Family Travel Ideas for Spring Break

By now we know the groundhog saw his shadow, and six more weeks of winter are yet to come.  If your family is anything like ours, the kids are getting cabin fever and itching for a change of pace.  Below are some of the ways our family has enjoyed the vacation in the past.  For even more spring break ideas, check out this detailed list from our friends at Taking The Kids.  Don’t see your favorite mentioned?  Please share your own spring break travel ideas in the comments below.

Grand Palladium beach gazebo

Head to the Beach

For us in the northeast, nothing says spring break like a trip to the beach.  East Coast, Gulf Coast, West Coast, it doesn’t matter to our kids.  Anywhere there’s sun, sand, and surf will do.  A recently discovered spot for us is Sanibel Island, Florida, on the western edge of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico.  Once you make it to the island, you’ll find lots of room for your family stretch out on uncrowded beaches to hunt for seashells, watch dolphins play in the surf, or perhaps spot a manatee.  Other great family beaches include the Outer Banks of North Carolina; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and Southern California’s Santa Monica (shown below), Laguna, or Dana Point beaches.

Santa Monica, California

Indoor Water Park

If traveling to the beach is not possible, how about an indoor water park?  There are now 12 Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park resorts in the U.S. and Canada, and one more on the way in Southern California.  There’s sure to be a Great Wolf Lodge just a short road trip away, where you’ll always find it a toasty 84 degrees.  Let the kids swim, slip, and slide while you sit in the hot tub and thaw out.  In addition to swimming, you’ll find a whole host of activities at the family-friendly all-suites resorts including MagiQuest, Scooops Kids Spa, Elements Adult Spa, bowling, mini-golf, and even a Howler’s Peak Ropes Course.  You’ll have no need to shovel snow, scrape the windshield, or brave the elements at all once you tuck into your fireplace suite at Great Wolf Lodge.

Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky, OH

Theme Parks

You’ll never find Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park prettier than when it’s dressed up for the International Flower and Garden Festival. (March 4 – May 17, 2015).  There’s a riot of blooms, whimsical topiary displays, and butterfly gardens – what says spring more than that?  Just down the road, Universal Orlando Resort celebrates Mardi Gras with parades, beads, Zydeco music, headliner concerts, and Cajun cooking.  Plus, you can check out the spectacular Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley area that opened in Summer 2014.  Star Wars fans on the west coast should head to LEGOLAND California for the opening of the new LEGO Star Wars Miniland Death Star.  Just remember, when visiting a theme park in the spring, have a good touring plan ready to deal with the crowds.  [One of our favorites is TouringPlans.com, and we receive NO promotional consideration from them at all.  They’re just that good.]

20th Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

College Tours and Cultural

It’s hard to believe our oldest daughter is now a junior in high school, and considering what college to attend.  This year we’ll probably combine our spring break trip with a tour of northeastern colleges, but we’ll still have plenty of time for historical and cultural adventures along the way.  Our daughter’s interest in international relations may draw her to schools in Washington DC, and, with the Smithsonian Institution, monuments, and museums, there’s no shortage of things to do.  April 2015 is the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln’s assassination at Ford’s Theatre, marked by a series of events honoring our 16th President.  On the road to Washington, we’ll pass through Gettysburg, Pennsylvania site of the Civil War’s turning point as well as a number of family-friendly attractions.

Gettysburg National Military Park

Staycation

If you don’t have the time or funds to travel over spring break, that doesn’t mean you can’t mix up the routine.  Staycation isn’t necessarily a dirty word.  There are plenty of activities in our local area that we sometimes take for granted.  For example, our hometown of Rochester, New York is home to world-class museums like The National Museum of Play and George Eastman House: International Museum of Photography and Film.  The Genesee Country Village & Museum is the largest living history museum in New York State, and a great place to get a glimpse of life in the 19th Century during all seasons.  And local Rochester balloon artists Airigami will create their sixth Balloon Manor downtown titled “The Amazing Air-Filled Undersea Adventure,” a one-of-a-kind five story balloon sculpture made up of tens of thousands of balloons on display February 27 – March 8th.

Balloon Manor - Rochester, NY

So whether you’re hitting the road or staying close to home, spring break is the perfect time to for family adventures.  Let us know what your plans include.  For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.