Walking through Duval Street in Key West recently, I had my husband of five years by my side and my three year old daughter napping in the stroller. I took the opportunity to point out all the sites. “Here’s where I drank with some girlfriends at Spring Break, here’s where I sang karaoke on top of the bar, oh and here’s where I got a free drink for”…well, you get the idea.
Spring Break used to be the peak season for hitting the hottest beach, baking in the sun, and not worrying about exams or anything possibly school-related for two weeks. Wahoo! But now, as parents, Spring Break is a whole new ball game.
Where can you take a getaway from Orlando? Keep reading for a parent’s guide to quick getaways from Orlando for Spring Break with your kids. You may want to consider cabin camping with kids since the weather is usually great during Spring Break.
And if you’re staying in town, don’t miss our picks for the best Spring Break camps in Orlando.
Family Getaways Within 2-4 Hours Drive of Orlando
Distance from Orlando: 1 hr 42 min
Truly, St. Augustine is a staple destination any time of year in Florida for families with kids of all ages. From pirate themed boat charters and museums to historic destinations like the St. Augustine lighthouse, the Fort (Castillo de San Marcos), the Fountain of Youth and more, St. Augustine is full of fun for days.
While we love St. Augustine for a romantic getaway, there are lots of things for kids to do here too.
Take time to wander the many shops and boutiques, savor cuisine from every seafood or Spanish inspired restaurant, or take the themed trolley and carriage rides around town.
When the old town has been completed, take to the beach at Anastasia State Park, or wander through the adjacent farmer’s market. If you’re lucky, a show will be going on at the Amphitheater – a great time for all.
Just off I-95, spend the day at the outlet malls or drive up and down the coast road in search of the best shellfish and sand beaches.
Mom and Dad might enjoy a visit to one of the area’s many breweries or unique bars in St. Augustine.
With so much to see and do in St. Augustine, this is an easy getaway for at least a few nights of fun.
Fort DeSoto – St. Petersburg
Distance from Orlando: 2 hrs
Spring is an incredible time in Florida to camp, and what better way than on the waterfront on a secluded stretch of land near St. Pete Beach? Enjoy beautiful beaches and campsites at Fort Desoto Park. Take to the water for kayaking, fishing or swimming, or consider taking a ferry to Egmont Key nearby.
Just 25 minutes from the park, be sure to catch a Tampa Bay Rays baseball game, which will be in mid-swing in Spring.
Beyond cooking at camp and enjoying the sun and outdoors, take the car for a drive to nearby villages of Gulfport for authentic Italian food at Pia’s Trattoria, or up to Madeira Beach and John’s Pass Village.
St. Petersburg is full of restaurants and activities for a day’s outing, and don’t forget Clearwater just up the road as well.
Distance from Orlando: 1 hr 42 min
Known in part for their sprawling Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, I believe that the best place to spend time in Vero is along the main waterfront road at Ocean Drive and Beachland Blvd. There you’ll find upscale boutiques paired with driftwood motels from eras past. Mulligan’s Beach House serves up cold drinks and great burgers on a sandy slope overlooking the beach, and the kids will definitely want to visit the beach. Be sure to pop in for happy hour from 3-6 daily.
Stroll the cute boardwalk along neighboring Humiston Beach Park, where tons of space and fun play areas for the little ones await. Grab a pizza pie at the classic Nino’s Cafe next to the park and top it off with some ice cream later in town.
Nearby, visit the Sebastian Inlet and lighthouse, take in some seafood lunches overlooking the Intracoastal waterway, or spend a few hours shopping for treasures at the Vero Beach Outlets.
Jekyll Island, Georgia
Distance from Orlando: 3 hrs 15 min
This gem of a destination escaped my radar for years until I started camping and looking up good campgrounds between Jacksonville and Savannah. About halfway between the two, just south of Brunswick, lies a secret haven called Jekyll Island. Full of resorts, golf clubs, Marriott’s and Hiltons, they also offer inexpensive lodging at the island campground.
The main downtown area is a newly constructed mish mash of boutiques, restaurants and a great general store, and if you’ve got a golf cart – this is the town you’re going to want to use it in.
During the day explore the island’s many sites like a waterpark, sea turtle center, and more. This charming town is full of southern hospitality and great options for dining or beach days. Due to its location, easy day trips can be made up and down I-95.
Family Trips 5-7 Hours from Orlando
Distance from Orlando: 6 hours
If you want picturesque white sand beaches without the chaos of Siesta Key or other hot spots, then Destin is for you. Worth the longer drive, the coast road is full of breathtaking vistas and places to stop and eat.
The area boasts many shopping and dining options, but the big draw is of course the ocean. Be sure to make a stop at the iconic (and really delicious) Donut Hole restaurant for breakfast one morning. You’ll be glad you did!
Distance from Orlando: 3 hrs
San Juan is just a hop, skip and a short puddle jump away. In three hours arrive in Puerto Rico, land of delicious flavors – you must try the bacalaitos – and a plethora of water sports to partake in.
Don’t hesitate to adventure into the El Yunque rainforest for ziplining, rappelling and waterfall encounters, and make time for the historic forts in Old San Juan.
Don’t let rainy days stop you, either – the Plaza Las Americas mall is the biggest in the Caribbean and will keep you busy all day. The children’s museum in Carolina is also a great idea with little kids.
Distance from Orlando: 2 hrs 10
I often suggest Cancun as a launching point to the other more authentic colonial cities in Mexico’s Yucatan, but Cancun is a great spot to also just settle in for a week at a beachside resort. Kids will love the amenities of the pools and water play, while adults don’t have to spend much time thinking about where to eat and what to do.
With non-stop flights taking only two hours from Orlando, this is an easy getaway with kids of any age. The whole family will want to experience snorkeling with turtles in Akumal, or visiting the dry cenote caves at Aktun Chen.
Avoid the typical spring break crowd by staying close to the hotel in the evenings, especially in Playa del Carmen.
Distance from Orlando: 8 hrs 20 min
This couldn’t be an easier flight. Fly nonstop on several different airlines, leaving after dinner and arriving in time for a full English breakfast in London. You may lose a few days in transit and jet lag, but the rest of the time can be spent visiting the top London sites or even hopping on a cruise out of nearby Southampton towards Germany and Amsterdam.
From the British Museum to the dozens of other famous London sites like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, this is a great introduction to journeying overseas on the long school breaks.
Spring Break is a great opportunity to have a getaway from Orlando with your family, so we hope that some of these places inspire your next trip.
And if you find yourself needing to fill some time during your travels, I’ll leave you with some fun things to do near the Orlando airport.