How to Take Advantage of School Breaks Part 2: Tips for Squeezing in Travel When the Kids Are Not in School

Tips for Traveling Over a Week Long School Break

Week long school breaks are my absolute favorite! I love the time we have off together and the memories we are able to make. For us, we have a fall break, winter break, and spring break.  These have been fantastic times to travel for our family! Even though we don’t have as many week long breaks during the school year as we do long weekend breaks, I still try to plan some kind of getaway for each of them. Some things to keep in mind for week long travel is the weather, especially if you’re traveling in the winter (snow/ice) or spring (rain/thunderstorms). Week long breaks can also draw more crowds, so keep that in mind when choosing your destination!

More Things to Consider for Travel Over School Breaks:

  • Fall break tends to be a more budget friendly time to travel
  • Winter/Spring break travel tend to be more expensive
  • Pay attention to the weather during all seasons of travel & pack accordingly
  • Expect airports, roads, destinations to be more crowded during holiday travel
  • Week long travel equals more time exploring your destination
  • You can visit farther away destinations over week long breaks
  • Week long travel allows a day or two of down time before returning to school/work

Fall Break Destination Recommendations:

The week during Thanksgiving break is an excellent time to take a quick trip with the family! We like to head out over the weekend and return on Thanksgiving Day so that we don’t miss any time, or delicious food, with our families. Traveling during this week seems to be very budget friendly and the locations are not as crowded, either!

For us, returning home on Thanksgiving Day has worked out very well! We try to avoid those busy airports and road conditions the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. We like to book morning flights on Thanksgiving Day. We make it home in the early afternoon, just in time for dinner! Below are some of our favorite fall break travel destinations.

Our first family trip to DC!

Washington DC – Visiting DC over Thanksgiving break was a dream come true for my family! The weather was amazing and the crowds were small. I hear that a lot of people that work in DC leave the city for the holiday, so it’s an ideal time to visit. This is one of my most favorite family trips to date! We packed in so much during the week and saw so many historical sites. The only downside to traveling to DC during this week is that the White House is closed to tours because they are decorating for Christmas.

We couldn’t wait to show the boys all the monuments!

Click here for my complete guide to visiting Washington DC over Thanksgiving Break!

It really is grand!

Grand Canyon, AZ – Another fantastic destination for fall break is Grand Canyon National Park! It’s a lot less crowded this time of year since it’s considered the off season. We didn’t have to fight many crowds at the viewpoints and the lodging was a lot less costly in November. We really enjoyed the weather and cooler temps while hiking, too!

We were all so excited to finally see the Grand Canyon in person!

Click here for my complete guide to visiting Grand Canyon National Park!

We even got to go inside the statue!

New York, NY – Visiting the Big Apple over fall break is the most ideal time to go! Not only did we get to explore the entire city and all the famous landmarks, we also got to check out the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons being inflated, we got to watch the parade from our hotel room, and the entire city was also decorated for Christmas! I feel like we got the best of both worlds in regards to Thanksgiving and Christmas. This trip was truly magical and we made some memories that we will never forget!

I can’t believe we got to see the parade floats this close!

Click here for my complete guide to visiting New York City!

Winter Break Destination Recommendations:

Traveling over the two week winter break can be a fun change of scenery and sometimes our trips are even a part of our Christmas gifts to our family! We love to hit the slopes and snowboard, but we’ve also traveled to other parts of the US over the holiday break and had tons of fun! Below is one of our favorite winter break destinations.

It never looks like this at Christmastime in Texas!

Winter Park, CO – Since we live in Texas, I love to hit the road and head north to the mountains to get that feel of having a white Christmas! We also love to snowboard together and my boys are having a blast learning each year we visit! Winter Park has some excellent ski and snowboarding conditions, plus there’s plenty of activities like tubing, snowshoeing, snow mobile rentals, and even dogsledding! If you’re looking for a fun winter getaway, this is the place to go!

We spent New Year’s Day snowboarding together!

Click here for my complete guide to visiting Winter Park!

Spring Break Destination Recommendations:

Spring break is one of our favorite times of the year to travel! Usually for us, spring fever has set in and it’s so fun to get away with the family to regroup and recharge! We’ve traveled to several destinations over this school break, but below are my three favorites!

Utah rocks!

Moab, UT – Moab has been on my bucket list forever and I am so, so happy that we decided to visit over our spring break a few years ago. The weather was a little chilly, but it was perfect since we did a lot of hiking! We didn’t have to worry about timed-entry permits for Arches National Park and there weren’t too many crowds at all. This was our first trip Utah and it definitely won’t be our last!

This is another top favorite family trip!

Click here for my complete guide to visiting Moab, UT!

