Easter signifies the coming of spring, and it presents a nice long weekend off from work to enjoy festivals, flowers, brunch, or maybe a weekend getaway. There are always fun events happening at Easter for the whole family, like egg hunts, carnivals, live music, and food festivals. So if a change of scenery sounds like the perfect way to spend this Easter, here are some destinations that are simply wonderful during the springtime and offer lots to do for the long weekend.
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Fredericksburg, a city in central Texas, is known for its enduring German tradition that began with the town’s founding in 1847. There’s a very unique tradition in Fredericksburg on Easter weekend: the night before Easter, everyone in town dresses up for the Easter pageant, and at a certain time of night, the lights all go out. Up on the hills that surround the town, visitors will then see the lights of the fires that spring up in the distance, and they can enjoy the strange and fun spectacle of the Fredericksburg Easter Fires as they enjoy some of the amazing food and drink offered in the town that evening during the festival. Things to Do in Fredericksburg
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» Bay St Louis
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Southern Mississippi knows how to celebrate Easter, with sunrise services, egg hunts, and plenty of events on for the whole weekend. At the Bay St. Louis Little Theater each year on Easter Saturday, there is the annual Stella, Blues & Barbecue Festival, which features live music, delicious barbecue food, and an annual yelling contests where contestants get up on stage and yell, “STELLA!” like in A Streetcar Named Desire (author Tennessee Williams was a Bay St. Louis native). This charming city is also a great place for any weekend getaway, with pleasant weather, historic architecture, and a friendly atmosphere.
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» Big Sur
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The beautiful stretch of California coast that makes up the Big Sur region is a gorgeous part of America at any time of year, but visitors to Big Sur around Easter time will find pleasant, mild weather, views of both the Santa Lucia Mountains and the vast Pacific Ocean, and a charming region full of lovely state parks perfect for hiking and other outdoor activities. On Easter Sunday, visitors can enjoy a fabulous brunch at Big Sur River Inn Restaurant, complete with their famous Bloody Marys, as well as an annual Easter Egg Hunt for the kids. Surrounding areas and businesses also feature a wide array of activity that weekend, including visits from the Easter Bunny, buffets, and live music. Things to Do in Big Sur
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Whether you’re traveling with friends or family, Houston is ready for all visitors on Easter weekend. There’s a plethora of activity in this Texan city, like festivals, music, the annual easter egg hunt at Edgewood Park, and the photo opps, egg hunt, and free Easter baskets given away at the MD Kids Pediatrics Community Resource Fair. Easter weekend is also when Houston hosts the infamous DAYBREAK Easter Party, a 21+ event which takes place all day long and includes performances from local and touring DJs for a day full of music and fun.
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Charleston, South Carolina is known as “the Holy City” for its many tall and iconic church steeples that historically have always guided ships into its harbor. So with a nickname like that, it’s no surprise that Charleston is a great place to spend Easter. Each year on Easter Saturday, the city hosts “Eggstravaganza,” an egg hunt where children can not only find the eggs, but also dye them and participate in games like an egg toss and egg rolling races. Visitors can also watch the annual Easter Promenade down Broad and Meeting Streets in downtown Charleston or enjoy an unforgettable Lowcountry brunch on Easter Sunday. Things to Do in Charleston
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Spending the Easter weekend in Flagstaff, Arizona means spending it in one of the most gorgeous parts of the United States, surrounded by jagged mountains, hot sprawling desert, and dense forests of ponderosa pine trees. Visitors to Flagstaff can take advantage of the slopes at Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort, or go for a hike on or around Humphreys Peak for some amazing views. In the city itself, restaurants like Josephine’s Modern American Bistro and many others offer an amazing Easter brunch so everyone involved can have a wonderful Easter Sunday under the Arizona sun. Things to Do in Flagstaff
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Galveston Island, off the coast of Texas in the Gulf Coast, is a quaint and unique city where visitors can enjoy amusement park rides on the water at Galveston island Historic Pleasure Pier and go hiking or bird watching at Galveston Island State Park. On Easter Saturday, visitors and locals alike can check out Moody Gardens, an iconic amusement park with three glass pyramids and even an aquarium, for a free day of hunting for Easter eggs, taking photos with the Easter bunny, and playing games for a variety of prizes. There will also be a delicious buffet at Moody Gardens on Easter Sunday, and many other great brunches offered around town.
