Spring Break 2023 is approaching, so I put together 8 Spring Break destinations in Virginia and Maryland... and West Virginia! These ideas are all within a 3-hour drive of DC.
2023 Spring Break Dates: Fairfax County Public Schools have their spring break from April 3 - 7. Montgomery County Public Schools is from April 3- 10, 2023 and DC Public School is April 18 - 21, 2023.
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Spring Break Destinations in Virginia and Maryland that Our Family Loves
1) Virginia Beach
Last summer, our family had a wonderful socially distanced getaway to Virginia Beach. It was our first time visiting as a family and I was worried it would be too crowded. But there was so much to do that is spread out from other people, that we felt safe the entire time!
Where to Stay with a Family:
We loved our stay at The Residence Inn Virginia Beach Oceanfront. It is right on the Boardwalk so once we parked, we didn’t need our car again. The best part is each suite has oceanfront views and we had the best sunrises each morning! For these times, I really liked their cleaning protocols, kitchen in each suite, and social distancing measures. Breakfast is included but it is takeaway now (like breakfast sandwiches, bottles of juice, milk, water etc.)
Things to Do on Spring Break in Virginia Beach:
- Number 1 has to be the beach. It is truly massive! There is actually 28 miles of public beaches and the main beach is extremely wide. It can take as much as 5 minutes to walk just from the Boardwalk to the Ocean. Even at the height of summer, there was plenty of room to spread out and play in the ocean and sand.
- I was pleasantly surprised with the 10 foot wide and 3 mile long Boardwalk. Even though there were other families, we could all spread out when passing. Check out the famous Neptune Statue while you’re there.
- Our family’s favorite activity in Virginia Beach was the Surry Bike rentals on the Boardwalk. We all had so much fun pedaling and exploring the miles long stretch.
- There are many off-Boardwalk things to do in Virginia Beach including First Landing State Park, Cape Henry Lighthouse, Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, Military Aviation Museum and Sandbridge Beach.
- Fly a kite on the beach! We purchased a great quality kite at a unique toy shop but if you want to be prepared ahead of time, I found the same kite on Amazon. The brand is Premier Kites and they are amazing quality of fiberglass frames with Polyester Ripstop reinforced technology. Once it went in the air, it didn't come down for an hour (tied to my bag!)
Where to Eat in Virginia Beach:
We ate a lot of our meals in our hotel as it had a kitchen and I brought food in the car with us. There is a Panera close to the Boardwalk so we had delivery once and one time we ordered takeout from Peter Chang’s 20 minutes away which was delicious!
2) Bethany Beach, DE (2.5 hrs from DC)
I just wrote a separate blog post about our recent trip to Bethany Beach in mid-March which you can check out here. Bethany Beach was the perfect spring break trip for us as a family as it is only 2.5 hours drive from DC and less than 3 hours from northern Virginia.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at the Bethany Beach Ocean Suites Residence Inn and truly loved it! The suite had a kitchen including a dishwasher, fridge, microwave, and all the utensils you need. In my opinion, this was the best Residence Inn we have ever stayed at because you could actually hear the waves from our room!
The hotel had a very friendly staff and a great heated indoor saltwater pool (with a retractable roof for the summer), spa, and indoor exercise room. The hotel must have been recently renovated because the lobby and rooms were all very nice.
More details including Things to Do and the Pros and Cons of visiting Bethany Beach in the Spring here.
All the details here!
3) Shenandoah Spring Break
The mountains, rivers, and valleys of the Shenandoah are beautiful at any time of year, but our best trips have been in the Spring. Nature is just starting to wake up and it's not as busy as the Fall! We felt like we had the whole place to ourselves!
Things to Do on Spring Break near Shenandoah:
- Of course number 1 is to visit Shenandoah National Park. This is the closest national park in DC and the only one in Virginia and Maryland. The park includes 300 square miles of beautiful mountain views, hikes and waterfalls. Skyline Drive is a beautiful 100 mile drive with dozens of overlooks.
- TIP: There are a couple different entrance stations to the park but I recommend Thornton Gap Entrance Station rather than Front Royal. It is less busy and you enter at the midpoint of Skyline Drive so you can go North or South. There are some great hikes right around there including the more difficult Hawksbill and Old Rag. There are also some kid-friendly hikes from Pinnacles Picnic Ground to the Jewell Hollow Overlook and the lovely Limberlost Trail.
- 45 minutes from Thornton Gap Entrance Station is Harrisonburg, Shenandoah Valley’s largest town. It has a cute downtown, Arboretum and JMU University. We’ve stayed here twice and really enjoyed it as a base for exploring Shenandoah.
