girl snorkeling with sting rays

Grand Cayman is filled with adventure. (Photo: Getty Images)

Tips + Trends

From Mountains to Beaches and Beyond, Check Out 9 Spring Break Trips for Families

Stuck finding inspiration for where to enjoy spring break with your kids this year? The world offers as many adventures as there are families seeking them.

Whether your entourage’s travel love language calls for close-to-home or far-away fun — or is drawn in the sand (of the desert or beach variety) or with a backdrop of snow and mountains — read on for a few ideas for where to go.

As always, check for travel guidelines and closures before planning your trip.

Live Your Best Beach Life in Grand Cayman

Snorkeling adventures with the family reach peak amazingness on the Caribbean island of Grand Cayman. When you head to Stingray City with Red Sail Sports, you can fin atop a shallow sandbar surrounded by friendly southern stingrays that gather in waters as clear as a swimming pool.

If you’re feeling brave, you can even feed them by hand — it feels like a vacuum cleaner sucking your palm.

The island’s Seven Mile Beach is one of the prettiest powdery stretches in all of the Caribbean for lazy spring break days spent strolling around and basking in bathtub-warm waters.

Learn about the Cayman Islands’ conservation efforts for sea turtles at Cayman Turtle Centre, where you can even swim in a lagoon with green sea turtles and peep underwater views of a predator tank busy with sharks.

Surf and Turf Adventures in Hilton Head, South Carolina

Families love this coastal South Carolina island not only for its wide, dune-backed beaches, but also for all the bikeable terrain to explore here.

Hilton Head has more than 50 miles of trails and pathways where you can pass by ponds where alligators dwell and pedal through shaded maritime forests (consider renting a fat-tire electric bike from Hilton Head E-Bike Rentals if you want to cover them all).

Boat trips also abound in these parts, whether you want to guide the family out on a SUP trip, play pirates on Calibogue Sound during a tour with Pirates of Hilton Head, or hop aboard a Dolphin Discoveries tour in search of bottlenose dolphins in the area’s salt marshes and inlets.

Big Mountain Highs in Banff, Canada

gondola over mountains
Banff is a gem in any season. (Photo: Getty Images)

Bundle up for spring break in Banff, where there’s no bad weather (only improper winter clothes) and there are endless reasons to get outside and enjoy some of Canada’s most awe-inspiring landscapes.

Get the lay of the land by hopping the Banff Sightseeing Gondola for the eight-minute ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain, where you can stroll a boardwalk atop the ridge to soak in the views or introduce the kids to Alpine specialties like spaetzle at Northern Lights restaurant.

After a day spring skiing at the Big 3, scout for elk and coyotes during a private family sleigh ride through the beautiful Bow River Valley with Banff Trail Riders.

Magical Marine-Life Encounters in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Larger marine-life encounters await when you take spring break with the kids at the tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula.

Winter gray whale and humpback migrations along the coastline here last into April, and you can head out with Dive Ninja Expeditions from the marina right in Cabo San Lucas to marvel at the behemoths breaking the surface just offshore.

The company also runs scuba diving and snorkeling trips to sites just minutes from the marina within the Cabo San Lucas Marine Park, where you might see playful sea lions frolicking on the surface as well as underwater.

It’s worth planning a day trip two hours north of Cabo to La Paz at this time of year, too, when in-water encounters with gentle juvenile whale sharks (they’re still ginormous!) are all but guaranteed when you head out with the Cortez Club.

From October 1 to May 31, the Cortez Club will take you to snorkel with whale sharks near a shallow sandbar where they come to feed on plankton.

Blow Your Kids’ Minds Underwater on the Coral Reefs of Fiji

For an adventurous spring break in the Pacific with family fun down every sandy road, Fiji is pure magic.

Consider your kids spoiled for life if the first coral reefs they snorkel over are the ones here. The soft corals in Fiji’s waters are considered among the most colorful and healthy in the world and look like they came straight from Dr. Seuss’s pages with their candy-colored pink and blue hues.

