Best Places to Live

2012 10 Best Spring Break Destinations for Families

We've identified the best spring break destinations for families. These vacation spots keep you away from the college party scene but put you close to top attractions, great restaurants and amazing landscapes.

Photo: Charleston Area CVB

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.

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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