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» Great Smoky Mountains National Park
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Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a fantastic destination at any time of year, but on Easter weekend the park and the surrounding area become the perfect place to spend a holiday. On Easter Sunday, a free ride on the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway will lead guests up the mountain to a gorgeous sunrise service at Ober Gatlinburg, where they will be able to truly appreciate their surroundings and the stunning views. There is also the Great Smoky Easter Arts and Crafts Show, which is hosted every year around Easter and features tons of art, crafts, and goodies that anyone would love to find in their Easter basket.
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» Honolulu, USA
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The Hawaiian capital is practically listed under the textbook definition of “perfect vacation destination,” with sandy beaches, gorgeous landscapes, and beautiful weather year round. It’s the most populated place on the island of Oahu and it’s home to Pearl Harbor, Waikiki Beach, and the incredibly scenic Makapuu Point. The city a great place to spend Easter, and there’s no better way to start the holiday than with a gorgeous sunrise Easter service on the beach or surrounded by the lush green wilderness of Oahu’s nature. Afterward, Easter brunch options abound in Honolulu, with endless mimosas and all you can eat breakfast buffets.
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» Lake Powell
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Lake Powell, which forms part of the state border between Arizona and Utah, is a popular vacation spot all year round, with its incredible rock formations like Horseshoe Bend and Rainbow Bridge, and all the outdoor activity options on the lake, the Colorado River, and in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The nearby town of Page, Arizona, hosts an annual Easter event for families with an egg hunt, Easter Bunny photo opportunities, and even a petting zoo. And if the prospect of Easter brunch doesn’t appeal to you, there’s plenty of fish to be caught in the waters of Lake Powell.
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» Nags Head
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The Outer Banks of North Carolina are a gorgeous and peaceful place to spend Easter weekend. Each year, the Elizabethan Gardens in the town of Manteo, only a short 15-minute drive from Nags Head, hosts an annual Easter Eggstravaganza, which features a massive egg hunt on the beach that includes thousands of eggs. Families and children can also enjoy the other events that the festival has to offer, like performances by live musicians and dancers, games like egg on a spoon or egg roll races, and plenty of fun crafts and activities to keep everyone entertained all day, with prizes and gift certificates for participants.
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The Ozark Mountains encompass parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. This gorgeous highland region features rivers, bluffs, and thick forests, all of which are perfect for exploring. When you’re not out enjoying all the nature that the Ozarks have to offer, you can spend Easter weekend in one of the towns or cities in the region, enjoying all the holiday events hosted for the community. Sunrise services, Easter brunch, egg hunts, a ride on the Easter Express train, or even a weekend backpacking trip in the Bell Mountain Wilderness are all on the table in the Ozarks.
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» Padre Island
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Easter is an incredibly busy time for tourism on Padre Island in Texas. It’s a major destination for Spring Breakers, and many families from Mexico come to the island during this time of year for vacations, so you’ll have plenty of company while relaxing on the beaches, watching the sea turtles, surfing, fishing, and wandering the nature trails. “Semana Santa,” the week before Easter, is a popular week for Mexican families and groups to take a holiday, so there are plenty of Easter related events happening at this time. Warm weather makes Padre Island the perfect spot to take the family for Easter egg hunts at the farmers’ market, and a gorgeous patio seat under the palm trees will become your new favorite way to eat Easter brunch.
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» Palo Duro Canyon
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Palo Duro Canyon, in the Texas panhandle, is a beautiful system of rugged and colorful canyons that actually make up the second largest canyon in the country, after the Grand Canyon in Arizona. This area is amazing for hiking, biking, horseback riding, geocaching, or camping, and after a full weekend of outdoor exploration, visitors can wake up early on Easter morning and bundle up against the pre-dawn desert cold. Palo Duro Canyon offers a sunrise Easter service, and it’s a great way to bring in the holiday, especially because as the sun rises the park will be revealed in all its beauty around you.
