The Best Spring Break Ideas for Family Vacations

Plan a memorable trip parents and kids will enjoy equally.

Zion National Park
Photo: MargaretW/Getty Images

The kids are getting restless and so are you. Maybe the idea of braving the wind and chill just one more day makes it difficult to climb out of bed in the morning. Or maybe your 10-year-old is at the point where it seems like the relentless amount of homework is never going to come to an end. With schools across the country ramping up for a well-deserved week off, there's a reason why the spring break holiday is one of the best and most convenient times to plan a family vacation to a dreamy destination — whatever that means to you and your family. Here are some of our favorite spring break ideas, from the classic theme parks and tropical islands to out-of-the-box adventures.

01 of 09

Orlando, Florida

Disney World Orlando

Disney might be the most obvious choice, but if you’ve yet to see what the hype is all about, you’re in for a real treat. Even if you have been to Orlando dozens of times, the parks are always opening tons of new attractions for you to get excited about. In 2023, that includes the relaunch of Splash Mountain as Tiana's Bayou Adventure and this year will be an especially magical year as the park celebrates its 100th anniversary.

Disneyland’s Food & Wine festival
isn’t just for adults, either. The festival, which runs until April 25, 2023 offers family-friendly activities, including a cooking experience with Disney chefs.

02 of 09

Washington, D.C.

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms
Zrfphoto/Getty Images

Every spring, the nation's capital bursts with color, attracting an average of 1.5 million tourists to see over 3,000 pink trees decorate the Tidal Basin. This year the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival starts March 20 and ends April 16, and includes a number of fun events on the itinerary, such as bike tours, performances, and craft making. To plan your trip during peak bloom, follow the cherry blossom forecast for the latest updates.

In addition to the springtime blossoms, D.C. is chock-full of free museums and gardens, so you can bring the whole family without overspending on things to do. From the National Museum of Natural History to the U.S. Botanic Garden, National Air and Space Museum, and National Zoo, kids and adults alike will find a neverending supply of attractions.

Families visiting the city this spring will also be pleased to find the International Spy Museum with a whole range of activities. Kids can learn about real-life spies and put their own skills to their test through interactive exhibitions and installations.

03 of 09

Wisconsin Dells

Kalahari Resort
Courtesy of Kalahari Resorts & Conventions

Although it’s chilly this side of the Midwest in March and April, the Waterpark Capital of the World — and the pioneers of the indoor waterpark and home to the country's largest water park— rightfully lays claim to some of the world’s best indoor waterparks.

Kalahari Resorts & Conventions has everything you could ever dream of: water coasters, water slides, raft rides, wave simulators, a lazy river, and, for the grownups, a swim-up bar and cabana. If you need to regain your land legs, the resort also has an indoor adventure park, complete with an arcade, mini golf course, laser tag, and rides.

With four indoor water parks, the Wilderness Resort is another fan favorite among families. Klondike Kavern serves up a whole range of attractions, including raft rides, body slides, a lazy river, and Slideboarding. Wild Waterdome Waterpark, on the other hand, proclaims the largest indoor wave pool in America and Wild West Waterpark has bumper boats and even more thrill rides.

When you’ve had your fill of swim and play, consider checking out an illusion show at the Rick Wilcox Magic Theater, or spending a day at Knuckleheads Trampoline and Indoor Amusement Park, where you’ll find cosmic bowling lanes and the Dells’ only trampoline park.

04 of 09

Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park
MargaretW/Getty Images

While the Grand Canyon is a go-to destination for families on Spring Break, you are likely to find smaller crowds at Zion National Park in Utah. The park — with its soaring sandstone cliffs and hanging gardens — offers plenty of kid-friendly hikes that are short and easy-to-navigate, including the Pa’rus Trail and the Canyon Overlook Trail.

Outside the park, southern Utah's sandstone valleys have plenty more to offer families on the hunt for beautiful views. Adrenaline-seekers can try out the Above Zion Via Ferrata, a guided climb in which you'll explore the rockface while clipped onto a pre-installed metal route — approved for ages 8 to 80! This Utah spring break idea can also be an opportunity to book an unforgettable accommodation like Open Sky, a glamping resort with luxury tents that feature all the comforts of home with plenty of windows for stargazing. Under Canvas Zion is another luxury camping resort that also offers kids tents that can be set up alongside the main tent.

