When it comes to popular spring break destinations for families, the countries of the Caribbean and Central America have a lock on many of the necessary elements for superb winter break fun – sun, sand and blue skies. From lazing on the beaches of Aruba to discovering secluded islands in the Dominican Republic, snorkeling off the coast of Belize or exploring history and canals of Panama, this collection of incredible spring break destinations for families in the Caribbean and Central America will have you packing your suitcases and heading out for sunshine and adventure this year.
Spring Break Destinations for Families in the Caribbean and Central America
Easily accessible by direct flights from multiple continents, the tropical paradise of Aruba beckons both sun and sand enthusiasts. Known as “One Happy Island,” Aruba is the perfect spring break destination for those who enjoy beach activities. The island’s location near the equator means that clear sunny skies are almost guaranteed during any visit.
Aruba is well-known to families who scuba dive but snorkeling and windsurfing are also popular. Looking for other natural attractions? The island’s rock formations lend themselves to many different hiking adventures.
The Arikok National Park comprises almost 20% of the island, and features the natural pool, a rock formation fed by Caribbean waters, and is perfect for snorkeling.
The park’s caves, especially Quadirikiri Cave, make for fun exploration. For those looking for fast thrills, an ATV tour is the way to explore the island. Families with children may also enjoy visits to the Butterfly Farm, Donkey Sanctuary, and Aloe Factory.
The hotels in Aruba cater to groups inclusive of all ages. The larger properties allow guests to take it easy around beautiful grounds with white sand beaches and azure waters. Shoppers will delight in the duty-free options available on the island.
Many islanders speak English and the U.S. dollar is accepted everywhere, making it an easy destination for Americans on Spring Break. For families looking for a nearby destination with white sand, crystalline waters, and something for every age group, look no further than Aruba. ~ Annick Lenoir-Peek, Common Traveler
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Belize – Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker, a small island off the coast of Belize, is the perfect spring break destination for families. It’s a tropical beach location famous for its laid-back vibe, perfect for de-stressing from work and reconnecting with littles or on a multigenerational family holiday.
Caye Caulker is a convenient spring break destination for families coming from the U.S., not only because it’s geographically close. Belize was a former English colony so most locals on Caye Caulker can speak English. Also, $2 Belizean dollars is equal to $1 USD, and many shops and restaurants here will accept USD for payment.
The best thing to do on Caye Caulker is to visit the Belize Barrier Reef, one of the largest barrier reef in the world. From $20 USD per person, you can go on a half-day tour to go snorkeling in different locations around the island. Just $40 USD gets you on a full-day snorkeling tour.
A perfect free family activity on Caye Caulker is to hang out at “the Split” which is where a narrow water channel cuts the island in two. A large pier extends into the water here, and there are plenty of lounge chairs and even cabanas to rent as a family so you can spend the entire day relaxing. A bar and grill nearby will supply the parents with rum punches and ceviche, and for the kids, jerk chicken, battered lobster, and tropical virgin cocktails. ~ Erika, Erika’s Travelventures
Check out these 21 Best Spring Break Destinations for Families in North America
Belize – San Pedro
Located on the largest island in Belize, Ambergris Caye, San Pedro is a tourism hub in the country.
San Pedro provides quick access to the Great MesoAmerican Barrier Reef – one of the largest Reef in the world, and home to many species of fish and marine animals.
Some of the most common animals here are turtles, sting rays, manta rays, and manatees – although to see one of these gentle creatures in the open is extremely rare. Most diving and snorkeling tours include a visit to Shark Ray Alley, a protected area where visitors can swim along Belize’s nurse sharks, and even feed them some fish from the boat.
Additionally, San Pedro is a perfect hub for those who want to dive the famous Blue Hole in Belize – a depression in the middle of the Caribbean Sea that was discovered by the famous French naturalist Jacques Cousteau in the 1970’s and has since become one of the most famous diving sites in the world.
San Pedro is also just a quick boat ride away from the mainland of Belize, where you can visit Mayan ruins, caves and go hiking in the middle of the jungle. Boats to mainland Belize depart daily from San Pedro’s main terminal and bring visitors straight to Belize City, the largest city in the country from where you can catch a bus, a flight or private transportation to other popular destinations such as Placencia, and San Ignacio. ~ Daria, The Discovery Nut
Costa Rica – La Fortuna
With its combination of adventure activities, relaxing hot springs, and warm weather, there is no shortage of fun things to do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica, during spring break.
