For many families, Spring Break is a popular vacation time. Not only is the weather starting to warm up, but with the kids out of school, schedules are a little bit looser and easier to manage. However, with summer on the horizon, many parents are keeping their own vacation time and budgets in mind, as well.
While we all wish we could take a tropical vacation or head off to Disney World whenever we wanted, it’s not always possible. Not only are these trips expensive, but they require travel times that make getting away for less than a week difficult, not to mention impractical. Fortunately, for families looking for a quick, affordable getaway over the Spring Break holiday, Richmond is perfectly situated nearby to some amazing destinations.
Whether you’re looking for a beach, an outdoor adventure, or some historical exploration, it’s easy to find a getaway within a short drive from Richmond – making it possible to spend an entire week, or just a few days.
If you’re looking for a fun, family-friendly Spring Break getaway that offers flexible travel and budgeting options, we’re here to help. We’ve put together a list of a few of our favorite Spring Break vacation spots, all within two hours or less from Richmond.
To make our list, we looked for locations that offered the following features:
- A variety of family-friendly activities
- Affordable lodging options
- Easy driving distances
The following locations in Virginia offer fun for the whole family and best of all, won’t break the bank. Take a look at our list and if you have a favorite quick Virginia getaway that we’ve overlooked, let us know! We love learning about new spots, so be sure to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spotsylvania County / Louisa County / Orange County
Approximate driving time from Richmond: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Lake Anna is a popular destination whether you’re looking for water sports, outdoor exploration, history, or simple relaxation. This 20-square-mile lake stretches through Louisa, Orange, and Spotsylvania Counties, providing a range of options for a holiday homebase. Best of all, depending on where you stay at the lake, it’s easy to take day trips to many of the surrounding areas, including Charlottesville, historic Louisa, the town of Orange, Culpeper, Spotsylvania, and Fredericksburg, all which offer shops, restaurants, and historic sites.
One of the most popular places to access this beautiful body of water is at the aptly named Lake Anna State Park in Spotsylvania. The park offers swimming, boating, fishing, and miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails. Or, if you prefer historical and educational activities, stop by the Lake Anna State Park visitor center to learn local history, see exhibits that highlight the area’s gold mining past, or plan a visit to the Goodwin Gold Mine to pan for gold and take guided tours.
If you want to stay at the park over Spring Break, you’ll have choice of cabins, with options that include six camping cabins, and 10 two-bedroom cabins, most of which have lake views.
For other lodging and activity ideas try a few of the links below:
Attractions Near Lake Anna
Lake Anna Airbnb
Lake Anna Vacation Rentals
Christopher Run Campground
Wake Edgers (water sports rental and sales)
Trip Advisor: 15 Best Things To Do At Lake Anna
Approximate driving time from Richmond: 45 minutes
If you love the feeling of staying at a resort or theme park like Disney, but don’t have the time or inclination to make the trek to Florida, Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg is a perfect, nearby option. This resort was designed specifically with families in mind, offering a range of activities that entertain, engage, and excite kids and adults alike.
Perhaps the most notable feature at Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg is the 79,000 square foot indoor water park. Regardless of the weather outside, your kids can get their fill of fun with fast-paced slides for teens and kid-friendly pools and splash features for the little ones. But best of all, while the kids are having fun in the waves, you can kick back in the park’s “hot springs.”
You’ll find plenty more entertainment outside of the water, including live shows, story times and character appearances, plus attractions like a ropes course, a 4-D movie theater, mini-golf, the MagiQuest adventure game, bowling, and more. To relax, mom (and dad) can enjoy premiere spa services and fitness facilities – or treat the little ones at Scoops, the spa designed just for kids. And with standard guest rooms, family suites, and tent-, cave-, or cabin-themed suites available, you can customize your holiday to meet your budget.
With its convenient location in Williamsburg, Great Wolf Lodge is not only easy to access from the Richmond area, but it offers close proximity to Williamsburg’s many other attractions, including:
Colonial Williamsburg (named one of the New York Times’ “52 Places To Go in 2019”)
The Historic Triangle (includes Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown)
Busch Gardens Theme Park (opening for the season March 23, 2019)
Go Ape Treetop Adventures (opening for the season March 16, 2019)
For even more Williamsburg activities and attractions, click here.
Be sure to check out Great Wolf Lodge’s special offers for Spring Break deals that will make your stay even better – and more affordable.
Approximate driving time from Richmond: 1 hour, 45 minutes
The Virginia Beach Oceanfront isn’t just a hotspot during the summer – it offers family fun year-round, including Spring Break. As a popular destination for Virginia residents, as well as people from all over the East Coast, Virginia Beach offers golden sands, rolling surf, and a busy oceanfront boardwalk. Plus, you’ll find a surplus of great restaurants, shopping and family-friendly activities.
