17 Kid-Friendly Spring Break Road Trips
Want to get out of town without venturing too far afield? These destinations are all within driving distance, and guaranteed to create lasting memories.
Spring break is that odd time on the calendar that seems to sneak up on us every year. We’ve just finished with St. Paddy’s Day and March Madness, we’re getting ready for Easter and Passover, and we’re busy booking summer vacations and nailing down camp schedules. Plus, the weather is notoriously unreliable around April, so the choices always seem limited. To help you make the most of the week, we’ve compiled a rundown of destinations with kid appeal. Happy travels!
1. American Revolution Museum, Yorktown, Virginia
Heading down to Williamsburg? Be sure to check out the former Yorktown Victory Center, which a $50 million makeover has transformed into the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. The new, 80,000-square-foot museum has costumed interpreters, artillery demonstrations and about 500 artifacts on display. A 4-D theater plays “The Siege of Yorktown,” with wind, smoke and the sound of cannon fire. More details here.
2. Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, Cass, West Virginia
The nation’s only surviving lumber company town has been a park since 1961. You can take an 11-mile train ride; eat a simple lunch at the Last Run Restaurant, which is located in what was the 1902 Cass Company Store; then do a self-guided tour of the restored company town of Cass, where you’ll find preserved structures including two-story white logging company houses, wooden walkways, a hotel, a Masonic lodge, a church and a jail. And a whole lot more.
3. Horse Tours of Gettysburg, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
See the Gettsyburg battlefield how the generals saw it—on horseback. Horse Tours of Gettysburg, an outfit run by Air Force flight nurse Rachel Stephens and her husband, Doug, a retired disabled Army veteran, offers two- and three-hour horse tours for riders 8 and up. You can also tour the grounds by horse-drawn carriage through the company’s sister arm, Victorian Carriage Company.
4. Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia
Who doesn’t love a good ghost story? You’ll find plenty of them—plus a heavy helping of U.S. history—at Hollywood Cemetery, which in spring becomes a picturesque display of blooming trees and shrubs. Hollywood is the final resting place of two U.S. presidents, 22 Confederate generals and countless other curious bits of folklore and trivia. Read more about Hollywood and other noteworthy grave sites in the DMV (including Edgar Allen Poe’s tomb in Baltimore) here.
5. Historic St. Mary’s, St. Mary’s County, Maryland
This area on Maryland’s Eastern Shore is chock-full of Colonial history, from an 1800s jail (now the Old Jail Museum); Historic St. Mary’s City, a 70-acre outdoor history exhibit and archaeological site on the banks of the St. Mary’s River; and the St. Clement’s Island Museum, which explains the English political and religious climate that motivated the Calverts to cross the Atlantic in search of a new home.
6. Monticello, Charlottesville, Virginia
Thomas Jefferson’s birthday is April 13, and the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants will be open every Saturday this spring, from April 1 to May 27. Visitors who haven’t been in a while may want to check out the Hamilton Tour Takeover, which invites participants to consider the clash of ideas between Jefferson and Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton.
7. Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, Strasburg, Pennsylvania
This Smithsonian-affiliated institution houses one of the most significant collections of historical railroad artifacts in the world and is devoted to preserving and interpreting the broad impact of railroad development on society. Visitors can see more than 100 locomotives and rail cars from the mid-19th and 20th centuries and check out a steam locomotive, a caboose and a passenger car. Housed on 18 acres, the museum includes a 100,000-square-foot exhibit hall.