La Fortuna is situated in central Costa Rica, in the middle of a stunning rainforest, and in the shadow of the impressive Arenal volcano.
Prepare to make lasting memories as you zipline through the rainforest canopy, walk through hanging bridges suspended high in the jungle, go whitewater rafting, and rappelling down canyons. There are also beautiful waterfalls to see – the La Fortuna waterfall plunges down from a height of 250 feet, while the Rio Celeste waterfall is a stunning milky blue color.
You can also ride horses or go ATVing through the jungle. Need a little exercise? The Arenal volcano has many scenic hikes to traverse.
When you’re ready for some relaxation, hit up some of the many hot spring resorts in the area. You can stay at the resorts, or just buy day passes and try out several. The Tabacon, Los Lagos, and Baldi Hot Springs are popular and gorgeous resorts, with many different hot spring pools set among palm trees, flowers, and lush vegetation.
Hot tip: Do not miss ordering smoothies in La Fortuna. They are some of the juiciest, creamiest, most flavorful (and cheapest!) smoothies I have had in my life. In essence, La Fortuna has something for everyone. ~ Stephanie Rytting, The Unknown Enthusiast
Costa Rica – Osa Peninsula
The Osa Peninsula, including the Golfo Dulce, makes for a perfect addition to a trip to Costa Rica, especially for a family spring break. This area is known as being the most biologically dense place in the world, accounting for a whopping 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity.
What does that mean for a family? It means that the wildlife spotting opportunities are insane. Spot toucans and scarlet macaws flying overhead as well as peccaries, howler monkeys, and perhaps even a tapir during a hike in either Corcovado National Park or Piedras Blancas National Park.
The best place to stay in the area is hands-down Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge. Located along the shores of the Golfo Dulce, you can rent an open-air family cabin and listen to the sounds of the jungle day and night.
The Resort can arrange tours to explore more of the Golfo Dulce, plan hikes in Piedras Blancas National Park, and even guided night walks. There are also many trails for self-guided family hikes. The Resort has a beautiful, pristine beach with free access to paddleboards, kayaks, and snorkel equipment.
And when it rains (it is a rainforest after all), there are plenty of games to play at the main lodge together. As a bonus, WiFi is fairly weak and is only found at the main lodge, so for quality family time without phones, this is a great place to get off the grid.
Overall, the Osa Peninsula is a gem of a place for couples and families alike. It has plenty of fun activities for the kids as well as the chance to be fully immersed in nature. ~ Kat Weiss, World Wide Honeymoon
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Cuba – Havana
Located in the Caribbean, Cuba has warm temperature year-round. However, the best time to visit is between December and May, before the rainy season with potential hurricanes starts. Spring season in Havana is perfect for a family holiday, as the weather is warm and sunny weather without the humidity and storms of summer.
Havana is home to a lively music and dance scene all year long. But in spring, there are several festivals that the whole family can enjoy. In March, every two years, a show with traditional Cuban dances is held in the city. In April, Old Havana-Moving City festival brings the streets of Havana to life with parades, dances and theaters. May gathers Cuban musicians for several concerts during the Festival del Cubadisco.
Discovering the history loaded and colorful alleys of Havana is one of the best things to do. Walk along Calle Obispo, find out the stories behind the statues in Plaza Vieja and check out the favorite places of Ernest Hemingway. Then go to Revolution Square and learn about the revolutionary history of Cuba.
End the day on a classic car tour in Havana, in a pink Cadillac “speeding” along El Malecon. This 5-mile coastal road is where locals and tourists gather to watch the sunset and exercise their reggaeton moves.
Complement your trip to Havana with a few days on the beaches at Playa Giron or Varadero. They are the perfect opportunity to disconnect from the city and build great some memories together. ~ Raluca, Travel With A Spin
Dominican Republic – Punta Cana
Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic is one of the best spring break destinations in the Caribbean. Sunshine, endless beaches, amazing activities, welcoming Dominicans and a lot of delicious food in Punta Cana’s all-inclusive resorts make it a perfect destination when you just want to relax from the daily grind. The beaches are some of the best in the Caribbean and when staying at Punta Cana’s main beach, Playa Bavaro, you can enjoy 12 miles of continuous sand without any interruption.
