Cheap Family Spring Break Vacations

The Badlands of South Dakota can be an interesting spring break destination.
The Badlands of South Dakota can be an interesting spring break destination. (Image: badlands image by jedphoto from

Spring break is a good time for a family vacation. Kids are off school and families are ready to shake off the winter doldrums. Satisfying a need to travel but on a budget can be a challenge, and sometimes means taking your family trip off the beaten path.

South Dakota

Driving destinations are cost savers for a family vacation. South Dakota offers educational fun for a family on a budget. Hike in the Badlands and take in the striking views of the red and yellow buttes, pinnacles and spires.

Head west on I94 to see the man-made wonder of Mount Rushmore carved in the mountains of the Black Hills. Drive through Custer Park to see buffalo, and on the winding Needles Highway where tunnels cut through the rock are so narrow you have to honk your horn in warning before entering. Take a trip into the old West by visiting nearby Deadwood and the famous Wall Drug Store in Wall, S.D.

When choosing accommodations, skip Rapid City and stay in smaller towns closer to Mount Rushmore. Keystone and Hill City offer a variety of smaller hotels and motels with clean rooms at budget prices. Temperatures average 34 to 45 degrees in March and April.


If sun and warm temperatures is what you seek during spring break, head south of the border to Riviera Maya, Mexico. Snorkel at the world’s second-largest barrier coral reef. Explore nearby Mayan ruins. See jaguars and toucans, or swim with dolphins at two different eco-parks.

Riviera Maya is about 18 miles south of the Cancun airport. Fly into Cancun and take a taxi or shuttle south. You will find a host of all-inclusive resorts that can accommodate a family budget.

Washington, D.C.

Spring break often overlaps cherry blossom time in Washington D.C. See the trees in bloom and the U.S. capitol building along with the White House and surrounding parks.

Many of the museums and attractions, including the National Zooand its famous giant pandas, have free admission, which can help keep vacation expenses in check. Consider the transportation system to and from Washington D.C. when making plans. Commuter trains reach out to Maryland and Virginia, where you can find hotelsat cheaper prices than those in the capital.

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