If the term spring break makes you think of tequila shots and parties on the beach, then think again! Take a look at my list of totally family friendly spring break destinations to explore with your family this year!
Swim with the dolphins at Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas
What to do: Atlantis Paradise Island is absolutely perfect for families. There are so many things to do for kids of all ages, and one of the most popular activities is swimming with dolphins in Dolphin Cay, a 14-acre marine habitat with over 7 million gallons of water. Kids can do anything from a shallow water interaction to a deep sea dive, to the ultimate trainer for a day experience.
Aside from swimming with the dolphins, you can spy stingrays, sharks, and even an alligator in any of the resorts other aquariums. There is also an incredible 141-acre water park with slides, a lazy river, a kids water play fort, and 11 swimming pools.
Away from the water, the resort offers amazing kids clubs for all different ages, as well as a movie theater where little ones can check out the latest animated movies.
Where to stay: Well, stay right there at the resort! Atlantis Resort offers six different towers ranging from the most affordable Beach Tower to the ultimate luxury of the suites at The Cove. There are also villas available at The Reef, giving families more space as well as a full kitchen to prepare their own meals.
Collect sea shells in Amelia Island, Florida
What to do: With 13 miles of pristine white sandy beaches and gentle waves, Amelia Island is the perfect spot for some spring time sun. Known for its amazing sea shells that can be found all along the shoreline, Amelia Island is a great place to build sandcastles, collect shells, and spend a few hours taking in some sun. There are great biking trails, as well as ranches where you can take a trail ride along the beach on horseback.
One of the most beautiful beaches can be found at Little Talbot State Park, one of the only remaining undeveloped barrier islands. With five miles of sandy beach, as well as salt marshes and maritime forests, it’s perfect for families.
Where to stay: The Residence Inn Amelia Island is a short walk from the beach, features a complimentary hot breakfast, and the suites have the space that a family will need.
Hit the slopes in Vail, Colorado
What to do: If you’re looking to spend spring break skiing instead of sunbathing, then the ski resort of Vail in Colorado is a pretty perfect choice. With more than 5,200 acres of ski and snowboard terrain, it is one of the largest ski resorts in the world. There are a variety of runs, so everyone from beginners to experts should find something to keep them happy. Ski school is available if you’re just starting out, or your skiing is a little rusty, and kids can enroll from age 3 (if your little ones are nervous, consider private family lessons where you can all learn together.) For babies and toddlers too young to ski, there is a nursery available seven days a week.
Where to stay: The Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail is the ultimate family-friendly luxury resort, with the impeccable service one would expect from a Four Seasons property. Be sure to hit the Remedy Bar for the famously decadent hot chocolate!
Set sail with Mickey on a Disney cruise
What to do: If you’re looking for a cruise line that caters to families, then look no further. Disney Cruise Line’s four luxury liners – the Dream, the Fantasy, the Magic and the Wonder – are ideal for families looking for everything in one place. With amazing pools, restaurants and activities for kids and adults alike, plus Disney characters and awesome kids clubs, the whole family will have the time of their lives on these cruise ships. Destinations during spring break range from the Bahamas to the Caribbean, although the rest of the year you can sail to Europe or Alaska too!
Possibly the best thing about a Disney cruise is stopping off at their private island, Castaway Cay, where you can play on a white sandy beach, splash in the crystal clear water, and even snorkel with stingrays!
Where to stay: There are a range of accommodations available, from interior cabins with magic portholes (a video screen projecting under the sea images!) to veranda rooms overlooking the ocean, to larger concierge level family suites.
Explore history in Washington D.C.
What to do: If you’re looking for a spring break with an educational spin, head to nation’s Capital. There are plenty of family-friendly museums, including the National Museum of Natural History, the National Postal Museum, and the National Air and Space Museum. Kids will also love the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and of course, a trip to see the White House. Take a break from all of the history to visit the Smithsonian National Zoo, and United States Botanic Garden too.
Where to stay: The Mandarin Oriental Washington DC is in the perfect place to explore the city with little ones in tow; it’s within walking distance to all of the main attractions you’ll want to visit as well as being close to the Metro. Service and accommodations are also excellent.
