Spring break with kids By James Holland
Looking for a spring break destination beyond the theme parks? Head to Europe with Adventures by Disney. (Courtesy Adventures by Disney)
Kids have been having fun long before theme parks were invented. The accessibility of one-stop-shop theme parks is easy (and fun). However, they are not the only option for family-friendly spring break destinations. Take the opportunity of a spring break to not only have fun but also experience new things and cultures. These are the kinds of adventures your family will remember for the rest of their lives.
Instead of themed pre-fab areas, experience the remnants of Aztec culture or the charm of a colonial city. Skip the water slides for snorkeling off the coast in Hawaii. Wander the beaches of Sanibel Island instead of navigating the crowds of kids with tired parents in tow. These five destinations will have you and your family packing the sunscreen and leaving your worries behind.
(MORE: 5 Alternative Spring Break Destinations for Families)
Southeast Spring Break Destination: Sanibel Island, FL
Sanibel Island offers something unique as a spring break destination. It may host beautiful beaches and get quite a bit of sun. However, it best known for shelling. Comb the low-tide to find conches, sand dollars, and whelks, among the many, many different types of shells. Start first at the local, family-friendly Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum. It’s possibly the best place to learn about the different types of shells.
While there are many places to have as home base, consider scenic South Seas Island Resort. When you’re not shelling, take in some onsite tennis or go paddle boarding. Better yet, take part in their Sanibel Sea School, a perfect way to learn about the local wildlife.
Caribbean Spring Break Destination: San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan, capital of Puerto Rico, mixes the perfect blend of culture and beach. The vibrant, cobblestoned streets of old San Juan will transport you back in time. Start at the massive, historic San Cristobal Fort in the East and make your way to the Plaza Quinto Centenario. This relatively new addition to the city was built to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America and Puerto Rico. And know that there are free trolleys to navigate old San Juan, if you get tired.
Take care of your beach needs at the palm tree-lined Escambron Beach. Get dinner at Ocean Park Beach – you don’t even have to leave the sand. A stay at the beautiful Caribe Hilton may make this the perfect spring break destination. This family-friendly hotel hosts its own dive cove with Snuba tours offered through Aqua Adventure. After, relax under their cascading waterfall.
Mexico Spring Break Destination: Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico City is truly underrated. The largest city in the North America is surprisingly a great spring break destination. Packed full of cultural landmarks, you’ll have enough to cover a whole week of sightseeing. Visit the Aztec canals in Xochimilco. See the largest square in the Americas, Plaza de la Constitución. It is home to the National Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral and Templo Mayor. Templo Mayor is particularly interesting for culture hounds as they can see seven layers of Aztec temples hidden beneath the cathedral. There’s not enough space to cover everything else that you can do here but check out the multitudes of family-friendly museums.
Stay at the St. Regis Mexico City. Here, you can enroll your kids in the kids’ club or take advantage of their babysitting services for a romantic night out.
Pacific Spring Break Destination: Kailua Kona, Hawaii
Kailua Kona is perfect for March. This surprisingly historic town is a great spring break destination. It’s on the less crowded Big Island, and also light on rain (still lush). See the royal homes of Hawaiian royalty, experience luaus, or take a historical tour of historic Kailua village. Of course, a trip here wouldn’t be complete without some fun in the water. Take advantage of all the water sports available. Go paddle boarding, snorkeling, or see the 18,000 year-old corral reef in a fully submersible submarine.
The family-friendly Four Seasons Resort Hualalai welcomes families with milk and cookies the evening of arrival. The resort is also home to the snorkel-friendly King’s Pond. It’s a large aquarium carved out of lava rock and home to 4,000 freely swimming fish.
(MORE: Cruelty-Free Animal Interactions to Visit with the Kids)
Spring Break Cruise: Disney Cruise in Europe
There is a way to experience the magic of Disney without dealing with the crowds at the Magic Kingdom. Adventures by Disney Cruises offer the perfect family-friendly expedition through Europe. Experience several spring break destinations in one. You’ll stop in Switzerland, France, Germany and the Netherlands on the Rhine cruise. Zipline through the Black Forrest, the inspiration of the Brothers Grimm. Visit the Heidelberg Castle and Van Gogh Museum. Bike through wine country. This cruise is multifaceted and, like anything Disney, catered to the whole family.
James Holland of Another Spur on the Road contributed this to MiniTime.