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The 21 Best Spring Break Destinations for Families

·12 min read

Spring break is just around the corner and you’re struggling to pick a vacation spot that promises relaxation for parents without compromising on fun for the kids. Fortunately, our roundup of the best spring break destinations for families will guide you to a getaway that checks all the boxes, whether you want to hit the beach, do something cultural or be out in Mother Nature. But don’t delay—flights to and accommodations at these kid-friendly spots are sure to sell out fast.

Editor’s note: Some of the below destinations may be affected by COVID-19. Please check the destination’s health and safety guidelines before traveling.

RELATED: 12 Trips to Take with the Kids Once They’re Vaccinated

1. Miami Beach, FL

Although best known for its nightlife, Miami Beach is an amazing family vacation destination as well. For starters, there’s Jungle Island—an eco-adventure park that serves up a simulated jungle experience, complete with hundreds of tropical birds, reptiles, and mammals, including the world’s largest feline. Of course, the Miami Zoo, Seaquarium and Everglades Alligator Farm are all pretty neat, too. Families with an interest in the arts should pay a visit to Wynwood Walls—an outdoor museum that boasts dozens of murals done by acclaimed artists and plenty of green space for kids to romp around. Bonus: Wynwood Walls is conveniently located near plenty of restaurants, so snacks and cocktails are but a stone’s throw away, as well.

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2. Chicago, IL

Chicago is a treasure trove of attractions with appeal for tourists young and old. Visitors can spend a full day soaking up arts and culture on Museum Campus, a 57-acre scenic park in which three natural science museums—the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium and Shedd Aquarium—are within walking distance from one another. There’s also the Art Institute of Chicago, where the collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art is rivaled only by that of the Louvre. Families can then head to Millennium Park for some fun at the Animated Crown Fountain, which makes faces and shoots water, followed by a photo op at Cloud Gate (aka the Bean)—an awe-inspiring work of public art that reflects the city’s skyline.

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3. Yellowstone National Park, WY

Head to Yellowstone National Park for an unforgettable outdoor adventure the whole family can enjoy. Perched atop a dormant volcano, this world famous gem spans 3,500 square miles of protected wilderness with breathtaking waterfalls, canyons, forests and—most notably—some pretty awesome geothermal features such as hot springs and geysers. (Hint: Yellowstone National Park is home to Old Faithful.) On the off chance that the beautiful landscape isn’t enough to impress your brood, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see grizzly bears, wolves, bighorn sheep and more in their natural habitat surely will. Yep, that’s part of the package, too—just be sure to respect the rules and guidelines for everyone’s safety.

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4. Orlando, FL

News to no one: Disney World is the main event for families visiting Orlando, Florida. That said, if you have any energy left after a day or two of amusement park rides and photo ops with your kid’s favorite Disney characters, there are numerous other attractions on offer—including Sea World, LEGOLAND, Universal Studios and the Chocolate Museum, to name a few. Also, be sure to carve out some time to visit a craft brewery, winery or one of the city’s numerous fine dining establishments. After making your kid’s Disney World dreams come true, you deserve a good meal and a cold one.

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5. Cooperstown, NY

Cooperstown is a top destination for fans of America’s favorite pastime—namely because it is home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame Museum. This quaint village in Otsego county also has a Farmers’ Museum, a working farm that features live animals, plus hands-on activities and crafts for kids of all ages. For more outdoor fun, be sure to check out the scenic Otsego lake beaches or schedule a hike in one of the numerous state parks nearby.

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6. Maui, HI

Hawaii ranks high on most vacation destination lists for obvious reasons, and Maui is arguably the most family-friendly island to visit. Aside from the stunning natural beauty of the island, Maui also boasts a wide range of activities and attractions for kids of all ages and—this is important—it’s particularly easy to get around. Drive the road to Hana, take a Maui pineapple tour and taste the island's sweetest fruit, spend the day ziplining at Camp Maui, or enjoy a serene afternoon hike surrounded by tropical flora at the ‘Iao Valley State Monument. Indeed, the hardest part of itinerary planning is that you’ll be spoiled with options.

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7. Florida Keys, FL

If the hubbub of Miami Beach isn’t quite your speed, head to the Florida Keys where you’ll enjoy a more laid back atmosphere and an abundance of family-friendly activities to boot. The famous Hemingway House, the Key West Botanical Gardens (the only subtropical national conservation habitat in the continental U.S.) and the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center are particularly enriching destinations. Of course, you’re also welcome to spend the entirety of your stay snorkeling, swimming with dolphins and sunbathing on one of the many pristine beaches if that’s your preference.

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8. Washington, D.C.

No trip to the capital would be complete without a visit to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and a tour of the White House (duh). That said, Washington D.C. is a particularly appealing destination in the springtime because the city’s famous cherry blossoms are sure to be in full bloom and the National Cherry Blossom Festival—a three weeklong celebration of the event—in full swing. When it comes to taking in the rest of the city’s iconic and historical sites, a Big Bus tour is definitely the most efficient way to go—particularly for families with younger kids in tow.

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9. St. Lucia, Bahamas

The fact that St. Lucia is a veritable tropical paradise is probably all the persuading you need to book a trip to this Bahamian island. Still, if your brood puts a damper on the idea of languishing all day on the beach with a piña colada in hand, you’ll be pleased to hear there’s plenty else to do. Our top picks include Splash Island Water Park—the Caribbean’s first ever open-sports water park and heaven on earth for kids—and The Rainforest Adventures St Lucia Aerial Tram and Zipline Tour, which features 10 ziplines, a canopy gondola and a picturesque rainforest hike.

