The best spring break destination for families for an easy vacation
My family is usually itching to get away from home by the time spring break rolls around. After an extended break during the holidays, the first few months of the new year tend to drag on rather slowly, not to mention that the weather keeps us pent up indoors more than we would like.
Related: TPG’s guide to packing for spring break: Family edition
I’m sure we are far from the only ones, and, as it turns out, spring break is a great time to travel. Prices, temperatures and crowds are typically better during spring break than in the summer or over busy holiday weekends.
If better weather, lower prices and fewer crowds are enough to get you as excited as I am to book a family spring break trip, here are seven of the best destinations for family travel this spring.
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
In March and April, temperatures in Punta Cana range from the mid-80s during the day to the low-70s in the evening. The ocean temperatures are also ideal for swimming (with dolphins, perhaps), and while there is always the chance of a pop-up shower, hurricane season is still months away.
Punta Cana is home to quite a few family-friendly all-inclusive resorts that make planning and budgeting for your spring break vacation as simple as clicking “Book Now.”
Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana is perfect for families with younger kids who love cartoon characters. Families with older children may prefer the water park and nighttime entertainment at the Royalton Punta Cana All-Inclusive Resort & Casino.
Spring break pricing for a family of four at Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana starts at around $750 per night and around $460 per night at the Royalton Punta Cana.
No matter where you stay, there are even more fun activities in Punta Cana outside the gates of your resort.
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You can visit Dolphin Island Park to swim with dolphins, sharks and stingrays or head to Bavaro Adventure Park for zip lining and other outdoor adventures. Of course, nobody would blame you for spending the entirety of your vacation relaxing by the pool or beach if rest and relaxation are what you’re after.
Phoenix, Arizona’s year-round warm, sunny weather may get a little too warm for even the most devoted of SPF-slathered sunbathers. Average daily highs in the 80s in March and April can climb into the triple digits come June and July, earning Phoenix its moniker as “The Valley of the Sun.”
Related: 12 hotels with the best lazy rivers to beat the heat and float away
The mild temperatures are ideal for spending time exploring Phoenix’s outdoor attractions like the Phoenix Zoo, the Desert Botanical Garden and the Pueblo Grande Museum Archaeological Park.
Phoenix also offers indoor fun for families at places like the Arizona Museum of Natural History, Sea Life Arizona Aquarium and Legoland Discovery Center Arizona. If your schedule allows, Phoenix is also a convenient jumping-off point for a family-friendly road trip.
After all that exploring, a dip in the pool may be in order, and there are some amazing hotel pools in the Phoenix area.
The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale features a lazy river, waterslide and a surf simulator. The Arizona Grand Resort & Spa in Phoenix proper has a 7-acre waterpark, as well as spacious suites and villas sized for families.
Spring break pricing for a family of four starts at around $550 or 58,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa and $320 per night at the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa.
Sometimes, the best spring break destinations are the ones that have managed to fly under the radar despite their family-friendly offerings and big-city proximity. Just 30 miles southeast of Austin — Bastrop, Texas, is one such city.
Bastrop’s historic downtown area is packed with shops and eateries, including a vintage candy shop called Sugar Shack, the Astro Record Store and a visitor center with exhibits and artifacts representing more than 200 years of the area’s history.
Away from downtown, you can hike through the Lost Pines Forest, a 13-mile belt of loblolly pines, at Bastrop State Park or fly above them at Zip Lost Pines.
Stay among Texas’ towering pine trees at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa. The resort is between Austin and Bastrop (about 15 minutes from downtown Bastrop) on the banks of the Lower Colorado River.
Activities here include horseback riding, animal encounters, fishing, archery and a 20-acre waterpark. Spring break pricing for a family of four starts at around $440 or 20,000 World of Hyatt points per night.
Fort Myers, Florida
Despite the devastation and hardships Fort Myers and surrounding beaches suffered during Hurricane Ian, the area is rebuilding and welcoming sunshine-seeking families with open arms.
During spring break, expect daytime temperatures in the mid to low 80s, evening temperatures in the 60s and little to no rain.
There’s no shortage of beaches to visit, including those on Sanibel and Captiva islands, but there’s so much more to do in the Fort Myers area. Major League Baseball fans can catch the Minnesota Twins at Hammond Stadium and the Boston Red Sox at JetBlue Park during spring training. Outdoor enthusiasts can search for Florida wildlife at Gasparilla Island State Park or Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve.
The Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa is near Fort Myers in Bonita Springs. It boasts an on-site waterpark with five waterslides, a lazy river, a shallow splash area for kids and a large pool area. The hotel also provides a complimentary ferry ride to a semi-private island where you can enjoy the beach.
Spring break rates for a family of four start at around $550 or 20,000 World of Hyatt points per night.
Due to storm damage from Hurricane Ian, the lazy river and slide complex are closed until mid-June 2023 and the beach area is closed until fall 2023.
Lake Placid, New York
While most of the spring break destinations on this list are meant to help you escape the cold, snowy weather, this one is meant to get you even closer to winter’s beauty.
Lake Placid, located in upstate New York’s Adirondack Mountains, is a two-time host of the Winter Olympic Games. Even if there isn’t a gold medal in your future, the chilly spring temperatures lend themselves to outdoor winter pursuits like skiing, ice skating and maybe even a few snowball fights.
Whiteface Mountain has skiing and snowboarding hills for all levels and offers private and group lessons. While there, you can visit legacy sites from the Olympic Games, including the ski jump complex and the ice skating arena where the “Miracle on Ice” game took place between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in 1980. Main Street in Lake Placid also has walkable shops and restaurants to explore (don’t forget to bundle up).
A ski-centric spring break calls for a hotel with cozy rooms and a fire roaring in the lobby fireplace — a hotel like the Grand Adirondack Hotel.
The Grand Adirondack is on Main Street in Lake Placid and has standard rooms and suites, as well as on-site locations for dining and drinks and an inviting lobby where you can gather to recount the day’s adventures.
Spring break pricing for a family of four starts at around $130 or 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.
Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is ideally situated for a spring break family getaway. The weather is warm, and if you happen to catch a rain shower, it’s likely to be quick, with the sun returning to the bright blue shortly after.
Related: 11 all-inclusive beach resorts families can book with points
With so many sprawling all-inclusive resorts, you’ll probably spend most of your vacation partaking in the pools, beaches and activities there. However, there are other can’t-miss family attractions in the area. Explore the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza and visit the Xcaret Park, an eco-adventure park where you can snorkel, zip line and swim in a cenote.
The Hilton Cancun is one of the newest all-inclusive resorts in the area. It features two large oceanfront infinity pools, a kids’ pool and splash playground, and nightly entertainment for families. The nearby Hyatt Ziva Cancun has three large pools, a kids’ cub with a miniature waterpark and a dolphin pool where you can swim with dolphins for an additional cost.
Spring break rates for a family of four start at around $610 or 221,000 Hilton Honors points per night (with a two-night minimum) at the Hilton Cancun and $920 or 50,000 World of Hyatt points per night at the Hyatt Ziva Cancun.
Related: Planning a trip to Cancun? Here’s our ultimate checklist of 21 things to do on your trip
With gorgeous beaches, tropical scenery and coastal hiking trails, Kauai is somewhat of a hidden gem among the Hawaiian islands. Temperatures in March and April hover around the high 70s during the day and mid-60s at night, though you may catch the tail end of the rainy season if you visit in March.
Related: 11 Fun Activities to Do With Kids in Kauai
One of the best areas for families is Hanalei Bay, on the island’s north side. The waves are gentler for kids if you want to test out your surfing or boogie-boarding skills. If you are new to surfing, Hanalei Surf School can help you catch a wave in no time.
Kauai also has ample opportunities to learn about Hawaiian history and culture. Smith Family Garden holds regularly scheduled luaus with traditional food, music and dancing, and the Kauai Museum showcases exhibits and special events where visitors can learn more about Kauai and its heritage.
Families can’t go wrong at the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas on the north side of the island.
The resort has four sparkling pools, including one with a children’s play area. Farther south, the Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort also has a large pool area, direct beach access and a twice-weekly luau.
Spring break pricing for a family of four starts at around $470 per night at the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas (awards availability is unavailable) and $390 or 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.
Whether you prefer sunny beaches, small towns or snowy ski slopes, these family-friendly destinations are in season this spring break.
With everything from driveable U.S. destinations to international points hotels, your perfect spring break awaits.