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8 Kid-Friendly Spring Break Ideas for Families

Warm-weather spring break getaways that'll keep the whole family happy.

A family enjoys time on the beach
Hi, I'm Madigan!

Madigan Talmage-Bowers is a writer based in Denver, Colorado. She has also lived in Italy, San Francisco, and New York City, where she studied media theory at the New School. She loves introducing her kids to ancient history, local art, hiking trails, and new foods on adventures around the globe.

When winter is finally over, spring break is the perfect opportunity to recharge before the final sprint to summer. Whether your crew’s idea of the perfect vacation involves sandy beaches, water sports, theme parks, or outdoor adventure, create new memories together in one of the best spring break destinations for families. Here are the best kid-friendly spring break trips across the US, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

1. San Diego, California, US

Visitors enter the San Diego Zoo.
San Diego Zoo is a family-friendly favorite.Photo Credit: LMspencer / Shutterstock

An absolute winner for spring break vacation ideas, no matter what type of activities you're interested in.

A favorite with families any time of year, San Diego tops the list of spring break spots thanks to its sunny weather, its bounty of beaches, and its endless array of activities for the young at heart.

For animal lovers, a visit to the world-famous San Diego Zoo can easily occupy an entire day, while whale-watching cruises offer wild marine encounters in the Pacific Ocean. You can also check out fun neighborhoods such as the Gaslamp Quarter and Little Italy on a kid-friendly trolley tour—just be sure to hop off at the USS Midway Museum for a hands-on exploration of a real aircraft carrier.

2. Orlando, Florida, US

Flamingos gather at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Orlando.
Orlando combines natural appeal and theme parks galore.Photo Credit: Alex Washburn / Viator

The ultimate family-friendly spring break destination for amusement park lovers.

If you can handle the crowds, go big with spring break in the theme park capital of the world, home to bucket-list attractions such as Walt Disney World®, Universal Studios Florida, and LEGOLAND®.

If your kids dream of being future astronauts, leave time for an entire day of otherworldly exploration at the Kennedy Space Center, home to NASA’s rocket launch headquarters. And when you’re ready for a break from waiting in line, get back to nature with an Everglades airboat tour and manatee adventure.

Insider tip: To maximize the fun at multiple parks in Orlando—including water parks—save with a multi-day pass.

3. Kauai, Hawaii, US

Visitors walk on the beach in Kauai.
Hanalei Bay is one of Kauai's top attractions.Photo Credit: Chase Clausen / Shutterstock

Hiking trails, beautiful beaches, and other outdoor activities abound at this top family spring break spot.

Escape with the kids to a remote tropical island on Hawaii’s “Garden Isle” of Kauai. Far less crowded than neighboring Oahu or Maui, Kauai’s natural treasures range from the jagged Na Pali Coast to the dramatic desert gorge of the Waimea Canyon, and have been featured in blockbuster movies including Jurassic Park.

Older children can snorkel in Hanalei Bay or kayak down the sacred Wailua River, while all ages will love a botanic gardens tour complete with chocolate tasting. Finish a day in paradise with an authentic Polynesian luau.

4. Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, US

Visitors take a tour of Dollywood in Pigeon Forge.
Dollywood is one of many top family-friendly attractions in Pigeon Forge.Photo Credit: Michael Gordon / Shutterstock

An affordable family-friendly spring break vacation.

If beaches aren’t your thing, treat the kids to some good ol’ country fun in Pigeon Forge, a vacation town nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains that was designed with families in mind.

Attractions here are unapologetically over the top, from Dollywood to indoor trampoline arenas and a life-sized Titanic museum. After a day packed with rides and mini golf, celebrate Tennessee’s country music scene with a PG-rated performance such as the Country Tonight showcase or an Elvis tribute show.

5. Flagstaff, Arizona, US

A view of a street in Flagstaff.
Make the most of Flagstaff before the summer heat kicks in.Photo Credit: canadastock / Shutterstock

A fun family spring break idea that doesn't include theme parks.

Spring break is a perfect time to experience Arizona’s high-desert attractions before the scorching summer heat arrives. Flagstaff is a relaxed and family-friendly base for exploring Grand Canyon National Park—skip the driving and join a small-group tour that stops at a Navajo trading post, or travel the old-fashioned way, by train.

Then, explore Flagstaff’s Wild West history on a fun Segway tour or channel your inner ranger on a horseback ride through the desert.

6. Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Children play on the beach in Playa del Carmen.
Little ones will love the soft, sandy beaches in Playa del Carmen.Photo Credit: Irina Wilhauk / Shutterstock

Leave Cancun to the college kids—Playa del Carmen has all-inclusive family resorts for spring break.

For a south-of-the-border spring break, venture to the beautiful Riviera Maya resort town of Playa del Carmen, a calmer alternative to neighboring Cancun’s party scene.

Simply relax at all-inclusive beachfront resorts or head out each day for adventures. There’s plenty to choose from, including trekking around ancient Mayan ruins, swimming through underground caves at the Río Secreto Nature Reserve, or snorkeling with sea turtles among colorful coral reefs.

7. Clearwater, Florida, US

Visitors walk to the beach in Clearwater in Florida.
Enjoy a quieter spring break beach vacation in Clearwater, Florida.Photo Credit: Margaret.Wiktor / Shutterstock

The best East Coast spring break destination for families—without the crowds of Orlando.

For a quieter Florida vacation, try this attraction-packed beach town west of Tampa for a sun-soaked spring break filled with water sports and other splashy fun.

Set up camp on clear water beaches that are often ranked among the best in the US, such as Sand Key Park, featuring plenty of amenities and gentle waves perfect for little swimmers. Then, head out into the Gulf of Mexico to catch sight of marine life on the wildly popular Little Toot Dolphin Adventure or treat the kids to an ice cream sightseeing cruise for a sweet surprise.

8. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

A family goes on a horseback ride in Punta Cana.
Horseback riding on the beach is a great activity for older kids.Photo Credit: photopixel / Shutterstock

It's easy to find all-inclusive family resorts with kids' clubs and water slides here.

If you’re craving island vibes, travel a bit farther afield to the Dominican Republic, one of the most family-friendly places in the Caribbean. Boasting many resorts that cater to families, laid-back Punta Cana makes a great jumping-off point for adventures.

Bigger kids and teens can try 4x4 dune buggy rides around the island or horseback riding on the beach, while little travelers will love getting up close to squirrel monkeys at Monkeyland.

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