Best Spring Break Getaways

  • Best Spring Break Getaways

    Photo: Dennis Coello / Courtesy of Austin-Lehman Adventures

    1 of 15

    Great getaway ideas, from Hawaii and Palm Springs to Costa Rica and Greece.

    From March 2012 By , ,

    If you’ve got kids, you know that “spring break” has nothing in common with college students partying at the beach or a couple’s spontaneous escape to a resort. Organizing the needs and wants of various age groups is no vacation.

    So let us at Travel + Leisure point you toward our favorite family-friendly vacations, with a trip and budget that’s right for you. According to the U.S. Travel Association, 30 percent of travelers have children in tow, and with such a large share of the market, you can bet hotels and cities across the country are rolling out the red carpet for all ages.

    If your kids have webbed feet, the new Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, will have them squealing with delight. But the hotel is also a parent’s dream. It’s the first Disney property in Hawaii—on a serene crescent of sand along Oahu’s western shore—and the first property not connected to a theme park (i.e., no long lines).

    T+L photographer Jessica Sample was won over by Aulani’s waterslides, which tunnel through lava rock. “Look for hidden animal drawings carved into the stone,” she suggests. You can also go paddleboarding or snorkeling in the shallow waters off the beach, which teem with tame stingrays and angelfish.

    Artsy families will find inspiration at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs. Every April, the staff offers a weekend-long Crafting Community for all ages. It’s not Crayola and Play-Doh, either: kids can do everything from make their own henna tattoos to watch movies alfresco (popcorn and glow sticks provided). As mom Meredith Alexander says, “It’s as if someone came into my head and created the perfect weekend for my family.” Not a bad review!

    But maybe the truest break comes with heading into the wild and letting kids release all that energy in the great outdoors, exposing them to wildlife and America’s natural beauty. One of our favorite outfitter trips is an awe-inspiring introduction to Utah’s national parks that includes riding horses through Zion and learning canyoneering in the slots of Escalante.

    No matter what your dream spring break involves, T+L has you covered. Read on for more of our editors’ picks.

    —Kathryn O’Shea-Evans

  • Best Spring Break Getaways: Lakedale Resort, Washington

    Photo: Courtesy of Lakedale Resort

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    Hit the Water in Washington: Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes

    On 83 woodsy acres in one of the prettiest parts of the Pacific Northwest, accommodations range from a lodge and an Airstream to 15 comfortable tent cabins.

    4313 Roche Harbor Rd., Friday Harbor; 800/617-2267; lakedale.com; tent cabins from $149.

  • Best Spring Break Getaways: Carmel Valley Ranch Inn, California

    Photo: Thomas Hart Shelby

    3 of 15

    Eat Local in Massachusetts: Wequassett Resort & Golf Club

    Trend we love: hotel programs with a hands-on approach to teaching kids about food. At Wequassett Resort & Golf Club (wequassett.com; doubles from $420) in Chatham, Massachusetts, budding chefs collect tomatoes and zucchini in the hotel’s garden, then head into the kitchen to whip up their own personal pizzas. At Carmel Valley Ranch (carmelvalleyranch.com; doubles from $325) in California, families can take part in a honey harvest, led by a beekeeper and starring the 60,000 Italian honeybees in the resort’s apiary.

  • Best Spring Break Getaways: Paradise Island, Bahamas

    Photo: Courtesy of Kerzner International

    4 of 15

    Book a T+L Exclusive Deal: Paradise Island, Bahamas

    Travel + Leisure’s Atlantis Family Insider package at the activities-packed resort Atlantis (888/877-7525; atlantis.com), includes a Beach Tower Terrace room with two double beds; two-for-one access to AKA kids’ club, featuring electronic interactive games, cooking lessons, arts and crafts, and more; two-for-one access to Crush, a teen hangout.

    Cost: From $209 per night, through August 31 (book by March 31).

    Savings: 35 percent.

  • Best Spring Break Getaways: Ace Hotel Palm Springs

    Photo: Steven Visneau / Courtesy of Crafting Community

    5 of 15

    Get Crafty in California: Ace Hotel Palm Springs

    Raising the next Rembrandt? Indulge a blossoming talent with more than just Play-Doh and construction paper. Felting, crocheting, and macramé merely scratch the surface of all there is to do at Crafting Community, an annual weekend retreat at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs, where DIY workshops and multigenerational activities combine family time and fun. “It’s an opportunity to come together under the umbrella of creativity and recreation,” says Los Angeles artist and designer Karen Kimmel, who founded the event, which is now entering its fourth year. Along with sun prints and “stampscape” projects, there’s a mobile sewing cart from sportswear label Splendid; a crash course in underwater photography; and a henna-tattoo workshop with artist Tanya Aguiñiga. Come nightfall, all are welcome to wind down beneath the stars with poolside barbecue, fireside s’mores, and movies alfresco—popcorn and glowsticks provided. Says mom Meredith Alexander, who attended last year’s retreat, “It’s as if someone came into my head and created the perfect weekend for my family.”