05 of 09

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Hilton Head
Courtesy of The Hilton Head Island Visitor & Convention Bureau

The best island in the continental U.S. just so happens to be a haven for outdoorsy children. Start your trip by renting a few bikes and exploring the island through Hilton Head’s many bike trails. Continue the adventure with a zipline ride through South Carolina’s lowcountry, followed by a pirate-themed cruise aboard a pirate ship. While you’re there, be sure to carve out time to explore the Coastal Discovery Museum, a 68-acre property full of trails that take you through beautiful live oak trees, gardens, and historic buildings. If you’re particularly fond of animals, you can also go horseback riding at the Sea Pines Resort, and spot deer, birds, and alligators at Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge.

With twelve miles of beaches, you will also want to leave some space for soaking up the sun. Whether you catch some rays at Coligny Beach Park or Folly Field Beach Park, you’ll find pristine sands and stunning sunsets.

06 of 09

Keyston, Colorado

Keystone Resort
Daniel Milchev / Keystone Resort

If your family prefers snow to sand, Keystone Resort is one of the best kid-friendly ski destinations in the country. With over 3,000 acres of terrain across three peaks in the Rocky Mountains, skiers of all skill levels can find a trail to meet their fancy — but if your child is a first-time skier, you can sign them up for one, two, or three-day lessons at the resort’s Ski and Ride School.

When you’re ready to take off the skis, you can twirl your way around two ice skating venues: Lakeside Village and Dercum Square in River Run Village. Kids will also love climbing through the impressive snow forts that bring winter fantasies to life. Kidtopia, Keystone’s kids’ program (i.e. playground), also offers activities like family snowshoeing, face painting, and fireworks. After exploring the fun by the fort, finish your trek to the top of Dercum Mountain, where the whole family can enjoy eight lanes of snow tubing.

07 of 09

Florida Keys, Florida

Key West Shipwreck Museum
Andylid/Getty Images

If your kids can’t get enough of wildlife, the Florida Keys are sure to impress while you also enjoy a tropical beach vacation. Go to the Eco-Discovery Center for an introduction to the local marine ecosystem, followed by a trip to the Key West Aquarium, where kids can touch and hold starfish, sea cucumbers, and conches. Later, head to the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory to see 50 to 60 butterfly species, over 20 bird species, flamingos, and turtles.

But there are more to the Keys than marine animals. At Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, you can dive into Civil War history at the 153-year-old fort, and at the Key West Shipwreck Museum, kids can touch treasures salvaged from a sunken ship. If you’re craving adventure, consider taking a glassbottom boat or kayak through John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, snorkeling at Sombrero Reef, and parasailing in Key Largo.

08 of 09

San Diego, California

San Diego Zoo

"America’s Finest City" is a wonderland of even more kid-friendly parks, beaches, museums, and hikes. After a trip to the San Diego Zoo, be sure to see some of Balboa Park’s other 84 attractions, like the San Diego Natural History Museum and the Fleet Science Center. And if you have a car, you and the kids may want to take a day trip to nearby LEGOLAND California, which has over 60 rides, shows, activities, and a water park.

The city’s stunning beaches are not to be missed, either. Grab some bikes and ride the Bayshore Bikeway, making a pit stop at the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge on your way to Imperial Beach. As one of the top family beaches in the U.S. Coronado Beach — with its paddle boarding, boogie boarding, and tidepools — should also be on your radar. La Jolla Shores is a prime place to ride bikes and see sunbathing seals and sea lions. While you’re oceanside, book a whale watching cruise to see if you can catch the aquatic mammals during peak migration season.

09 of 09

A Family Cruise

Carnival Cruise
Icholakov/Getty Images

For moms and dads who are too busy to plan the logistics of a family vacation, cruises are the golden solution. There’s no need to worry about where you're going to eat or how you’re going to get from one attraction to the next: everything is all taken care of for you. Most cruise ships have kid and teen programs that offer plenty of activities and excursions to keep your children busy.

Consider that there are many different types of cruises beyond the classic Caribbean romps. Some of the best cruise lines for families offer European river routes and expeditions to hard-to-reach corners of the globe, from the charming French villages of the River Seine to the biodiversity of Ecuador's Galapagos Islands.

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