Spring Break, a time for fun, sun, and for most families a jammed-packed vacation. When you need a vacation from your vacation then you might have gone a little overboard.
Sometimes you just need to unwind and do something low-key like… sitting in a glass house with a full view of the night sky embracing the quiet around you. (or pretending it’s quiet while the kids run up and down the halls laughing and playing)
Everyone seems to get antsy this time of year. The major holidays have passed, winter is coming to an end and the air carries the scent of spring. The urge to go-go-go is almost overwhelming.
The kids can’t wait to get out of school for a week and the adults aren’t mad about it either. Spring Break is the perfect excuse for a week-long vaca from the old hustle and grind. Bye-bye grown-up responsibilities, helloooo paid vacation.
With all that has been going on over the past year, if what you are looking for is something safe, stress-free, crowd-free, and low-key, then there are many options available for your family.
Don’t worry I got you!
When I started writing this post I fell into a bit of a conundrum. You see, the term “low-key” means a lot of different things to different people, and when you think of low-key Spring Break destination for your family, you immediately know what that means to you!
But, when you are the one compiling the list of “low-key” Spring Break destinations, you realize… there are many, and I mean many ways to interpret what that term means to different people, but the irony is that to each person it means only one thing.
For example, it could mean not doing anything but reading a book and soaking up rays while the kids splash and squeal in delight in the distance.
Or it could simply be all about NO Disney World! (Or Universal, or Six Flags, or Sea World, Cedar Point, Dollywood….)
And then there are people looking for low-key, tech-free family time. Families who want a Spring Break trip that doesn’t include overcrowded beaches, jamb packed itineraries, laptops, or cell phones, just fresh air, hiking, mountain biking, and white water rafting for a total back to nature experience.
Do you see it now? The possibility of going over the list and thinking, “That’s low-key!? Not for me and my family?!”
I spent days researching fun, unique, off-the-beaten-path ideas that I felt were low-profile, but also offering opportunities for real family bonding and excitement at the same time. With that in mind, you might find that your own version of low-key might just morph a bit to be able to include one of these chill Spring Break ideas for your family.
The Best Low-Key Spring Break Destination For Families
- Tombstone Monument Ranch, Arizona
- Three Rivers, California
- Outer Banks, North Carolina
- Titusville, Florida
- Vero Beach, Florida
- Helen, Georgia
- Zion National Park, St. George, Utah
- Manhusen, Norway International
- Starigrad, Croatia International
Tombstone Monument Ranch & Cattle Company in Tombstone, Arizona:
Go ahead, say Yee Haw!
A step back in time and a real treat for children to experience a taste of the old West. This is a working cattle ranch that can be experienced in more than one way to suit your family!
They actually offer a Relax, Eat, and Sleep Package that would be up anyone’s alley: three meals a day (Try a Cowboy Breakfast at a chuck wagon), horseback riding, archery, tours, and cattle work (if you’re up for it) all the activities are experienced together kids and adults alike.
They offer nightly entertainment including live music or cards in the saloon; all in a historical setting where the past and adventure combine.
Do you have a budding ornithologist in the making? There’s also a Birding Package for families interested in the varied and amazing avian population to be seen at White Water Draw State Wildlife area, Ramsey Canyon Preserve, and San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area.
To go one step farther they also offer a Family Reunion/Multi-Generation Vacation package from May-September and kids stay free with two adults in a room!
The horseback riding (slow or fast rides) does start at ages five and up which is included (lessons have a fee), swimming pool, hot tub, archery, a saloon, card games for the adults, including faro that was a fav of Wyatt Earp…If you’ve never considered a “Dude Ranch” getaway, this might be the way to go.
Bonus: If you’re a true diehard family with older kids out for an unforgettable adventure of a lifetime the week of May 6-May 15, 2021, there is an actual Spring cattle drive called the Working Ranch Package.
Love being on the road? You can also do an amazing 8-day family road trip hitting all the amazing national parks in Arizona and Utah!
The Glass House in Three Rivers, California:
The Glass House in Three Rivers California is an idyllic laid-back getaway for your family to disconnect from the electronics and reconnect with your tribe so bring the cousins and the Grands’ to this beautiful and family-centric location.
The Glass House has three available accommodations: the main house sleeps four, if you can sleep instead of gazing out into the night at the scenery, with the bonus option of large (sleeps 5) or small (sleeps 2) “tent” houses. The home is fully furnished with a fireplace along with a wonderfully appointed kitchen if your way of relaxing is creative cooking for sit down dinners or picnics in the beautiful outdoor surroundings!
Power down with limited cell calling and instead focus on your kids and enjoy game nights, a projection screen for family movie night, fire pit, ping pong, hammock, river access, and more. A real opportunity for your family to disconnect, unwind and reconnect.
