16 best spring break vacation spots for families

Celebrate the end of winter blues—find spring break ideas for families and plan your getaway.
Two parents with a child between them holding hands.
Mom in a national park with her baby.

At long last—it’s time to shake off the winter blues and embrace the sunshine. Spring’s arrival is a perfect time to gather the family up and plan a getaway together—smelling the budding flowers, snapping a photo op at a national park, or digging your toes in the sand. So, where to? Get inspiration below:

Forget the usual hotspots like Miami and Cancun—there are plenty more spring break destinations the whole family will enjoy. Continue reading to learn more about our top picks for this year’s spring break travel, chosen with kid-friendly activities like water parks, children’s museums, and beautiful beaches in mind. Plan a fun-filled family vacation and book a home rental with amenities like outdoor swimming pools, on-site golf courses, hot tubs, and dog-friendly stays.

waterfront vacation rental with pool and lounge chairs in sugarloaf key

1. Sugarloaf Key, Florida

Florida's Lower Keys offers a delightful balance of recreation and relaxation. As a result, more tranquil communities like Sugarloaf Key offer travelers opportunities to experience mangrove-lined waterways and partake in family-friendly activities like fishing, boating, or kayaking near vacation rentals that provide everything needed for a high-end spring getaway.

For example, the Villa of the Setting Sun features a private pool, central air conditioning, a high-end kitchen, multiple bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, two private balconies, a recreational game room, plenty of outdoor dining space, and scenic ocean views. Here, guests can choose their own adventure by launching a kayak or paddleboard at high tide or by taking in the sun and surfing at this little piece of paradise.

Featured spring break family vacation rentals in or near Sugarloaf Key

The backyard of a family friendly vacation rental in Palm Springs, California with a pool.

2. Palm Springs, California

Greet the returning sunshine with a trip to the desert. Not only will you get your fill of Vitamin D, but the city boasts plenty of activities, including glamorous shopping districts, farmers markets, hot springs, and art museums. From Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park’s other-worldly landscape and hiking trails are less than an hour away. The park is home to fantastic hiking trails, panoramic vistas, and desert wildlife, which your kids will love exploring by an off-roading guided Jeep tour.

You won’t find any shortage of putting greens here—there’s a reason Palm Springs is often referred to as “the golf capital of the world.” With more than 130 golf courses in the area, and sunny weather year-round, you can explore the city one fairway at a time.

Featured spring break family vacation rentals in Palm Springs

Vacation rental in Gulf Shores, Alabama

3. Gulf Shores, Alabama

Powdery white-sand beaches come alive with water sports, live music, and the Wharf's long list of attractions. Coastal Alabama’s Gulf Shores and nearby Orange Beach rank high for prime spring break destinations for families. There’s plenty of nightlife in town, but the beaches remain family-friendly through spring break, as there’s no alcohol allowed on the shore.

Along the western end, you’ll find quiet maritime historic sites and Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge’s 7,000 acres of trails and wetlands. Closer to the Florida/Alabama border (or Floribama), beachside towns bustle with amusement parks, water parks, fishing piers, boat and jet ski rentals, and the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. The area boasts 60 miles of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico, making it the dream backdrop for your family adventure.

Featured spring break family vacation rentals in Gulf Shores

Solare Resort Condos on South Padre Island

4. South Padre Island, Texas

South Padre Island, Texas’ only tropical island, packs plenty of fun, like lighthouse tours, nature centers, and warm Gulf waters, of course. The Texas Gulf Coast is a hit for family spring break vacations, between its award-winning beaches, downtown attractions, and water sports like parasailing, snorkeling, and jet skiing.

With pristine, white-sand beaches and 277 days of annual sunshine, you won’t be hard-pressed to find ways to relax. Nearby Padre Island holds the title of the Longest Undeveloped Barrier Island Seashore in the world and is a common home base among sea turtles, dolphins, and migratory birds, so bring a pair of binoculars with your beach towels. Fill your day with amusement park thrills at Gravity Park, head out for a horseback ride on the beach with South Padre Island Adventure Park, or search for seashells on a picnic at Sea Shell Beach. Adults can take advantage of the area’s nearshore reefs, which allow anglers to reel in incredible deep-sea catches or plan a date night at a delicious waterfront restaurant.

Statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse.

5. Disney World in Orlando, FL

Where else can you find a fantastic family spring break destination and the happiest place on Earth? Throw your hands up on a thrilling amusement park ride or catch up with Mickey and Minnie—a wonderland of excitement for the whole family awaits.