Baker Beach in San Francisco

California to Oregon – We spent an unforgettable week traveling from San Francisco to Cannon Beach over spring break last year. It was everything we hoped it would be and more. On our road trip, we explored San Francisco, Redwoods National Park, and Cannon Beach, Oregon. We got really lucky and had gorgeous weather the entire week. I highly recommend road tripping along the Pacific Coast Highway and I think spring break is an excellent time to go! Nothing was crowded at all and I cannot even describe the landscapes in each of these places!

The views along the Pacific Coast Highway!

Click here for my complete Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip guide!

This week at the beach was a dream!

Orange Beach, AL – Our most recent family trip was to Orange Beach, just last month! Again, we got extremely lucky with unseasonably warm weather so early in the season. This trip was so relaxing, we didn’t do much besides play at the beach and eat delicious food at night! If you’re looking for something a little more relaxing, check this beach destination out!

These boys had the best time!

Plan Like a Pro!

Whether you’re traveling over a weekend or for an entire week, you should plan your trip like a pro! Here are some ways to do that!

  • Read travel blogs (like for inspiration.
  • Check out Pinterest for more information specific to your destination.
  • Google search free activities or “best attractions” at your destination.
  • If you’re visiting a city, look into the CityPASS for additional savings.
  • Have a plan in mind, choose at least one thing to do or see each day.
  • Make sure you pack for the right weather, check the forecasts ahead of time.
  • Allow some down time, either before, during, or after your trip.
  • Expect some travel delays and keep a positive attitude.
  • Take tons of photos!

I hope you have found these tips helpful and that you’re able to squeeze in some amazing adventures over the next school break! Be sure to check out Part 1 – Traveling Over Long Weekend School Breaks!

7 EPIC Spring Break Destinations

I absolutely love taking advantage of school breaks and have found that the spring season is such a fun time for adventures. I’m an elementary teacher and let me just say, spring fever is a real thing! Getting away for the week has become a favorite of ours. The weather is getting warmer, the days are longer, and the crowds aren’t as busy as those in the summer. I have included a list of the most epic spring break destinations that I believe your family will love just as much as we do!

Moab, Utah

Those views through Canyonlands National Park

I have some mad love for Utah! Our first visit to this state was a few years ago over spring break and we have plans to return again this coming up break. Moab is the perfect destination for adventurous families! Our highlights included exploring two National Parks and going on a guided UTV excursion.

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park

UTV riding through the Sand Flats

What makes a trip to Moab so great in the spring is the weather! Spring and fall are the best times to visit. In the spring, you’ll find temps in the 70s. Although it was a little chillier for us in early March and even snowed one day! We loved that we didn’t need timed-entry reservations for Aches National Park when we visited, like is required in the summer.

Arches National Park

Dead Horse Point State Park

Click here for our full itinerary to Moab, UT!

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach just might be my new favorite beach destination! I was just flat out giddy during our spring break visit last year. The views, the food, the beach bunnies, the tide pools! Ah, this place is amazing! We decided to squeeze in a few days in Cannon Beach during our Pacific Coast Highway road trip last minute. We all agreed that out of everywhere we visited on the trip, we wished we had more time here!

The sunsets were impressive!

This was the view right outside of the beach cottage

My oldest absolutely loved playing with the beach bunnies that were often hanging outside the cottage we were staying in. Did I mention that we spent a few days in the cutest little cottage right on the beach? It was just perfectly adorable. We strolled along the beach, ate amazing seafood, finally saw tide pools in real life, and built campfires on the beach at night. I cannot wait to go back, it truly is a magical place!

Sea Sprite Inn at Haystack Rock

Our first time seeing tide pools!

These tide pools are at Haystack Rock

Beach campfires at night are a must!

Washington, DC

Washington Monument in the spring

The history buff in me adores this city just about any time of year! We made the trip over spring break a few years ago and had an amazing time seeing the cherry blossoms, touring the White House, seeing all the monuments, and exploring the museums.

The Capital Building

The White House after our visit!

Springtime temps in DC are pleasantly in the 50s-60s in March. The earlier in the month you visit, the less crowded you will find it! The best times to visit this city are September-November and March-May.

Our favorite stop in DC, the Lincoln Memorial!

We were all so excited to be going inside the White House!

Click here for tips on getting a White House Tour!

Saint Helena Island, South Carolina

Hunting Island State Park

Our first cross-country road trip led us from Texas to South Carolina over spring break several years ago. I loved just about every single part of this trip, but Saint Helena Island was my absolute favorite! I really hope that we can head back to that area in the future. From the food to the landscape, this place is truly unforgettable!

More at Hunting Island Beach

My boys loved climbing on the trees!

