Family Spring Break Ideas in Southeast US

Carolina Beach
Laura Beach / EyeEm / Getty Images

After a long winter, spring break is a popular getaway time for families, and sunny Southeast destinations like Florida and South Carolina are huge magnets for families looking for a boost of vitamin D.

Since different schools schedule their spring break during different weeks, the time period is somewhat hard to pin down. Typically, spring break at schools in the United States falls somewhere between early March and mid-April.

  • 01 of 11
    Sanibel seashell
    Courtesy of The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel

    It's no surprise that sunny Florida is a wildly popular destination for spring breaking families, offering gorgeous beach destinations on both the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast. Top college spring break towns you may want to avoid during this period include Panama City Beach and Fort Myers Beach, which actively promote to college kids. 

  • 02 of 11
    Disney World
     Courtesy of Disney World

    Planning a trip to Disney World with kids? At twice the size of Manhattan, Disney World can be an overwhelming place unless you take advantage of advice from folks who've been there. During spring break, crowds are simply impossible to avoid. Here's how to minimize the wait time for rides and attractions any time of year, and especially when crowds are massive.

  • 03 of 11
    Beach Side
    by Jonathan D. Goforth / Getty Images

    After Florida, South Carolina is the second most popular state for tourism, boasting top beach destinations such as Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head Island. Families love the Southern hospitality, miles of beautiful beaches and laid-back, kid-friendly vibe. These resorts are among the very best the Palmetto State has to offer.

  • 04 of 11
    Outer Banks
    Zach Frailey/Getty Images

    Steeped in history and natural beauty, the 200-mile string of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina known as the Outer Banks—and commonly known the OBX—is a popular family destination renowned for its temperate climate and wide expanse of open beachfront.

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  • 05 of 11
    West Beach
    Courtesy of West Beach

    With 32 miles of spectacular, sugar-white beaches and a raft load of outdoor activities and family attractions, the neighboring towns of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are premier family beach vacation destinations.

  • 06 of 11

    Great Smoky Mountain National Park

    Misty Sunrise in the Smokies
    Dean Fikar / Getty Images

    The most-visited of all American national parks, Great Smoky Mountains National Park straddles North Carolina and Tennessee and offers breathtaking scenery and wildlife viewing as well as remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture.

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    Chincoteague Ponies
    Bonnie Gruenberg/Wikimedia Commons

    Accessible by boat or by car off Virginia's Eastern coast over the Route 175 bridge, the small and serene Chincoteague Island is the gateway to the Assateague Island National Seashore—a nature refuge that is the home of the herds of wild ponies made famous in the classic children's book Misty of Chincoteague.

  • 08 of 11
    Tybee Lighthouse
    Tybee Island Light Station

    Just 18 miles from Savannah, Tybee Island is a popular family getaway destination. Rich in both history and natural beauty, the barrier island is famous for its seafood and spectacular uninterrupted three-mile beach. Families can explore salt marshes that teem with birds and wildlife unique to Georgia’s coast.

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  • 09 of 11

    Virginia Beach, Virginia

    Virginia Beach
    Visit Virginia Beach

    Virginia Beach is a huge oceanfront resort town and the largest tourist destination in Virginia. Drawn by 20 miles of unbroken beachfront, families have always flocked to here but in recent years the beach playground has gotten a facelift and a fresher, upgraded image. 

  • 10 of 11
    Scenic View Of Beach Against Cloudy Sky
    Gary Syrba / EyeEm / Getty Images

    On the southern coast of North Carolina, Carolina Beach and nearby Kure Beach are less commercially developed than many other beach towns in the Southeast and offer a relaxed, family-friendly vibe. Both Carolina Beach and Kure Beach deliver a classic beach town experience, with lovely stretches of sand and fishing piers. Both towns have boardwalks: Carolina Beach Boardwalk offers seaside amusements and an arcade, while Kure Beach's boardwalk is part of a green, oceanfront park. 

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    Mammoth Cave National Park
    Dave Parfitt

    Bowling Green, Kentucky, is underrated as a family vacation destination. Located a one- hour drive north of Nashville and less than a two-hour drive south of Louisville, the rolling green hills of Kentucky’s Cave Country make for a memorable, quick getaway or a stop on a longer road trip. Here are six fun ways to explore the area.

    Edited by Suzanne Rowan Kelleher