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10. Wisconsin Dells, WI

Known as the “Waterpark Capital of the World,” Wisconsin Dells is a family vacation mecca boasting numerous indoor and outdoor waterparks, wilderness trails, campgrounds, and activities that run the gamut from laser tag to wine tasting all available on premises. Also, among the resort's many attractions is the Wisconsin Deer Park, where families can feed and pet deer, elk, bison and other wildlife as they explore the beautiful grounds of the forested 40-acre park.

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11. Yosemite National Park, CA

Yosemite National Park serves up 1,200 square miles of majestic wilderness featuring sprawling meadows and valleys, giant sequoias and—most famously—countless waterfalls. Of all the hiking trails on offer, though, Vernal Falls is one that can’t be missed: This popular trail is essentially a giant natural staircase where the mist from dozens of surrounding waterfalls results in a stunning rainbow display.

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12. San Diego, CA

Reliably sunny weather and exceptionally clean beaches make San Diego a spring break no-brainer, but there are numerous other family-friendly activities on offer when you’re ready to towel off. Some required attractions include SeaWorld, LEGOLAND and Balboa Park, which is home to a multitude of museums, as well as the world-famous San Diego Zoo. Once the daytime activities are done, be sure to soak up the downtown scene and enjoy some good eats in the city’s Little Italy or Gaslamp districts.

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13. Hilton Head, SC

This historic resort island in South Carolina boasts 12 miles of gorgeous shoreline and a boatload of family-friendly activities to boot. Families will have a blast playing arcade games and mini golf at Adventure Cove or learning about history and wildlife at the interactive Coastal Discovery Museum. Thrill-seekers can sign up for Zipline and Aerial Adventures and spend the day in a treetop playground, and lowkey vacationers can absorb the island vibes with a relaxing boat tour. And did we mention that Hilton Head has dining and shopping options for days? Yep, this spring break destination truly has something for everyone.

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14. San Antonio, TX

Take a guided battlefield tour of the Alamo and follow up with a walk through the Long Barrack Museum; then switch gears and enjoy a serene afternoon exploring the stone arch bridges, islands and pavilions of the beautiful (and totally free) Japanese Tea Garden or strolling the River Walk. Alternatively, you can pack your itinerary with kid-friendly attractions like SeaWorld, LEGOLAND and the San Antonio Zoo. Bottom line: If you’re looking to travel somewhere with warm weather and plenty to do, San Antonio fits the bill.

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15. Copenhagen, Denmark

Considering that Copenhagen has earned a reputation as the happiest and most livable city in the world, it should come as no surprise that the City of Fairytales also makes family vacation dreams come true. Famously bike and pedestrian-friendly, exploring the cobblestone streets, green parks, picturesque canals and historic architecture of Copenhagen is a breeze, even with little kids in tow. Plus, playgrounds abound, and the street food is said to be excellent. In other words, you’ll probably want to move to Copenhagen…but if that isn’t in the cards, at least be sure to check out the Tivoli Gardens and Copenhagen Zoo before you depart.

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16. New Orleans, LA

In case you missed it, there’s a lot more to New Orleans than booze, beads and boobs. In fact, this vibrant city is an excellent family destination where visitors of all ages can enjoy everything from swamp tours to swoon worthy culinary experiences. And once you’re done washing down your PoBoy with a signature cocktail, we highly recommend taking in a little culture with a visit to Music Box Village—an outdoor sculpture garden with an instrumental twist—or tour of one of the many museums the Big Easy has on offer.

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17. Grand Canyon National Park

From Junior Ranger programs for the young ones to stargazing and family-friendly bike rides, there is no shortage of ways to fill the itinerary when planning a family vacation to the Grand Canyon. Plus, this trip is sure to yield enough picture perfect moments to fill an entire photo album, too. After all, they don’t call it ‘grand’ for nothing.

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18. Twin Cities, MN

This Midwestern destination is, perhaps surprisingly, replete with family-friendly attractions, like Bunker Beach Water Park, the kid-friendly Bakken Museum and Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, which is one of the last free zoos in the country (and an impressive one at that). Also, we’d be remiss not to mention the Mall of America—the seventh largest shopping mall in the world and home to an enormous number of attractions, including an entire theme park, Nickelodeon Universe, on the first floor.

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19. Riviera Maya, Mexico

Riviera Maya is a gorgeous destination on the Caribbean coastline of Mexico, with a truly impressive number of family activities on offer for tourists. In fact, there are too many to name here, but we definitely suggest that families devote a full day to Xcaret—a water and amusement park, nestled in the heart of the Mayan jungle among underground rivers, that even the grown-ups on the trip will want to write home about. For a more relaxing experience, a Temazcal Natura Tour and a day exploring the white sand beaches and Mayan ruins of Isla Mujeres should do the trick.

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20. Paris, France

Let’s be honest, there’s no bad time to book a flight to Paris, France. That said, the City of Light is particularly delightful in the spring when the mood is oh-so romantic, and the mild weather is suitable for many kid-friendly outdoor activities. Stroll the Luxembourg Gardens and gaze at the Medici Fountain—one of the most beautiful, historic fountains in all of Paris; head to the Musée d’Orsay or Louvre for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the world’s most famous masterpieces up close; or simply score a table for the fam at a street cafe so you can people watch and possibly fall in love with your spouse all over again. Let’s just say Paris is a land of opportunity.

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21. Palm Springs, CA

This popular California vacation spot boasts hot but pleasantly arid weather by day and crisp, cool nights in the spring. It’s also home to a plethora of family-friendly resorts where kids will have no trouble staying entertained while the adults enjoy some much-needed pampering. When you’re ready to venture away from the hotel grounds, we suggest checking out the Palm Springs Air Museum and the highly-acclaimed Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. Plus, Joshua Tree State Park is absolutely breathtaking and not too far by car.

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RELATED: 9 Couples Vacations That Will Make You Fall In Love All Over Again

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