The best spring break bucket list destinations in the USA

cherry blossoms in front of a lake with the sunsetting behind a tall building in the background

Are you looking for the best spring break bucket list destinations in the USA? You’re in the right place! I have teamed with some travel experts to bring you a list of incredible spring break destinations in the USA.

It is that time of year where the snow is melting, the sun is starting to shine and you are in much need of some vitamin D.

Keep reading to find out where you need to head this year to have a memorable spring break.

These spring break destinations will give you some serious wanderlust that you will want to add them to your classic USA road trip list.

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The Ultimate spring break bucket list destinations in the USA

Are you ready to start planning your best spring break yet?

San Diego

Katie, La Jolla Mom

Colourful flowers in front of a swimming pool surrounded by palm trees

San Diego is one of the most popular spring destinations in the United States thanks to sunny weather and 70 miles of coastline.

Many families choose it for spring break vacations because of the long list of San Diego attractions for kids that not only includes famous theme parks like LEGOLAND California and San Diego Zoo, but plenty of outdoor activities.

Sunbathing and enjoying the quintessential Southern California beach day tops most spring itineraries. But you can also learn how to surf, go snorkeling, kayak sea caves, and enjoy hiking trails for all levels. 

Those looking for a more urban experience should see Balboa Park, the nation’s largest urban cultural park, which is home to outstanding architecture and gardens along with 17 museums of varying themes.

You can also explore Old Town San Diego, considered the birthplace of California with its historic buildings that showcase what life was like in the state’s early years, in the mid to late 1800s.

Plus, it’s also known for the Mexican food San Diego is famous for (and giant margaritas). Speaking of food, the one thing you must eat in San Diego is a fish taco. Pair it with a craft beer from one of the nearly 200 local breweries. You’ll find plenty of restaurants and breweries with outdoor patios from which you can enjoy the spring sunshine.

The airport is located in the center of downtown, so you can fly into San Diego and be in a cool downtown boutique hotel with a happening rooftop pool like Pendry San Diego in a matter of minutes.

The most popular spring break resort though is the historic and beachfront Hotel del Coronado, about 20 minutes from the airport. Coronado Island is famous for its pristine beaches and this resort has a neat set-up called Del Beach with food and drink service to the sand.

They’re also in the process of an enormous transformation and have opened up a brand new pool with cabanas in addition to new rooms covered outdoor terraces and fire pits.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Heather, That OC Girl

A path winding through rock cliffs

One of the best places to visit during spring is Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in San Diego County. Anza-Borrego is California’s largest state park, so you’ll find plenty of things to do here.

Some of the most popular things to do in Anza-Borrego include hiking Borrego Palm Canyon Trail, hiking through The Slot canyon, and driving to Font’s Point for sunrise or sunset. Some locations in the park require a 4×4 vehicle, so plan ahead if you want to visit any of those locations (which includes Font’s Point).

Camping in Anza-Borrego is a great option for overnight stays if you are outdoorsy or just looking for a place to stay that’s more secluded. You are able to make camping reservations, but it can be hard to snag a reservation so you can also look into backcountry camping if you’re ok without having basic amenities.

If you’re not into camping, the best place to stay near Anza-Borrego is in Borrego Springs, a tiny town right outside of the park. You’ll find several hotels (and camping options), including vintage RV rentals.

Palm trees in front of a resort pool with old buildings in the backyard

Check out Palm Canyon Hotel & RV Resort which is right down the street from the Visitor Center and has decent prices and plenty of amenities including a restaurant, pools, and laundry facilities.

There’s plenty of things to do in Borrego Springs as well, including renting e-bikes to see the metal sculptures scattered throughout the desert, grabbing some fresh grapefruits at one of the corner fruit stands, and stargazing.

The best time to go to Anza-Borrego is in early spring when the wildflowers are blooming and the day time temps are still manageable. April and May temperatures can reach the 90’s and above, so hiking in these conditions won’t be comfortable.

Make sure you dress appropriately for your trip – including appropriate sun protection and hiking gear!

Big Bend

Megan, Red Around the World

Open grassland with mountains off in the distance

Big Bend National Park is Texas’ gift to the nation.  At least that’s what they say.  While it may not be the best national park ever, it’s still pretty great, especially in spring. 

