Unique Spring Break Ideas for Families in California with Photos

California spring break

California Spring Break is just around the corner (see school dates below). If you live in the Los Angeles area, that means you will have a week, or two, or somewhere in-between, depending on your school district, to vacation with your family.

If you’re planning to vacation in California, getting out of Los Angeles is probably best this year. We’ve put together some great safer socially distanced activities to choose from. Fortunately, our good weather allows us to enjoy the great outdoors.

Spring Break 2021

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No matter how much time your kids have, it’s a good idea to start planning now, especially if you have tweens & teens. Maybe even your older kids are home with you right now too. All the better reason to get out and see something new!

Spring break is a great opportunity to disconnect from technology and your same old patterns – and to reconnect with each other.

A quick note before we head down the list for 2021. The top-rated amusement park for teens, according to family vacation critic is Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, CA. And while it might not be the right time yet for you to go, the best deals for Six Flags usually come around the end of August when their season passes are most steeply discounted during their flash sale.

The good news is that if you want to go NOW, Six Flags is open!

It’s hard to say what discounts will be available this year or when. Regardless, it might be a good idea to mark your calendar for August and be all prepped with the best deal for spring break 2022!

One great way to create memories is to see new sights, try new things, or just relax as a family. Here are some great places you can do that and socially distance!

5 Places In California Easy To Socially Distance

1. Head to the Snow

If you’ve lived in LA for any period of time, you know that snow is a novelty adventure. It’s something we drive to. But how often do you get to see feet of snow without paying an arm and a leg to go to the ski hills?

If you are in the mood for a snowy adventure, head to the mountains of Sequoia National Park. Update: Feb 12, 2021. Wuksachi Lodge has reopened!

Our guess is that it will still be open at Spring Break, but check the website to be safe. There’s no downhill skiing, but you can rent cross-country skis or snowshoes to get out and away.

You can also see about getting in some snowplay at nearby hills: Wolverton Meadow, Grant Grove, and Big Stump.

Make sure to pack for the cold and bring chains for your vehicle, as chains are likely to be required on the way.

In Southern California, also, consider heading towards Wrightwood or to find snow in lesser-traveled areas than Big Bear or Mt Baldy.

2. Camp in a Yurt by the Lake

Lake Cachuma is a Santa Barbara County campground where you can camp with tents, find camper hookups, or stay in yurts! You can hang out at the campground, go on a nature cruise or drive out for day-trips to Solvang or Santa Barbara. Either is an easy drive from the campground.

image of  California spring break near Los Angeles for families - camp in a yurt!

Visit the beautiful ocean-side Santa Barbara zoo or walk around Solvang. Cold Spring Tavern is a very cool old stagecoach stop that started operating in 1868. It has a restaurant, bar, and live entertainment. You may have to get your food to-go, but it’s still worth swinging by while you’re in the area.

3. Stay at a Working Farm

Morningsong Farm in Rainbow, CA (near Temecula) is a great escape from LA living. The bed and breakfast working organic farm and orchard has unique activities like jam-making, cheese-making, and playtime with miniature goats.

They also host alpacas & chickens – allowing you to gather your own eggs! They have a variety of accommodations. Near the farm, you can catch a balloon ride, visit a winery, or hike at the Santa Margarita Preserve.

Just a little further North, you can have some outdoor fun at a Mulligan Family Fun Center, with go-karts and mini-golf. 

4. Explore a Ghost Town

Calico Ghost Town

Calico Ghost Town in Yermo, CA, originally settled in 1880, is just outside of Barstow and part of the San Bernadino County Regional parks system.

You may not be able to do all the activities, but when not in a pandemic, you can check out the silver mine, historic train ride, try gold panning, go on an off-road adventure tour, take ghost tours, and visit an optical illusion mystery shack.

Accommodations include cabins, tent-camping, or a stay in a bunkhouse. Head into nearby Barstow to visits museums or see a movie at the Drive-in!

Bodie Ghost Town

Bodie Ghost Town really off the beaten path, but it’s impressive and can easily take hours to explore. It’s just North of Mono Lake about a 30 minute drive (including dirt roads) East of the 395. Learn more about Bodie.

spring break at bodie

Mono Lake is also a great socially distanced place to visit with stunningly reflective water and fascinating natural structures called tufas.

spring break Mono Lake, California

If you’re looking for an itinerary up the Eastern Sierras to the border of Oregon, let me know in the comments below and I’ll be sure to share what we did!

5. Visit Lava Beds

If you don’t mind driving far out from Southern California and really want to get away, check out Lava Beds National Monument in Tulelake, CA. It’s far off the beaten path, and when we went in the summer of 2020, we saw maybe 10 people there total – in the entire park. Very easy to social distance.

You can walk down into these amazing, massive lava tubes underground. Even when it’s hot outside the temperatures drop quickly as you walk in. Some caves are lighted and others require you to bring your own lights.. like this one in the pic below.

spring break California lava bed park

Check For Special Deals Before You Go

While we’ve shared some of our favorites above, I always like to check in with Groupon and see if there’s anything new or interesting I’d like to try.

