Spring is always an awesome time to be on the East Coast, with most of the snow gone and the weather getting warmer. Mud gives way to blossoms and, little by little, locals are emerging from their winter hibernation to bring a new energy and excitement.
Whether you’re in search of spring break destinations on the East Coast or a quick weekend getaway before school’s out, these spring getaways on the East Coast are a great opportunity to try something new!
Top East Coast spring vacations for families
St. Petersburg, Florida
This is a perfect destination for springtime. No matter what type of traveler you are, there is so much to do in St. Petersburg from museums, to beaches, kayaking, boat tours and more.
You can check out the St. Petersburg pier with lots of fun attractions such as the Splash pad which is an outdoor waterpark area. The pier has lots of great restaurants and cafes, so feel free to while away the whole day relaxing.
For nature lovers, check out the Sunken Gardens where you’ll find a calming and tranquil place to walk around. The garden has lots of beautiful palm trees, flowers, fountains, waterfalls, flamingos and turtles. Plan to spend a couple of hours here just exploring.
One of the best things to do in St. Pete is the Shell Key Preserve, where you’ll find glass-clear water and white sands. You do need to get here by water, so boating is quite popular and you could try kayaking as well. There are plenty of fish, a variety of shells, turtle nests and more to see – you might get lucky and spot dolphins, manatees and pelicans! This awesome clear kayak tour lets you see everything without getting wet, and even the youngest children are allowed (though you need two adults per kiddo under 3).
If you’re visiting St. Pete in March, check out the baseball Spring Training schedules! You can catch the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies just a half hour away. Art lovers will want to pay a visit to the architecturally stunning Dalí Museum (even if you don’t love Dalí’s art).
I promise you won’t be bored in this area – you can always head north to Tampa or south to Sarasota for more activities!
How to get there: St. Pete is easy for many families to access since it’s served by the Tampa airport just across the bay. That means you can use your Southwest Companion Pass to get there for a budget-friendly Spring Break trip! You’ll almost certainly want to rent a car to explore St. Petersburg.
Where to stay: Want to make your family trip to St. Pete super affordable? Grab this credit card and transfer the points from the sign up bonus to Hyatt! You’ll be able to book up to a week at the wonderful Hyatt Place St. Petersburg/Downtown at no cost – not even an annoying destination fee. You’ll get a spacious room for up to 6 people, free breakfast and a pool all within walking distance of St. Pete’s top attractions for families.
For a high-quality stay at a reasonable price, check out the Crystal Bay Hotel. It’s got plenty of space for the family (and it’s a pet-friendly hotel!) plus you can take advantage of the pool and free breakfast.
For a contemporary hotel in downtown St. Pete, opt for value-brand Tru by Hilton. The rooms are basic but clean and modern. The lobby has a fun vibe including a pool table, and you can relax on the charming terrace in the evening!
If you skew more toward a beach vacation with dips into the city for activities, this waterfront condo in nearby Madeira Beach is perfect! It has a king bed in one bedroom and bunk beds in the other, plus a sleep sofa in the living room.
Check out Savannah’s rich history by visiting historic landmarks like the Forsyth Fountain. The park is French-inspired to be a central gathering place for denizens, and the fountain was installed over 150 years ago! If you head over on St. Patrick’s Day, the fountain’s water is dyed green.
To get a nice overview of Savannah, sign up for a hop-on/hop-off trolley tour – it’s easy on short legs and a fun way to see the city while learning about its history. Explore River Street’s waterfront where you can enjoy a nice mix of shops, eateries, and street performers all day. One of the coolest things to do in Savannah is watch the ships go by – they’re often larger than the historic buildings on the banks!
The Savannah Children’s Museum is also a must visit with small children. It is a delightful space filled with interactive exhibits that engage young minds. While here, be sure to check out the outside play area which is in an old brick building without any roof. Some other activities are a crafts section, scavenger hunt, science experiment, Lego Duplos, reading area, maze, giant building blocks, play kitchen and a garden.