    701 E. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, Calif.; 760/325-9900; acehotel.com and craftingcommunity.com; April 27-29; from $925 for a family of four.

  • Best Spring Break Getaways: American Southwest tour by Epic Private Journeys

    Photo: Courtesy of Epic Private Journeys

    6 of 15

    Head into the Wild: American Southwest

    For an awe-inspiring introduction to Utah’s national parks, book a custom excursion with Epic Private Journeys (858/356-9411; epicprivatejourneys.com; seven-day itinerary from $3,695 per adult). Ride horses through Zion and learn canyoneering in the slots of Escalante.

    Activity level: Moderate to high

    Best for: Ages 10 and up

  • Best Spring Break Getaways: Cape May, NJ

    Photo: Courtesy of Congress Hall

    7 of 15

    Book a T+L Exclusive Deal: Cape May, NJ

    This Little Blue Piggy package at Congress Hall (888/944-1816; congresshall.com), a historic beachfront resort, includes an ocean-view or town-view room with two double beds; breakfast for four in the Blue Pig Tavern; stuffed animals for up to two kids; house-made cookies served with milk in keepsake Blue Pig coffee mugs at turndown.

    Cost: From $250 per night, March 1 through May 23.

    Savings: 20 percent.

  • Best Spring Break Getaways: Aulani Resort, Oahu

    Photo: Jessica Sample

    8 of 15

    Hit the Water in Hawaii: Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

    With its rain-forest-swathed mountains and turquoise lagoons, it’s easy to see why Hawaii is a hit with families. But the opening of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa—the first Disney-built hotel not connected to an amusement park—has elevated all-ages fun in the Aloha State to an art form. Located on a serene crescent of sand along Oahu’s western shore, Aulani makes traveling with children seem surprisingly easy, from the bassinets and baby-proofed balconies that come standard with most rooms to the complimentary kids’ club. Still, it’s the outdoor adventures that set Aulani apart: swimming with (tame) stingrays, learning to snorkel amid hundreds of angelfish, or paddleboarding in the shallow waters off the beach. T+L photographer Jessica Sample fell under its spell. “I loved the waterslides through the lava rock,” she says. “Look for the hidden animal drawings carved into the stone!” Only in Hawaii.

    92-1185 Aliinui Dr., Kapolei, Hawaii; 866/433-4763; aulani.com; doubles from $399.

  • Best Spring Break Getaways: Costa Rica tour

    Photo: Bazzano Photography / Alamy

    9 of 15

    Head into the Wild: Costa Rica

    The Rainforests and Volcanoes tour from Abercrombie & Kent (800/554-7016; abercrombiekent.com; seven-day itinerary from $2,990 per adult) goes from Tortuguero National Park to the Arenal Volcano, with ziplines, kayaks, and guided walks on hanging bridges along the way.

    Activity level: Moderate

    Best for: Ages seven and up

  • Best Spring Break Getaways: Sea Island Resort, Georgia

    Photo: Courtesy of Sea Island

    10 of 15

    Hit the Water in Georgia: Sea Island Resorts

    Kayak at sunset with a naturalist and learn how to bait and cast with a veteran fishing captain.

    100 Cloister Dr., Sea Island; 877/537-8078; seaisland.com; doubles from $395.

  • Best Spring Break Getaways: The Canadian Rockies

    Photo: Dennis Coello / Courtesy of Austin-Lehman Adventures

    11 of 15

    Head into the Wild: The Canadian Rockies

    Discover a pristine alpine playground on the Banff to Jasper journey from Austin-Lehman Adventures (800/575-1540; austinlehman.com; six-day itinerary from $2,898 per adult). Bed down in a mountain chalet after rafting the Kananaskis River.

    Activity level: Moderate

    Best for: Ages seven and up

  • Best Spring Break Getaways: Surfcomber Hotel

    Photo: Courtesy of Surfcomber Hotel

    12 of 15

    Hit the Water in Florida: Surfcomber Hotel

    Set on a calm stretch of South Beach, with all the pet- and kid-friendly perks of a Kimpton property.

    1717 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 800/994-6103; surfcomber.com; doubles from $300.

  • Best Spring Break Getaways: Greece-Crete

    Photo: City Image / Alamy

    13 of 15

    Head into the Wild: Greece

    Adventures by Disney (877/728-7282; adventuresbydisney.com; 10-day itinerary from $4,699 per adult) provides a fun-filled Mediterranean immersion on its Greek Odyssey through Athens, Delphi, and Crete. Highlights include a trip to the Parthenon and a sail through the waters around Santorini.

