Spring break isn't just for the college kids to drop the pens, take off the thinking cap, and hit wild beach parties. It's also a prime time of year for you and the little ones to put together an adventure. From March to April there are all sorts of unforgettable and wholesome destinations in full swing, which is why this selection of spring break ideas for families has everything from snow-doused ski trips to sun-splashed sandcastle building by the ocean.
Spring break family vacations on the beach
The best spring break vacations for families are often on the sands. It's easy to see why. As winter drifts into memory, there's no better way to celebrate slinging off the sub-zero temperatures than with a bout of boardshorts and boardwalks. The spots below are tried-and-tested favorites.
Skip Myrtle Beach for Hilton Head
The famous Grand Strand around Myrtle Beach might have way more accommodation options, but Hilton Head is where families should look for their spring break rest and relaxation on the edge of the Carolinas. There are loads of reasons why, from bike tours up wild boardwalk trails to mind-boggling crazy golf rounds, not to mention stacks of multi-bedroom homes with views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Galveston – sand, science shows, and classic arcades
Galveston's Seawall is a 10-mile-long stretch of cinnamon-tinted sand and lapping Gulf waters, where days of buckets and spades, picnicking, and swimming are easy to string together. Closer to town is where the Pleasure Pier erupts, offering brightly lit gaming arcades and spinning carousels. And then there are the adrenaline-pumping water parks, and Moody Gardens' curious science exhibits. It's enough to exhaust any family crew.
San Diego can entertain all ages
San Diego doesn't only have the splashing aquariums and amusement parks of Mission Bay. It's also got bohemian surf villages with board rentals, and a gun-touting Old Town where saloon doors and adobe buildings hearken back to the Wild West. Oh, and there are also spectacular beaches – apartment rentals along Coronado or in La Jolla are perfect for being close to those.
Spring break for families who love the mountains
Wax down the walking boots, ready the skis and salopettes, and bring out the hiking maps – the spring break ideas for families that are listed below are all about hitting the pistes or going off piste on walking paths. They whisk you away to wooded ranges and glimmering alpine lakes, offering something a little more active than your usual beach-side R&R.
Strap in for Yosemite National Park
The hulking granite summits of Yosemite Valley aren't only magnets for daring free climbers. They've also got tempting adventures for families. Budding rock scalers can get in the harness and learn how to conquer the boulders around Tuolumne Meadows. The forests are filled with giant sequoias that would need 50 toddlers to hug their base. And Half Dome Village has acclaimed ice-cream parlors for when all that's done and dusted.
The ski runs of Lake Tahoe
New to the powder? Start out with a couple of ski lessons on the soft blues of Soda Springs and then graduate up to the wiggling reds of the Northstar California Resort. Both cling to the Sierra Nevada ridges on the northern banks of Lake Tahoe. Some say they are at their very best in spring, when a little extra sunshine makes it easier for families to stay on the slopes all day. And at night? Tahoe is peppered with more hearty Alpine chalets and cozy wood cabins than you can shake a ski pole at.
City spring break trips for families
There's nothing like a good old city break. If you've not got too much time away from the office or schoolroom, a quick short-haul flight and voila – you're there. Then, it's all about wondering at soaring monuments, tasting local food, and just enjoying the vibes of somewhere totally different for a few days during the spring.
St Louis always impresses
Not only is it easy to get to, with a colossal airport and a location between East Coast and West Coast, but St Louis is also a doozy for family travelers. An action-packed 48 hours here could include vertigo-inducing jaunts to the top of the Gateway Arch, encounters with roaring lions in Saint Louis Zoo, sunset rides on retro Mississippi steamers, and hearty Midwestern cooking with a Creole twist in Laclede's Landing neighborhood.
Get ready to dance in New Orleans
The rocking Mardi Gras parades of the Big Easy might be over, but don't got thinking that this city goes to sleep. Not a chance. Bourbon Street still thrums to the rhythms of Delta blues and big band jazz, there are still Sazerac cocktail mixing sessions, and nights of Southern BBQ in the sizzling cookhouses on the Mississippi. To keep the kids on their toes, why not consider renting one of the haunted B&Bs in the French Quarter – that should make some memories.
New York – perhaps the perfect time to visit
With the bulk of the Big Apple's spring breakers retreating to the sandy beaches down south, vacation rentals in New York can be a bargain in February, March, and April. It's also after the Christmas festive rush and before the summer kicks in, which means you might just find a little extra space on the walking paths of Central Park. That's your slice of romance, though, before the kids start demanding tours of Lady Liberty, wild meetings in the Bronx Zoo, and bright-light Broadway shows.