Best Places to Live

2012 10 Best Spring Break Destinations for Families

While spring break can mean partying, late nights and college kids as far as the eye can see, it certainly doesn't have to.

There are those whose ideal spring break trip might include skiing the slopes and sipping hot chocolate by a roaring fireplace; sunbathing on quiet, peaceful beaches; or simply enjoying quality time with the kids away from the typical rowdy spring break scenes.  

With those people in mind, we've put together a list of the Top 10 Spring Break Destinations for Families. 

Before making our picks, we asked members of the Society of American Travel Writers for their expert opinions on what makes a city a fantastic place for a spring break vacation.

“An ideal destination provides a wide range of activities for families with children of different ages and interests,” says Annette Thompson, Society of American Travel Writers board member, freelance travel writer and photographer. “There should be things to do both indoors and outdoors as the weather is not something even the best itinerary can predict.”

To ensure boredom never ensues, each selected city offers plenty of things to do. A combination of great restaurants, fun attractions and outdoor recreation can be found every destination we chose.

Our list includes five categories: family vacations, adventure cities, ski trips, lake jaunts and, of course, beach vacations, with two cities making the cut for each category.

“A good mixture of top-notch, once-in-a-decade type spots blended with small one-of-a-kind places appeal to today's savvy traveler,” Thompson says.

We made it a point to search high and low for cities that might be off the beaten path – but are still great places to enjoy time with family and friends.

From the desert oasis of Lake Amistad in Del Rio, TX, to America's oldest landscaped gardens in Charleston, SC, our list is full of out-of-the-box spring break options.

Ranking Criteria
Destinations with adventure, water, ski or family themes
Affordable hotels
Attractions for kids of all ages
Both indoor and outdoor activities
Off the beaten path
  • 10

    Del Rio , TX

    Population: 36,119
    Antony Boshier

    Lake Vacation

    Located north of the Mexican border and just south of Lake Amistad, Del Rio, TX, offers an excellent spring break getaway.

    The Amistad National Recreation Area is a true desert oasis. This 68,000-acre reservoir is surrounded by limestone cliffs and more than 400 archaeological sites, many of which contain Native American rock art believed to be more than 4,000 years old. Vacationers can enjoy fishing for bass, catfish, crappie and alligator gar, or get their adrenaline going with water skiing, sailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking, camping and more.

    Lodging options range from camp sites at the national park to chain hotels in Del Rio, a lakeside resort and houseboats for rent.

    Off the lake, Del Rio's attractions and things to do include the Whitehead Memorial Museum, Casa de la Cultura, art galleries, a historic downtown area with shops and restaurants, hunting ranches, golf courses and Val Verde Winery, the oldest bonded winery in Texas. Del Rio has a diverse collection of restaurants, night clubs and snack stands. Many visitors cross the border into Ciudad Acuna, a Mexican town where several movies have been filmed, including No Country For Old Men and Desperado.

    Restaurants: 70-plus*

    Shops: 100-plus*

    Don't miss: ICON Bar and Grill, which treats guests to great food and lake views.


    Find out more about Del Rio, TX, including the city's great art scene and shopping, and get a look at pictures of this Texas town.