Don’t miss the Savannah Botanical Gardens for a peaceful walk! If you’re visiting Savannah with teens or tweens, sign up for an evening ghost tour to experience one of America’s most haunted cities.
How to get there: The Savannah/Hilton Head airport is about 25 minutes from downtown and is served by all the major airlines and several discounters. Because the city itself is pretty compact, if you don’t want to rent a car you can take a Lyft from the airport and then walk or take the trolley!
Where to stay: Who says staying in a renovated historic building turned hotel has to cost a fortune? In Savannah you can grab a room at the highly-regarded Holiday Inn Express Historic District and enjoy a great balance between comfortable modern rooms, an amazing riverfront location, a rooftop pool with a view and an affordable price tag. If you want to stay there for free, snag this credit card – it even gives you a credit for TSA Precheck and an annual free night certificate for just $95. You’ll also get your 4th night free when you book the first three on points!
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Want to add some relaxation and beach time to your spring trip to Savannah? Cross the border into South Carolina and you’ll be at Hilton Head Island in under an hour! No matter what type of traveler you are, Hilton Head has something for every member of your family.
There are tons of water sports opportunities like kayaking through serene waterways and paddleboarding along the coast. The island even offers fantastic opportunities for fishing, dolphin watching, and sailing charters for some sea fun. All of those options are available even in early spring.
May is the perfect time to visit Hilton Head because the ocean will be warming up and you may even encounter nesting loggerhead sea turtles!
The city also has a vibrant arts scene at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina. This is a great opportunity for art lovers to browse through galleries showcasing local artists, catch live music performances, and enjoy the lively atmosphere of this waterfront hub. Be sure to check this out if you’re looking for things to do in Hilton Head in the rain!
How to get there: While there is a small airport on Hilton Head Island, most visitors can get better airfare into Savannah and then rent a car.
Where to stay: The Palmetto Dunes area is a great place to stay and there are tons of wonderful vacation rentals to choose from. It’s centrally located and offers shuttle service around the island, plus on-site amenities like pools, tennis, golf and more. The Villamare complex is especially popular since it’s oceanfront and has very nice units.
Ocean City, Maryland
Ocean City Maryland is a favorite when it comes to tourist attractions and places to check out in the spring and summer. The boardwalk is about 3 miles long with shops, restaurants, hotels, fun attractions and more for everyone. For families with kids, OCMD also has a lot of things to do with kids in all seasons.
Spring is usually a bit less crowded than summer, so late spring is the perfect time to enjoy the weather and all the attractions.
The Jolly Roger Amusement Park is a place for tons of rides, games, and attractions for visitors of all ages. For those that love adventure and thrills, there are roller coasters to entertain you. The park also has an iconic ferris wheel with breathtaking views of the ocean and the lively boardwalk.
Don’t miss the annual SpringFest every May, a 4 day event that takes place to welcome the warm weather and the start of the new season. The festival includes lots of musical attractions, foods and vendors.
For a unique experience, make the quick drive to Assateague Island National Seashore and then explore this protected area observing the wild horses that live there. In case you have a rainy day, you can take the kids to the Delmarva Discovery Center for hands-on activities and ecology focused fun.
How to get there: Unfortunately there’s no major airport near Ocean City, Maryland. That makes this a great spring getaway for mid-Atlantic residents. At just 2.5 hours from DC, Baltimore and Philly, Ocean City is perfect for a long weekend in spring! Some people even visit on a day trip from Baltimore.
Where to stay: Grab a room at the Hyatt Place Ocean City/Oceanfront for an amazing location right on the boardwalk, plus rooms for up to 6 people, free breakfast and more. While I would normally advocate booking on points to save money, in this case the cash rates are often so reasonable that you should save your points.
For even more fun, join forces with another family or two and stay at this incredible beachfront condo. It can sleep up to 12 in its 4 bedrooms, and you be able to take yourself away from the balcony – except to take a dip in the on-site pool.
Visiting Williamsburg, Virginia, a city, with history and colonial architecture is a trip that is unforgettable for every traveler.
