won special approval from the U.S. State Department to run "people to people" cultural-exchange trips to Cuba.
Several cruise lines now sail to Cuba, or you can fly. Airlines like Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, and United offer flights to Havana.
Caribbean and Mexico
An all-inclusive getaway in the sun and surf might be a good way to have an affordable spring break getaway.
The Caribbean and Mexico are awash with all-inclusive resorts, but only some have an atmosphere that will be appropriate for all ages. There are kid-friendly chains like Divi Resorts that are known for their G-rated focus, family-friendly accommodations, and fantastic children's programming.
Beaches and Club Med have children's programming and facilities that make an all-inclusive getaway appealing to parents.
Arizona and Florida for Spring Baseball
If your family loves baseball, there may be no better spring getaway than a trip to watch your favorite Major League Baseball team play and practice during spring training season in Arizona's Cactus League and Florida's Grapefruit League.
Spring training is a time where you can get up close and personal with your favorite players. The venues are small, and the players want to interact with fans. Prices are lower than regular games, and the autograph-hunting is the best.
If you've been contemplating a family vacation to Europe, keep an out on the months leading up to Spring Break for specials, and you may be able to snag a deal on airline tickets. Once you get there, you'll find that there are some budget hotel chains for families in Europe.
Gulf Coast and California Beaches
As soon as the weather starts to warm, many families will be drawn to the sun and surf of great beach towns in southern states. The Gulf Coast is one popular place with families. Enjoy the nature preserves, white sand beaches, and casual seafood restaurants.
In California, get your thrills at the country's few remaining oceanside amusement parks, such as Santa Cruz's Beach Boardwalk or visit an iconic California beach town like Pismo Beach. You can even go camping on the beach in most locations like Laguna or Monterey.
The Atlantis Resort might be on your family's spring break must-do list. From snorkeling through underwater ruins to zooming through a shark tank in a transparent tube, the roster of exciting experiences at the iconic mega-resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas is staggering. There are activities for all age groups.
Called "America's best idea" by the historian Wallace Stegner, our national park system offers families a wonderfully affordable way to visit our most cherished and beautiful landscapes, view wildlife in their natural habitat, learn about geological and cultural history, and appreciate the great outdoors. Spring is shoulder season in most parks, so you'll find fewer crowds.
San Diego is ideal for families. Enjoy the beach, Balboa Park, with the famed San Diego Zoo, or go whale watching. San Diego’s famous gray whale-watching season stretches from December through April.
The kids may love a visit the USS Midway, an aircraft-carrier-turned-museum, open to the public.
At many top resorts in the West, ski season runs into April and prices drop on late-season lodging and lift tickets. Family-friendly ski resorts offer lessons and special spring package deals. March, for example, can be warm yet there is still enough snow for skiing and boarding. Sometimes t-shirts and shorts are in order for spring skiing.
Amelia Island, Florida
If you are looking for an upscale yet kid-friendly beach resort in northeastern Florida, the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort is a terrific choice. The grounds sprawl across 1,350 vast acres on the tip of a beautiful barrier island just off the coast and the resort offers 3.5 miles of pristine beach. There are so many ways for families to have fun, like a waterpark, mini-golf, and an arcade, it would be impossible to do them all in just one visit.
Colonial Williamsburg belongs right at the top of every family's to-do list. No living-history attraction delivers a more immersive experience into 18th-century Colonial times, offering the chance for you and your kids to rub shoulders with America's "founding fathers" and eat, work, and play like revolutionaries.
At Kingsmill Resort, family packages may include accommodations, Fun Card tickets to Busch Gardens and one-day tickets to Colonial Williamsburg, and breakfast daily. There's a free shuttle service to and from both attractions.
Spring is a particularly wonderful time to stay at The Broadmoor, a sprawling, grand resort in the Colorado Rockies where families can take advantage of lower rates, a kids’ club, horseback riding, pee-wee tennis, an on-site bowling alley, and more.
The Spring Break Getaway Package offers a discount off suite prices. Kids 10 and under eat free from the children's menu when accompanied by a paying adult, and you can score a 20-percent discount on golf greens fees and a discounted adult ticket at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.