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» Santa Monica
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Athletes looking to get a workout on Easter should head to Santa Monica where the Happy Easter 5k, 10k, 15k, and Half Marathon is held each year on a beautiful and scenic beach path. For the rest of the weekend, there are farmers’ markets to enjoy and plenty of egg hunts and Easter events in town for families. For example, you might check out the annual Easter Hoppening, which features bouncy houses, games, and egg hunts, or Peter Rabbit Day at Douglas Park, where families will find photo opps with the Easter Bunny, egg hunts, egg painting, and other activities.
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Springtime is beautiful in Savannah, Georgia, with flowering pink azaleas that take over the gardens, parks, and streets of the city, farmers’ markets in Forsyth Park, and an annual music festival that features over 100 artists all over the city. For a truly unforgettable Easter Sunday brunch, visitors can hop aboard a Savannah Riverboat Cruise for a 1.5-hour tour of the city from the water, complete with all the delicious breakfast and lunch options you’d expect as well as Easter Egg treats and photos with the Easter Bunny. If you’ve already got brunch plans, Savannah Riverboat Cruises offers an Easter Dinner Cruise as well.
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Visitors to Sedona, Arizona around Easter will definitely want to hop aboard the Easter Bunny Express. A train ride that is offered only once a year on Easter Sunday, the Easter Bunny Express will take passengers for a scenic ride along Verde Canyon Railroad, but not before getting some face time with the Easter Bunny (who comes bearing armfuls of yummy treats!) on the platform during a fun session of face painting and photo opportunities. On the train, kids can take part in games like a jelly bean counting contest while adults relax and enjoy a delicious Bloody Mary packed with a rabbit-worthy amount of vegetables.
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» St. Augustine
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Every year since 1956, the city of St. Augustine in Florida has hosted an annual Easter parade called the Parada de los Caballos y Coches, which is Spanish for the Parade of Horses and Coaches. This fantastic Easter Sunday tradition includes marching bands, elaborate floats, classic cars, drill teams, and the carriage horses of the city all decked out in their Easter attire. It’s a fun opportunity for families and friends to watch the spectacle before heading out to one of the many restaurants in St. Augustine that offer Easter Brunch, though it’s certainly recommended to make a reservation beforehand.
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The town of Helen, located in the Georgian Blue Ridge Mountains, is a quaint place known for its Bavarian style architecture and rich German heritage. Camping, hiking, lake activities, and other outdoor adventures are all on the table in Helen, and in town there are several museums and cultural centers for visitors to enjoy. At Easter time, Helen hosts an Annual Easter Fun Fest, which features face painting, hayrides, arts and crafts, games, raffles, an egg hunt, and the Easter Bunny himself. Located at Unicoi State Park, the Easter Fun Fest presents a great opportunity to spend a day playing games and laughing with family and friends in a beautiful natural setting.
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Austin, Texas is a great place to bring the family for Easter weekend, as there is a wide array of events happening around the holiday. Every year, the city’s Parks and Recreation department hosts the annual Farmer Fred’s Spring Carnival on the Thursday evening before Easter, where guests will find egg hunts for kids (organized by age group), photo opportunities with the Easter Bunny, live music, games, prizes, and more. Austin also hosts an egg hunt and a movie night under the stars on Easter weekend, and of course, on Easter Sunday, there are plenty of great restaurants to enjoy a peaceful and delicious brunch.
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The beautiful town of Boone, NC is located up in the high wilderness of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and it is a celebration of pioneers like Daniel Boone, who created homestead and lived out on the frontier in the 18th and 19th centuries. High Country North Carolina is a gorgeous place to be in the first weeks of spring, with wildflowers in bloom and birds chirping. The weekend before Easter, Boone hosts an Eggstravaganza, complete with an Easter parade, egg hunt, games for the whole family, and food and drinks. There are many other events on as well, including other egg hunts, visits with the Easter bunny, and more.
