It’s that time of year again and Spring Break is right around the corner. I’ve been booking spring break trips for several months and certain popular places are starting to book up already. The sooner the better when it comes to getting what you want for a semi reasonable cost.
People view spring break in different ways. Some view it as a time to relax and take some time off and simply decompress. And some people view it as a time to see family. I’m seeing more and more people take this time to really go all out and make spring break a really special time and even take extra days – taking their kids out of school for a few days to really make the most of it. “Worldschooling” is becoming more and more popular.
Depending on how old your kids are, there are 3 different categories of adventures for Spring Break. The Relax-Decompress-Don’t-Make-it-Hard, the Go-Somewhere-Different-Now-That-The-Kids-Are-Older and the Let’s-Blow-it Out-And-Do-Something-Adventurous!
Relax, Decompress, Don’t Make it Hard!
Miami to the Florida Keys
Weather is almost guaranteed to be great in Miami and south of Miami in late March. And Miami is surprisingly fun with a family! It’s so much more than party central and a great place to start a vacation. Stay at Fontainebleau Hotel, right on Miami Beach and spend some days soaking up the sun and playing in the waves. The waves are fun and not so overwhelming that a small child has to steer clear. My kids had a blast body surfing for hours two years ago. Spend some time window shopping South Beach and eat at News Cafe, a Miami institution for over 30 years.
After hitting Miami, take a drive down to the Keys. From Key Largo to Islamorada to Key West, there are plenty of places to choose for your family vacation., midway down the Florida Keys is a super family friendly option. If you want a splurge, in Key West is the place to be….cottages on a little private island a short boat ride from the coast of Key West. Close enough to Key West to experience all it has to offer, yet secluded enough to make you feel like a true VIP.
Ahhh Palm Springs. The place our family goes almost every year. Perfect weather. A charming downtown. An Aerial Tram. Joshua Tree National Park. What’s not to like? Palm Springs is easy to get to from Denver and has a plethora of family friendly activities.
Stay at thefor a great location or the for a fantastic lazy river. Take a day to visit Joshua Tree National Park. Don’t miss the Aerial Tram up to do some hiking in San Jacinto State Park (dress in layers!). Even a day trip to Disneyland is possible from Palm Springs if you deal with traffic along Highway 10! A family can easily spend the entire week in Palm Springs or divide a trip into Palm Springs and San Diego or Palm Springs and Los Angeles. One of our favorite trips was flying into San Diego and visiting Coronado island, the San Diego Zoo and La Jolla for 3 days, and then driving to Palm Springs for the remainder of our Spring Break.
A Mexican all-inclusive is probably one of the easiest vacations a Denverite can have. Close enough for nonstop flights to the 3 major resort towns – Puerto Vallarta, Cancun and Cabo – and filled with great all-inclusives that make life with kids oh so easy.
Spend time in the stunning Cenotes of the Yucatan in the Riviera Maya outside of Cancun or visit some of the ancient ruins such as Tulum or Chichen Itza. The Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Finest Playa Mujeres, Dreams Playa Mujeres and Hyatt Ziva Cancun are family favorites.
Puerto Vallarta is a favorite for Mexico visitors because of it’s amazing charm and history. It wasn’t built to be a tourist town and therefore has charming cobblestone streets and a fascinating background. And the food is to die for. When visiting, a stay at eitheror is a must. Great locations to an amazing town.
A stay in Cabo demands a visit to El Arco via glass bottom boat and whale watching if your spring break is still in season. Another wonderful tour is a visit to Todos Santos, one of Mexico’s “Magical Towns”. If you need a swimmable beach and an all inclusive for the little ones (a rarity in Cabo), best to stay at.
Go Somewhere Different Now that the Kids Are Older
The Big Island of Hawaii
Words can’t describe my love of the Big Island. Black sand beaches, towering waterfalls, Manta Rays, volcanos and, most importantly, shave ice. With the abundance of activities and sites this island offers, it’s best with kids that are a little older. In my opinion, age 8 and up.
