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29 Unforgettable Spring Break Destinations for Families in the US

Charleston, South Carolina

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Most families have an automatic vacation destination in mind. It’s the one we’ve been to before that’s been reliably fun for the whole family.

We want to relive those wonderful vacation moments, but sometimes, we can get stuck in a rut repeating the same destinations. 

First, consider your family’s vacation style. Is your idea of an outdoor adventure lying on a beach or sitting quietly fishing? That’s a different vacation style than someone who wants to go ziplining, snorkeling, or skiing.

Are you looking for relaxation or an active adventure? Do you crave more nature, or do you prefer shopping, dining, and recreational options close at hand? Do you always vacation the exact same way, or have you ever shaken it up a little? 

In my mind, the best vacations are the simplest ones. They have elements of adventure and relaxation, but they don’t necessarily involve falling into every tourist trap or filling up a schedule of activities that no room left to savor and explore.

There’s room for spontaneity and imperfection, and it allows me to adjust my expectations to travel with small humans. We haven’t traveled as widely as I like, but that doesn’t mean I’m not always looking for our next spring break destination.

29 Unforgettable Spring Break Destinations for Families in the US

The following list offers 29 unforgettable spring break destinations that are fun for the whole family.

If you’ve been looking to travel and shake up your spring break to make new family memories, these ideas can help you start to think a little further afield. Here are the spring break destinations you haven’t yet fallen in love with:

1. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama

Photo: Analisenixon, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Skip the party atmosphere of Panama City Beach, Florida, and head over to nearby Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, located in Alabama. Although it’s been years since I’ve visited Gulf Shores, I have fond memories there.

Expect to find white sand beaches and turquoise water. The beaches are more laid back and have less of a party vibe that’s perfect for families.

Plus, there’s tons to do. You can relax on the beach, swim in the water, go on fishing excursions, visit a local fun park, or enjoy a water adventure like parasailing or renting a wave runner. 

2. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

If you feel like checking off a major U.S. bucket list item, you could plan a spring break trip to Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.

Just keep this in mind: You won’t be the only traveler who’s had this idea, so you can expect it to be busy but not quite as busy as the summer season. It’s also going to be cooler than a beach destination. You might even see snow!

Activities in the park include hiking, boat tours, a visit to the Grand Canyon Village, and plenty of great conditions for spectacular family selfies. Just remember to pack sunscreen, water, and comfortable shoes for hiking. 

3. Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, city entrance
Photo: Marine 69-71, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sedona, Arizona, is one of those unforgettable vacation destinations that can be fun for the whole family.

You can take easy hikes that are appropriate for the ages and fitness levels of your family, book a jeep tour, stargaze at the Lowell Observatory, and snag a “dirt shirt” dyed red like the rocks around Sedona.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg for activities in Sedona. Go fishing, make pottery at an art center, go bowling, or splurge on a hot air balloon ride. From fun playgrounds to spectacular outdoor adventures, there’s something for every member of the family. 

4. Napa Valley, California

When I think of Napa Valley, I think of wine tours and tastings, which might not seem like a natural trip for the whole family. However, I’d be wrong to think that. It turns out that Napa has much to see and do for all ages!

Hiking and bike rental are two popular activities for families, but you can also discover wineries that offer juice options for younger travelers. While in Napa Valley, see the Old Faithful Geyer erupt, visit Oxbow Public Market for shopping, and check out the amazing murals along Downtown Napa’s Rail Arts District.

5. San Diego, California

Photo by Sira Mas

San Diego, California, is a popular spring break destination for families — and with good reason. The three biggest attractions are SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, and LEGOLAND California.

Other attractions include the Maritime Museum of San Diego, the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum, Fleet Science Center featuring Kid City and over 100 interactive exhibits, the New Children’s Museum, the San Diego Air and Space Museum, the San Diego Natural History Museum, and many more!

With so many museums, you’ll find something to do no matter the weather. You’ll also find plenty of beaches and parks sure to get out their energy and allow you time to relax.