The oceanfront offers ongoing concerts and festivals, as well special daily events and permanent attractions. Enjoy the activity along the three-mile boardwalk or take the family out for local activities like Rudee Tours dolphin watching tours or the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center.
If your family is the type that likes to get out and explore nature, First Landing State Park is must-see. This nearly 3,000-acre park is not only the most visited state park in Virginia, but it is also the site where English settlers first landed in the New World in 1607 before moving up the James River to found Jamestown. The park boasts 1.25 miles of beach and more than 19 miles of hiking trails that wind through protected salt marsh habitat, freshwater ponds, beaches, dunes, forests, tidal marshes, and cypress swamps.
If wildlife is your thing, then the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is the perfect spot with its 9,000+ acres of protected reserve land. The refuge consists of barrier islands, dunes, beach woodlands, freshwater marshes, maritime forests, ponds, and ocean beaches and is home to wildlife including threatened and endangered species like loggerhead sea turtles, piping plovers, peregrine falcons, and bald eagles.
Want to see some history? Be sure to visit nearby sites like the Cape Henry Lighthouse, the first federally funded lighthouse in the United States, commissioned by none other than George Washington himself. Stop by Ferry Plantation, an historic plantation and manor house established in 1642 that today, is considered one of the most haunted sites in the state. Or check out the Military Aviation Museum to see one of the largest private collections of World War I and World War II era military aircraft in the world.
Roseland (Nelson County)
Approximate driving time from Richmond: 2 hours
As you may know, Wintergreen Resort is a favorite ski destination for Virginians during the winter months. But with four seasons of activities, it’s also the perfect place to plan a family vacation over Spring Break. So, while ski season might be over, Wintergreen Resort is just getting started!
Begin your Wintergreen Spring Break getaway at the Discovery Ridge Adventure Center, which includes indoor activities like video gaming and a mechanical bull; or enjoy outdoor activities like a bungee trampoline, mini-golf, a climbing tower, zip lines, archery, and more. You can also take advantage of indoor swimming at the year-round Aquatic and Fitness Center.
Prefer bikes? Try Wintergreen’s premier mountain biking trails. And, of course, be sure to throw in a round of golf, a game of tennis, or a family hike. For relaxation time, head to the spa, catch one of the resort’s ongoing special events, or enjoy a meal at one of Wintergreen’s many restaurants.
When you’re ready to get out and explore the surrounding areas, you’ll have no shortage of options with tons of wineries and breweries for mom and dad, along with a wide range of other nearby attractions to entertain the whole crew.
Approximate driving time from Richmond: 2 hours
Located on the banks of the Potomac River just outside of Washington, D.C., Old Town Alexandria is an area laden with history, praised for its well-preserved historical architecture, and filled with modern amenities. To top it off, Alexandria was named the #1 Best Value U.S. Travel Destination 2018 by Money magazine, a Top 5 Best Small City in the U.S. 2018 by the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards, and one of the South’s Prettiest Cities 2018 by Southern Living
As the “adopted city” of George Washington and the home of many other important historic figures, Old Town is a history lovers’ delight. While staying in Alexandria, you can visit George Washington’s Mount Vernon, located just nine miles from the city. Mount Vernon was the president’s former home and is currently a living history museum and working farm. Or stay in the city to visit sites such the Carlyle House, the former home of Alexandria’s co-founder John Carlyle; the Alexandria Black History Museum, a museum dedicated to celebrating African-American leaders from the Civil War to civil rights and beyond; or the National Inventors Hall of Fame which pays tribute to the more than 500 National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) Inductees, including Thomas Edison, George Washington Carver, the Wright Brothers, and more.
For Spring Break family fun, the city provides a nearly endless array of options, including a range of free options. Try the free King Street Trolley to get a broad view of the city, take self-guided walking tours, visit the historic seaport, or simply stroll the streets of the city to see its many colorful shops, boutiques, restaurants, and galleries.
And of course, last but not least, Alexandria offers easy access to the nation’s capital. Whether you choose to drive or take the train, all of the museums, monuments, and historical significance of Washington, D.C. is at your fingertips.
Need more convincing as to why you should visit Alexandria over Spring Break? The world-famous Cherry Blossoms are predicted to be in peak bloom April 3-6, 2019. Every spring, more than 3,750 cherry blossom trees lining the Tidal Basin, National Mall, and Potomac River explode into pink and white fireworks, creating an attraction that draws visitors from around the world. The Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the blooms from March 20 – April 14, 2019 and offers special events each week of its run.
Thanks to its location and size, Alexandria offers a wide range of accommodation options to meet any budget during Spring Break or anytime you want to visit. Find special rates on hotels here, or visit Airbnb, TripAdvisor, or another of your favorite travel sites to find great rates on lodging to meet your family’s needs.
For more family-friendly resources, activities, and attractions in the Greater Richmond area, be sure to visit our entire Best of Richmond series.