Last week’s winter break may now be a distant memory but take heart, spring school vacations are just around the corner. With some advance planning, you can make that week off one everyone will remember.
Need some ideas? Use this list as a thought starter to help you design your ideal getaway.
Hilton Head Island, S.C. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, is a favorite amongst families across the country. Hilton Head Island has 14 miles of sandy beaches, 20 world-class golf courses and more than 100 miles of bike paths. Enjoy crabbing, dolphin spotting, bike-riding and swimming in this quiet seaside town.
Oahu, Hawaii Although Hawaii's third largest island, Oahu, bustles with shopping and crowds galore, it’s still a place families who’re looking to relax and/or surf enjoy. Spas, and pools—should you want a break from the waves—dot the island and come evening, your pick of luaus and fireworks displays, will ensure the whole family goes to bed happy.
Orange County, Calif. The coastline from Los Angeles to San Diego offers up a host of activities the whole family can enjoy, from fishing off a beautiful pier, amusement park thrills and chills, or simple relaxation on one of the many beautiful beaches. Highlights: check out the International Surfing Museum located on the Huntington Beach Pier or walk the quaint boardwalk at the family-run Balboa Fun Zone Village, where you can take in the fantastic views of Newport Harbor from the delightfully retro Ferris Wheel or take a harbor cruise.
Orlando, Fa. Orlando: There’s absolutely no way to leave Orlando—and Disney World—off a top-10 spring break family destination list. If you have small children, eventually you’ll make your way there, and if you plan the trip well, you’ll be glad you did. But Disney and theme parks—Universal Studios and SeaWorld—aren’t the only games in town. If your kids play baseball or just like to watch, the Atlanta Braves make their spring training home in Orlando so you can catch a game plus drop by a meet and greet at ESPN Wide World of Sports.
San Antonio, Tex.San Antonio is rich in both heritage and theme park fun. Recently five San Antonio Missions, including the Alamo, were named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it a great place for children to brush up on their history in between trips to Sea World and Six Flags.
New York, N.Y. If your family’s idea of getting away from it all is soaking up the sights and sounds of a big city, then the Big Apple is hard to beat. The city that never sleeps, is rich in culture, entertainment, bucket-list worthy iconic landmarks and many great ways to experience the town, some of them that cost barely anything. You can ride the Staten Island Ferry, walk the High Line, take in free family films at the Museum of Modern Art and play with Legos at its flagship store with low impact on your wallet. There are also plenty of places to get active and beautiful parks to visit so the kids can keep earning their UNICEF Kid Power points while they have fun!
Amelia Island, Fla. Amelia Island is not only beautiful but peaceful. Sitting in the northeastern-most part of Florida, it has managed to stave off commercialization and retain its rich historical character. Eight different flags have flown over the island, so there’s a lot for kids to learn here then after they’ve reached capacity, you can all clear your heads at one of the island’s beautiful beaches for some swimming or kite flying.
Carlsbad, Ca. Carlsbad’s many beaches, theme parks, zoos, and museums make it one of the most family-friendly places to park it for spring break. Hop onto the Coaster commuter line, and head over to the San Diego Zoo, where an early riser experience let’s families get a two-hour tour before the park opens—prime time for watching the park’s pandas Xiao Liwu and Bai Yun have breakfast and check in on the bamboo bears before the crowds hit.
U.S. Virgin Islands A great low-stress Caribbean vacation for families because no passports or money changing is required! Snorkel, fish or just soak up the sun in this island paradise. As the point of entry by plane or cruise ship for most, St. Thomas with its beaches, shopping and sightseeing tours offers enough so families need venture no further. Be sure to check out the Coral World Ocean Park to get up-close-and-personal with sharks you can pet, stingrays you can feed and wild iguanas and beautiful tropical birds your friends and family will love seeing in your Instagram feed! Its exotic aquariums, outdoor marine pools, nature trails, and cool Undersea Observatory could keep the family happily occupied for an entire day.
Branson, Missouri: Nestled in the lovely Ozarks, Branson is as wholesome and family-friendly as it gets. Visitors will love this Midwest attraction, which hosts over 100 live shows in 53 theaters, hiking trails, a butterfly and tiger sanctuary and four beautiful lakes, including Table Rock, for families whose idea of getting away from it all is boating, fishing, sailing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, camping and hiking.