We all know the popular Spring Break spots. In Florida- Orlando, Miami and Fort Lauderdale are packed with Spring Break travelers. In South Carolina- Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head will be crowded with beach-goers. On the west coast, Los Angeles in California and South Padre Island in Texas both attract people looking for a break from the cold. And while all of these locations promise sand and sun- they also promise big crowds. If you’re looking for something a bit more off the beaten path this year, we’re going to share some spring break road trip destinations that will still be big on fun but with fewer crowds!
Spring Break Road Trip Destinations
Joshua Tree, California
Located approximately two and a half hours east of Los Angeles, Joshua Tree National Park is a great alternative to an LA Spring Break Trip. The weather in Joshua Tree National Park in the spring is simply perfect. It’s plenty warm enough to explore the great outdoors with the sun on your skin, but you won’t reach those blazing temperatures that make the park nearly unbearable in the summer months. Joshua Tree National Park is know for having many short, family-friendly hiking trails in the park and endless rock piles for kids to scramble over! Just outside of the national park there are other nature areas to explore including Indian Canyons, Tahquitz Canyons, and Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve. The Palm Springs area is known for fantastic hotels, resorts, and AirBnB’s, but you might also want to consider camping under the stars in Joshua Tree National Park- because you’ll be hard pressed for find a more beautiful night sky anywhere else!
Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada
Valley of Fire State Park is about an hour northwest of Las Vegas, making it a great alternative to a Vegas Spring Break. Just like Joshua Tree, the temperatures in Valley of Fire are unbearable in the summer but just about perfect in the spring. The park is full of truly unique rock formations that give the park it’s name- the rocks look as if there are waves of fire streaking right through them. It’s a great place to spend Spring Break outdoors with lots of short family-friendly hikes and rocks to climb. You can camp at Valley of Fire State Park and while it’s known to be one of the most beautiful campgrounds in the US, all campsites are a first-come-first-serve so you’ll want to arrive early, and preferably on a week day so you’ll have a better shot at snagging a spot. If camping isn’t your thing, you can find hotels in and around Las Vegas- but if you’re really hoping to avoid crowds check out St. George, Utah as a home base!
With plenty of hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, and rafting- there’s something for everyone in Moab, Utah. Spring is the best time of year to explore Arches National Park. The Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail is a family favorite, where you can explore fossilized dinosaur sites and an old copper mine. Rafting the Colorado River through Moab or taking an ultimate terrain vehicle (UTC) tour on the Slick Rock trail are activities sure to be a hit with older kids and teens! The town of Moab has lots of quaint shops to explore and restaurants with amazing food. Snag a hotel with a pool and it’s the perfect Spring Break location!
Flagstaff is a great family-friendly location in Arizona that will be much less crowded than the more popular areas of Phoenix and Sedona. You’ll find plenty of affordable lodging options along the iconic Route-66, which provides a nostalgic experience for the whole family. Kids will love exploring Lava Tube Cave, visiting the Meteor Crater, and climbing around at the Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Park. Astronomy lovers will want to check out the telescopes at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, which was designated the world’s first International Dark Sky City. There are also Native American ruins and cliff dwellings to explore at Walnut Canyon National Monument.
Taos, New Mexico
Looking for an off the beaten path location with lots of adventure? Look no further than Taos, New Mexico! Take a rafting trip down the Rio Grande River, go for a hike in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains or along the Rio Grande Gorge and then relax in a natural mineral spring! The Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Historic Landmark, is a Native American community that has been continuously inhabited for over 1,000 years. The community welcomes the public to visit it’s beautiful adobe buildings and craft shops. Taos is also known for it’s hot air ballooning so if you’re looking for a truly unique Spring Break adventure, floating above the Rio Grande Gorge in a hot air balloon will definitely check that box!
Big Bend National Park, Texas
Located in west Texas, Big Bend National Park is quickly increasing in popularity as far as national parks go. Spring is the perfect time to visit because you can see the Big Bend bluebells in bloom, plus many gorgeous succulents bloom in the spring as well. There’s a new Fossil Discovery Exhibit that can learn all about how the plants and animals in the park have changed over 130 million years of geologic time. Big Bend has a fantastic Junior Ranger program kids will love as well. With diverse ecosystem and lots of family-friendly hiking trails, the park has something for everyone. Lodging options aren’t plentiful, however, so plan ahead with reservations as early as you can.
Home of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville is a great spring break location if you’ve got a country music lover in the family. In addition to the many music museums, the Gulch is a trendy new area of Nashville you can hit up- it’s a collection of old abandoned warehouses that have been turned into popular shops and restaurants. A backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry, a visit to the Frist Art Museum, and an afternoon at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park are all fun family-friendly activities in Nashville. There’s also an open air hop-on-hop-off bus that hits all of the main sites downtown. A spring break bonus- the Cheekwood in Bloom is a spring festival at the Cheekwood Garden and Estate that runs from early March to mid-April. Over 150,000 flower blooms fill the gardens, making the flower festival a special addition to your Spring Break visit!
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville is a town in the Blue Ridge Mountains with thriving foodie and art scenes that literally blossom in the spring- as in, the wildflowers blossom and bring the whole city to life! Great Smokey Mountains National Park is just a short drive from town. You can head into the park for great hiking, horse-back riding and even zip-lining. You can also explore the Blue Ridge Mountains via a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Back in Asheville, visit the Biltmore mansion which is the largest privately owned estate in the US belonging to the Vanderbilt family. The Asheville Pinball Museum is sure to be a big hit with kids of all ages and the Adventure Center of Asheville offers all sorts of thrills for the whole family. If you’re looking for a serious adventure- check out Blue Heron Whitewater for white water rafting trips on French Broad River!
Charleston, South Carolina
Spring Break in Charleston has something for every one! Whether you’re looking for shopping, beaches, historical sites, or outdoor adventures- you’ll find it all in Charleston. An open air carriage ride of historic downtown Charleston is a great way to get the lay of the land. The Charleston City Market is a vibrant marketplace full of vendors and artisans. Keep an eye out for sweetgrass baskets at the market. Originally an African tradition, these baskets have been handcrafted in Charleston for hundreds of years! Waterfront Park and the Battery are two beautiful outdoor locations with beautiful scenery and room for the kids to run and explore. With it’s historic charm, walk-able downtown, and major foodie scene- Charleston is a fantastic spring break location!
Savannah is the epitome of Southern charm. It’s also known for being one of the most haunted cities in the US- so be sure to schedule a ghost tour of all the haunted locations in Savannah. You can even schedule a tour where you ride around town in a funeral hearse! Walking the historic streets of Savannah is a great way to see the city. One of the most popular hubs in Savannah is the historic River Street- a cobble-stoned street near the Savannah River with lots of shops and dining. No visit to Savanna is complete without a stop at Forsyth Park, for a photo in front of Savanna’s most popular fountain! The park has two different playgrounds for kids, beautiful gardens, and a farmer’s market on Saturdays. And if you’re also looking to spend a day at the beach, Tybee Island is only a 20 minute drive from town!
Thinking of planning a trip to one of these Spring Break road trip destinations? Pin this post to save it for later- and also check out a few ways to keep the kids busy with our favorite Road Trip Podcasts and Road Trip Movies!