- A great stop on your way back to DC is the town of Luray. Luray has the largest caverns in the eastern United States. Last year we didn’t feel comfortable in the caverns so we opted for the free and open air epic playground at Ralph H. Dean Recreation Park!
Where to Eat:
- Our hotel room (below) had a great kitchen so we cooked most of our meals there but I can highly recommend takeout from Mashita for delicious Korean food in downtown Harrisonburg.
- Also there is a Krispy Kreme drive through right next to the hotel!
Where to Stay near Shenandoah:
We’ve stayed at the Marriott Residence Inn Harrisonburg a couple of times and it’s great for families and couples. We loved the kitchenettes in each room, pool (no one was there!), and free breakfast (might be to-go breakfast but at least we got some free drinks and fruit.)
View from the Residence Inn Harrisonburg
4) Colonial Beach, Virginia
If you’d rather not spend as much time in the car on your Spring Break, check out Colonial Beach which is only 1.5 hours south of DC but a world away from city life! It is a lovely spring break destination in Virginia and certainly a hidden gem right on the Potomac. Lots of families miss Colonial Beach, but I love this area as it is much more relaxed and less touristy.
There is lots to do in Colonial Beach and the surrounding areas:
- Play on the beach! Colonial Beach has the 2nd largest sand beach on the Potomac. Very kid-friendly because no big waves!
- Rent a Beach Cart on Colonial Ave.
- Rent bikes, kayaks, paddleboards, or charters at Ferry Landing Pier
- Visit Caledon State Park a few miles away with old-growth forests, wildlife, and eagle sightings!
- Check out Ingleside Vineyards and Monroe Bay vineyard
Where To Eat:
We ate and grilled out a lot at our rental but also loved the incredible food at Suki the Cuisine, which is a Thai French Restaurant close to the beach. You can also eat right on the beach with your toes in the sand at two restaurants: Dockside Restaurant and Tiki Bar and High Tides on the Potomac.
Where to Stay:
The best area to stay is right on the water at a local Airbnb. We have stayed twice with a large extended family and loved homes with decks right onto the water.
5) Annapolis, Maryland
Annapolis is a beautiful historic city right on the Chesapeake Bay. It is known as the capital of Maryland, the location of the Naval Academy, and many 17th and 18th century buildings. There is so much to do in this city with kids that I wrote a separate blog post on 16 kid-friendly things to do in Annapolis!
Things to Do in Annapolis on Your Spring Break:
- Wander around Annapolis’ Historic District with buildings dating back to the 1600s. There is so much to explore in the cobblestone streets and alley ways.
- Quiet Waters Park is just south of Annapolis and includes 350 acres of waterfront nature, bridges and lovely paved walks.
- Check out the yachts on Ego Alley along the harbor where theres lots of great food options.
- And across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge is Kent Island which we explored twice this past year! Check out Terrapin Nature Park with a 15 minute walk to a beautiful narrow beach. And definitely check out Stevensville Crab Shackwhich was a highlight of our visit last year.
Where to Eat in Annapolis:
- You must check out Cantler’s Crab House located right on the water 5 miles from downtown. You can eat their famous Maryland Crabs on a huge patio for outdoor seating, or you can get your food to go.
- Another great spot is Dock Street Bar and Grill right on the City Dock where you can eat seafood and check out the beautiful boats in the harbor.
Where to Stay in Annapolis:
And check out 16 Things to Do in Annapolis!
Road Trip with Kids Activities for your Spring Break Destinations in Virginia and Maryland
Before I get into more Spring Break ideas, I wanted to share this list of Kids Activities in the car for road trips. Hope it's helpful!
6) Williamsburg, VA
We loved our trip in Spring 2023 to Colonial Williamsburg and I wrote all about it here!
7) St. Michaels, MD
St. Michaels has been on my list for years! It is a small town on the Chesapeake Bay just an hour and a half from DC. There is a historic 1879 Lighthouse that is now part of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (with some outdoor exhibits!) Also, lots of cute shops and restaurants to check out in the downtown area.
Harpers Ferry, WV
Last but not least is Harper’s Ferry West Virginia, a short hour and a half from DC. It is a beautiful town nestled between two rivers and the rolling hills of West Virginia. Harpers Ferry can be busy with visitors in the summer so Spring is the perfect time to visit. Full blog post here on 20 Things to Do in Harpers Ferry with Kids. 10 are all year-round and 10 are during the different seasons.
And more a few more local beaches here!
I hope you found one (or more!) inspiring spring break destinations in Virginia and Maryland and if I missed a great spot, let me know!