With spring break and warming temperatures, April is an especially popular time for families with children to take a pre-summer vacation. If you have kids, it's important to find the balance between a trip that's entertaining for everyone and also easy on the bank account. Fortunately, all types of events throughout April and in all parts of the country can help you and you are family enjoy an exciting and affordable vacation.
Spring break in most schools—from elementary to universities—falls sometime in early April, so this is the busiest and most expensive time in the month to travel. Even though most families don't have the freedom to take an end-of-month trip in April since kids are back in class, you'll find much better deals and less crowded attractions if you can swing a later vacation.
The nation’s capital is worthy of a trip any time of year, but in early springtime, the city is at its most spectacular. Every year from late March to mid-April, millions of visitors head to Washington, D.C., during the Cherry Blossom Festival to see thousands of cherry trees in bloom along the tidal basin. Dates vary from year to year, depending on the weather, but the average peak bloom occurs at the beginning of April.
The Cherry Blossom Festival is much more than just looking at trees. It's an entire month of events that celebrate cherry blossoms, Japanese culture, and the planet in general. Many of the activities are interactive and geared toward children, so your little ones are sure to find something they enjoy. Parents can also enjoy activities designed for adults, such as sake tastings and other cultural events.
Looking for Easter hop-penings? In many school districts, spring break coincides with the Easter holiday, which means you can travel while enjoying all kinds of special holiday-related activities such as hunting for eggs, seeing the Easter bunny, and enjoying lavish brunches.
If you're already in Washington, D.C., for the Cherry Blossom Festival, you can head to the White House Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn for an unforgettable Easter event. But if you are looking for an event with less pomp and circumstance, you can similar events all across the country. Many amusement parks, hotels, and other tourist locations often host some type of event for Easter geared toward kids. Check with your accommodations or in local event guides to see what's happening near you.
Kids who love pancakes and waffles will go crazy about a trip into the maple orchards of the northeast to make their own maple syrup. The period between winter and spring is the sweetest time for tapping local trees around New England and Quebec, Canada, to extract the sappy inside and make maple syrup. Kids can grab a bucket and collect what they can, before bringing it back to the "sugar shack" where it's transformed into the syrup we all know and love.
Vermont is the state that produces the most maple syrup in the U.S., but that's not the only place where you can participate in this fun outdoor event. Maple trees can be found in all of the neighboring states, including Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Upstate New York. You can even go as far as Ohio to tap maple trees. However, you'll need to cross the border to get to the region with the most maple trees, which is in Quebec, Canada.
Disney World is celebrating spring with its annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival held from March through May. It's a wonderful bonus that's included with your regular park ticket. The annual event is a highlight of Disney World's springtime calendar, bringing spectacular landscaping and amazingly creative topiaries to Epcot.
It's a beautiful time to visit the park, but be aware that spring break is one of the most popular times of the year to visit Florida in general and Disney World in particular. If you're traveling in the first two weeks of the month, rates for hotels and flights are likely to be much higher than average. If you can go in the latter part of the month, it will be much easier to find travel deals and avoid long lines.
Road trips can be difficult with young kids, who easily get bored in the car and incessantly ask, "Are we there yet?" However, it's usually one of the most economical ways to get around, especially for large families when buying several plane tickets isn't a feasible option.
Thankfully, springtime is full of exciting landscapes and events around the country to add some excitement to the long drives. In California, the wildflowers are fully in bloom by April and add a vibrant pop of color to the verdant hills. The Texas Hill Country is also blooming with the brightly colored bluebonnets in an impressive display of azure. Many of the country's national parks are also in prime season for visiting, whether you go to see the flowering cacti of Saguaro National Park or the newly born baby animals bouncing around Yellowstone.
This annual citywide celebration of San Antonio’s rich history, culture, and heritage takes place every April and lasts for an entire week. It's been going on annually since 1891 and started as a celebration to commemorate the Battle at the Alamo. The festival comprises more than 100 Fiesta events, including 11 different parades, multi-cultural food, music and dancing, arts and crafts, lavishly dressed Fiesta royalty, and more.
It's one of the largest city celebrations in the state and the country, and if you're around Texas in April, this event is worth a spot on your itinerary.
Narcisse Snake Dens in Manitoba, Canada
Is your kid fascinated with snakes? Plan a bucket-list trip to the Narcisse Snake Dens in Manitoba, Canada, where you'll find the world's largest concentration of harmless garter snakes. Every spring, the dens come alive with tens of thousands of red-sided garter snakes as they slither to the surface from their winter dens and come out to mate. It's a fascinating phenomenon and a trip your kids will never forget—hopefully because they enjoy it and not because it provokes a lifelong case of ophidiophobia.
Temperate weather and a calendar full of fun make April a fantastic time to visit New Orleans. The festivals go on all month, from Pyrate Week (which actually lasts two weeks, not one) to the French Quarter Festival, New Orleans Jazz Festival and, finally, the New Orleans Giant Puppet Festival. You may associate New Orleans with wild hedonism and adults-only fun, but the bacchanalia of Mardi Gras is long over by the time April comes around. The festivals that take place during April in New Orleans are fun for the whole family, and you can be sure your kids will love them just as much as they'll love stuffing their faces with delicious beignets.