It is a truth universally acknowledged that if you live in the Midwest, you will take your children to Florida for every Spring Break vacation. Right? Not necessarily! Despite what we may have been told our entire Midwestern lives, this is not actually a universal truth and there are many other destinations that our families may enjoy as much or more than Florida.
It is okay to go someplace other than Florida for Spring Break. Really!
While many families are happy to make the yearly springtime pilgrimage to the Sunshine State, it is okay to go someplace new every once in a while. If you are ready for a change this year, here are a few destinations worth considering.
Looking for warmth and sun?
Head south- just not as far south.
You don’t have to go as far South as Florida in order to enjoy warmth and sunshine. Most of the Southern states will be fairly warm by spring break time – maybe not sunbathingly hot but warm enough to comfortably wear short sleeves or lightweight shirts. Here are a few southern destinations that we have enjoyed.
- Savannah – Naturally beautiful, historically significant, great food… what are you waiting for? Some of our favorite kid-friendly experiences there include the trolley tours, River Street, eating at the Pirates House, walking atop Fort Pulaski, and the Railroad Museum.
- Hilton Head Island – Hilton Head is a nice mix of beautiful green nature areas and touristy attractions. Families will enjoy the beach, pedestrian trails, and parks. Additionally, they will enjoy many shopping opportunities and the large variety of restaurants. If you have small children, be sure to visit the Sea Pines Resort to play at its super fun playground, enjoy some ice cream, and possibly book a ride on the Black Dagger pirate ship.
- Myrtle Beach – I loved Myrtle Beach so much that I actually moved there for a couple of years. So much fun! Be sure to play a round of putt-putt at Mt Atlanticus Minataur Golf, sing while you eat at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, introduce your children to the wonders of ocean life at Ripley’s Aquarium, catch some bargain prices at the Tanger Outlet Mall, enjoy an early morning sunrise over the ocean, and watch for dolphins leaping along the shoreline in the twilight hours.
- Charleston – Such a pretty and interesting town! Dine on authentic Southern cuisine, take a horse drawn carriage tour, experience the city market, and enjoy the colorful historic houses.
- Charlotte, NC– My two favorite places to take the family in Charlotte is the Discovery Place Museum and Historic Latta Plantation. If you have a NASCAR fan in the family, you will want to be sure to visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the big race track.
Don’t have much time?
Why not visit a big city that is fairly close to home?
Big cities offer lots of fun opportunities in a small concentrated area. That means you can fit in a lot of fun stuff in a small amount of time. We have had a lot of fun in these nearby Midwestern cities.
- Chicago – There is so much to see and do in Chicago! Take in some art, admire the city’s skyline, visit some museums (Museum of Science and Industry is my favorite), shop, and eat at one of their many unique restaurants.
- Cleveland – Check out the zoo, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and other fun sites. Do you have a Star Wars fan in your family? Then, be sure to eat a meal at the Mike’s Place restaurant with a large x-wing fighter parked out front.
- Indianapolis – There is so much fun stuff to do with kids here. Our family especially enjoyed the Rhythm Discovery Center and eating at the Old Spaghetti Factory. (What kid doesn’t love spaghetti and meatballs, right?)
- St. Louis – Saint Louis doesn’t get enough credit. It is a seriously fun place for families to visit, and it is surprisingly affordable. A few of our favorite free activities there include the St Louis Zoo and the Science Center. Your family may also want to check out the City Museum (not free) which does not appear to be a museum at all; it is more like an oversized super fun play area for people of all ages.
Don’t mind a little chilly weather?
There is so much to see and do in the New England area! Despite some chilly weather, I have enjoyed springtime vacations at these exciting destinations.
- Boston – Boston is fun any time of the year. We especially enjoyed following the Freedom Trail, shopping the peddlers’ carts in Quincy Market, exploring the Children’s Museum, and touring the aquarium.
- Washington DC – What an amazing place to visit! So much to see and do and learn! Pay your respects at the various memorials, snap a picture of the capitol, and visit the Smithsonian. I have just recently heard about the Spy Museum there; my children would love that!
- Niagara Falls – Niagara Falls is ahh-maze-ing to see! You will love it, and so will your children.
Looking for nature-filled adventure?
Head for the hills (mountains).
Beautiful views, winding roads, waterfalls galore, adventurous hikes, and quaint little mountain towns – a trip to the mountains can be a super fun adventure for the entire family.
- Asheville – Asheville makes a great home base for your vacation in the Mountains. Tour Asheville, walk its Urban Trail, enjoy a treat atop a double-decker bus at Double D’s Coffee and Desserts, venture out to the nearby wilderness to see some great views and waterfalls, and experience the luxuries of the Biltmore Estate.
- Gatlinburg – Gatlinburg is filled with all sorts of touristy fun from unique museums (like the Guinness World of Records and the Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum) to the more traditional souvenir shops and putt-putt courses. Additionally, exciting wilderness adventures await just next door at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Dreaming of a western adventure?
Then, by all means, head westward.
Be a modern day pioneer by packing up your family and heading west. Whether you point your minivan towards the deserts of Arizona or the plains of Kansas, your family is sure to find fun along the way.
- Flagstaff – As I have mentioned in previous posts, I would LOVE to return to the Flagstaff area for a few days. There is so much neat stuff to do there including visiting the Grand Canyon, admiring petrified trees, exploring ancient cliff dwellings, gazing into a meteor crater, driving old route 66, and more.
- Kansas City – We were surprised by how much fun stuff there is in Kansas City! Some of our favorite stops included Science City, LegoLand, Fritz Railroad Restaurant, and T-Rex Café.
Just want to stay the course?
Go ahead, and go to Florida. That’s okay, too.
We Midwesterners flock to Florida year after year for a good reason. Because it is warm and sunny and lots of fun! Here is a quick list of my favorite Florida vacation destinations from years past.
- Panama City Beach – Bury your toes in the warm sands along the Gulf of Mexico, play some putt-putt, eat out every night of the week, and even receive a smooch from a seal while visiting Gulf World Marine Park.
- Orlando – DisneyWorld, Universal Studios, and more! Orlando is a no brainer for Spring Break fun.
- St Augustine – One of the country’s oldest cities, it is full of history and unique sights. Take a horse-drawn carriage tour, visit the fort, see the Fountain of Youth, and more.
- Daytona Beach – Car lovers and beach lovers unite! Enjoy the sun and surf while watching cars cruise right on the beach in Daytona.
Soooo inquiring minds want to know. Where will you take your family for Spring Break this year?