For history lovers, you can step back in time and learn the history of Colonial Williamsburg, where costumed interpreters bring the past to life. You can also visit period homes, participate in colonial-era activities like games, crafts and carriage rides and witness fascinating reenactments that transport you to the 18th century. It’s perfect for school age kids as they start to learn about the founding of the United States. In recent years, CW has really expanded the range per perspectives that are shared and there are many opportunities to learn about the experiences of American Indians, the enslaved Black community as well as European colonists.
If you want to dive deeper, don’t skim the historic sites at Jamestown and Yorktown – together with Colonial Williamsburg they’re referred to as America’s Historic Triangle. Jamestown was the site of the first permanent English settlement in the Americas and is also set up as a living history museum, while Yorktown is the famous battlefield where the American colonists and their French allies defeated the mighty British army to end the American Revolution.
Want to save money on your Colonial Williamsburg trip? Bundle your tickets and rental car to potentially save hundreds of dollars!
If you are a thrill lover, for a day of excitement, head over to Busch Gardens Williamsburg. This world-class amusement park combines thrilling rides with live entertainment, offering a perfect blend of adrenaline-pumping experiences and family-friendly shows. They also have rides for kids or less intimidating rides.
Also in Williamsburg is Water Country USA, a huge water park with lots of water slides, a wave pool, lazy river, and tons of attractions for kids. It gets pretty busy so weekdays are your best bet. It’s affiliated with Busch Gardens, so you can save money by purchasing a combo ticket. While Busch Gardens is open year-round, Water Country USA doesn’t open until mid-May typically so save this for a late spring getaway with your family. I recommend getting the all day dining pass which allows you to eat every 90 minutes.
How to get there: Fly into the Richmond airport, just 45 minutes away – this is another great Companion Pass opportunity! Alternatively drive down from Washington DC for a few days for a split trip. Since the drive from DC is nearly 3 hours, I don’t recommend this as a day trip from Washington DC if you want enough time to explore – and any writer who does clearly hasn’t done it! Be sure to check flights into Norfolk as well, which could be very affordable if your home airport is served by discounter Breeze.
Where to stay: The Williamsburg Inn is the most iconic and luxurious place to stay in Williamsburg. It’s walking distance (or on the shuttle route) to all of Colonial Williamsburg, plus on-site you can enjoy upscale food, both indoor and outdoor pools, an amazing spa and even golf. Truly the only thing not to love here is the price tag, which can be steep.
On a moderate budget, stay at the Williamsburg Lodge. It’s actually slightly closer to Colonial Williamsburg and amenities like the pools and golf course are shared between them. The Lodge is still a pretty high-end stay, but a better fit for more families. Once you put in your dates and number of guests, be sure to look at the “Deals and Packages” tab at the top of the rate screen – they often have great deals that include Colonial Williamsburg tickets and breakfast. Get the best deals here.
A little further down Francis Street, families who value spacious rooms will be happy at the Griffin Hotel. It’s still walking distance to CW and has shuttle access while being a little quieter and simpler.
For families who want to split their time between America’s Historic Triangle, Busch Gardens and Water Country this Holiday Inn Express is an excellent option. It’s closer to the theme parks and includes breakfast for the family at a very affordable price point. Book it for free using the points from this credit card, and remember that 4th night is free on points bookings!
Trying to decide where to go on the East Coast in April? Put the old-meets-new town of Plymouth on your list. Though the weather is moderate, you’ll find scant crowds and plenty of things to do.
Spend several hours visiting the recreated 17th century English settlement, where you can try out traditional gardening methods, play traditional games and more. There’s even a working grist mill to watch!
Take a cruise around Plymouth Harbor to see its most famous sites while you learn about the location’s historic significance. Afterward take a tour of Mayflower II, a full-scale replica of the real Mayflower, the Historic Patuxet Homesite to learn about local Indiginous heritage, and other important historical sites in the area.
