In your college years, spring break was all about partying into the early morning hours of some of the world’s wildest and craziest vacation destinations. Now that you’ve got kids, however, spring break hot spots like Miami and Cancun just won’t cut it. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up all the fun and excitement of escaping a few days from the chill and ho-hum happenings of Pittsburgh. There are plenty of great spring break getaways that are conveniently located within seven hours of downtown Pittsburgh, many of which offer tons of family-friendly fun and relaxation. Pack up the car and your suitcases and treat the whole family to a spring break vacation at one of these five destinations considered the best for Pittsburgh families.
Camelback Mountain Waterpark
309 Resort Drive
Tannersville, PA 18372
Get wet and wild at Camelback Mountain Waterpark, Pennsylvania’s largest waterpark. You’ll forget that you’re in the Pocono Mountains when you’re slipping and sliding on more than 37 different water slides, attractions and rides amidst its 84-degree, climate-controlled temperature. The Aquatopia indoor waterpark is ideal for the whole family because it offers fun for all ages, from the Camel Kid Theme Park and family rides for the little ones to rushing thrill rides designed for bigger kids and the more adventurous guests. Camelback Mountain Waterpark is roughly a five-hour drive from downtown Pittsburgh and offers spacious overnight suites at the adjoining Camelback Lodge.
4310 Queen St.
Niagara Falls, ON
Canada L2E 6X5
If you don’t think you can take an international trip with kids over spring break, think again. Ontario’s Niagara Falls is just a short drive north of Pittsburgh via I-79 and offers a variety of family-friendly fun. Consider spending the afternoon at the Journey Beyond the Falls, which gives you a unique peak at this overwhelming and awe-inspiring natural wonder, or simply take in the grand view of the falls from across the Niagara River. Marineland, Safari Niagara, Clifton Hill’s “Street of Fun” and the Niagara IMAX Theatre also top the list of kid-approved activities. Anticipate a four-hour drive from downtown Pittsburgh to the Canadian side of the falls.
229 Rehoboth Ave.
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
Nothing says spring break like a trip to the beach and Delaware’s Rehoboth Beach is one of Pittsburghers’ favorite seaside stops. Clean, welcoming and family-friendly, Rehoboth Beach offers a resort feel without all the craziness you’d see at typical spring break beaches. In fact, Rehoboth Beach is a great place for kids thanks to its numerous restaurants, boardwalk activities and parks. Plan for an approximate 6.5-hour drive from downtown Pittsburgh to Rehoboth Beach.
New York City
New York, NY 10007
If you’re up for a bit of a longer road trip, New York City is a bustling city with as many activities and events that you can fit into your spring break. After all, this is the city that never sleeps! Start your trip off with a day in Times Square exploring M&M’s World or Toys “R” Us, or spend the afternoon touring Central Park during your carriage ride before checking out the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Noteworthy attractions include Central Park Zoo, FAO Schwartz, Dylan’s Candy Bar, the Empire State Building, 9/11 Memorial and the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. A near seven-hour drive will put you in the heart of New York City.
New River Gorge National River
Glen Jean, WV 25846
There’s no place quite like West Virginia’s New River Gorge National River to take in the great outdoors. The whole family will enjoy endless days of exploring the mountain region of the state with everything from camping and hiking to whitewater rafting, fishing and biking. Younger children will love the Junior Ranger program, Youth Arts in the Park events and Science Youth Nature Camp. Surround yourself in the beauty of nature with a nearly four-hour drive south to the New River Gorge National River in Glen Jean, West Virginia.
Jessica Wasik is a graduate of Robert Morris University with a degree in English Studies. She is also a contributing writer for AXS.com and Examiner.com. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.