San Diego really is a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure destination with everything from relaxing days at the beach to amusement parks to keep your family entertained. 

6. San Francisco, California

San Francisco is a destination I visited long before I had children, but I can see the appeal to taking the whole family for an unforgettable spring break vacation. Just off the top of my head, there’s Golden Gate Park, Fisherman’s Wharf, and tours at Alcatraz.

The whole family can have fun riding the historic cable cars, and The Exploratorium offers a chance for hands-on learning fun.

Other activities include Madam Toussaud’s Wax Museum, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Pier 39’s sea lions, Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze, The Flyer Thrill Zone, and the Instagram-worthy Umbrella Alley.

There’s plenty to see and do, and you won’t get bored on this amazing family vacation.

7. Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite National Park is another amazing family vacation destination — and one you won’t forget any time soon. This is on my bucket list, and although I haven’t yet checked it off, I know that there’s plenty to see and do for all ages.

You can hike, fish, and check out the waterfalls in the park, but that’s not all there is to do. Keep in mind that it can be snowy this time of year during your visit to the park, so have other activities in mind in case of inclement weather.

There’s a Fossil Discovery Center nearby, and you might want to stop and visit the World Famous Talking Bear. Enjoy a ride on a steam train at Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad or learn how to pan for gold on your visit.

Yosemite combines natural beauty with a fun learning experience that your family will remember for years to come! 

8. Breckenridge, Colorado

When I think of spring break, my mind automatically goes to the beach, but it’s not the only option for a family vacation. While some are certainly choosing the surf, your family might want to consider playing in the snow.

There’s so much to do in Breckenridge during the spring. You can sled at Carter Park, take sleigh rides with Clydesdales, go ice skating at Stephen C. West Ice Arena, enjoy a hot tub soak at Breckenridge Recreation Center.

You can even book a private ski lesson for the whole family. Did I mention that Fuzzywigs Candy Factory can be found on Main Street? Add that to your list! This destination can be crowded, so you’ll want to book in advance — and that includes your dining plans. 

9. Amelia Island, Florida

If a snowy vacation just isn’t for you, consider heading to Amelia Island, Florida, located at the very northeastern tip of the state.

The island isn’t as crowded as many other beach destinations, and you’ll find beautiful beaches, charming shops, a local lighthouse, biking trails, and even horseback riding on the beach. It’s been years since I’ve been to Amelia Island, but it’s certainly a charming beach destination with plenty of good food, cute shops, and white sand beaches.

In fact, it’s the perfect destination if you don’t want to spend your entire spring break going from one tourist trap to another.

Instead, keep it simple. Relax on the beach, take a leisurely walk around town, rent a bike, visit a lighthouse, and go right back to building sandcastles or lounging around the pool. 

10. Cocoa Beach, Florida

Cocoa Beach, Florida, also makes the list as an unforgettable family spring break destination. Kayaking is a great way to see local wildlife, including dolphins and manatees that call Cocoa Beach’s waters home.

You can visit the Pier for great views, food, and shopping, or you can stop by the iconic Ron Jon’s Surf Shop to pick up souvenirs or visit a nearby surf rental. Brevard Zoo and Andretti Thrill Park offer options for a fun family adventure.

There are 900 animals at the zoo, and the Thrill Park offers mini golf, ropes courses, go-karts, laser tag, and more! You can also check out NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. You’ll have all the spring beach getaway of your dreams in Cocoa Beach.

11. Navarre Beach, Florida

Navarre Beach sunset

Navarre Beach, Florida, is a lesser-known family destination, but it’s a great place to visit if you want a relaxing beach vacation with white sand beaches. There’s a sea turtle conservation center, the Gulf Breeze Zoo, and snorkeling options in the reefs near shore.

You’ll want to carve out time to visit The Twist for the best ice cream around. Every day, they offer new flavors to try. Navarre isn’t a party destination, and it’s perfect for families.