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Hudson, New York is a beautifully historic little town along the Hudson River about 45 minutes south of Albany. An afternoon spent on a sightseeing cruise on the Hudson River will help situate guests in the area, with guides to point out scenic points of interest like the Sleeping Giant of the Catskill Mountains and the great birds of prey. These include bald eagles, which are common to the area. The grounds of the Olana State Historic Site and the Greenport Conservation Area are both beautiful natural places to enjoy the spring air and budding scenery this Easter.
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Local festivals and bake sales are just the beginning of the fun in Woodstock, Vermont this Easter. At sunrise on Easter morning, sunrise service is traditionally held on the peak of Mount Tom, and getting there is half the fun. Guests gather together at the church at 6am and hike to the mountain’s summit, where service is held with a spectacular view of the surrounding area. After the service has ended, everyone shares the food they have brought for an informal community breakfast. During the remainder of the day, Easter egg hunts are held in several spots throughout town so the kids can find some holiday treats.
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Charlotte, North Carolina is home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and each year, this famous museum hosts the Easter Egg 400 on Easter Saturday, a full day of festivities that the whole family is sure to enjoy. In a series of games led by none other than the Easter Bunny himself, kids will go on the hunt to fill their empty egg cartons with colorful eggs that contain lots of treats. There are also games and activities offered throughout the day like face painting, a magic show, performances from balloon artists and bubble blowers, and much more.
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» Crested Butte
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Crested Butte Ski Resort in the Colorado Rocky Mountains is a great destination for any long weekend, especially for those who love winter sports – its slopes are perfect for skiing, snowboarding, and even sleigh rides. On Easter Sunday, Crested Butte Resort hosts a fun egg hunt for kids, with separate events for younger and older kids so the little ones can take their time. While the kids search for eggs (and ride the ensuing sugar high that comes from eating what’s inside them), parents can relax at Trackers Bar with brunch, mimosas, and Bloody Marys.
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25 Best Easter Weekend Getaways
- Fredericksburg, Photo: Courtesy of dfikar - Fotolia.com
- Bay St Louis, Photo: Courtesy of ChmpagnDave - Fotolia.com
- Big Sur, Photo: Courtesy of phitha - Fotolia.com
- Houston, Photo: Courtesy of duydophotography - Fotolia.com
- Charleston, Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com
- Flagstaff, Photo: Courtesy of HildaWeges - Fotolia.com
- Galveston, Photo: Courtesy of cbruzos - Fotolia.com
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Photo: Courtesy of Angela - Fotolia.com
- Honolulu, USA, Photo: Courtesy of Gordon Fahey - Fotolia.com
- Lake Powell, Photo: Courtesy of Galyna Andrushko - Fotolia.com
- Nags Head, Photo: Courtesy of junej - Fotolia.com
- Ozarks, Photo: Courtesy of Aaron - Fotolia.com
- Padre Island, Photo: Courtesy of cbruzos - Fotolia.com
- Palo Duro Canyon, Photo: Courtesy of Zack Frank - Fotolia.com
- Santa Monica, Photo: Courtesy of Gabriele Maltinti - Fotolia.com
- Savannah, Photo: Courtesy of f11photo - Fotolia.com
- Sedona, Photo: Courtesy of Fotoluminate LLC - Fotolia.com
- St. Augustine, Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com
- Helen, Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com
- Austin, Photo: Courtesy of anthony herrera - Fotolia.com
- Boone, Photo: Courtesy of jonbilous - Fotolia.com
- Hudson, Photo: Courtesy of cbell7153 - Fotolia.com
- Woodstock, Photo: Courtesy of SNEHIT - Fotolia.com
- Charlotte, Photo: Courtesy of Jill Lang - Fotolia.com
- Crested Butte, Photo: Courtesy of Flat Nine Photo - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of hakat - Fotolia.com