The Glass house is a prime example of the offerings in Three Rivers, Ca. There are many cabins and vacation homes in the area that offer amazing family getaways.
If you’re feeling like a road-trip another great spring break idea would be to take a fun, 3-day learning style roundtrip from San Jose to San Fran, hitting all the best spots for families in-between!
Outer Banks, North Carolina
Here’s a thought, how about a crab or shrimping experience with the kiddos, or deep sea fishing at the Outerbanks (OBX) in North Carolina for a low-key spring break?
Rather be in the water than on it? There are all kinds of activities and attractions along this 200-mile string of barrier islands off the coast of southeastern Virginia that runs south to North Carolina.
There are 130 miles of shoreline with wide-open parks to choose from, with plenty of surf and sand to enjoy a safe and fun family vacation. Once the kids have constructed enough sandcastles to satisfy their inner architect, the area offers an unbelievable variety of things to do, on land, in the air, and on or in the water!
Besides an exciting selection of the regular proffering of most vacation destinations: golf, spa, dining, shopping, etc…there’s just that “small” nod to the birth of aviation at the famous Wright Brothers National Memorial, so it should be no surprise there are airplane, helicopter, and hang-glider activities to be found at the OBX.
Visit lighthouses, the Elizabethan Gardens, Jockey Ridge, bird watch, oh and don’t miss out on flying kites. If you haven’t been grabbed already, for those family members who would like to imagine what it would be like to go back in time, the Roanoke Island Festival Park is a must-see for only $11 for adults and $8 for kids.
You’ll experience the life of a 16th-century settler in the Settlement Site, the Elizabeth II ship, and the American Indian Town. The OBX has so much to offer, there’s no shortage of fun, family-oriented things to do on your Spring Break. If you choose the Outer Banks, you’ll be sure to find your little slice of paradise on this historical stretch of barrier islands.
Titusville, Florida For An Out of This World Vacation
Titusville what? We’ve all heard of Florida’s “Space Coast” and the Kennedy Space Center for sure, but did you know that all that coolness takes place within a few miles of Titusville?
Just up the road from Cape Canaveral National Seashore, is a perfect place to base your Florida Spring Break for families. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a showcase that can’t be missed, but did you know there is the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum, the American Space Museum & Space Walk of Fame, the Titusville Playhouse, and the Indian River Lagoon to explore?
How about an airboat ride, kayak tours, or a visit to see “Swampy” the famous 200 ft long alligator, billed as the World’s Largest Gator. You’ll find Swampy at Jungle Adventures, a Real Florida Animal Park that will thrill kids and adults alike with the Hands-On Animal Experience, the Gator Jamboree, plus wildlife shows.
Titusville is a perfect alternative to the traditional Spring break destinations on the Florida East Coast. Bonus: If the mood strikes, you can always take advantage of reduced price last minute openings on day cruises leaving out of Port Canaveral.
For more family spring break vacation ideas in Florida, you can check out my post on the best family vacation spots in FL.
Disney themed Vaca – Without the Park Hassel in Vero Beach, Florida:
Disney’s Vero Beach Resort If you’re not excited at just the first word, Disney, you will be! Think private beach, swimming pool, plus the Tiger Lily aquatic play area, Pirate’s Plunge pool slide, mini-golf, biking, and family activities including campfire sing-a-longs, kayaking, crafts, bingo, archery, bocce ball, scavenger hunts, and other recreation activities done Disney style, whew!
While the kiddos are entertained, how about some mom time at The Spa at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, or local golf for Dad. Don’t forget the downtime just walking the beach with your one and only in the evening.
Bonus: If the “Disney Done Right” feeling just overwhelms everyone and the family starts to reconsider the low-key Spring Break idea of “no Walt Disney World,” you’re only about two hours southeast away from the “World” itself. Plus there are a ton of fun things to do in Orlando without visiting any theme parks.
Oktoberfest in April? That’s one way to look at it! An enchanting and picturesque jewel nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains is the Bavarian village of Helen, Georgia.
Located in the northeast part of the state about 85 miles north of Atlanta. The Alpine town is best known for it’s Bavarian-style building, cuisine, and atmosphere.
There is no lack of activities offering family spring breakers biking, kayaking, ziplining through the Chattahoochee National Forest, hiking at Anna Ruby Falls, panning for gold at the Outpost Gold & Gem Mining Company.
Rainy days, no problem, keep the kids occupied at the all-in-one attraction Alpine Fun Factory. And if you’re looking for a little mental exercise and fun all in one, check out Mind Escapes, themed escape rooms for all ages. even tubing if you happen to get there once it warms up a bit in May.
Helen is only an hour and a half away from Atlanta if you and your family feel up to you plan a day to visit!