You can see the filming location of Jaws 2, have dinner with a view at a local restaurant, and stop by the playground and splash pad. 

12. Orlando, Florida

Orlando, Florida, makes the list as an unforgettable family vacation destination for one reason alone: Walt Disney World. Grab your mouse ears and consider taking your family on an amazing spring break trip to Disney.

While this is certainly one of the more expensive destinations, it’s usually a family bucket list location. You can visit Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios.

If you stay in a resort on the Disney property, you’ll be sure to have access to swimming, shopping, dining, and more! Just be sure to make time for rest to give the whole family a break from the hustle and bustle of visiting this theme park. 

13. Golden Isle Barrier Islands of Georgia

Wally the Whale, St. Simons Island, Georgia, US
Photo by Crystal Jackson

The Golden Isle barrier islands of Georgia aren’t as well-known as some of the Florida destinations, but they are certainly worth a visit.

There’s Tybee Island, St. Simons Island, Jekyll Island, and the Cumberland Island National Seashore — just to name a few. I’ve been to these islands and can heartily recommend them for your next family spring break vacation.

Each of the barrier islands has beautiful white sand beaches and plenty of parks and playgrounds nearby for young children. You’ll find shops, restaurants, and activities all along the Georgia coast. 

14. Savannah, Georgia

Forsyth Park, Savannah
Forsyth Park, Savannah- Photo by Crystal Jackson

Savannah is a personal family favorite when it comes to unforgettable family spring break destinations. It’s located near Tybee Island, which also gives you a beach option on your visit.

Savannah’s moss-covered live oaks make it a scenic destination, but one of the best parts of the city is the ease of navigation. It’s a city planned out in squares, so it’s easy to find your way if you get turned around.

Make your way to River Street and be sure to sample praline pecans at Savannah’s Candy Kitchen. Watch the barges move up and down the river while enjoying lunch or an ice cream cone, and don’t forget to walk around and view the spectacular gardens, sculptures, and fountains around the city.

If your kids love all things spooky, consider a ghost tour or a walk through the historic cemetery. Make plans to visit Forsyth Park to take pictures by its iconic fountain and to let your kids run wild on the playground. 

15. Oahu, Hawaii

Oahu is another spectacular family spring break destination you won’t soon forget. Although I haven’t yet visited this destination, it nears the top of my bucket list. There are gorgeous beaches, scenic drives, and even a lush botanical garden.

You can even visit the Dole Plantation to see the pineapples and find hiking trails that lead to beautiful waterfalls. You can taste chocolate at the Manoa Chocolate Factory and Tasting Room.

Go snorkel at one of the many public beaches or make time to visit the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. You can see sea turtles on Oahu, and you’ll want to check out the Halona Blowhole if there are strong waves.

Watch surfers, hula dancers, and more on your visit. Just be sure to pack reef-safe sunscreen for your trip and respect the natural environment by cleaning up after yourself as you go leaving no trace behind. 

16. Chicago, Illinois 

Chicago is another major U.S. city that deserves a mention here. You can have an epic family spring break trip by visiting any of the following locations:

  • Adler Planetarium- for stargazing and hands on space exhibits
  • Field Museum- for natural history and to see a full T-Rex skeleton
  • Shedd Aquarium- with a polar play zone, 4D theatre, and tons of ocean life
  • SkyDeck Chicago- for a glass platform above the city
  • 360CHICAGO- for panoramic views 
  • Maggie Daley Park- for mini golf, a climbing wall, a play garden, and rollerblading path
  • Lincoln Park Zoo- for animal lovers 
  • Museum of Science and Industry- for the largest science museum in the western hemisphere 
  • Chicago Children’s Museum- for indoor play
  • Navy Pier- to ride the Centennial Wheel and other amusement park rides

This might be one of the busier family destinations, but you can make time to relax between spectacular vacation destinations. Remember: keep things simple. Do what you feel like doing on your spring break trip, and skip the rest. 

17. Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee, is near the area where I grew up, and I can easily recommend it as a great family spring break destination. You don’t have to be a country music fan (I’m not) to enjoy a visit to Music City.

There’s an Adventure Science Center and trips down the river in the General Jackson Showboat. You can visit the Gaylord Opryland Resort to see an indoor waterpark and other attractions.

While you’re in town, try to get tickets to a Nashville Predators hockey game. The fans go wild for the Predators, and you’re sure to have a fun time at a game. 

18. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is yet another unforgettable spring break destination that’s fun for the whole family. Visit the French Quarter and sample beignets served up with a cafe au lait or hot chocolate. Take a mule-drawn carriage ride at Jackson Square.

Ride through the Garden District on a St. Charles Streetcar and make time to visit the Audubon Zoo. There’s a Carousel Gardens Amusement Park with fun activities for all ages, and don’t miss out on the Louisiana Children’s Museum — especially on rainy days.

From beautiful city streets and buildings to street performers and a rich culture, NOLA is a great destination for any spring break traveler. 

19. Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas might not be your idea of a family-friendly vacation, but it certainly can be with a little planning.

There’s a Discovery Children’s Museum and the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, and there’s an Adventuredome Theme Park with indoor rides and arcade games. The Big Apple Coaster and Arcade is located in the New York-New York Hotel.

Circus Circus offers carnival and circus acts, and there’s a wildlife habitat inside the Flamingo Hotel. That’s only a few of the fun family-friendly things you can do on your visit.

Check out the shows if you find one that interests you (Cirque du Soleil is always a crowd-pleaser), or simply check out the kid and family-friendly attractions throughout Vegas. 

20. New York, New York

Central Park — Photo by Crystal Jackson

New York City is one of my family’s all-time favorite vacation destinations. From Central Park to Broadway shows, there’s plenty to see and do. It’s one of those destinations where you can do as much or as little as you prefer and still have a great time.

Play tourist and ride to the top of the Empire State Building or take the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. Ride the carousel in Central Park or visit the Central Park Zoo.

See a family-friendly show on Broadway and be delighted by performances at the Stardust Diner nearby while you grab lunch or dinner on your way.

Visit the lions at the Central Park Library and wander the stacks at The Strand for your next read.

Walk the highline and don’t forget to visit Battery Park to ride the Seaglass Carousel. Go ice skating or visit a museum. Just have fun with it! You can’t go wrong with a NYC vacation! 

21. Outer Banks, North Carolina

The Outer Banks in North Carolina might be easy to overlook, but there are good reasons to make this your next spring break destination.

The beach is easily the main attraction, but you can also visit the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, take a tour of the Wright Brothers National Memorial, check out the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, and take a fishing boat charter to explore the waters beyond the beaches.

This relaxed coastal destination is family-friendly and perfect for a relaxed spring break trip. 

22. San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico, is a destination that might not have made your spring break bucket list — yet. There are plenty of beaches, and you’ll want to include Bioluminescent Bay on your list of destinations.

Old San Juan offers plenty of shops and restaurants for your visit, and you’ll want to try the local pizza and gelato conveniently located there. You can snorkel, zipline, and even visit a rainforest, but don’t feel bad if you spend each and every day soaking in the beauty of the beach and do little else. 

23. Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina
Photo by Crystal Jackson

Charleston is a beautiful spring break destination. Actually, it’s a beautiful any time of year vacation destination. Take a carriage tour to learn about the history of this charming city. Visit a street market to try out local specialities and shop local crafts.

Stop to take pictures by the pineapple fountain, and don’t forget to visit one of Charleston’s many beaches. Folly Beach was a family favorite as we played in the water and enjoyed watching surfers catch waves.

While there are plenty of museums and tourist destinations to visit, I have fond memories of the southern food in the area and the gorgeous beaches.

For my family, that alone was enough to make an entire vacation, but if you want a more active vacation, there’s plenty you’ll find to do in Charleston from outdoor adventures to shopping to historic museums. 

24. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

myrtle beach market common
Photo by Maggie Kelly

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is a popular spring break destination for families. While it might be too cool for a dip in the ocean, you can find hotels with heated or indoor pools.

The oceanfront boardwalk offers shopping and restaurants, and you don’t want to miss the SkyWheel. Myrtle Beach stays popular because of its many entertainment options.

There’s Broadway at the Beach, Ripley’s Aquarium, a Hollywood Wax Museum, and the Soar + Explore Zipline and Ropes Course.

You’ll also want to make time for Barefoot Landing with its carousel, playground, shopping, and dining options. If your crew gets bored easily, you’ll find plenty to do in Myrtle Beach.

25. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga, Tennessee — Photo by Crystal Jackson

Chattanooga, Tennessee, is another family favorite of mine. Coolidge Park in the downtown area is home to a beautiful 100-year-old indoor carousel as well as a fun splash pad.

Take the Walnut Street Walking Bridge across to visit the Bluff View Art District and to get a spectacular view of the city over the river.

Visit the Tennessee Aquarium to explore ocean and river habitats, and make sure you earmark some time for the Classic Arcade Pinball Museum.

Starting in April, you can take a tour on the Chattanooga Ducks that goes from downtown straight into the river. Take a passenger train around Lookout Mountain on your visit and add Incline Railway, Ruby Falls with its underground waterfall, and Rock City to your itinerary. You’ll be able to see seven states from one iconic spot in Rock City. 

26. Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

One of my favorite spring break destinations for families in the US is Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

This town boasts at least 80 local attractions. While many families head straight to Disney, consider heading to Dollywood instead, the amusement park owned by America’s sweetheart Dolly Parton.

There are over 40 rides and attractions at Dollywood, but the strongest point in its favor is its accessibility to neurodiverse visitors. There are sensory sensitive park hours and a calming room for guests who become overstimulated.

While there are many things to recommend about Dollywood, the inclusive policies remain a powerful draw to families like mine who require accommodations. 

27. San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, Texas, has much to see and do for families on spring break.

This unforgettable vacation destination features the San Antonio Zoo, the Japanese Tea Garden, the San Antonio Botanical Garden, SeaWorld, Six Flags, and the accessible Morgan’s Wonderland theme park.

You can rent a bike, attend a rodeo, or simply explore the shops and restaurants along the River Walk. Learn about the rich history of the area or have an exciting adventure — the choice is yours.

28. Washington, DC

Washington, DC — Photo by Crystal Jackson

Washington, DC, is easily one of the most unforgettable spring break family destinations. Visit the White House to see it for yourself, but if you want a tour, you’ll need to register months in advance.

Check out the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. You’ll want to explore the many Smithsonian Museums and the National Geographic Museum.

Some of my favorite points of interest include the International Spy Museum, the U.S. Botanic Garden with scavenger hunts and a hands-on children’s garden, and the Mansion on O Street and O Street Musuem with 80 secret doors.

Capitol Hill, the National Mall, and Georgetown are all big attractions for visitors. There’s so much to see and do that you’ll want to make sure that you take some time to simply savor your surroundings. 

29. Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone Park at Sunset
Photo: Wikimedia Commons – Yellowstone Park at Sunset

Yellowstone National Park might be last on this particular list but never least. This is a truly unforgettable destination and makes for a memorable family spring break. Families can camp, hike, and soak in the natural beauty.

Visit the Grand Prismatic Spring (pictured above), drive through Lamar Valley to see area bison and elk, check out the waterfall at Yellowstone Canyon, and stand in awe at the Upper Geyser Basin.

You’ll see the Old Faithful Geyser along with many others. There’s horseback riding and zip lining available in the park, but you might just want to take it easy and enjoy a scenic ride through Yellowstone to soak in the natural sights and wildlife. 

In Short

There are so many places in the United States to visit for a truly epic and unforgettable family spring break.

You probably have that place you usually go, but what if this year, you tried something different? What if this year was the year where your family made a wonderful core memory together? 

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