    Activity level: Moderate

    Best for: Ages six and up

  • Best Spring Break Getaways: Monterey Bay, CA

    Photo: David Zaitz / Alamy

    14 of 15

    Book a T+L Exclusive Deal: Monterey Bay, CA

    The package at this waterfront retreat (888/222-5851; portolahotel.com) on Monterey Bay along the central California coast includes a Portola room with two full beds; daily breakfast for four (meals free for children under age five); two tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, each good for two days’ admission; complimentary root beer floats for the kids.

    Cost: From $235 per night, March 1 through June 30.

    Savings: 20 percent.

  •  

    15 of 15

  • Best Spring Break Getaways

    If you’ve got kids, you know that “spring break” has nothing in common with college students partying at the beach or a couple’s spontaneous escape to a resort. Organizing the needs and wants of various age groups is no vacation.

    So let us at Travel + Leisure point you toward our favorite family-friendly vacations, with a trip and budget that’s right for you. According to the U.S. Travel Association, 30 percent of travelers have children in tow, and with such a large share of the market, you can bet hotels and cities across the country are rolling out the red carpet for all ages.

    If your kids have webbed feet, the new Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, will have them squealing with delight. But the hotel is also a parent’s dream. It’s the first Disney property in Hawaii—on a serene crescent of sand along Oahu’s western shore—and the first property not connected to a theme park (i.e., no long lines).

    T+L photographer Jessica Sample was won over by Aulani’s waterslides, which tunnel through lava rock. “Look for hidden animal drawings carved into the stone,” she suggests. You can also go paddleboarding or snorkeling in the shallow waters off the beach, which teem with tame stingrays and angelfish.

    Artsy families will find inspiration at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs. Every April, the staff offers a weekend-long Crafting Community for all ages. It’s not Crayola and Play-Doh, either: kids can do everything from make their own henna tattoos to watch movies alfresco (popcorn and glow sticks provided). As mom Meredith Alexander says, “It’s as if someone came into my head and created the perfect weekend for my family.” Not a bad review!

    But maybe the truest break comes with heading into the wild and letting kids release all that energy in the great outdoors, exposing them to wildlife and America’s natural beauty. One of our favorite outfitter trips is an awe-inspiring introduction to Utah’s national parks that includes riding horses through Zion and learning canyoneering in the slots of Escalante.

    No matter what your dream spring break involves, T+L has you covered. Read on for more of our editors’ picks.

    —Kathryn O’Shea-Evans

  • Best Spring Break Getaways: Lakedale Resort, Washington

    Hit the Water in Washington: Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes

    On 83 woodsy acres in one of the prettiest parts of the Pacific Northwest, accommodations range from a lodge and an Airstream to 15 comfortable tent cabins.

    4313 Roche Harbor Rd., Friday Harbor; 800/617-2267; lakedale.com; tent cabins from $149.

  • Best Spring Break Getaways: Carmel Valley Ranch Inn, California

    Eat Local in Massachusetts: Wequassett Resort & Golf Club

    Trend we love: hotel programs with a hands-on approach to teaching kids about food. At Wequassett Resort & Golf Club (wequassett.com; doubles from $420) in Chatham, Massachusetts, budding chefs collect tomatoes and zucchini in the hotel’s garden, then head into the kitchen to whip up their own personal pizzas. At Carmel Valley Ranch (carmelvalleyranch.com; doubles from $325) in California, families can take part in a honey harvest, led by a beekeeper and starring the 60,000 Italian honeybees in the resort’s apiary.

  • Best Spring Break Getaways: Paradise Island, Bahamas

    Book a T+L Exclusive Deal: Paradise Island, Bahamas

    Travel + Leisure’s Atlantis Family Insider package at the activities-packed resort Atlantis (888/877-7525; atlantis.com), includes a Beach Tower Terrace room with two double beds; two-for-one access to AKA kids’ club, featuring electronic interactive games, cooking lessons, arts and crafts, and more; two-for-one access to Crush, a teen hangout.

    Cost: From $209 per night, through August 31 (book by March 31).

    Savings: 35 percent.

  • Best Spring Break Getaways: Ace Hotel Palm Springs

    Get Crafty in California: Ace Hotel Palm Springs

    Raising the next Rembrandt? Indulge a blossoming talent with more than just Play-Doh and construction paper. Felting, crocheting, and macramé merely scratch the surface of all there is to do at Crafting Community, an annual weekend retreat at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs, where DIY workshops and multigenerational activities combine family time and fun. “It’s an opportunity to come together under the umbrella of creativity and recreation,” says Los Angeles artist and designer Karen Kimmel, who founded the event, which is now entering its fourth year. Along with sun prints and “stampscape” projects, there’s a mobile sewing cart from sportswear label Splendid; a crash course in underwater photography; and a henna-tattoo workshop with artist Tanya Aguiñiga. Come nightfall, all are welcome to wind down beneath the stars with poolside barbecue, fireside s’mores, and movies alfresco—popcorn and glowsticks provided. Says mom Meredith Alexander, who attended last year’s retreat, “It’s as if someone came into my head and created the perfect weekend for my family.”