St. George, Zion National Park, Utah
St. George can serve as a great base to many and varied local attractions, including off-road adventure tours, day trips, sand dune ATV rentals, State Parks, hiking, biking, rock climbing, and many other family-centered options.
A great free attraction is Thunder Junction Park for All Abilities which has play stations, musical activity area, dinosaurs, splash pad, an erupting volcano, and a train ride for a nominal fee; developed also with kids in mind who may need a little extra help/support and with wheelchair access ramps.
The scope of activities offered at Zion National Park ranges from camping, hiking, climbing, horseback riding, bicycling, even helicopter tours. Bonus: What may appear trendy at first glance, cannot be considered anything but a unique and exciting option- Glamping Under Canvas, Zion, you should really check it out!
Hike, Bike, and Kayak If you have older kids and are an athletically or sports-inclined family, what an amazing opportunity to travel, get physical, and also relax!
Head to Croatia, chill out the first evening getting to know your group (tour is limited to 12 people), have dinner, and explore Zadar where everyone initially meets up.
Sleep off the jetlag, take a tour around town then move on in the afternoon to Starigrad, which is built on an old Roman settlement of Argyruntum. Starigrad, a small harbour town, will be your home base for the next six days at the entrance of Velebit Nature Park.
You’ll experience hiking and biking in Paklencia National Park, sea kayaking on Paklencia Bay, and the Plitvice Lakes. A total of eight days for an active family in amazing surroundings by the Adriatic Sea.
Manshausen Island, Norway
So if a low key family adventure to Norway for Spring Break is not off the table this year and included: fishing, sea kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving; not to be outdone by water activities: there’s hiking, climbing, caving, rappelling, and target shooting, what would it take to tip the scales?
How about the opportunity to view the Northern Lights from your own bed surrounded by floor to ceiling glass walls and roof? It’s called Manshausen Island Resort and it’s a beautiful and peaceful 14-acre private island in Norway owned by Børge Ousland, the Norwegian polar explorer, writer, and photographer, and the first to cross the Antarctica solo.
Each of the seven sea cabins has a private view, there’s also a new boathouse that has dormitory-style accommodations, a sauna and hot tub, and the main house that hosts the kitchen, dining room, and library. “Where the Mountains Meet the Sea,” is designed to allow you to commune with nature and forget about time, with an immersive 180-degree view from your private sea cabin.
This amazing opportunity is not about getting back to nature, it’s about being part of nature at this secluded retreat where there’s the chance of glimpsing the ethereal northern lights.
Low Key Staycation Ideas
So let’s say after all those great ideas in the back of your mind you’re still thinking… eh, those aren’t for me and it’s a very different world out there right now.
As each family unit is different, so too our focus is different; just like the concept of what we each of us view low-key as. So If you’re just not feeling it but really want to have a Spring “Break,” [=’?????????why not be a tourist in your own town and surrounding area?
A low-key staycation in your own town or county! A cool idea is to either use your home as a base, or plan with your kids and map out your own family getaway in your immediate area.
One night each direction, North, South, East, and West, head out to a predetermined maximum 20-25 miles from your house in each direction. In each town trying to find something unique and different that you’ve never experienced before together, stay the night, try an ethnic cuisine, or a new activity?
Here’s a few ideas or opportunities you might enjoy:
- Batting Cages
- Science Center
- Water tubing
- Water craft
- River Cruise
- Theatrical Play
- Botanical Gardens
- Tea Room
- Go Karts
One other option, if you’ve close friends relatively near, agree to swap houses for three or four days and explore the area while they do the same at your residence.
At Home Low-Key Spring Break Ideas
If you’d rather not venture out you can have a lot of fun at home during Spring break with your kiddos. Keep each day low-key with minimal activities planned, and just enjoy the time together.
Here’s a few low- key staycation ideas for a relaxing spring break at home with the family:
- Create A Sandbox Or Outdoor Play Area
- Camp in your own backyard
- Have A Tree Planting Ceremony
- Throw A Proper Family Tea Party
- A Baking Day (Tea Party Goodies)
- Water Balloons Fight
- Ice Cream Sundae Bar
- Board-game & Taco Night
- Classic Popcorn & Movie Night
- A Scavenger Hunt! (Winner Picks Movie)
- Arts & Crafts Day
- Mom & Dad teach a skill day
- Painting (or by numbers for the artistically challenged)
- Spa Day
- Build a fort and camp in your living room
- Be Brave and camp in your backyard 🙂
- Have a Dance Party Challenge
- Try Yoga together!
No matter where your choice of low-key destination takes you and your loved ones this year, biking in the mountains, feeding seagulls at the seashore (wear a hat please!), or gazing at the stars listening to crickets from your own backyard, be safe, be happy, and be thankful for the blessings and beauty this world has to offer.