What makes Punta Cana a great spring break destination as well are its numerous and well-maintained all-inclusive resorts, which are perfect for meeting other travelers, enjoying the Caribbean sun and relaxing at the pool or water park.
However, Punta Cana is not only about beaches, all-inclusive resorts and resort spas, you can also venture out to explore other regions of the Dominican Republic (for example Samaná or Santo Domingo) or get to know some of the small islands off the coast such as Saona Island or Cayo Levantado.
You can book any number of the excursions in and around Punta Cana, including; catamaran tours, zip lining, horseback riding, dune buggy adventures or countryside tours. Or head out on your own adventure by renting a car, going on a hike through the lush countryside or exploring the villages and cities of the Dominican Republic on a multi-day itinerary. ~ Chris, Punta Cana Travel Blog
Guatemala – Antigua
Antigua Guatemala, the erstwhile capital city of Guatemala, is a vibrant little town located only 40 km/ 25 miles from the international airport in Guatemala City. The colorful colonial architecture, cobblestone streets and captivating volcano views make for a perfect spring break destination.
There are plenty of attractions and activities in Antigua, Guatemala to keep people of all ages occupied. Take a stroll along the cobblestone streets to enjoy the city’s iconic sites, such as the Santa Catalina Arch and Parque Central. Visit the old ruins to learn about the crumbling history of Antigua.
For more interactive and culturally immersive experiences, sign up for a Mayan cooking class or attend a chocolate workshop. Go on a coffee tour to learn about the bean-to-cup process of Guatemalan coffee, one of the finest in the world.
For all the LOTR fans in the family, spend a day in the world of your favorite fantasy. Take a trip to Hobbitenango, an interactive fantasy land built on the world of Hobbiton.
Adventurous families can venture a bit beyond the city of Antigua to check off a bucket list activity. One of the most popular active adventures is hiking up a volcano. Some great options are the Acatenango volcano overnight hike and Pacaya volcano day hike. ~ Pubali Kanjilal, Paradise Catchers
Guatemala – Lake Atitlan
If you are looking for a spring break destination that’s filled with adventure and off the beaten path, consider sunny Guatemala. There is no better place to spend spring break in Guatemala than Lake Atitlan, a crater lake with gorgeous views, amazing nightlife, and plenty of places to go swimming.
Lake Atitlan has a total of 11 villages, many of which are still occupied by a majority of Mayan descendants. To get from one village to another, locals take these boats that go around the lake, stopping by one village after another.
Different villages in Lake Atitlan have different perks, so your spring break isn’t just filled with monotony. For example, the village of San Marcos is filled with wellness facilities and “hippie” vibes. In San Pedro, you will find Instagram-worthy bars and cafes overlooking the lake with its jagged volcanoes. In San Juan, you will find traditional crafts and textiles, as well as museums where you can learn more about Mayan culture.
If you want the quintessential spring break experience with parties and drinks, then there is one place you need to stay in – Free Cerveza. This place to stay in Lake Atitlan features unlimited beer at certain hours of the day, communal dinner, and an unforgettable night of fun every night! ~ Sean Lau, Living Out Lau
Roatán is a tropical paradise in the Caribbean off the coast of Honduras. The island is an excellent spring break destination if you want to avoid the crowds found on some other Caribbean islands at this time.
Spring is the dry season with stable weather. It is the perfect location for a family holiday filled with sun, sea, and spectacular beaches. Roatán has plenty to offer for adventurous families.
Home to one of the largest coral reefs in the world, scuba diving in Roatán is excellent and conditions are good all year round. This is great place for families to learn to dive together. The island has some spectacular white sandy beaches, and the crystal clear, warm water is perfect for swimming. The snorkelling around Roatán is fantastic and you can see plenty of fish and marine creatures off the beautiful beach at West Bay.
Enjoy an incredible variety of water sports such as paddle boarding, parasailing or jet skiing. Want to chill out? Charter a catamaran for a day – the whole family can sail along the coast together for a day filled with adventure, snorkelling, tropical drinks and a ton of fun. Explore Gumbalimba Park, 20 acres of natural forest and wildlife with an awesome tree top zipline for a birds eye view of the park! ~ Alya Akhmetgareeva, Stingy Nomads
Honduras – Utila
The Bay Island of Utila in Honduras is an absolute joy. Utila is famous for its scuba diving and is one of the cheapest places in the world to get a PADI certification. If underwater adventures are on your family’s to do list, you will love it here.
