In the United States, each school district decides on its vacation schedule. In addition private schools and universities and colleges have their own calendars as well. You also have many people who visit popular amusement parks with young children (not yet in school), by themselves, or many people will have the kid take a day off from school to try to avoid the crowds.

TRADITIONAL SCHOOL YEAR Probably 70% or more of schools still have a traditional school calendar - but that number is dropping.  School starts up the week before or after Labor Day (1st Monday in September) and runs through early/mid June. Some districts run mid August to early June.  Winter Break is usually one or two weeks starting anytime from the week before Christmas to the day before and returning up to a week after New Years. Spring Break at one point was the week before or week after Easter, but now it can be at anytime, usually during March or April.

MODIFIED SCHOOL YEAR These schools tend to go back mid to end of July, have two weeks off in October, two weeks for winter and two weeks in spring and get out early June.

YEAR-ROUND SCHOOLS  The students are on different tracks so there are usually some kids in school and some out.

HOME SCHOOL There is a growing trend in home schooling. These students will go on field trips and outings throughout the year.

HOLIDAYS REQUIRED BY THE CALIFORNIA EDUCATION CODE
These usually mean 3 day weekends for schools. Section 37220 requires schools to close on the following days:

  • New Years Day: January 1
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: A Monday or Friday in the week of Jan 15
  • Lincoln Day: A Monday or Friday in the week of Feb 12
  • Washington Day: The 3rd Monday in Feb
  • Memorial Day: The last Monday in May
  • Independence Day: July 4
  • Labor Day: The 1st Monday in Sept
  • Veterans Day: November 11
  • Thanksgiving Day: Fourth Thursday in November
  • Christmas Day: December 25
Some schools also take March 31 as Caesar Chavez Day. It is a state holiday, so, for example, the California State University system campuses all close that day.  Thanksgiving Break in many districts is now being extended to be a Wed/Thurs/Fri weekend or even the entire week. This move is to accomodate families travelling.  Likewise there has been a move in some districts to extend Winter Break to a 3 week vacation. This accommodates families travelling to visit relatives or taking longer vacations.These are not exact dates, but more of a generalization of when you can expect students out of school. June, July, and August will always be busy and usually late March / early April as well.