You can also check out the Myles Standish State Forest for hiking, biking, and horseback riding on the trails. The forest is such a peaceful escape if you are looking for a quiet and relaxing time away. If you catch a sunny day, bring your swimsuit to play in the sand and take a dip in one of the ponds!
For a change of pace, visit Plymouth Bay Winery to sample a variety of locally crafted wines, including fruit wines made from cranberries and blueberries.
One spectacular attraction is a whale-watching excursion where you can spot humpback whales, dolphins, and other sea creatures. It’s truly a sight to behold! Keep in mind that whale watching season in Massachusetts begins in mid-April.
If you’re visiting Plymouth in April, check to see if you’ll be there during the running of the herring. Be sure to put it on your itinerary!
How to get there: Plymouth has its own small airport, but for most visitors it’ll be easier to fly into Boston or Providence – both about 90 minutes away. Boston has service from all of the major carriers, while providence also has lots of flights on discount airlines like Breeze.
Where to stay: The John Carver Inn & Spa is a slam dunk for where to stay in Plymouth with kids. It’s walkable to nearly everything in town, offers rooms for 5 people and includes an indoor pool with a hot tub and waterslide built into a replica of the Mayflower!
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
For an entertainment-oriented East Coast spring vacation, the Myrtle Beach boardwalk is a must-visit when it comes alive in spring. From the fun shops to delicious cafes and restaurants, walking paths and street performers, there is a lot to enjoy here. Enjoy the warming temperatures by relaxing at the beach, building sandcastles with the kids, taking a leisurely stroll along the shore, or simply basking in the sun’s glow.
If rollercoasters are your idea of fun, head over to Family Kingdom Amusement Park. It has a mix of classic rides, modern attractions and rollercoasters thus making it the perfect spot for family bonding. Visitors of any age can enjoy the epic SkyWheel, one of the largest ferris wheels in the US – it’s very similar to the SkyWheel in Niagara Falls.
For some nature exploration, check out the spring blooms at Brookgreen Gardens. This botanical paradise also houses a zoo, providing an opportunity for wildlife encounters and educational experiences.
How to get there: Myrtle Beach has its own airport, with reasonably priced fares from many cities in the eastern half of the US. In addition to the major carriers, it’s served by Breeze, Avelo, Frontier, Allegiant, Porter and more! Don’t forget to use your Southwest Companion Pass to bring your kids along for free.
Where to stay: Before you book a place to stay in Myrtle Beach, decide if you want to be in the heart the boardwalk area or in a quieter spot. The boardwalk has big hotels, neon lights and lots of people – which could be good or bad depending on what you’re looking for!
The Homewood Suites by Hilton Myrtle Beach Oceanfront is an awesome choice for families. There are regular rooms for up to 6 people or suites with full kitchens for up to 8 people – perfect for a multi-generational getaway! When you aren’t hanging out on the beach or strolling the boardwalk, spend time at the huge indoor pool – complete with a lazy river, spray area and water slide. For a change of pace you can hit the game room, which is stocked with ping-pong, foosball and a pool table. Did I mention the free breakfast buffet?
For a more budget-friendly trip, I’ve got a great tip for you. Grab the Capital One Venture X Rewards credit card. Once you earn the sign up bonus, you can transfer those points to Wyndham and then call Vacasa to book condo in quiet North Myrtle Beach starting at just 15,000 points per night (if you choose a one bedroom with a sleep sofa in the living room). Your sign up bonus could cover a 6 day stay in Myrtle Beach! The $395 annual fee may seem high, but it comes with a $300 annual credit that you can use to book your rental car through the credit card account.
Spring is a great time to visit DC with kids. One highlight of spring is the iconic cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin and watching them as they burst into bloom. The event is very popular and a huge tourist attraction perfect for great photos – book your hotel early!
After viewing the cherry blossoms, explore the National Mall to visit the Smithsonian museums which offer a lot of learning opportunities and interactive exhibits for all ages. Some great monuments to check out are the Washington monument, Jefferson memorial, Lincoln memorial and others.