It’s in the middle of nowhere west Texas making it a little more effort than usual to visit. 

If you’re flying in, El Paso is going to be the best place to do that, though it’s still hours away (it’s literally the middle of nowhere on the Texas/Mexico border). 

I would definitely recommend staying at the Chisos Mountain Lodge in the park or camping in the park if you can.  The Gage Hotel in Marathon is another good option close to the park. 

If you’re on more of a budget, Fort Stockton will get the job done but it is a couple of hours from the park, like most lodging.

There are tons of things to do in Big Bend but it’s vast and overwhelming to visit so make sure you plan out a few things you want to do while you’re there and know where those things are. 

You could spend all day just driving the main roads of the park but you’ll want to get out and stretch your legs, too.  

Some great things to do are the short hike to the hot springs (check out the rock art along the way), visit Boquillas, Mexico for a few hours, hike to the iconic Santa Elena Canyon or Balanced Rock, and hike the Chisos Mountains. 

Spring is one of the best times to visit Big Bend because of the weather.  It’s perfect for hiking, not too hot and not too cold.

Keep an eye out for javelinas in the park and on the way there and no matter if you stay in the park or are just there for one day, try to set aside some time at night to do some stargazing.  It’s so remote which makes the night skies shockingly clear. 

It can get chilly at night in spring, so make sure you have some layers to bundle up in.

Washington DC

Adrienne, The Haphazard Traveler

Cherry blossoms at sunset with a building in the backyard

Travelers looking for the perfect spring getaway should plan a long weekend in Washington DC to see cherry blossoms.  In late March and early April, Washington DC hosts its annual Cherry Blossom Festival when thousands of cherry trees throughout the city bloom. 

The festival activities include Opening Ceremonies, Kite Festival, Parade, and closing fireworks.

For the best spring views of DC’s iconic monuments, visit the Tidal Basin and follow its 2-mile loop trail.  From here it’s possible to get photos of the Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial framed by flowers.  

Pink Cherry blossoms

Washington DC visitors should also make time to see the Smithsonian Museums located nearby on the National Mall, as well as the U.S. Capitol and the National Gallery of Art.  History buffs will want to visit the National Archives to see the original Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution.

To plan a trip, the closest airport is Reagan National Airport (DCA) just across the Potomac River in Arlington, Virginia.  From there, it’s a quick taxi, Uber, or Metro ride to Washington DC.  The Mandarin Oriental is the most convenient hotel to the Tidal Basin cherry blossoms, about a 10-minute walk. 

The Willard, just a few blocks from the White House, is another classic DC stay, while the Hotel Hive is a close mid-range boutique option.  

Brenham, Texas

Yocheved, Texas Wanderers

Purple flowers on green foliage in front of a forest

Brenham in the spring is a sight to behold. The fields are awash in bursts of blue, as the iconic Texas flower, the bluebonnet, begins to bloom. Take a drive out here to see the beautiful scenery, take some pictures, and maybe even pick a few to take home. 

Brenham, Texas is a small city of about 15,000 people, centrally located about mid-way between Houston and Austin. It’s most famous for its bluebonnets, and for being home to Blue Bell Creameries.

After you’ve seen the bluebonnets, head over to the creamery for some delicious ice cream made on premises, plus some exhibits and information about the history of Blue Bell!

Brenham is located in Washington County, which is also known as the birthplace of Texas. It was right nearby, at Washington-on-the-Brazos, that the Texas declaration of independence was signed.

You can visit the Star of the Republic Museum, where you’ll learn all about the early history of Texas, plus an entire exhibit focused on the mid 1800’s when Texas was known as the Republic of Texas.

The museum is located on the grounds of Washington-on-the-Brazos Historic Site, with expansive grounds along the Brazos river, perfect for picnicking, sightseeing, and birdwatching.

The site also houses the Barrington Living History Farm, where you can tour the 1850’s home of Dr. Anson Jones, the last president of the Republic of Texas. You’ll be transported back in time by costumed guides who show you what life was like back then. 

If you’re looking to stay the night, you won’t want to miss a stay at Rocking Star Ranch, where you can sleep in one of their beautifully decorated rustic cabins at night, and enjoy the ranch by day, including a walk among the cattle, feeding the chickens, goats, pigs, and even baby deer, petting the horses, and even a sunset hayride.