Spring break is a busy season for the area, but Orlando, Kissimmee, and Davenport beckon with entertainment options, a swath of kid-friendly activities, and plenty of spacious, private vacation homes for large groups and families (not to mention all the resort-style amenities). Save your spot in the heart of the action or on the outskirts when you need a break from the crowds. When you’re not racing around on coasters at Disney or Universal Studios, bring the kids to the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens, have some fun on the water at Lake Ecola, or zipline through canyons a little further north in Ocala.

Chairs along the boardwalk on the coast of San Diego.

6. San Diego, California

It’s no surprise San Diego is a hit as far as spring break ideas go. Between beaches, amusement parks, and a range of delicious cuisines, what more could you need? Bask in the glow of the Golden State and relax with loved ones while you watch the waves come in from an oceanfront stay.

Shake off winter hibernation with a hike through the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve or a bike ride by the water. San Diego is famously kid-friendly, with the world-renowned San Diego Zoo and endlessly entertaining tide pools along Point Loma. While you’re in town, be sure to tour the San Diego Air & Space Museum, sightsee Balboa Park, and step back in time with a visit to Old Town. Seafood fan or not, you’ll find unbelievably good food around every corner, including fresh fish catches, authentic Mexican eateries, stylish cocktail bars, sunny brunch spots, and saucy barbecue joints.

Two chairs on the deck of a Dillon, CO vacation home, with views of the mountains in the background

7. Summit County, Colorado

For families hoping to fit in some last-minute skiing on a spring break trip—you’re in luck. Summit County stretches from Quandry Peak to Sheephorn at its northern edge, with no shortage of beauty and adventure. Spring is also a great time to see the Rocky Mountains as the snow melts, flowers are just starting to bloom, and wildlife wakes up from a long winter slumber.

Summit County is home to the Arapahoe Ski Basin, which boasts the longest snow season in the state, typically lasting until early June or July. While expert skiers will enjoy the high-altitude adrenaline rush, there are also a variety of runs and kid-friendly programs for beginners. If skiing’s not your thing, no worries. With major mountain towns like Breckenridge, Dillon, and Keystone, you can shop, hike, fish, ice skate, visit historical sites and museums, and cruise down the Gold Runner Alpine Coaster.

Myrtle Beach coastline with people enjoying themselves by swimming and sunbathing.

8. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

The perfect spring break postcard: Atlantic Ocean waves, bare feet in the sand, and games along the water. Brush off the cold and stretch your legs on Myrtle Beach’s family-friendly historic boardwalk, filled with amusement park rides, shops, and tasty pier treats (pro tip: save a souvenir bag of saltwater taffy to enjoy when you get home).

Here, there’s no limit to fun activities, including coastal attractions and water sports, nearby aquariums, water parks, mini-golf courses, fishing piers, Myrtle Beach State Park, and if your little ones are feeling brave, Myrtle Beach’s Alligator Adventure. North Myrtle Beach offers a slower pace than its southern neighbors, with shops and seafood eateries, nature preserves in nearby Cherry Grove, seasonal live music shows, and miles of pristine shoreline. Myrtle Beach is a perfect family spring break destination due to the amount of pet-friendly condo rentals you’ll find too, so your furry friends don’t have to miss out on the fun.

The pools at the  Shores of Panama Resort in Panama City Beach, Florida

9. Panama City Beach, Florida

Satisfy your beach craving in a big way. Surfing, snorkeling, and parasailing are all made possible in the palm tree paradise of Panama City Beach. This 27-mile stretch of white-sugar sand and emerald Gulf waves promises a great family spring break vacation to remember.

From lively to laid-back, Florida’s Panhandle offers the right mix of shopping, golf courses, and Gulf Coast beaches. Plan a day of water sports together with surf lessons, paddle boarding, or snorkeling at St. Andrews State Park. The city’s Pier Park doubles as a shopping wonderland and amusement park destination. The family vacation itinerary doesn’t end there—high-five dolphins at Gulf World Marine Park and cool down with a slide or two at Shipwreck Island Water Park. Parents, there’s plenty for you to enjoy too, including romantic oceanfront restaurants, nightlife in town, and sunset dolphin cruises.

10. Aspen, Colorado

After the snow melts, these peaks are still ready to play. Grab a breath of fresh air as you take on the trails or one brewery at a time. Find a scenic backdrop for your family vacation with breathtaking mountain views, budding meadows, and a cabin everyone will love.

Make the most of the spring’s shoulder season (when popular destinations see fewer crowds), hit the slopes, rev up the fun on a snowmobile tour, and enjoy the view with a ride up the Silver Queen Gondola. Other go-to activities include ice skating, horseback riding, touring the history and art museums, as well as browsing the village’s high-end boutiques. If the weather allows, be sure to build one more snowman with the kids and snap a picture of your family's spring break trip.

