With less than a month to go, perhaps you’re looking for some fresh spring break ideas. You’ve loaded up the kids more times than you can count to visit Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, you’ve exhausted the sites and activities in Chattanooga, and you don’t want to break the bank on plane tickets. The beach isn’t necessarily that warm this time of year anyway. Have no fear!
I’ve compiled a list of family-friendly spring break locations that are within driving distance from Knoxville. They’re perhaps not day trip distance, but easy enough to enjoy a three- or five-day adventure outside of town.
Atlanta, GA – Approximate travel time 3 hours
Okay, so technically, Atlanta is day-trip distance, but since there is so much to see and do, I feel like it’s fair game for a spring break trip. Make sure to check out this list, and then book a hotel for a few nights. If we’re going to hit the highlights, no trip to Atlanta is complete without visiting at the least one of these places:
Six Flags Over Georgia, World of Coca Cola, Georgia Aquarium, Turner Field, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Varsity, Children’s Museum of Atlanta, Inside CNN Studio tour, Atlanta Zoo, Stone Mountain, and IKEA.
Charleston, SC – Approximate travel time 6.5 hours
It doesn’t get much better than Charleston, SC. There’s historic charm, beautiful beaches, delicious dining, and some amazing parks. This my family’s favorite vacation spot (we even lived there for a year), and it never gets old. While you may hear about the more popular Isle of Palms or Folly Beach, make sure to visit Sullivan’s Island. With abundant (and free) parking along the stations, the beauty of this natural beach just can’t be beat. I highly encourage vacationers to check out James Island County Park, as well, where you can rent pedal boats, kayaks, SUPs, and bikes. You can fish, play in the splash pad or even visit a water park INSIDE the park. And last but not least, don’t forget to take a ride on the Charleston Water Taxi.
Charlotte, NC – Approximate travel time 6 hours
I haven’t been to Charlotte, but after researching places to travel within a six hour driving distance, Charlotte just jumped to the top of my list. Charlotte appears to be a family-friendly mecca. Carowinds (an amusement park), Discovery Place Museum (a hands-on science museum), ImaginOn (an award-winning children’s theatre/library collaboration), Lazy 5 Ranch (an exotic animal zoo)…must I really keep going? If you need any more ideas, you can find 99 here! If you need me, I’ll be on my way to Charlotte.
Canadys, SC – Approximate travel time 5 hours
You’re probably saying “Canadys, SC? I’ve never even heard of it, why would we want to go there?” But if you’re into outdoor adventures, let’s just that your kids might enjoy camping in a treehouse and canoeing down the Edisto River. This kind of spring break location would be the perfect one to disconnect from technology and reconnect with family.
Hilton Head, SC – Approximate travel time 6 hours
Admittedly, it’s been a long time since I’ve been to Hilton Head, and when I visited, I wasn’t a mother yet. It’s a favorite spot for many, and rightfully so. Gorgeous beaches, an interactive children’s museum, a coastal discovery museum, 50 miles of scenic bicycle trails, a petting farm, and lots of great hiking trails as well. Oh, and did I mention the beach? Coincidentally enough, there’s even a Harbour Town Spring Fest that’s happening over Knox County’s spring break.
Luray Caverns, VA – Approximate travel time 6 hours
Think The Lost Sea, but much much cooler. For one, the Luray Caverns were discovered in 1878, and they are located in the already historic Shenandoah Valley, VA. If you have a budding geologist in your house, this is a must visit. For the other kids, there’s a pretty nifty garden maze, ropes course, car and carriage museum, gem-mining station, and a nearby rescue zoo. Something for everyone, right? While you’re there, don’t forget to hike Old Rag, where you can view 200,000 acres of the Shenandoah National Park from the summit.
Myrtle Beach, SC – Approximate travel time 6.5 hours
If you want endless options for indoor and outdoor entertainment, Myrtle Beach is likely to have something for everyone. I like to think of Myrtle Beach as Pigeon Forge on the ocean. There are plenty of outdoor amusement rides, attractions, kid-friendly resorts, outlet shopping centers, and of course, 60 miles of beach.
Raleigh, NC – Approximate travel time 5.5 hours
Two words: “Pullen Park.” Not that it’s the only thing to do, but it’s the thing to do. Pullen Park is a 66 acre public park with a carousel, train, kiddie boat, and pedal boats. After you’re done exploring Pullen Park, enjoy a variety of museums, such as the Marbles Kids Museum, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, or North Carolina Museum of Art. Oh yeah, and how about an indoor playground in case it rains? Is there anything they didn’t think of?
Savannah, GA – Approximate travel time 6 hours
Savannah and Charleston have a lot in common, so if you look at it that way, you can’t lose with either vacation. Savannah is a breath-taking city, rich in history, activities, and salt-water perfection (Tybee Island). If the weather isn’t perfect for enjoying the scenic city, check out the Savannah Children’s Museum, the ArtZeum, the Aquarium on Skidaway or check out the Oatland Island Wildlife Center. If you need some more ideas or kid-friendly restaurants, take a look here.