Easy Spring Break Vacays for the Fam
Before having kids, the term “spring break” used to spark exhilaration and anticipation in me. After kids, frankly, it ignites a fun little mix of anxiety, confusion, and straight up fear. Even though I know full well it’s coming, the scene still goes a little like this: “A whole week without school?!” I gasp dramatically, as I clutch my coffee and/or wine to my chest, holding on for dear life as I begin frantically Googling “things to do with my children.”
Spring break with kids feels a little different — okay, A LOT different — than the carefree days of sipping a beer (or three) on the beach. But take heart, frazzled parents: there are still so many awesome places to go and cool things to do with kids in tow. And here’s the best part: many of them are practically right in our own backyards! (Give or take a few hours in the car… but that’s a small price to pay to get the kids out of the house so they’re not yelling “I’m bored” every ten minutes.)
As a parent myself, my ideal spring break scenario would involve doing something fun with the kids without having to deal with the stress of flying or spending a ton of money. Thankfully, there are lots of easy, drivable, and affordable destinations the whole family will love. So if you’re getting the itch to hit the road for a few days, check out some of these great getaway destinations. (And, if you’re feeling particularly lazy, I’ve even included a “staycation” option right here in Music City.)
In order from shortest drive time to longest…
Chattanooga has it all: beautiful outdoor recreation, amazing Civil War history, tons of family entertainment, and so much more. Plus the drive isn’t bad at all; pop in a movie for the kids and you’re there.
Drive Time: 2 hours
What to Do: Marvel at the big tanks at the Tennessee Aquarium
Have a meal at the beloved Maple Street Biscuit Company
Explore the gorgeous sights of Ruby Falls
See the old trains and play games at the Chattanooga Choo Choo
Gatlinburg and neighboring Pigeon Forge have become super popular destinations for Nashvillians looking for a quick and easy getaway. Between its cool arts and crafts district and fun-filled national parks, it’s a win for every member of the family.
Drive Time: 4 hours
Where to Stay: Gatlinburg Falls cabins
Atlanta is one of the most visited cities in the Southeast, and for good reason. An eclectic dining scene, a thriving arts district, incredible shopping and so much history all combine to make this charming city a must-visit.
Drive Time: 4.5 hours
Where to Stay: The Whitley in Buckhead
St. Louis, MO
St. Louis might be my favorite road trip destination of all, mainly because of the awesome City Museum that’s just as much fun for adults as it is for kids. St. Louis is also home to a stellar mix of art, sports, and history, not to mention some delicious dining experiences.
Drive Time: 5 hours
Where to Stay: Magnolia Hotel
Visitors love going to Asheville for its many outdoor activities like hiking, fly-fishing, mountain biking and waterfall tours. But there are also plenty of art galleries, live music and a thriving food/craft beer scene to make your trip one to remember.
Drive Time: 5 hours
Where to Stay: The Grove Park Inn
What to Do: Explore the beautiful Biltmore Estate
Drive the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway for views of the Smokies
Pack a picnic and hike one of the countless mountain trails
Stroll through the gorgeous flora at the Botanical Gardens
*Parents: please try to sneak in some craft beer; it’s what Asheville is best known for!
When you go to 30A, you get the advantage of experiencing all of the towns along the highway: Rosemary, Alys Beach, Watercolor, Seaside and more. Aside from the obvious beach perk, there’s also tons of green space, parks, pools and fun activities for the kids.
Drive Time: 7 hours
Where to Stay: visit VRBO to find a cute beach cottage rental!
What to Do: Eat, drink, dance to live music, and play games at The Hub
Rent bikes and cruise up and down 30A
Shop your heart out at the darling Seacrest Beach shops
Browse the Farmer’s Market at Rosemary Beach
Indulge your sweet tooth at Sugar Shak
Bike to breakfast at Charlie’s Donuts in Alys Beach
I don’t have to tell you how amazing Nashville is, but sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of some of the cool things our city has to offer.
Drive Time: None!
Where to Stay: Opryland Hotel
What to Do: Let the kids run around the hotel and check out the new SoundWaves water park
Catch a puppet show at the Nashville Public Library
Grab brunch and a lane for bowling at Pinewood Social
Play a round at Topgolf
Have dinner and a beer while the kids play yard games at Fat Bottom Brewery
Get an out-of-this-world dessert from Cosmic Creamery