If you have kids, DC has a lot of fun indoor play areas for kids to explore. The new National Children’s Museum is a great addition with many sections set out for kids to really get into their creative side. One favorite in the museum is the “Dream machine” where kids can slide, crawl, scamper, and climb up and down the structure. For older kids check out Planet Word, a wonderfully interactive place dedicated to language.
How to get there: The DC area is served by three major airports. The most convenient, especially if you don’t plan to get a rental car, is National Airport (DCA) – it’s just across the river and a very quick hop in on the Metro. Dulles (IAD) is another good option and is now connected by Metro as well, but it’ll take an hour longer. Dulles is a good option if you want a car for nearby day trips like Shenandoah National Park. The final option is BWI, which is a similar distance compared to IAD and can be accessed either by rental car or MARC train.
Where to stay: There’s no shortage of great family-friendly hotels in Washington DC, but it’s hard to beat the convenience of Holiday Inn Washington Capital – National Mall. When you step out from the Starbucks in the hotel lobby, you’ll be staring at the door of the Air & Space Museum one short block away. You can also start your day with their free breakfast and end it with a dip in the seasonal rooftop pool – complete with a view of the US Capitol building. While the standard rooms are on the smaller side, the king + sofabed rooms are generously sized.
On a tighter budget, consider staying at a Metro-convenient hotel in Northern Virginia. Hampton Inn Alexandria-Old Town/King St. Metro is right on the yellow line in family-friendly Old Town Alexandria, which is walkable and has its own charms. Old Town is also a convenient location if you’re planning to tour George Washington’s Mount Vernon.
Baltimore, Maryland’s Inner Harbor is great place to visit with kids!
You can start your journey by exploring the famous National Aquarium. It is hands down one of the best aquariums in the United States. There are so many diverse creatures to “meet” and even touch pools for kids. You can see everything from dolphins at play to the hypnotic swimming of jellyfish in their tanks. Strollers are not allowed in the aquarium, but there is a parking area to keep them safe – be sure to bring a carrier if you have a non-walker or a toddler who gets tired. Beginning this year you can also enjoy the free salt marsh habitat that’s been recreated just outside of the aquarium!
Next, you can embark on a science-filled exploration at the Maryland Science Center. It is one of the best indoor play areas for kids in Maryland. There are hands-on exhibits covering everything from paleontology to physics to space exploration and beyond! MSC participates in the ASTC Passport Program, so you’ll get free admission when you present a valid membership card for your local science museum along with an out of state ID.
Of course no spring trip to Baltimore is complete without a trip to Oriole Park at Camden Yards to catch a baseball game! It’s arguably one of the best stadiums in baseball and an easy walk to the Inner Harbor and other downtown hotels.
Take a tour of the USS Constellation, a restored 1854 sloop that has been turned into a museum. Your ticket includes visits to a submarine and cutter ship also docked in the Inner Harbor, and fortunately you don’t have to visit all of the ships on the same day.
Another fun place for kids is the Port Discovery Children’s Museum which has lots of attractions like an arts area, a diner, a Royal Farms store, grocery store, water play section and more.
When it comes to the culinary scene, Baltimore is a hit, whether it’s indulging in local seafood or sampling ethnic delights at Lexington Market, there are a lot of foods to try.
The Inner Harbor waterfront area provides opportunities for tours like dinner cruises. You can take a nice walk along the waterfront, take a tour round Baltimore in a boat and get great views of the area, and explore some of the shops along the waterfront. The city is also full of parks, museums, and family-friendly attractions. If you rent a car, you can even check out one of these great day trips from Baltimore!
How to get there: Baltimore is extremely easy to access, and you can even make it a car-free vacation if you want! There are more than 600 domestic flights in to BWI every day, and you can take the light rail to either the Camden or Convention Center station.
Where to stay: The Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor has an amazing location – choose a “harbor view” room to enjoy the best views in Baltimore, especially at night! It’s a 10 minute walk from nearly everything you’ll want to do in Charm City. For points and miles travelers, you can transfer from this credit card to Hyatt to grab a room for as little as 9,000 points for a suite starting at 17,000 points.