What I loved the most was the unique beaches and rugged coastlines that Saint Helena Island offers. I’ve found over the years that I enjoy visiting the beach in cooler seasons more so than when it’s hot and muggy. I know, it probably sounds odd to most. But there’s just something so special about exploring the coast and truly taking in all the sights without the crowds. Saint Helena is a great place for relaxing, exploring, and eating excellent seafood!

Chapel of Ease Ruins

Old Sheldon Church Ruins

Click here to read all the details about our Texas to South Carolina Road Trip!

Redwood Forests, California

So amazed with the size of these trees!

If you’ve never visited the Redwoods National & State Parks, then you must add this to your list fast! We were blown away at the sheer size of these trees. Our spring break visit last year was perfect and filled with plenty of adventures! The weather was fantastic, not too cold or too hot. And it felt like we had the whole entire forest all to ourselves!

Stout Memorial Grove Trail

The drive through the Redwoods is gorgeous!

We enjoyed exploring Jedediah Smith State Park by car and on foot, walking along the rugged California coast, and hiking through groves of giant trees in the forest. If you have kids, or a husband that sometimes acts like a kid, then I’m sure they will love climbing on trees and crawling through downed tree trunks! It was such an amazing adventure that we will never forget.

Climbing for days!

And crawling, too!

Enderts Beach looks like a postcard come to life!

Click here to read about our entire Pacific Coast Road Trip over spring break!

Historic Triangle, Virginia

This is the view from the main street through Colonial Williamsburg

The first time I ever visited the Historic Triangle was over our spring break in March and I loved it so much I returned again that same year over Christmas break. I thoroughly enjoy learning about our country’s history and those early days before our country was even established. They really do a fantastic job of bringing history to life in the Historic Triangle! But, I don’t think that means that you have to be a history buff to enjoy all of the things this special place has to offer!

Behind us are stores and shops that are set up like they were in Colonial days

You can take a horse drawn carriage ride through Colonial Williamsburg

We packed in so much during our spring visit! We walked the cobblestone streets of Colonial Williamsburg, visited the Jamestown Settlement, and also ventured to Yorktown and explored the beach there. My boys had the best time learning about these places that they had studied in school and my teacher heart loved the learning that we all experienced! If you enjoy visiting museums, then I believe you’ll especially love these amazingly recreated living-history museums!

Jamestown Settlement was my favorite!

Even the kids will enjoy the living history museums and relics in the Historic Triangle

Native American homes in Jamestown Settlement

Battleground in Yorktown

Click here to read about our day in Colonial Williamsburg

Click here to read about our day in Historic Jamestown

San Francisco, California

Baker Beach

San Francisco is another destination that I have enjoyed many different times of the year. We traveled there last spring break on our Pacific Coast Highway road trip and it was the perfect starting point of our journey. I’ve always loved the vibe of this city and was so excited to take my boys there for the first time!

We also hiked up to the Golden Gate Bridge

There are so many different activities to do in San Francisco! I know there is something here for everyone. My boys loved playing on the beach after hiking up to the Golden Gate Bridge. They also wanted to go to Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf almost every single day we were there! And I especially enjoyed eating all the fresh seafood dishes in the area!

Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 area

Beach cave at Baker Beach

So many clams on the rocks at Baker Beach!

Spring Travel Tips:

Weather – Spring weather can change at the drop of a hat. Be prepared for thunder storms or even snowstorms, depending on where you’re going! Severe weather can cause travel delays, so be sure to monitor conditions before and during your travel dates.

Travel Insurance – I don’t always purchase travel insurance, but I usually do when we travel in the spring. Like I mentioned above, severe weather can happen and cause travel interruptions. It’s better to be prepared in case of an emergency!

Safety – Always stay alert and vigilant, no matter what time of the year you decide to travel. Don’t share too much on social media, especially if you’re traveling solo, until you return home. Avoid first floor hotel rooms, these can be a target for thieves. Practice appropriate water safety if you’re headed to the beach. Talk to your kids about stranger danger. Protect your skin and wear sunscreen! Do your research beforehand and make sure that there are no travel advisories for the area you plan to visit.

Travel Documents – I always recommend printing a copy of your confirmation number for lodging and excursions that you’ve reserved, just in case your reservation is missing upon arrival. Take a photo of your passport and driver’s license in case it gets lost.

Leave No Trace – Always practice leave no trace principals. Leave the area you visit just like it was when you arrived. Pack your trash out, leave what you find, and respect all wildlife.

Happy Travels!

Whether you find yourself staying close to home, road tripping across the country, relaxing on the beach, or hiking trails through the forest, I hope you have an amazing spring break! Be sure to check back in to see what we’re up to over the break. If you have a favorite spring destination, I’d love for you to share about it in the comments so we can check it out, too!