Escape Rochester Winter: Best Spring Break Family Vacation Ideas

Are you looking to escape the Rochester winters? Today we are sharing our best spring break family vacation ideas to enjoy quality time together and getaway.

Rochester winters can feel harsh. They tend to stay around a bit longer than I would like and I am always looking for a way to escape the cold.

We love to travel and planning some family time in a different destination is just what we need to have some family fun, even when it is cold out.

As I started researching this list I realized there are so many places to visit during spring break within driving distance of Rochester, NY or if you want to make it a long getaway only a flight away.

Whether you are looking for fun in the sun or a winter getaway, you can find something that will fit your family.

Family Fun Spring Break Vacation Ideas within Driving Distance to Rochester, NY

Corning, New York

Corning, NY is home to the Corning Museum of Glass and the Rockwell Museum, two of our favorite museums to explore. It is also less than a 90 minute drive making it a perfect day trip or overnight spring break getaway.

If you are planning ahead book a class at the Corning Museum to create some really incredible artwork. Also make time to explore the downtown district that has great shops and restaurants.

You can learn more in our Family Weekend Getaway to Corning, NY post.

Driving Distance from Rochester: 105 miles

Corning Museum of Glass
The scavenger hunt at Corning Museum of Glass is fun for all ages.

Niagara Falls, Canada

Visiting Niagara Falls during the winter months may not have you escaping the cold but seeing the falls during the winter months is one of my favorite times to visit.

The winter months in Niagara Falls offer low crowds, more affordable hotel accommodations, and stunning views of Niagara Falls. If you are lucky you may even see it frozen.

We prefer to stay on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls when we visit for the weekend. If you are planning a day trip you can get some really gorgeous up close views of the Falls on the American side.

You can learn more about planning your visit in our Weekend at the Sheraton Niagara Falls post.

Driving Distance from Rochester: 88 miles

Get up close views of Niagara Falls on the American side.

Hershey, Pennsylvania

Hershey is a great place to visit year round because there are a lot of family fun things to do in Hershey that don’t require visiting Hersheypark.

We like visiting Hershey Chocolate World and The Hershey Story Museum. You can also visit the many family friendly destinations in Harrisburg.

I suggest staying at the Hershey Lodge to enjoy the indoor waterpark. If you are visiting during the spring you may have an opportunity to visit Hersheypark for their Spring Time in the Park event that happens on the weekends.

Learn more about visiting Hershey, PA on this post.

Driving Distance from Rochester: 277 miles

Hershey Chocolate World
Hershey Chocolate World is open year round and has the free Hershey Factory Tour attraction.

Toronto, Canada

Toronto is one of those cities that I forget is so close! At around 3 hours it is a perfect city getaway for families in Rochester.

It is home to the Toronto Zoo which is impressive, as well as the Hockey Hall of Fame and the MLB team the Toronto Blue Jays.

As a kid I grew up visiting Toronto. It holds special family memories in my heart and I love sharing that with my kids. We haven’t visited in a few years but are taking a trip there this spring. We can’t wait!

Check out our 10 Favorite Things to Do in Toronto for Families post.

Driving Distance from Rochester: 166 miles

Best of Toronto for Families
The Panda Exhibit at the Toronto Zoo.

Great Wolf Lodge (Multiple Locations)

There are three Great Wolf Lodge locations within 6 hours of Rochester. We visited the Fitchburg, MA location which is the furthest from Rochester.

Great Wolf Lodge is a perfect spring break destination for families because it has an all inclusive feel. Once you are checked-in you don’t have to leave the resort.

It is not all inclusive but there are on-site restaurants, the water park, and dry activities daily for families to enjoy. My kids really liked the ropes course during our visit.

Read Our Tips for an Awesome Visit to Great Wolf Lodge

Driving Distance from Rochester:

  • Niagara Falls 95 miles
  • Poconos 249 miles
  • Massachusettes 375 miles

Cooperstown, New York

Cooperstown NY is perfect for the baseball fan in your life but everyone will appreciate this charming town. It is great for a weekend getaway and offers a place to spend quality family time without a lot of distractions.

When you visit arrive early at Fly Creek Mill to sample all the delicious goods. Fly Creek is a cider mill that is also a unique gift shop. We had a great time exploring it and trying all the samples.