You can travel by water through a remarkable canyon in the highlands of Viti Levu, Fiji’s main island, aboard an inflatable kayak or bamboo raft during family trips along the Navua River with Discover Fiji Tours.

And cultural tours around the islands can introduce your gang to medicinal plants, the art of traditional tapa (bark cloth) printing and Fiji’s famous fire-walking ritual

Travel Through Pages from a Storybook in the Swiss Alps

kids skiing in swiss alps
Snow bunnies will love a family vacation in the Swiss Alps. (Photo: Getty Images)

For a fairy-tale spring break complete with skiing and old-school sledding runs under starry night skies (following a bubbling fondue dinner, of course), it’s impossible to top snowy spring shenanigans in the Swiss Alps.

In Davos, in the German- and Romansh-speaking canton of Graubünden, enjoy a nearly two-mile sled run together from the top of Schatzalp, with great views of the town as you descend. The sled run is open for daytime or nighttime runs, and you reach it via a funicular that ascends the mountain.

In the French- and German-speaking Valais canton, let the kids try their mushing skills behind a team of huskies.

Then introduce them to the famous cheesy Alpine meal called raclette at Verbier’s most-renowned restaurant, Le Caveau, which has been serving the dish for more than 50 years.

Snake Charmers, Souks and Camel Rides Appeal to All the Senses in Marrakech

Spring is an absolutely gorgeous time to travel in Morocco, with wildflowers blooming everywhere and snow still crowning the Atlas Mountain peaks.

Marrakech is a busy city; exploring its winding mazelike souks with the kids and dining overlooking its many minarets and jumbled rooftops feels like something from the pages of a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book.

Come dusk, head to the main square — the Jemaa el-Fna — to watch the kids’ eyes widen at the sights of snake charmers and monkey trainers performing for the crowds.

Head to the city’s surrounding palm groves — the Palmeraie — for a sunset camel ride with Sunny Excursion. You can even plan a day trip 2.5 hours west of the city to the charming blue-and-white coastal town of Essaouira and its beaches if you have time to explore.

Parts of Morocco were heavily damaged in a September 2023 earthquake. Please check local travel advisories before planning a trip to the region.

Plan a Road Trip Adventure Through Portugal’s Glorious Algarve

sea cave in portugal
Unexpected delights await in Portugal. (Photo: Getty Images)

For a family vacation with a coastal backdrop in Western Europe that unfolds like a real adventure, plan a spring break road trip along the Algarve in southern Portugal.

The Atlantic Ocean waters here are super chilly since the Gulf Stream runs so far offshore, so even though there are more than 150 beaches in the Algarve, you’re not coming for balmy bathing.

But spring is a great season to explore relaxed fishing villages like Sagres with the kids and experience a boat trip from Portimão to the famous Benagil sea cave — an incredible grotto with a sheltered “indoor” natural beach — without the masses the summer months bring.

One of the Algarve’s top theme parks, Zoomarine in Albufeira, opens for the spring season in mid-April with an aquarium, thrill rides and walk-through zoo habitats to explore together.

Head to Sydney in Autumn for a Gorgeous Spring Break

As fas as world-class cities with equally world-class beach culture at their doorsteps go, Sydney takes the cake. Where else can you see surfers traipsing through a central business district with their boards waxed and ready to ride?

And while northern hemisphere spring break coincides with autumn in the Antipodes, fall in this part of Australia is a beautiful and balmy thing, with March and April daytime temperatures in the 70s and beach life still in full swing.

Sign the family up for surf lessons with Let’s Go Surfing in Bondi before hopping the ferry from right near the Sydney Opera House to Manly, a gorgeous beach suburb famous for surfing and beach life.

The kids can see unusual Aussie animals — including platypuses and a dugong named Pig — at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium in Darling Harbour. More family adventures await atop the city’s iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, which you can ascend with full safety gear during guided tours.