    701 E. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, Calif.; 760/325-9900; acehotel.com and craftingcommunity.com; April 27-29; from $925 for a family of four.

  • Best Spring Break Getaways: American Southwest tour by Epic Private Journeys

    Head into the Wild: American Southwest

    For an awe-inspiring introduction to Utah’s national parks, book a custom excursion with Epic Private Journeys (858/356-9411; epicprivatejourneys.com; seven-day itinerary from $3,695 per adult). Ride horses through Zion and learn canyoneering in the slots of Escalante.

    Activity level: Moderate to high

    Best for: Ages 10 and up

  • Best Spring Break Getaways: Cape May, NJ

    Book a T+L Exclusive Deal: Cape May, NJ

    This Little Blue Piggy package at Congress Hall (888/944-1816; congresshall.com), a historic beachfront resort, includes an ocean-view or town-view room with two double beds; breakfast for four in the Blue Pig Tavern; stuffed animals for up to two kids; house-made cookies served with milk in keepsake Blue Pig coffee mugs at turndown.

    Cost: From $250 per night, March 1 through May 23.

    Savings: 20 percent.

  • Best Spring Break Getaways: Aulani Resort, Oahu

    Hit the Water in Hawaii: Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

    With its rain-forest-swathed mountains and turquoise lagoons, it’s easy to see why Hawaii is a hit with families. But the opening of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa—the first Disney-built hotel not connected to an amusement park—has elevated all-ages fun in the Aloha State to an art form. Located on a serene crescent of sand along Oahu’s western shore, Aulani makes traveling with children seem surprisingly easy, from the bassinets and baby-proofed balconies that come standard with most rooms to the complimentary kids’ club. Still, it’s the outdoor adventures that set Aulani apart: swimming with (tame) stingrays, learning to snorkel amid hundreds of angelfish, or paddleboarding in the shallow waters off the beach. T+L photographer Jessica Sample fell under its spell. “I loved the waterslides through the lava rock,” she says. “Look for the hidden animal drawings carved into the stone!” Only in Hawaii.

    92-1185 Aliinui Dr., Kapolei, Hawaii; 866/433-4763; aulani.com; doubles from $399.

  • Best Spring Break Getaways: Costa Rica tour

    Head into the Wild: Costa Rica

    The Rainforests and Volcanoes tour from Abercrombie & Kent (800/554-7016; abercrombiekent.com; seven-day itinerary from $2,990 per adult) goes from Tortuguero National Park to the Arenal Volcano, with ziplines, kayaks, and guided walks on hanging bridges along the way.

    Activity level: Moderate

    Best for: Ages seven and up

  • Best Spring Break Getaways: Sea Island Resort, Georgia

    Hit the Water in Georgia: Sea Island Resorts

    Kayak at sunset with a naturalist and learn how to bait and cast with a veteran fishing captain.

    100 Cloister Dr., Sea Island; 877/537-8078; seaisland.com; doubles from $395.

  • Best Spring Break Getaways: The Canadian Rockies

    Head into the Wild: The Canadian Rockies

    Discover a pristine alpine playground on the Banff to Jasper journey from Austin-Lehman Adventures (800/575-1540; austinlehman.com; six-day itinerary from $2,898 per adult). Bed down in a mountain chalet after rafting the Kananaskis River.

    Activity level: Moderate

    Best for: Ages seven and up

  • Best Spring Break Getaways: Surfcomber Hotel

    Hit the Water in Florida: Surfcomber Hotel

    Set on a calm stretch of South Beach, with all the pet- and kid-friendly perks of a Kimpton property.

    1717 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 800/994-6103; surfcomber.com; doubles from $300.

  • Best Spring Break Getaways: Greece-Crete

    Head into the Wild: Greece

    Adventures by Disney (877/728-7282; adventuresbydisney.com; 10-day itinerary from $4,699 per adult) provides a fun-filled Mediterranean immersion on its Greek Odyssey through Athens, Delphi, and Crete. Highlights include a trip to the Parthenon and a sail through the waters around Santorini.

    Activity level: Moderate

    Best for: Ages six and up

  • Best Spring Break Getaways: Monterey Bay, CA

    Book a T+L Exclusive Deal: Monterey Bay, CA

    The package at this waterfront retreat (888/222-5851; portolahotel.com) on Monterey Bay along the central California coast includes a Portola room with two full beds; daily breakfast for four (meals free for children under age five); two tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, each good for two days’ admission; complimentary root beer floats for the kids.

    Cost: From $235 per night, March 1 through June 30.

    Savings: 20 percent.

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