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7 Family-friendly spring break destinations that won't cost you an arm and a leg

Deborah Cruz is a SheKnows parenting expert and blogger at The TRUTH About Motherhood, which she calls a place of "humor, support, honesty and integrity." Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

We’d all love to whisk our family away on some tropical vacation and soak up the sun, but sometimes it’s just not in our budget, so here are some budget-friendly alternatives.

family vacation

Photo credit: Uwe Krejci/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Ever wonder where’s the best place to take your family on a fun, entertaining, warm spring break but won't cost you an arm and a leg? This is my dilemma every year. We only get 10 days to escape the cabin fever of our never-ending midwestern winters and they have to count. We’d all love to whisk our family away on some tropical vacation and soak up the sun, but sometimes it’s just not in our budget, so I have made a list of my favorite, affordable family vacation spots.

Here are my top seven picks for fun family spring break destinations that will not break the bank.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

It’s like Florida, only cheaper. There are lots of great spring break deals and hotel discounts. The beach is beautiful and there are lots of fun family activities to do for spring breakers such as mini golf, the boardwalk, Wonderworks or a visit to the Big Laughs Theater.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Low-priced cabins big enough for the entire family and beautiful hotels with indoor water parks are all very budget-friendly. There are lots of activities for the whole family: the Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Haunted Adventures, aquarium, mini golf, Moving Theater and the museum. Enjoy fishing, zip-lining, hiking, biking, rafting and horseback riding. If you really want a beautiful view, hop on the Gatlinburg Sky Lift and see it all from atop the Smoky Mountains.

Naples, Florida

Naples has warm, beautiful beaches, breathtaking sunsets, world-class shopping, 35 golf courses and luxurious spas. Naples has the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Everglades on the other. This destination will please the whole family. There is so much to do, like visit the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens and ride a catamaran on a primate expedition cruise, or just lie on the beach all day.

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville is one of my favorite places to visit any time of the year. It’s right on the Tennessee/North Carolina border. Asheville is a fun and eclectic small city with a thriving arts and food scene. Springtime in Asheville is glorious with the vibrant colors as the city comes back to life after winter. You can visit the Biltmore Estate and Winery or just enjoy the pristine view of the mountains surrounding Asheville.

Austin, Texas

If you are going to do Austin, Texas, springtime has all the beauty without the crazy heat. You’ll find lots to do without even leaving downtown; swimming in the naturally-fed Barton Springs Pool, kayaking on Town Lake and riding the Zilker Zephyr are all fun things for the family to do while in Austin. The kids will love the Austin Children’s Museum. If you are more the outdoorsy type, you can go hiking or tubing in Hill County. There is something for everyone.

Fort Myers Beach, Florida

A small Gulf Coast town makes the perfect destination for a family looking for spring break fun and warm ocean water. You can spend your entire vacation at the beach, riding a bicycle or in a boat or enjoy the many miniature golf courses or arcades. Take a tour of the mangrove forests that surround the shore in a kayak and maybe even spot a manatee. Or you can spend a day at Sanibel Island, the seashell capital of the world. Come with buckets, you'll need them for all the seashells the kids will be taking home as souvenirs.

Washington, D.C.

Washington D.C. is one of my favorite spots in the entire country, being that I am a Political Science Nerd by training and I love sharing it with my girls. The city has more than 100 free attractions, including the Smithsonian museums, National Zoo (our favorite), landmarks such as the White House, the Capitol and the national monuments. It might not have sandy beaches but it has loads of charm and a wealth of history, and if you’re lucky you might be there during the cherry blossom festival. There is so much to see, do and eat in Washington D.C. that you will easily be able to find fun family activities for every single day of your visit and still not see everything.

Where is your favorite family friendly spring break destination?

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