We’ve got some great deals for whale watching and boat rides there.

Here are some great ideas (with discounts!) from Groupon! —>

Dates for Spring Break 2021

Spring break depends on where you live. There is no Statewide month for spring break. It is up to each district to determine its own school calendar. Most of the schools around Los Angeles typically have spring break in April. This year spring break overlaps into the end of March.

To help you gauge crowds & plan ahead, it’s good to know the elementary to high school Southern California Spring Break Dates for 2021.

There’s too many districts to list them all, but here’s the Spring Break dates for the 3 biggest school districts in the Los Angeles area and a few others. I used the Saturday before as the “start” date and the Sunday after as the end date.

Biggest Southern California School District Spring Break Dates 2021

In our experience, LAUSD break times matter most for avoiding crowds. LAUSD has over 730,000 students. NSD & Hart districts are here too because they are most local to us at Finally Family Homes.

LAUSD is out March 26 – April 4
SDUSD is out March 27 – April 4
LBUSD is out April 2 – 11
NSD is out April 1 – 11
Hart is out April 3 – 11

Pin this for later –>

spring break california

Some Final Thoughts on Spring Break 2021

Parents, make sure you get in the pictures! I know especially moms can be dodgy about getting the photo (I know I am), but your family will be grateful to have photos of you with them on family vacations. Just strategically pose or hold your beach bag, but get out there!

Also, come up with a specific plan for wherever you choose to go. In order to keep that easy, breezy feeling you might want to just pick one goal per day or you may want to more specifically budget your time. Regardless, having any kind of plan will help ease the decision-making when it comes to “what should we do now?”

We hope this guide to California spring break 2021 has been helpful to you. If you have other suggestions on places to visit or favorite off-the-beaten-path things to do, let us know in the comments!

What has been your most memorable spring break?

One purpose of this blog is to help parents of teens navigate the challenges of preparing their children to be successful independent adults. Often theyv’e missed out on family trips – something we hope to do with them. Learn more about our mission to help aging out foster youth transition into adulthood.

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Comments

  1. Being able to go home and be with my family and friends. Just relaxing. That may sound boring to some, but I missed them.

    1. Sometimes that’s what’s needed most!

  2. Such great ideas. Some good plans to think about for Spring time.

    1. Thanks! It always seems to “sneak up” on me.

  3. My most memorable spring break was traveling to the mountains of NC with my parents. I am 58 years old now and still remember the fun we shared and how we enjoyed God’s creations.

    1. Wow- that is a memory that held on! Amazing how something so simple can really tug at the heart – and it was with family. 🙂

  4. Hi Christina. I don’t live in LA but I’ve done a few of these in your great list. I have to say, I don’t remember which of my vacations were during Spring Break, but all of them have been with family, so I liked them all.

    1. That’s awesome! I’ve done the first 3, but the last 2 are on my to do list Hoping to take the foster kids to all of these. 🙂

  5. My most memorable spring break was during my sophomore year of college, when I worked in an antique store and flea market.

    1. Oh wow.. sounds like an interesting experience.

  6. Last spring break (2018) was incredibly memorable. We are a blended family (my husband and I each have two kids), and the six of us typically do everything together as a family, but on this particular week, my husband was working and my stepkids were with their mom. I work full-time, but my (two biological) kids got the week off school, so I decided to take vacation and hang out with them for spring break. We went to the museum, toured a Revolutionary War site in our area, went roller skating, you name it. It was great to hit pause on my responsibilities and focus on reconnecting with my kids. It meant a lot to them and to me! We still talk about it quite a lot.

    1. Thank you for sharing! How cool to have some special time reconnecting with your kids.

  7. I think one my most memorable spring breaks was when we lived in northern Canada, and we just stayed home and enjoyed the outdoors. Our home backed onto the large river that went through the small town and the town was surround by expansive forests. So that spring our three young sons spent time exploring the woods, fishing and playing along the river’s edge, and building impressive forts with fallen trees and branches and any wood or planks they could scrape up from our and their friends’ garages!

    1. That does sound kind of magical! Northern Canada! I bet you were excited for Spring!!
      My friend’s sister got married in the Yukon – the pics were stunning.
      Even made the news!
      https://edmontonjournal.com/life/fashion-beauty/wedding-tale-couple-charters-historic-yukon-train-for-wedding-ceremony-beside-picturesque-northern-lake/

  8. Great tips! We spent last summer in LA for a week..this would have been helpful!

    1. Oh shoot! Maybe next time!

  9. My most memorable Spring back was this past one. My husband and I took a cruise ship to Cuba, where he was born but had to flee as a refugee back in the 1960s. He had not been back to the island since then! So, this was quite a memorable and emotional trip for him.

    1. That sounds incredible!
      I’d love to hear more!

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