Another fantastic option is Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace hotel. The prices are a little higher but rooms are more spacious – be sure to check the AAA rate if you’re a member. This hotel also offers rooms with “club access” that includes a breakfast buffet, afternoon snacks and evening hors d’oeuvres and desserts. That can be helpful with young kids!
Richmond, Virginia is worth a visit if you are on the East Coast. It is a historic city that’s capitalizing on its new hipster status with a lot to offer everyone.
Make a stop at the Science Museum of Virginia which has 3 floors of interactive exhibits for everyone to explore. The museum has a rotation of exhibits which is great as there is always something new each time you visit. It would take at least 3-4 hours to thoroughly go through. Get in free when you show your membership card for a ASTC museum back home!
The Children’s Museum of Richmond is perfect for younger kids. There is an arts and crafts section for kids to get creative and have fun. The museum also has a carousel for an extra fee, imaginative play sections for a doctor’s office, grocery store and more. Although the indoor is amazing, they also have an outdoor play area which has a water play area and a few more activities when it’s warm outside.
Richmond is also a must-visit city for American history buffs of all ages. Visit Henricus Historical Park (30 minutes south of downtown) to learn about the Indigenous Powhatan community and visit a recreated town, while also experiencing a recreated English settlement from the same era. Or take a downtown riverfront canal cruise to learn more about Richmond’s history and then pop over to Brown’s Island for urban green space and to see the April 1865 exhibit along with several other statues and sculptures – you’ll even be surrounded by cherry blossoms if you time your spring trip to Richmond well.
Be sure to spend time enjoying Richmond’s varied neighborhoods. Visit Jackson Ward, the historic center of Black culture in the city; dine and window shop in quirky Carytown; and relax in the green spaces of the Riverfront District. Keep your eyes peeled for murals wherever you go, as street art has really taken off in Richmond!
How to get there: Fly into Richmond International Airport or take FlixBus or Amtrak from DC/Northern Virginia. If you don’t feel like driving in an unfamiliar area, downtown Richmond is walkable and you can take the GRTC Pulse to the Science and Children’s museums!
Where to stay: For an ideal location and great walkability, stay at Hilton Richmond Downtown.
Rochester, New York
Rochester is another fantastic place to visit in the spring especially if you have kids. There is surprisingly a lot to do here if you have a couple of days to spend!
The Rochester Museum and Science Center is a fun learning space for everyone. Plan to spend a few hours here because there are lots of great exhibits to look at. The first floor has the wonders of water area recently created with fun jellyfish things to climb on, a pirate ship and a water section to play. Next to it is a construction zone exhibit where kids can pretend to be builders with outfits. Also check out the dinosaur bone digging, glacier exhibit, volcanoes and earthquake formation section. Sometimes they have events going on in the center.
Another must visit place in Rochester is the Strong Museum of Play which is a museum dedicated to the history and exploration of play, emphasizing interactive experiences and curated collections. It is such a huge space and has so many things to do and see. There is the Wegmans store, butterfly zoo, supermarket simulation, Skyline Climb and zipline, Arcade game area and more. It is perfect for kids of all ages and can take up an entire day especially if you have older kids.
Rochester also makes a great base for side trips in the region (some of which are best in good weather). It’s just 90 minutes to Niagara Falls, which you can visit year-round – even if it still feels like winter in Rochester. In nicer weather it’s just 45-90 minutes to various locations around the Finger Lakes, including stunning Letchworth State Park and iconic Watkins Glen State Park.
Before you go…
From the cherry blossoms in Washington D.C., to the pre-season peacefulness of Myrtle Beach, there are so many unique East Coast destinations for families in spring! As you plan out your own family adventure, be sure to learn how to save big money with the Southwest Companion Pass and which family travel credit card is the right choice for your needs.
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Lola is the blogger behind Deyewa, a family travel blog focused on helping families explore the best places in the state of Maryland.