Planning a family vacation this spring? Forget the usual hotspots like Miami and Cancun—there are plenty of sandy shores and blue skies better suited for kids. From late-season skiing to sun-soaked beaches, here are our top picks for the best spring break destinations for families.
Battling the winter blues? Head to warmer climes for a shot of sunshine and a much-needed break from sweater weather.
Spring temperatures hover in the low 70s in the scenic Texas Hill Country. Stay in Lago Vista or Kingsland for easy access to Lake Travis and the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. Bandera, the Cowboy Capital of the World, is a small town that feels like a Wild West theme park, with rodeos, shootouts, and cattle drives. For a low-key getaway, check out historic Fredericksburg.
Satisfy your beach craving in a big way. Surfing, snorkeling, and parasailing are all available in the idyllic community of Ka’anapali. Take a break from the sun and sand with a game of golf or a trip to the historic village of Lahaina. If you like road trips and scenic vistas, you can’t go wrong with a drive down the Hana Highway—but keep in mind, it’s not for the faint of heart.
Spend your spring break hiking through the rolling mountains of Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Choose an out-of-the-way cabin in a quiet town such as Townsend or Wears Valley and enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere. If you prefer the hustle and bustle, check out Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge.
Don’t be fooled: spring break is still prime ski time. For proof, look no further than the crowded slopes of Breckenridge and Vail! Some of the best spring break skiing is outside of Colorado—and these resorts are particularly beginner-friendly.
Delicious restaurants, stunning art galleries, and easy access to all manner of mountain activities—what’s not to love about Park City? There’s something for skiers and snowboarders of all levels here. For a classic European experience, nearby Deer Valley Resort caters exclusively to skiers.
Okemo Mountain Resort has a nice grouping of green runs that are perfect for beginners. Book a condo right on the mountain, or stay in a memorable vacation rental in the charming town of Ludlow.
Purgatory Resort is nestled in the heart of the San Juan Mountains in Southwest Colorado. When you aren’t skiing or snowboarding, you’ll find plenty of things to do nearby: the former mining town of Silverton is just 20 miles up the road, and the hip city of Durango is 25 miles south.
Does your family want to see and do as much as possible? These vacation destinations offer dozens of activities to appeal to every type of vacationer.
Mountains? Check. Water? Check. Entertainment? Check. Big Bear has two ski resorts, a gorgeous lake, and several options for shopping and dining, not to mention educational activities such as the Big Bear Discovery Center and the ever-popular Alpine Zoo.
The Central Oregon resort community of Sunriver has a little bit of everything: shopping in the Village, golfing at Woodlands Golf Course, skiing at Mt. Bachelor, and year-round pools and hot tubs at SHARC. Spend a day in the nearby city of Bend and, on a clear night, head to the Oregon Observatory for a glimpse of distant galaxies.
Get a taste of Bavaria—no passport required! This quaint town two hours east of Seattle oozes European charm. Pack a picnic lunch and check out one of Leavenworth’s riverfront parks, or tour a few of the region’s many orchards. International flair with zero jet lag—what’s not to love?
Texas Hill Country image courtesy of Jerry and Pat Donaho.