There’s also a beautiful pool with a waterfall, completing the property’s luxurious feel. 

Roanoke, Virginia

Erin, Go Hike Virginia 

A view of Roanoke, Virginia

Situated in the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Roanoke sparkles as a springtime destination, particularly for outdoor lovers.

Tackle single-track mountain bike trails at Carvins Cove Natural Reserve or take on the Roanoke Star hike to the world’s largest man-made star that stands proud at 100 feet tall. The overlook boasts far-reaching views across the Roanoke Valley.

A drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, which skirts to the east of downtown, is a must-do while in Roanoke. In spring, colorful wildflowers and flowering shrubs, like mountain laurel and rhododendrons, wow motorists on the scenic byway.

At milepost 115, stop in the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center to explore topographical area maps and browse regional crafts and souvenirs in the gift shop.

In downtown Roanoke, spend a few hours at Center in the Square, which is home to popular attractions like the Roanoke Pinball Museum, the Science Museum of Western Virginia and the Harrison Museum of African American Culture.

A giant blue star above trees and bushes

Take the elevator to the sixth-floor rooftop to see a koi pond and to revel in all the views of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains.

Starved? Take a seat at Texas Tavern, a classic 10-stool diner in Roanoke. This longtime cash-only establishment serves up burgers and chili bowls for less than $2 each. Order the Cheesy Western, a burger topped with a fried egg, cheese, pickles and sweet relish.

Stay the weekend in-town at the centrally-located Hampton Inn & Suites Roanoke Downtown. Before you return home, fill up at Scratch Biscuit Company.

The buttery, made-from-scratch biscuits are heavenly, but they also serve up eggs, pancakes and hash browns.

No car? No problem. Take the Amtrak train to the Roanoke Valley. The train stops in downtown Roanoke daily, making it a snap to get to Roanoke from points north, including Washington, DC and Philadelphia by way of Amtrak’s Northeast Regional Route. 

Moab, Utah

Meg, Fox in the Forest

Sun setting under a rock formation

Often referred to as the gateway to the desert, Moab, Utah is a must-see US destination for spring. Located along Highway 191, just a few hours past the Utah/Colorado border, you’ll find yourself surrounded by red rock scenery.

With two nearby national parks, a state park, and plenty of opportunity for outdoor exploration there is plenty to do in Moab. Start by checking out some of the best Moab hikes. From Arches National Park to Canyonlands and beyond, you’ll be spoiled for desert scenery.

Don’t like to hike? Moab is also world-famous for scenic driving – take a ride down Gemini Bridges Road or along Upper Potash Road for sunset. Avid outdoor enthusiasts will love the other opportunities for OHV driving, mountain biking, or rock climbing.

In the spring, the canyons flow heavily with water from nearby snowmelt. White water rafting trips are popular this time of year as well. You can opt to go guided or avid water experts can try their luck rafting the Colorado River on their own.

Springtime is a popular time to visit, so be sure to make your reservations for lodging early. AirBnB’s are likely your best bet for flexibility and freedom, although there are plenty of hotel options in Moab. Nearby Spanish Valley, just 7 minutes from Moab, offers affordable AirBnB lodging with beautiful scenery.

Pack plenty of water, salty snacks, and sun protection for your desert adventure. Be sure to always follow signage and stay on marked trails. Keep in mind that flash floods are common in the desert during spring, so avoid hiking in any canyons or driving dirt roads during or after a rainstorm. Always check the weather and be sure to leave the places you visit better than you found them.

St. Louis

Jamie, Fly by the Seat of our Pants

A big silver arch with leaves in the forefront

St Louis is the perfect place to bring the family for spring break.  For one thing, it is so nice on the wallet.  Most of the major attractions in St. Louis are completely free!  You can enjoy the Zoo, the Science Museum and Art Museum for only the cost of parking.  

The City Zoo is large and expansive with interesting animals and a beautiful walkthrough.  The Science Museum is full of interactive and educational activities for all ages. 

The walkway over the freeway is a great place to watch the traffic speed by.  Try the Art Museum for free as well!

The best museum in the city of St. Louis is called City Museum.  It was created by an artist and architect.  You will love the mazes to explore, the creativity, the beauty, and all the wonky designs. 

Kids of all ages will climb, slide, and explore their way through this giant warehouse at City Museum. 

