Spring break is sneaking up fast — if you haven’t planned a family escape yet, now’s the time! Overwhelmed by deciding where to go? Here are six tried-and-true destination ideas that are virtually guaranteed to offer something for everyone in the family.
By the time spring break rolls around, winter has worn out its welcome and kids are squirrelly from too little sun. To the rescue: a Caribbean getaway. From vibrant Jamaica to the secluded British Virgin Islands, the region offers an enticing spectrum of destinations and accommodations. There are all-inclusive resorts with extensive kids’ programming, low-key retreats for R&R, standalone villa rentals and everything in between.
Although it can be a bit rainier than the prime winter period, early spring is still well outside the wettest months. Weather isn’t likely to ruin beach time.
Spring break typically falls during high season, with pricing to match, but there are still ways to save money on an island vacation. Read our best tips for an affordable Caribbean trip to help cut down on costs.
No, not that Florida — there’s more to the spring break scene than perennial party zones like Fort Lauderdale and Daytona. Soak up the sun in Palm Beach, well-heeled Naples or one of the idyllic islands along the western coast: Sanibel, Captiva, Marco, Anna Maria. To really get away from it all, head to the Florida Keys (skip Key West, another spring break hotspot). Hawks Cay Resort and Cheeca Lodge & Spa both fit the bill for a kid-oriented escape.
Despite sitting next door to raucous Panama City, the upscale 30-A corridor on the Gulf Coast is family central all year round, as is Amelia Island near Jacksonville. The caveat is that the farther north you go, the more dicey the weather can be — keep that in mind if you have your heart set on swimming.
With its cobblestone streets, bonbon-colored row houses and salt-scented breezes, genteel Charleston feels like no other city in the world. Spring is the perfect season to savor its Lowcountry charm — the weather is mild, sunshine is plentiful and the azaleas and dogwoods burst into bloom. Best of all, there’s a wealth of sights and activities for both kids and adults to enjoy.
Stroll along the Charleston Battery, a former defensive seawall lined with majestic old homes; tour the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown at Patriots Point; hit the South Carolina Aquarium; or visit a historic plantation such as Middleton Place. The weather is usually pleasant enough to lounge on one of the area’s many beaches, even if the water is still cold.
Although there are no Charleston properties yet in our CB! Hotel Collection, we manage an active list of vetted family-friendly hotels all over the world. Go to My Trip Planner to request help with Charleston accommodations.
California has so many spring break possibilities that it’s tough to narrow them down. Plan a road trip to make the most of limited time. Our recommended 9-day itinerary (easy to tailor if you just have a week) starts in the San Francisco Bay Area and works down the coast to San Diego.
An alternative: Choose a destination resort such as Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, La Quinta Resort & Club or the Montage Laguna Beach. Or mingle with the glitterati in L.A. Santa Monica makes a great home base in the area for families; Shore Hotel is just across the road from the iconic Santa Monica Pier and Oceana Santa Monica is a stone’s throw away.
For a change from the spring break beach scene, head to the Southwest. Arizona strikes a pitch-perfect balance of family fun, breathtaking landscapes and temperate weather. It’s not just about the Grand Canyon here — there are outdoor activities, cultural attractions and more to suit any vacation style.
Want adventure? Opt for a ranch vacation at Tanque Verde. Or unwind and be pampered at a luxury resort such as The Boulders, a gem amid the Sonoran Desert. For the best of city sightseeing combined with a sense of retreat, choose a boutique hotel such as FireSky Resort & Spa or the Fairmont Scottsdale.
Spring skiing has a few big pluses: warmer temps, bluebird days and, often, good deals on lodging and lift tickets. The key is knowing which resort to choose for optimum snow. Think latitude (north) and altitude (high).
Whistler and Banff/Lake Louise in Canada fit the bill, as do Montana resorts such as Big Sky. Colorado’s Keystone and Beaver Creek, Wyoming’s Jackson Hole and Utah’s Park City are good options as well. Check our roundup of where to ski with kids this season for special family packages and offers.
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Spring can be a great time to go, as crowds won’t have reached their summer peak, and accommodations/airfare deals are plentiful. That said, keep these pointers in mind:
• Think twice about traveling during Easter. Holy Week (the week up to and including Easter) in Europe is one of the busiest times of year. Availability is low; crowds and prices are high. While it can be very special to take in the processions, parades and other events, you’ll be wading through oceans of people.
• Want the beach? Don’t expect to swim. March and April can be cool, even in the southernmost regions. Even if the days are mild, the water will be too chilly to enjoy. If swimming is a must, pick a property with a heated or indoor pool. Know too that many coastal hotels in Europe close up shop for the winter and don’t reopen until May. Browse our collection of family-friendly beach resorts for ideas about where to go.
• Consider a city-focused trip. European cities offer the best of both worlds. On fine days, savor parks and gardens or outdoor ruins; if it’s rainy, head for the museums, theaters and galleries. London, Paris and Rome are virtually fail-safe, with limitless things to do for all ages and interests. Or pair two smaller cities with easy train connections, such as Munich and Prague or Amsterdam and Brussels.
• Hit the slopes. March and early April are still ski season in many parts of Europe. For avid skiers, it’s worth the trek to experience a family-friendly ski resort in the Alps, Dolomites or elsewhere. As in North America, many resorts offer incentives and special pricing for families this time of year as well.
Our Family Vacation Consulting Team can work with you to choose the right destination, craft a custom itinerary, book accommodations and more. To get started, send us a request through My Trip Planner.
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