Learn About How to Plan Your Cooperstown, NY Family Weekend

Driving Distance from Rochester: 173 miles

baseball hall of fame
Arrive early at the Baseball Hall of Fame to avoid large crowds.

Buffalo, New York

If you have been a reader of my blog you know Buffalo has a special place in my heart. It is where I grew up, and my family still lives there. The food is the best ever and I just love all the family friendly attractions.

Plan Your Buffalo Weekend Getaway with this post.

Driving Directions from Rochester: 74 miles

naval park buffalo
Naval park in Buffalo, NY.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh is another city that I hold near to my heart because we lived there for a few years when we first started our family.

The family friendly attractions in Pittsburgh could fill more than a weekend and we always find interesting things to do when we visit the city.

Plan Your Pittsburgh visit with 15 Things You Should Do in Pittsburgh

Driving Distance from Rochester: 284 miles

Pittsburgh Family Weekend
Watch the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game.

Syracuse, New York

Syracuse is another city that is close to visit for the day and offers a lot for families. You can spend the day exploring the Destiny mall that has many restaurants and indoor family activities.

Check out our Weekend in Syracuse and plan your getaway.

Driving Distance from Rochester: 87 miles

Wonder Works at Destiny USA
Wonderworks is a great indoor place to visit in Syracuse.

New York City, New York

New York City. It is the one place on this list that we have not visited as a family. We are hoping to make that change this year but for now it is on the list because it is close enough to drive and one of the most popular destinations in the world.

I will be honest, our struggles with visiting is definitely finding a budget friendly place to stay in NYC, but I will be working on that and hopefully have more to share this year.

Driving Distance from Rochester: 333 miles

Spring Break Ideas for Rochester Families to Fly To

If you really want to escape the cold temperatures you may have to hope on a plane to one of these destinations. If you fly during an off day you can typically find reasonably priced flights out of Rochester.

If you have to fly during the February or April break I suggest looking at surrounding airports to fly out of. We are traveling during February break this year and couldn’t find roundtrip flights to Florida for under $2500.00.

We ended up booking out of Pittsburgh and saved $1500.00 on our flight. I know this isn’t ideal for everyone but for us the savings were too great to pass up.

Here are 4 of our favorite family destinations to fly to for spring break.

Tucson, Arizona

We recently discovered Tucson, Arizona during our Southwest road trip in 2019 and I can’t wait to go back. The weather is amazing during this time of year and there is so much to do for families.

One of our favorite places to visit was Old Tucson Studios. It is a working film studio that shows you where some of the best westerns of our time were filmed.

Read more about Planning a Visit to Tucson, Arizona.

old tucson in arizona
Old Tucson Movie Studio

Disneyland in California

We love theme parks and being able to visit Disneyland in Anaheim, California was a dream come true. Disneyland is a classic theme park that Disney fans will love.

We had one day to visit and I am already planning how we can get back to spend more time exploring the parks.

Read More: How to Plan Your First Visit to Disneyland

Entrance to Disneyland California.

Orlando, Florida

We find ourselves visiting Orlando multiple times a year to enjoy the amazing theme parks. Unviersal Orlando and Walt Disney World are our favorite parks and they have become part of our family tradition.

A theme park vacation is a perfect mix of busy and relaxing if you stay at a resort with a pool. We love to enjoy a day at the parks followed by pool time at our resort.

Plan Your Vacation to Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World.

Cruise Vacation

A cruise vacation can be a great way to escape the Rochester winters. Most cruises are all inclusive so you pay upfront and gives you a lot of time to relax.

We are headed on our second Disney Cruise later this year and can’t wait to enjoy the time together on the ship. Many of the cruise lines offer numerous family friendly activities and entertainment options for families of all ages.

Read the kids club on the Disney Dream.

meeting captain mickey at port disney dream

Take a Road Trip Somewhere You Have Never Been

One of my favorite family vacations is planning a road trip. I love exploring new places and finding the unexpected. Every year we try to do a new road trip that allows us to see more of the country and have fun together as a family.

Family Road Trip Ideas

There are so many options when planning a spring break getaway from Rochester. Where will you go this year?

Read Next: 11 Weekend Getaways from Rochester, New York

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