The Kona side of the island is the most popular side to stay on, not only because of it’s amazing sunshine, but the easy access to so many things to see. An evening snorkeling with Manta Rays is a must while visiting this island and an otherworldly experience. Although Volcanos National Park is closer to the opposite side of the island, it’s definitely doable as a day trip or you can stay overnight in Volcano Village for one night. We spent an entire day (13 hours!) driving from Kona, up to Kohala and Waimea, over to Akaka Falls, down to Volcano’s National Park, down further to Punaluu Black Sand Beach and back to Kona. During that 13 hours, you’ll experience blistering sun, warm breezes, rain, cold breezes, altitude chilly enough for a jacket and then back to tropical weather. This island has everything!
Spain and Portugal
Europe is so popular with families and spring – before the crowds hit – is a great time to go. Portugal and Spain are south enough so it’s fairly warm, but not overly hot like they are in the summer months. Perfect weather for a cultural trip.
Spain has so many amazing cities, it’s hard to pick just a few, but a great, family friendly itinerary is Madrid to Seville and down to the Andalusia region. Madrid and Seville are full of old world traditions such as tapas and wine and Flamenco and the Andalusia region boasts the Alahambra Palace, a site that is fascinating for kids. The history and scenery is truly staggering.
Portugal not only has charming cities such as Lisbon and Porto, it has amazing beach towns to the south in the Algarve region. Think golden sand and clear water, surrounded by towering limestone cliffs. While the water may be too chilly to swim in March, the little towns dotting the region hold plenty of interest. And like Spain, it has an amazing food and wine scene. The best part? It’s one of the least expensive cities in Europe., a specialized family travel company, crafts amazing itineraries for both regions.
Let’s Blow it Out and Do Something Adventurous!
Galapagos is pretty high on a lot of bucket lists, especially when your kids get old enough to take an interest in the environment and our planet’s amazing abundance of resources and wildlife.
There are many ways to see Galapagos, but a small ship cruise is the best way to take advantage of everything the islands have to offer. Beware though, this is one of the more expensive trips you can book – Galapagos limits the amount of people and ships that can visit per year and maintaining the pristine environment result in very high conservation fees. Booking a group trip through someone like GAdventures, rather than a private excursion can help with cost. My favorite trips are with– a fantastic outfit who know the islands backwards and forwards. Combine the cruise with a few days in Quito and you have an adventurous, cultural trip for your whole family. Most Galapagos trips require children to be 12 and over.
Caribbean Sailing Trip
Who doesn’t dream of sitting in the sun with a cold beer, while gazing at a Caribbean island, sailing the clear blue sea? I do! The Caribbean is a popular place for spring break and hiring a yacht/sailboat/Catamaran to sail several islands is the ultimate in adventure!has sailing trips all over the world, including the British Virgin Islands, Bahamas, St. Lucia, St. Martin and St. Thomas. They offer options such as sailing on your own, hiring a skipper, or hiring a chef. Kitchens are fully stocked and catamarans can take anywhere from 2 people to 10 people!. This is a great option to see certain places in the Caribbean, considering many hotels are still recovering from Irma.
I’ve been talkingfor two years and can’t stop talking about it. It was an unbelievably magical experience and we can’t wait to do it again. Most African safaris can’t be done in just a week, considering it takes almost two days to get there, but many people take their kids out of school for a few days on either end of spring break to fit everything in. A popular choice is a 5 to 6 night safari in Kenya or Tanzania and then a few day stay on a beach. Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania, has beautiful white sand beaches and Kenya has gorgeous beaches as well. Tanzania offers safaris in Serengeti, Tarangire and Ngorongoro Crater. Then a quick flight to Zanzibar and it’s time to relax in the sun!
Spring Break can be so many different things, but the time to get started booking things is now. Hotels and tour operators start getting very booked up for March and April around this time and space becomes limited. Start investigating options and take spring break as a time to bond as a family!