Gateway Arch is a National Monument right on the bank of the Mississippi river which welcomes the original USA to the “Wild West” Just walking around the arch is an experience to remember. 

But, you can also go down under the arch into the visitors center for a fascinating informational video and gift shop.  For a fee, you can ride the elevator to the top of the arch to see incredible views of the city. 

The Hyatt Regency downtown has incredible views of the Arch and Park and is close to great eating places. Don’t miss out on St. Louis Style pizza.

St. Louis is exactly what your family needs this spring break.  Read everything you need to know to plan the perfect trip to St. Louis.

Sedona

Debbie, World Adventurists

A large rock formation towering over green bushes

Sedona in located in Northern Arizona, with the Flagstaff Airport just a 40-minute scenic drive away through Oak Creek Canyon.

Sedona, known as Mother Nature’s red rock country, boasts majestic sandstone scenery and towering cliffs. A paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, its red rock formations are an incredible backdrop to the myriad of outdoor activities.

We would even argue that Sedona is one of the most scenic areas of Arizona; the expansive panoramas will amaze you.

Hiking trails vary from family-friendly hikes to challenging paths that take you to stunning vistas. If you’re looking for some easier hikes, we would suggest:  Devil’s Bridge (4 miles) is one of the most famous hikes, and is one of the most impressive geologic formations in Sedona.  

Bell Rock (1 mile) trail is relatively flat and has fantastic views of Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock. Sedona View Trail (1.2 miles) will amaze you with stunning views of Chimney Rock, Coffee Pot Rock and Thunder Mountain.

Rock formations in the desert surrounded by trees

If you want a break from hiking, take a thrilling ride on a rugged off-road adventure jeep tour, drive the Ref Rock Scenic Byway (179 & 89A) enjoy a scenic morning hot air balloon flight, relax with some spa time, or enjoy shopping the boutiques, art galleries and souvenir stores in Uptown Sedona.

There is also a natural rock formation that is called a “waterslide” in Slide Rock State Park, just a few miles (or ten minute drive) north of Sedona (check out these awesome waterfalls). 

We found Sedona to have a strong, unique energy to it, or an energy vortex, as they call it. There are said to be four Sedona vortexes: Airport Mesa, Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock and Boynton Canyon; each with their own energy.

Spring is an excellent time to visit Sedona.  From March to May, temperatures are more comfortable, rather than scorching. When we visited in March, the weather was perfect. We did not feel like we were going to melt and were able to enjoy the sunshine and warmth.

Do not make the mistake of only booking a night or two in Sedona. Leave yourself adequate time to discover all the fascinating scenery, surrounded by massive red rocks. The Sedona Summit is a great mid-range hotel, with gorgeous views from most units. The studios feel like a mini suite, very spacious and with a great kitchen.

Where would you go for the perfect spring break in America? Let me know in the comments below

Fiona xoxo
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My BEST Travel Resources

Here are my favourite travel resources for planning travel like a pro

Flights: To find the best flights I always search on Google Flights or Skyscanner. For even cheaper flights, fly mid week and pack in a carry on!

Accommodation: I always use booking.com (I love their price match and flexible cancellation policies) or Airbnb (if I want a little more space) to book trip. If you prefer hostels, I suggest Hostelworld.

If you are new to Airbnb you can get an awesome discount using this link

Travel Insurance: After a few hairy moments on my travels, I ALWAYS purchase travel insurance. It may seem like a big cost now, but if the worst happens, it will save you a lot of money and heartache. I personally use World Nomads (and love them!), but I recommend that you do some research to find the insurance company that suits your needs.

Tours: While I prefer to travel independently, I do love doing some tours once I’m in a destination. It is a great way to find out history, hidden gems, taste local food and get a local insight into your destination. I always use Viator to book my tours.

Train Travel: If you are planning on taking the train in Europe, I cannot recommend the Eurail enough! Check out The Ultimate Guide to the Eurail Pass to find out why

Car Hire: Planning an epic road trip across the US or through Europe, or anywhere! Check out Europcar, they are my go to for car hire all over the world!

Luggage Storage: Some times when we are travelling our check in and check out times don’t match with our departure times so we have to put our luggage into storage. Stasher Luggage Storage is the biggest Luggage Storage Network across the UK, France and Germany

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