Take a road trip through Utah’s National Parks
What to do: Pick up a rental car (or drive your own) through the incredible sights of Utah’s National Parks. Get things started in Salt Lake City, where every major airline flies into, and head south to circle the five National Parks the state has to offer (Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Zion and Bryce Canyon) – and consider adding on the Grand Canyon National Park while you’re at it! The scenery will be out of this world, and there will be plenty of chances for everyone to get out and explore. The National Parks have a variety of different trails for hiking, and check out their awesome Junior Ranger Program. Consider buying the America the Beautiful annual pass; for $80, this will cover your entry into all of the National Parks, saving money not just on this trip, but for future National Park visits you might make within the same year.
Where to stay: Traveling from park to park, it’s worth considering skipping the hotels altogether and jumping into an RV. Traveling this way with kids could not be more convenient; everything is right there for the whole journey (including the ever-important bathrooms!) and you can save some pennies on food as well.
Build with bricks at Legoland, Florida
What to do: Less than an hour from the main Central Florida theme parks, Legoland Florida is a fantastic place to take kids. There are rides for kids of all ages, as well as shows, the incredibly detailed Lego Miniland, and beautiful Cypress Gardens to explore. My little one absolutely loved earning his driver’s license at the Legoland Driving School, and had a great time playing with all of the oversize Lego bricks. Since the weather in Florida will most likely be gorgeous over spring break, make sure to take the time to hit the water park, where you can play on a huge water structure or design and build a river raft with bricks! For more info on having fun with young kids at Legoland Florida, take a look at this post.
Where to stay: The Legoland Hotel is about as convenient as it gets. Located right outside the park, choose from one of four awesome themed rooms, and enjoy early park access. There is also a free breakfast buffet, making it quick and easy to grab a bite to eat before hitting the park for the day.
Get some sun at the Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos
What to do: Looking for family-friendly luxury in the sun? Then spend spring break in Turks and Caicos at the all-inclusive Beaches Resort. With four magnificent villages, a 45,000 water park, and 12 miles of beaches, this resort has something for the whole family. When they say all-inclusive, they mean it; all food, drink, and activities are included in the price, and there is certainly plenty for kids to do! The X-BOX play lounge is a gamers dream come true, and the Scratch DJ Academy teaches budding DJs how to mix and blend vinyl and CDs. If your little ones enjoy the outdoors, there are endless opportunities for them to have fun; snorkeling, windsurfing, water slides, beach volleyball, soccer and tennis are but a few of the included activities.
Sesame Street is a proud sponsor of the resort, and characters can be found all over the place. Take a cooking class with the Cookie Monster, go on a nature walk with Grover, or listen to a story from Elmo.
Where to stay: Choose from one of four themed villages – the Caribbean, Italian, Key West, and French – and then pick your accommodation style. The more affordable Caribbean Deluxe rooms boast two double beds, large full baths (necessary for washing sand off the little ones!) and cribs can be easily accommodated. On the other end of the spectrum are the Key West Beachfront Four Bedroom Butler Villa Residences, with a full kitchen, private pool, and a butler on hand to get you whatever you might need!
Take in some Southern hospitality on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
What to do: 12-miles of sandy beaches await you on beautiful Hilton Head Island. Spend your days building sandcastles and splashing in the waves, and if you want to venture off the beaches, there is plenty to do. Take a boat tour from the Coastal Discovery Museum, rent a kayak to explore the marshes, or head out on a trail ride from Lawton Stables. If you need a break from the sun, visit The Sandbox, an interactive children’s museum, or the New Island Playground, a soft indoor play area with slides, imagination stations, and a dedicated toddler area.
Where to stay: Did you know that Disney has a resort on Hilton Head Island? Well, they do, and it’s the perfect place for a family to stay. There are larger villas as well as regular hotel rooms, and in the evening, you can gather around the campfire for s’mores and storytelling.
Visit with the pandas in San Diego, California
What to do: San Diego has a well-earned reputation for family fun, and there is no shortage of things to do. Your first stop should be the San Diego Zoo, where you can visit with the pandas, and don’t forget to check out the koala exhibit. Other attractions include Leogland California, the USS Midway museum, and Sea World San Diego. While visiting the city, it’s worth taking a drive over the bridge to Coronado Island to see the amazing Hotel del Coronado, heading up the coast to see the sea lions in La Jolla, or driving out to Point Loma to check out the lighthouse and amazing tide pools. For other ideas on what to see and do in San Diego with kids, check out this post.
Where to stay: The Residence Inn San Diego Downtown is in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter, and walking distance to plenty of the major attractions. The complimentary breakfast also means you can save money for a fabulous dinner in one of San Diego’s amazing family-friendly restaurants.
Where are you headed for spring break this year? Let me know in the comments!