AAA Travel Tips / 5 Great Ideas for Family Spring Break

5 Great Ideas for Family Spring Break

Courtesy of C Lazy U Ranch
By Samantha Brown , Host of “Samantha Brown’s Places to Love”
June 20, 2019
Haven’t made your travel plans for spring break? Its a pretty common dilemma; the weather is unpredictable, you’re not 100 percent sure which week you have off this year and you’ve been busy shoveling out of the latest snowstorm. Well, here are several possible answers to the question of where to spend your family’s spring break.
Two girls walking toward the beach
iStockphoto.com/MargaretW
Amelia Island, Florida
Escape the cold and lingering winter chill by heading to the warm, sandy beaches of northeastern Florida. Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach is the destination with something for everyone and educational attractions like historic Fort Clinch State Park that the whole family can explore together. Avoid the college party scene and tear the kids away from their video games for outdoor adventures that include horseback riding, biking, hiking, fishing, surfing, kite flying, mini golf and more. The seaport city’s charming Victorian era setting offers a peek into simpler times with quaint shops, charming horse-drawn carriage and trolley rides, restaurants and 400-plus historic buildings to explore. Add the a luxury resort like The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, with spas for Mom and nearby golf for dad, and it’s a nearly perfect place to unwind and start your spring off on the right foot.
Pacific Park amusement park on the Santa Monica Pier in California
flickr / CC BY/Sergei Gussev
Coastal California Road Trip
This is the type of adventure that no one in your brood will forget anytime soon. The great thing about a road trip is you can make it your own. If you find a great place to explore, you can change up your itinerary and stay an extra night. I recommend starting in LA and working your way up to San Francisco. Start slowly so you can see a few local spots in LA like the Santa Monica Pierand Getty Center, then work your way up to Santa Barbara where you should plan to stay a few days, go biking and check out local attractions like the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden or learn how to train a dinosaur at the Santa Barbara Zoo. On your way up the coast, make a stop in San Luis Obispo and check out the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum where you can safely experience a category 1 hurricane in the Hurricane Booth. Next up is Big Sur, where the dramatic coastline offers plenty of adventures for the whole family. Make sure you hit Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park to take in the coastal scenery and stunning redwood trees. Then head on up the coast to Monterey and Carmel by the Sea to see the wildlife at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Cannery Row. Finish your fabulous journey with at least a day in San Francisco where the kids can explore Golden Gate Park, hop on a cable car to Little Italy for some great food and visit the site of history on Alcatraz Island. While it may seem like a lot of work, your memories and photographs along the coast of California will stay with you forever. Be sure to have everyone keep a travel journal so you remember all the little details.
Skiing in Keystone Colorado
flickr / CC BY /Keystone Colorado
Keystone, Colorado
For many, spring break means the annual family ski trip and the freedom to stretch your legs on miles of terrain somewhere fun and snowy. For convenience, entertainment and budgets, it’s tough to beat Keystone, Colorado. First, kids 12 and under of age ski free for up to 7 days (you usually have to stay at least 2 nights at the resort), which means you can spend your money on more important things like having fun at the tubing park. The resort is about 90 minutes from Denver, has around 135 trails and a 3,100-foot vertical drop. If you feel like taking it easy, stay at the Keystone Lodge & Spa in Lakeside Village (highly recommended) so you really never need to leave the foot of the mountain. Unlike a lot of swanky Colorado resorts, Keystone is very reasonable and affordable for most families. An added bonus is the snow and ski conditions. Keystone gets a lot of snow in March and they have amazing crews working at all hours to make sure the slopes are in top condition. In addition to having a great kid-oriented ski school there is a terrific learner’s area at the top of Dercum Mountain (top of the Gondola) where your kids can take their time and learn how to handle the chairlifts. If you get there by mid-March be sure to check out the amazing Kidtopia Snowfort with activities such as climbing and tunnels. For parents, Keystone offers “Kids Night Out” where you can treat your kids to an evening of fun while having some alone time to do some night skiing or something more romantic.
Apollo Saturn V at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Courtesy of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Orlando, Florida
You might think that Orlando and all its attractions would be really busy at Spring Break. Most of the time they are, but with everyone’s breaks staggered throughout March and April, you might consider going if your school has a break that does not wrap around Easter weekend. You’re likely to score a better deal and avoid a lot of the heavy crowds. You’ll still get a workout jogging around the Walt Disney World Resort® parks collecting a FastPass+ for everyone in your group. Spring Break is a good time to purchase the park hopper and waterparks options so you can visit a variety of attractions throughout the week. Hit the “must do” attractions in the morning and go until lunch, then you can cool off at the waterparks in the afternoon. Then you’re back for more action and parades at night. That will tire them out! Also, don’t forget Discovery Cove Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Orlando Resort—all are really impressive and loads of fun, plus they are very close by. If you have a space geek in your family, you’ll want to head over to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (about an hour away) for a day to explore rockets vs. roller coasters and real life adventure vs. make believe. The sheer number of things to do makes Orlando a great destination for everyone in the family.
C Lazy U Ranch in Granby Colorado
Courtesy of C Lazy U Ranch
C Lazy U Ranch, Granby, Colorado
If you feel a little “been there, done that” about some of these ideas and want to try a new place, then a winter adventure at the C Lazy U Ranch is calling your name. You can spend the week there or include a few nights on your way to another area ski resort. Kids will never want to leave this place! It has ice skating, sleigh rides, snowtubing, snowmobiles, horseback riding and a luge run for sledding, plus miles of snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The Ranch is very family friendly, offering all-inclusive meals, cozy fireplaces and warming huts equipped with complimentary hot cocoa and snacks.
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