Vacation rentals in Maui

11. Maui, Hawaii

Ocean? Check. Jungle? Check. Entertainment? Check. For a family vacation unlike any other, look no further than Maui’s sugar-white beaches. Winter will be a distant dream once you kick back and feel the island breeze.

March marks the end of Hawaii’s rainy season, making it an ideal spring break destination for late March, April, and May. Choose your adventure day by day between rainforests, dive sites, beaches, and volcanoes. During your stay, be sure to check out must-see spots like Haleakala National Park, the Maui Ocean Center, and Hana Highway. Kids will love catching a glimpse of the island’s array of wildlife, including green sea turtles, humpback whales, tropical fish, chameleons, marine birds, and dolphins. Get a taste of the tropics with white water rafting, surf lessons, snorkeling, cave tubing, or sipping deliciously fresh fruit smoothies after a day of fun in Kihei or Wailuku. There’s no doubt you’ll leave your spring break trip with amazing stories to share.

12. Yosemite National Park, California

Venture out to the mountains on spring break and be rewarded with adventure and incredible views. Wander under the canopy of ancient sequoia trees and gawk at granite cliffs like Half Dome and El Capitan, two of the most iconic landmarks in the country. There’s no better way to get a breath of fresh air than a national park trip.

Enjoy quality time with your family and embark on an outdoor excursion. Yosemite National Park is known for its stunning natural beauty, as well as its family-friendly activities, including hiking, river rafting, fishing, biking, horseback riding, boating, and touring the Ansel Adams Gallery. Watch the meadows sprout with the first flowers of spring, relish in waterfall views, and keep an eye out for local wildlife, like bighorn sheep, foxes, black bears, mountain lions, and more.

blue skies and palm trees surround Adirondack chairs situated on a beach in the Florida Keys

13. The Florida Keys

Come back from your spring break trip with that sun-kissed glow. Pack up the family and get away from it all with a vacation in the Florida Keys. With a beachfront stay or a home with a boat dock, you’ll never miss a wave.

Split your time between fun in the ocean and on land, with plenty of activities to choose from. The Florida Keys have long been a favorite vacation destination for hardcore anglers and water sports fans, avid outdoor enthusiasts, foodies, historians, and every interest in between. Start your morning with a snorkeling trip along John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, enjoy a beachside picnic lunch, surprise the kids with a trip to The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, and after a walk around the Key West Lighthouse, treat yourself to a slice of famous Key Lime pie. Feel the last of your winter blues melt away in the Sunshine State.

View from a balcony at a Hilton Head rental.

14. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

The only thing sweeter than spring is a little sunshine and southern charm. Welcome in the warmer weather with a picnic on the sand on Hilton Head. Putt away on lush green golf courses, build a sandcastle on the beach, or enjoy a cool breeze from the porch.

Savor a calmer family vacation in Hilton Head, where you can walk the nature reserves, tour The Sandbox Children’s Museum, and take in panoramic views of the beautiful beach from Harbour Town Lighthouse. If you’re looking to connect with nature, head to Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge, and when everyone’s ready for more kid-friendly fun, the Coastal Discovery Museum offers eye-catching artistic and scientific exhibits for all ages.

Aerial view of the Sandbridge, Virginia oceanfront

15. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Start your season off on the right foot with a spring break trip to Virginia Beach. Take your time hitting the oyster bars and sinking your feet into the white sand. From nature parks to its burgeoning culinary scene, this stretch of sand along the East Coast makes for an easy spring break destination for families.

Snap a photo together by Cape Henry Lighthouse and let your family vacation begin. Plan a day of non-stop excitement with a trip to the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, followed by go-carts and mini-golf at Motor World Amusement Park, or waterslides at Ocean Breeze WaterPark. Dine on a fresh catch-of-the-day seafood dinner or reel in your own from the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier. Plan your spring break vacation in time to enjoy kid-friendly festivals like the Atlantic Coast Kite Festival and Monsters on the Beach.

Rows of vacation rentals with oceanfront views in Outer Banks, NC.

16. The Outer Banks, North Carolina

Take a breather along this beloved chain of barrier islands. Families return to the Outer Banks for spring break trips and summer beach vacations every year for a chance to unplug and unwind. Known for its secluded, off-grid feeling and charming coastal villages, you’ll find each island has something different to offer.

Hatteras Island stretches nearly half the length of all the Outer Banks and might leave you feeling like you have the beach to yourself. Kids are sure to love Corolla and a chance to spot wild Spanish Mustangs at its northernmost beaches. For a more active adventure, book a day of horseback riding by the ocean, water sports and surf lessons, take a walk in the wildlife refuges, or watch history come alive at the Roanoke Island Festival Park. Find plenty of vacation homes and beach houses to accommodate everyone in your crew, from small families to large groups alike.

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