There are various dive schools on Utila, with Utila Dive Center and Alton’s Dive Center being two of the highest rated. The schools offer complete dive packages for PADI courses or leisure dives for those who are already qualified.
Diving around Utila you are likely to see turtles, rays, dolphins and even whale sharks, as well as a host of underwater life amid the wrecks and dive sites around the island. Whale sharks are most spotted from March to May and from August to September, so visiting Utila during spring break gives you a good chance to see these animals.
If you tire of diving, check out the Iguana Research Centre on Utila where you can learn about the conservation of iguanas. Alternatively, take a walk up to Pumpkin Hill or just chill out on the beach and enjoy the tasty Honduran food at one of the many restaurants in town. ~ Claire, Why Visit Barcelona
Jamaica – Montego Bay
When looking for the best spring break destinations in the Caribbean you won’t want to miss out on the island paradise of Jamaica. Not only is it equipped to offer the perfect family vacation, but there are also many activities for solo travelers too.
The weather makes a highly desirable place for travelers looking to get some well-deserved sun. In Montego Bay, you can find everything from all-inclusive resorts and adult-only hotels to budget guesthouses that allow you to connect with the local culture.
When deciding what to do in Montego Bay you may want to take advantage of the hip strip (aka Gloucester Ave) which is an oceanside home to the famous Doctor’s Cave Beach and some of the island’s most exclusive shopping boutiques. Also, with entertainment venues such as Margaritaville, you can sit back in the sun and watch the waves as you order one of the famous reggae rum punch cocktails at the bar. During the daytime, Margaritaville has many food options on offer so you can order yourself a plate of flame-licked jerk chicken, or if you want to try one of the most authentic Jamaican meals, look out for Ackee and Salt-fish which you’ll find served at breakfast time at the nearby Fantasy Craft Market.
Since Jamaica is located just 381 kilometers off the coast of Cuba you can add it to any wider Caribbean itinerary you may be planning and remain confident that you can tailor your stay to create the ultimate family experience. ~ Daniel James, Layer Culture
Panama, Panama City
Panama City, Panama, is one of the best spring break destinations in Central America. It has a ton of unique things to do with the entire family and is also a very affordable destination.
When in Panama City, make sure to visit Panama Viejo. This UNESCO World Heritage site is the ruins of the old Panama City and the first permanent settlement on the Pacific Ocean. Kids of all ages will love visiting the Miraflores Locks to watch the ships go through the Panama Canal. Make sure to check passage times on the website ahead of time to guarantee ship sightings.
Other fun things to do in Panama City for families include the Metropolitan Nature Park, the Amador Causeway, and the BioMuseo. At the Nature Park, there are some short hikes that offer visitors views of Panama City. The Amador Causeway also offers skyline views. At the BioMuseo, visitors can learn about the natural history and ecology of Panama.
The best activity to do in Panama City, especially with families, is to take a day trip to Jungleland Panama. Jungleland is a floating lodge in the middle of Gatun Lake. Visitors can opt to come just for the day or stay overnight. Your trip includes swimming, kayaking, hiking, and food. It’s like a real-life jungle cruise! ~ Francesca Makana, HomeRoomTravel
Panama – San Blas Islands
One of the best spring break destinations in Central America is the remote islands of San Blas in Panama. These tropical beaches are often overlooked by travelers. The location of the islands makes them a gorgeous hidden gem. Of the 365 islands, only a few are inhabited, and those with residents are not crowded.
The San Blas Islands are part of the Kuna region of Panama. It’s an autonomous region, meaning you will need your passport to enter. Traveling to San Blas is easy if you’re coming from Panama City, either via car or plane. If you want to drive, make sure you know how to navigate the roads and rent a 4×4, as driving on these roads can be difficult. There are also companies familiar with Kuna regulations that can transport you to San Blas.
Visiting San Blas Islands is perfect for families because of the variety of things to do. Everyone will enjoy snorkeling with hundreds of species of fish, starfish, lobster, and even sea turtles. Many of the accommodations on San Blas provide day tours to other islands for a small fee (usually between $1-3, depending on the island). Some islands have boat wrecks to explore while others have beautiful coral reefs. Another great activity is to learn about the local Kuna culture and take part in activities to learn about their way of life.
No matter what you decide to do in the San Blas Islands, it’ll be a spring break to remember. ~ Pamela R., Directionally Challenged Traveler
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