Spring break means sunshine and outdoor fun, but it's likely a trip to a far-flung resort is on hold for now. We've found some spring break staycation destinations close to home for a low-key vacation that's an ideal way to welcome warmer weather.
Most New Jersey schools are on spring break in late-March/early-April, when weather in the Northeast can be unpredictable: too chilly for outdoor swimming, yet too warm to stay cooped up inside all week. So dress everyone in layers and plan a mix of indoor and outdoor fun for the whole family. We've rounded up the best options for fun family destinations in and around the Garden State, from New Jersey beach towns and indoor water parks to Pocono resorts and Hudson Valley getaways.
If you're looking for a shorter jaunt minus the overnight stay, check out our guide to New Jersey family day trips.
Spring Staycations in Northern Jersey
When it's too warm for skiing and too chilly for outdoor swimming, this resort's tropical indoor pool oasis is the place to be. Featuring an underground aquarium, huge waterslide, and hot tub all surrounded by lush foliage, the Biosphere Pool Complex is a winner with families staying at the resort. Dining options range from cafe fare to the upscale Restaurant Latour, which boasts an award-winning wine cellar. The golf courses are newly reopened, plus there's tennis, hiking, biking, and horseback trails, weather permitting.
City slickers will appreciate the spectacular view of the iconic Manhattan skyline across the Hudson River. With PATH train service right around the corner, families can take advantage of all the spring break fun in the Big Apple without paying big-city prices for spacious accommodations. If you tire of the train, check out the ferry, which delivers you to the city's West Side. The only four-diamond hotel in northern New Jersey, this waterfront spot features an indoor pool, multiple restaurants, and free wifi. It's also close to the Garden State's STEM gem, the Liberty Science Center.
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Camp along the river and have water sports at your disposal at the Delaware Valley Family Campground. Photo courtesy of the Campground
Tucked along the scenic Delaware River, this family-friendly campsite offers cabins as well as trailer rentals, a family game room, mini-golf, and basketball courts. The heated outdoor pool and kiddie pool open in warmer weather. Tent and trailer reservation dates start Thursday, April 1, and cabin and luxury tent bookings can be made from Thursday, April 15-Wednesday, October 15.
RELATED: Spring Fun Guide for New Jersey Kids
Enjoy the gorgeous views at High Point State Park. Photo courtesy of NJ State Parks
Camping season begins Thursday, April 1, at most New Jersey campsites, so head to the highest spot in the state for a sweeping view of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the Delaware River. Enjoy family hikes through the woods and around lakes, including part of the Appalachian Trail. High Point State Park features tent campsites along Sawmill Lake, though its rental cabins are closed at this time.
Spring Staycations in Southern Jersey
More indoor splashing fun awaits at this massive water complex featuring a surfing simulator, mat slides, family tube slides, an adventure playground, leisure pool, tubing river, and toddler-only zone. Several hotels in nearby Mt. Laurel offer stay and play packages for water park visitors, and all provide easy access to Philadelphia to continue the family fun. Hours are extended for spring break, but reservations are required. Make sure to view the schedule before booking accommodations.
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On balmy nights, catch a flick under the stars at the Asbury Hotel.
Spring Staycations on the Jersey Shore
Asbury Park's trendy Asbury Hotel offers family-style rooms with bunk beds kids will love. Parents enjoy the rooftop lounge space with games, bean bag chairs, and a movie screen (weather permitting). A lobby lounge serves coffee and snacks, and an adjacent bar features live entertainment. Restaurant options abound in Asbury Park, along the boardwalk, and on bustling Cookman Avenue. A beachfront playground at Seventh Avenue is also sure to keep kids happy—even if they can't bodysurf in the chilly ocean. And don't miss the Silverball Museum Arcade for hours of pinball.
RELATED: 10 Best Indoor Water Parks for Kids in the U.S.
Unwind in the gardens at Congress Hall Resort. Photo courtesy of Congress Hall
The iconic yellow Cape May resort features spring break family specials like the Wilderness Adventures Spring Break Getaway, where you'll take a shuttle to Beach Plum Farm for children's activities. Get a sash and earn badges for completing projects like watercolor painting, birdhouse making, engineering, chemistry, archery, beach cleanup, and more. If that's not enough to keep everyone busy, head out for a 3-hour cruise with the Cape May Whale Watcher to catch a glimpse of migrating whales and frolicking dolphins or climb the 199 steps to the top of the Cape May lighthouse.
A popular summer family destination, the Grand Hotel also features a heated indoor pool, bike rentals, and a fitness center, making it a good option for cooler weather. The Easter Kid's Spring Break package includes a daily breakfast. Due to COVID-19 capacity restrictions, reservations are required for the indoor pool.
RELATED: Here's When Amusement Parks Open for the Season in New Jersey and Pennsylvania
Get up close to sharks at Jenkinson's Aquarium. Photo courtesy of the Aquarium
There's a ton to do at Jenkinson's Boardwalk, even when the weather isn't beachy. Games and activities include two mini-golf courses, four arcades, a ropes course, a funhouse, and, of course, rides—the amusement park is open for the season, weather-permitting. Stop by Jenkinson's Aquarium to visit sea turtles, penguins, sharks, and other aquatic creatures, and then hit the Sweet Shop for your fix of salt-water taffy and fudge. There are plenty of restaurants and hotels nearby.
RELATED: 70 Things To Do With Kids at the Jersey Shore
Kids can play and chill in the game room at the Ocean Place Resort.
This beachfront resort has plenty to keep kids busy: an indoor pool is open year-round, and its game room is stocked with TVs, board games, billiards tables, and a life-size chessboard. Stroll to nearby Pier Village for shopping, dining, and a small arcade.
RELATED: Best Family Resorts in the Poconos Mountains
Families can catch a thrill together in the water park at Great Wolf Lodge. Photo courtesy of the Lodge
Hit the Poconos Mountains for a Spring Staycation
The Poconos are a pretty perfect family vacation destination. There you'll find some of the best family resorts, including Camelback, Great Wolf Lodge, and Kalahari, which is home to one of the country's largest indoor water parks. The landscape is gorgeous, and nature lovers won't want to miss one of the area's beautiful waterfall hikes. We love the Poconos so much, we came up with 61 things to do there as a family.
RELATED: Family-Friendly Hotels for a New York Staycation
Unlimited horseback riding is just one of the many draws of the Rocking Horse Ranch Resort. Photo courtesy of the Resort
Enjoy a Spring Staycation in the Hudson Valley
New York's Hudson Valley is home to several family-friendly resorts, including the excellent Rocking Horse Ranch in Highland. You can even spend the night at a lighthouse! Packed with natural beauty, culture, and charming towns such as historic Hyde Park, the Hudson Valley offers tons of things to do with kids.
The Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia is a gem for families! Photo courtesy of the museum
Philadelphia's Staycation-Worthy Destinations
Looking for an urban getaway? The City of Brotherly Love is filled with kid-friendly attractions, including the Please Touch Museum, the Franklin Institute, and the Philadelphia Zoo. Of course, there's tons of history in Philly, too—you can see the Liberty Bell, visit the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and even meet Betsy Ross. Check out our list of must-do things for first-time visitors, and find even more fun in our list of 100 Things To Do in Philly with Kids Before They Grow Up.
Unless otherwise noted, photos courtesy of the hotels/resorts.