10 Unexpected Family Spring Break Vacations to Book Now
Whether you prefer sandy beaches or urban escapes, here's where to go this year as a family for your Spring Break vacation.
You don't need to escape to South Florida or the Caribbean to rejuvenate and re-connect as a family. Many popular destinations can be over-crowded and expensive during peak season. To help you plan out a spring getaway that will win over every member of the family, we've compiled 10 out-of-the-box U.S. destinations that may not (yet) be on your radar. Each one offers warm weather, outdoor adventures, and oh so much for families. Have fun!
For beach-loving families, plan a spring break getaway to lesser-visited Vero Beach on Florida's Atlantic Coast. You'll find plenty of sand and surf, but also sea turtles from March to October. Kiddos can watch as these bitty creatures hatch and make their way to the ocean. At Disney's Vero Beach Resort, the Turtle Troop program teaches kids from 7 to 15 about nesting sea turtles as they stroll along the beach. To see manatees, head to Vero Beach Municipal Power Plant, especially on cool days. These gentle giants like to congregate around the plant's warm water flow. Stroll the lush boardwalk at Indian RiverSide Park in nearby Jensen Beach to enjoy a picnic under a thatched roof tiki hut.
Start your spring vacation in Nashville with a stroll across the 55-acre Cheekwood Estate & Gardens. Here you'll find a Georgian-style mansion, colorful botanical gardens and a wooded sculpture trail. A new children's garden wows littles with a turtle pond, wishing well and a story tree. Inspire creativity at art-making stations across the Frist Art Museum's Martin ArtQuest Gallery, then take on more than 10 zip lines and dozens of aerial obstacles, like swinging bridges and cargo nets, at the Treetop Adventure Park. At Gaylord Opryland Resort, guests can splash, slide and surf at SoundWaves, a massive new music-themed indoor water park. You'll also find private cabanas, virtual reality games and rock climbing.
Outdoor-loving families will love a week-long getaway in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. Start in Shenandoah National Park with an exploration of breathtaking Skyline Drive. Stop for a picnic lunch and a waterfall hike at South River Falls. At nearby Massanutten Resort, the on-site Family Adventure Park wows with an 800-foot mega zip line, an expanded canopy tour, a climbing wall and spring tubing. Here you'll also find a mountain bike park (including group lessons for new riders), three escape rooms, horseback riding and a petting farm. An indoor water park is fun for everyone thanks to a giant dumping bucket, lazy river, body surfing and multiple water slides. There's even a kiddie "sprayground" just for littles.
San Antonio wins over families in spring with its mild temperatures, making it more than enjoyable to wander the grounds of the Alamo and navigate the world-famous San Antonio RiverWalk on a 35-minute narrated river cruise. Go deep into the earth to explore cave systems and rock formations at Natural Bridge Caverns, then get up-close with giraffes, antelopes and zebras on a drive-thru safari next door at Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch. In nearby Fredericksburg, spring marks the bloom of more than 5,000 wildflower species. At Wildseed Farms, the largest working wildflower farm in the U.S., meander across wildly colorful flower fields bursting with vibrant pops of crimson, violet, goldenrod and fuchsia.
For those eager to keep kids busy with outdoor adventures, look to Hilton Head Island, just off the coast of South Carolina. (Psst, Hilton Head Island is also the location of HGTV Dream Home 2020!) Temps run in the mid-'60s in spring, which is just right for kayaking secluded waterways and riding cruiser bikes on the beach. Get in a round or two at two 18-hole mini-golf courses at Adventure Cove, then stroll the grounds of the Coastal Discovery Museum for delightful water views and Spanish moss hanging from live oak trees. Kids will love the hands-on experiences in the Kids Zone, like dress-up and puzzles, as well as resident horseshoe crabs. In the spring, a "bird nest cam" allows littles to watch as eggs are laid and hatched.
Spring is a fantastic time of year to explore Tucson's scenic canyons, gardens and saguaro cactus-lined nature trails, like the 3.7-mile Mica View Loop Trail at Saguaro National Park. At nearby Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, climb aboard the emission-free electric shuttle to explore the park while protecting natural resources. The massive Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum boasts a zoo, an aquarium, a walk-in aviary, a natural history museum and more than a dozen botanical gardens. There's also a new Packrat Playhouse that lets kids explore secret tunnels and scramble across cargo nets. Go indoors at the Ignite Sign Art Museum, a quirky attraction that wows guests of all ages with a huge collection of artfully-displayed signs.
For an urban vacation destination, look to Atlanta for family-friendly attractions that don't require you to drive all over town. Nearly all the best kid-centric fun is centered around Centennial Olympic Park. Start at the revamped visitor center which was recently beautified with a colorful and exceptionally gram-worthy "Welcome to ATL" mural. Situated near the Fountain of Rings, the world's largest interactive water fountain, make time for the splashy musical show then take a spin on the 20-story SkyView Ferris wheel. Purchase a CityPass for savings on popular attractions that line the park, including the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, CNN Studio Tours and College Football Hall of Fame.
Less than two hours from Las Vegas, St. George is a fantastic spring vacation destination for adventurous families eager to hike, bike and kayak in Utah's Greater Zion region. Start with a family hike at Snow Canyon State Park along the Butterfly Trail before scrambling to the top of the Lava Flow Overlook for 360-degree views. At nearby Sand Hollow State Park, rent a brightly-colored kayak to navigate the reservoir's sparkling blue waters. Plan to spend at least a day or two at Zion National Park for stunning red rocks and towering sandstone monoliths. Make a day trip to Kanab where kids as young as six can volunteer at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, home to 1,600 rescue animals, including cats, dogs, pigs and horses.
Spring is a great time to explore Madera County, a mere stone's throw from Yosemite National Park. Gateway towns like Oakhurst and Fish Camp near Yosemite's south entrance serve as ideal base camps for exploring scenic Yosemite Valley. In the spring, this section of the park is replete with rushing waterfalls, like Bridalveil Fall and Yosemite Falls, as well as vibrantly-colored wildflowers. Take the two-hour open-air tram tour for an introduction to such natural wonders as El Capitan, Half Dome and Tunnel View. In Fish Camp, enjoy a one-hour historic steam train ride at the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad for a glimpse into the logging industry as you chug across the Sierra National Forest.
For a fun, family vacation, start with City Park in New Orleans. This magical oasis has plenty for children, including an antique carousel, 36 holes of mini-golf, a train garden and more than 20 storybook sculptures. It's also the new home of the Louisiana Children's Museum with brand-new experiences, like the farm-to-table exhibit and a sensory lagoon just right for preschoolers. Go behind-the-scenes at Mardi Gras World to see room after room filled with spectacular parade floats. Take a ride across town on a streetcar, then explore the world of bugs and butterflies at the Insectarium. Watch as chefs work bugs into dishes as part of the daily Bug Appetit program. Cricket King Cake, anyone?
Cure your winter blues by getting a jump start on planning a family beach trip for 2020.