Budget-friendly Spring Break destinations you haven’t thought of

Planning a Spring Break vacation? With only a week or so off school, it can be hard to find a vacation that’s both easy to plan and easy on the wallet. Below, we have over a dozen ideas throughout the US, Caribbean, and Mexico for budget-friendly Spring Break destinations.

Desert destinations:

An easy way to enjoy a warm-weather vacation while saving money is to head to the desert instead of to the beach. Bonus points if you can easily drive to any of these California and Southwest locations:

 Borrego Springs:


Never heard of it? I’m not surprised! This oasis in Southern California is generally off the radar, but a great fit for active families.  Head to the Palm Canyon Hotel & RV Resort, a boutique clamping resort where families can stay in vintage Airstreams and hike trails location less than two miles from the resort. February, March, and April is the time to come to see wildflowers, and always, the night sky displays brilliant views.

Death Valley National Park:


Located an easy drive from Las Vegas, NV, Death Valley is our top pick for outdoorsy families looking for a warm-weather destination. Camp in the park to save money, or stay at Furnace Creek Resort. Our kids love the wide open grassy spaces, the tennis and basketball courts, and the spring-fed pool. In the park, multiple hikes await: go in the mornings and evenings and spend the middle of the day swimming!

Scottsdale, Arizona:


Family travel website Global Munchkins recommends Scottsdale for spring break…even if you’re not a baseball fan. For a splurge, stay at the Westin Kierland Resort and get a full water park for the price of your stay. Be sure to take kids to the fun shops and dining options in downtown Scottsdale, and visit Phoenix, and sure, spring training, while you’re in the area!

Tip: Pick up youth baseball equipment to ‘get in the game’ before a trip to watch spring training!

On the way to… destinations:

Let’s get real: sometimes, you’re spring break trip is really just a stopover en route to Grandma’s house, a sporting event, or a longer vacation. We’ve compiled the best ‘on the way to…’ locations from top bloggers.

Bowling Green KY:


Often a stopover on the way to Florida or other southern locales, Bowling Green, Kentucky is right on I-65 and is home to an astounding 21 cave tours in the immediate area. Road Trips for Families highlights the best, along with dining and lodging recommendations in the city.  If nothing else, be sure to see Mammoth Cave National Park, and perhaps stop at an area museum. You can even at at a dairy and see a car museum on the same day!

West Georgia:

Already vacationing (or living) in Atlanta or St. Simon’s Island? Field Trips with Sue has a full itinerary of West Georgia for an affordable spring break getaway. Highlights include Providence Canyon, Gaines (complete with frontier fort) and the Warm Springs pools. This type of tour offers kids a lesson in history and ecology without them realizing they’re learning…away from school.

French Lick Springs:

For those in the middle of the country, AdventureMom suggests taking a chance on scenic French Lick Springs Resort, Indiana. This resort is known for its stunning architecture, but it also offers activities year round (not just in the summer months). Families can have kids join the kids club, play foot golf, learn about the history of the hotel, and swim in the pools year round. Oh, and parents can get a spa treatment.

Beach destinations:

Want to be warm and feel sand between your toes? You can still book a beach vacation at spring break affordably! Here’s where to go:

St. John, USVI:


Going to the Caribbean for spring break may not seem like a new idea, but St. John is an unique location you may not have considered. Trekaroo recommends spending your Virgin Islands vacation on St. John because of its low-key, quiet atmosphere, and the many outdoor activities afforded. Virgin Islands National Park is here, complete with multiple hiking trails and beaches, and snorkeling is abundant. Stay in a vacation home to save money!

Ventura, CA:

channel Islands

Just an hour north of Los Angeles, Ventura County West is an easy-to-reach section of the California coastline. Families get both seaside charm and inland adventure. Don’t miss the whale migration at this time of year, taking place through mid-April. When we visited, we used Island Packers; rates start at $37 for adults and $27 for kids. Time your visit right, and you may also see the Celebration of the Whales Festival (March 20, Oxnard) or the California Strawberry Festival (May 21 & 22, Oxnard). Either way, definitely head out to the Channel Islands!

Zihuatanejo, Mexico:

blue venado beach club

I’d never heard of Zihuatanejo until it was recommended by Pint-Sized Pilot: see the top 10 things to do in this Mexican beach destination! This authentic, non-touristy resort village is quiet, scenic, and affordable with local eats. Visit Zihuatanejo markets, enjoy its festivals, and play in its beaches. It’s located on the Pacific side of Mexico, by Ixtapa.

Loreto, Mexico:

Located on the gulf side of Baja California, Loreto is a great pick for families who want to find an alternative to the all-inclusive resort scene. Walking On Travels recommends finding accommodations in town in her Loreto travel guide, to take advantage of local dining opportunities and the town vibe. Snorkeling, whale watching, and swimming is not far away!

Ski destinations:

Haven’t gotten enough ski days in yet? I’m with you! Some of our favorite spring break ski destinations are smaller, hometown resorts that won’t break the bank.

June Mountain:


Located adjacent to Mammoth Mountain in Northern California, smaller June Mountain offers affordable lift tickets and lessons amid the most scenic runs out there. In the backyard of Yosemite National Park, June also has a very friendly atmosphere…the lodge is cozy and warm, the instructors cheerful and not rushed, and the lift lines are usually nonexistent. Stay near Mammoth to get the best of both worlds!

Angel Fire:

Heading to New Mexico this spring break for some warm sunshine and some skiing? Get both by combining a trip to Santa Fe with a stay at Angel Fire. Trekaroo recommends this ski resort because of its great amenities for families at The Lodge and the ability to night ski here (a big plus for teens). For spring breaks without much snow, there’s a wide variety of summer activities at Angel Fire as well.

City destinations:

We love city vacations, and during spring break, we like to head somewhere that’s less likely to have frigid temperatures and snowstorms. These outside-the-box ideas fit the bill!

Seattle, WA:

seattle great wheel

Blog With 2 Kids in Tow recommends Seattle and neighboring Bainbridge Island as a temperate getaway with both an city and outdoor-venture vibe. Kids love taking the ferry, checking out the city markets, and burning energy in the excellent city parks. If the weather turns rainy, as it does in this part of the state often, several high-quality kids museums and science museums await.

Tallahassee, Florida:

Don’t overlook Tallahassee for family fun in a warm-weather environment. Family Travels on a Budget recommends this nature-studded city for its zip-lining, kayaking, and hiking. Wakulla Springs State Park offers river boat tours, and in the winter and early spring, it’s possible to spot manatees as they migrate up the river. Horseback riding and lighthouse tours are also on offer for families.

Bonus spring break pick:

The Burren, Ireland:

Ireland Family Vacations, the expert on all things families and Ireland, recommends this unique part of Ireland specifically during the spring. During this low-tourist season, families can spot baby animals in nature sanctuaries, go on cliff walks, and try kid-friendly foodie tours. Learn more at Ireland Family Vacations!

Want even MORE ideas? Here are an additional 18 spring break destinations!

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About the author

Amy Whitley AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly as a family travel expert at Go Green Travel Green and Practical Travel Gear, and contributes to Outdoors NW as an outdoor adventure traveler.