7 Spring Break Vacations the Whole Family Can Enjoy
No one needs a reason to go on vacation, but spring break provides a great excuse for the entire family to travel somewhere together. That means finding a place that can accommodate a group of people of various ages, interests, and attention spans — no easy feat.
Whether you're looking for sun or snow, here are seven spring break destinations that offer a bevy of activities for all ages. You're bound to find something you like, even if that something is sitting on the beach while your kids run around. Because at least on vacation, you don't have to clean up after them.
Tip: If you haven't gotten around to booking a spring break vacation, just yet, fear not. Google's Explore feature can help you find the best deals from your city for specific dates of travel, with "great value" flights called out. And if you have flexibility in travel dates, it can pay off. Per travel site Hopper, the best days of the week to depart are Tuesday and Wednesday, and traveling on those days can save you up to 18 percent on peak domestic prices and up to seven person on peak international prices.
Palm Springs, CA
JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa
Palm Springs has been a getaway for the Hollywood elite for decades, partly for its proximity to Los Angeles, but mainly for the escape the desert can provide. Today, Palm Springs and the neighboring cities (including Palm Desert, Indian Wells, and Coachella) that together make up Great Palm Springs still provide a draw for anyone looking for a relaxing family vacation. It's also the number one trending North America destination for spring break, according to Google Flights search data.
Take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway up 8,500 feet for birds-eye views of the valley, see vintage aircraft at the Palm Springs Air Museum, or enjoy art and architecture at Palm Springs Art Museum. Just outside the city, Joshua Tree National Park is an easy day trip to immerse the family in unique desertscapes, and the Cabazon Dinosaur Museum is a kitschy way to travel way, way back in time. After a long day in the desert, retire to the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa, which has plenty of family-friendly amenities such as indoor/outdoor boat cruises, multiple pools, tennis courts, golf courses, and best of all, flamingos and other exotic birds that live on the property.
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
After cold winters in most parts of the country, it's no wonder that the Sunshine State is high on the list for spring break travel. According to Kayak, three of the top 10 trending spots, based on increases in flight searches, are in Florida (Punta Gorda, Sarasota, and Destin). Two of Dollar Flight Club's top five cheapest and most in-demand domestic Spring Break locations are Miami and Key West. And Orlando tops the list for Outdoorsy's top Spring Break destinations as well as Hopper's trendy destinations for families.
Orlando is a family-friendly mecca, and you can't take a family trip there and not visit at least one theme park. You could probably spend your entire vacation inside Walt Disney World (including Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge) or Universal Studios Florida and still not see or eat everything you want. If you stay at a resort property, such as Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge or Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando, not only do you get to experience a themed hotel and events, but you also get exclusive theme parks. Looking for an Orlando experience that's still family-friendly but a little easier on the wallet? Rent an RV from Outdoorsy and road trip from theme park to theme park.
The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar
The Bahamas are just a hop, skip, and jump away from Florida, providing an international Spring Break destination that doesn't give you jet lag. In the Bahamas, you'll be greeted by year-round warm weather and warm people, impossibly turquoise waters, and chill island vibes.
The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in Nassau, is a beachfront playground for all ages. There are six pools, water sports, a wildlife sanctuary, an art center, a golf course, a spa, a casino, multiple restaurants (including food trucks on the beach), and of course, plenty of vitamin D. The Baha Mar resort also is home to two other hotels in addition to the Grand Hyatt, SLS Baha Mar and Rosewood Baha Mar.
Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch
Scottsdale is the number one spring break destination according to domestic Vrbo vacation rental demand in 2019. Before hot temperatures descend on the Arizona desert, spring is an ideal time for a family vacation. The McDowell Sonoran Preserve has more than 30,000 acres for outdoor fun like hiking or learning about desert animals and plants, and the Desert Botanical Garden has cacti from around the world along with rotating art exhibitions. For art lovers, there's the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art or the free ArtWalk on Thursday evenings, a chance to explore local galleries while enjoying live entertainment. And if your idea of spring break is lounging poolside, there are plenty of opportunities to do that. The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch has a 2.5 acre water playground that includes 10 pools, a sand beach, and a three-story waterslide. Or rent a Vrbo vacation home in Scottsdale, where you can take advantage of your own private pool in the backyard.
Dollar Flight Club's number one cheapest and most in-demand domestic spring break destination is Kailua-Kona, on the island of Hawaii. Most people are familiar with the bustling beaches of Waikiki on Oahu, but the island of Hawaii provides a completely different experience. The Kona, or dry side, of the island is marked by lava fields, white sand beaches, and sunny climate (meanwhile, the other side of the island is lush and rainy). Kailua-Kona was once a retreat for Hawaiian royalty, and is now a great place for shopping, dining, and great sunset-watching. Experience the natural offerings of Hawaii, such as taking a tour at the Kona Natural Soap Company, a working coffee and cacao farm that also produces amazing soaps, or spend your time lounging on the beaches and engaging in water activities, such as snorkeling or paddling a Hawaiian outrigger canoe. The Courtyard King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel is conveniently located right in downtown Kona, and if you want something quieter, stay at the Fairmont Orchid up the Kona coast, which offers cultural activities for the whole family.
The city of Monterey celebrates its 250th birthday in 2020, with special events scheduled throughout the year. A trip to California's Central Coast is guaranteed to be a gorgeous one, as Monterey County is filled with scenic sights like the windy 17-mile drive along the coastline, windswept beaches, and a renown golf course. To see animals like sea otters, sharks, and octopus up close, head to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which inspired Disney's Finding Dory and where kids ages five and up can sleep over. Just outside the aquarium, stroll along historic Cannery Row, which provided the setting for John Steinbeck's novel. Stay at the Monterey Tides, which has a privately-owned beachfront, lawn games, and beachside s'mores. Or head to the charming neighboring city of Carmel-by-the-sea and book a room at La Playa Carmel, a former mansion turned hotel that's walking distance to both the beach and downtown area.
The Arrabelle at Vail Square, A RockResort/Zach Malone
If you have a family of snowbirds, spring break is a great opportunity to schedule one last ski trip of the season, and in Colorado, you have your pick of some of the best ski resorts around, a few hours outside of Denver. Steamboat, has trademarked Champagne Powder; Aspen Snowmass, has four different mountains and world class dining and hotels (case in point: St. Regis Aspen); and Vail, has impressive back bowl skiing and a daily après-ski that officially starts at 3pm (there are non-boozy hot chocolate options for kids as well, for example at The Lodge at Vail, a RockResort and The Arrabelle at Vail Square, A RockResort). No matter what mountain you head to, you can't go wrong.
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Lesley Chen is a California native who writes about travel, health/fitness, and other lifestyle topics. She has a serious case of RBF and exercises mainly to balance out an aggressive candy addiction.