Tag Archives: Spring Break

Eight Great Ideas for Family Travel

Family fun at Westin Lake Las Vegas // (c) 2014 Westin Lake Las Vegas
Family fun at Westin Lake Las Vegas // (c) 2014 Westin Lake Las Vegas

I’m reminded every day that summer is fast approaching. And while I haven’t even figured out what to do for spring break, I realize that many parents are already making plans for when school gets out. For those more organized than I am, here are eight great ideas for family travel from now through the summer. From adventures in one of my favorite sates — New Hampshire — to the white sand beaches of Florida to the local San Bernardino Mountains, adventures can be had by every family.

The Omni Mount Washington Resort & Spa (Bretton Woods, NH)
Set along the spectacular presidential mountain range, nature calls your name at the Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. The 200-room resort provides kids of all ages with an array of activities to keep them happy, including fishing, swimming, rock climbing, mountain biking and horseback riding. In addition, kids can always be found having a blast in the game-room, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and playground. Those who are more adventurous will also love the Bretton Woods Canopy Tour – one of New England’s longest zip lines. When parents need time to escape, they feel comfortable leaving the kids with the resort’s expert team of counselors at The Kids’ Club where fun and engaging events, like stuffed animal Moose Hunts, are planned daily. Families can also sip tea like royalty in the Princess Room. The resort even offers a children’s “Mad Hatter” tea, with kid-friendly snacks. When families aren’t outdoors they can take a break in one of the hotel’s six eateries and at the end of the night wind-down with a milk and cookies turn-down service. Rates start at $279 per night.

The Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa (Lake Las Vegas, Nevada)
Plan your next family getaway to The Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa for a kid-friendly vacation full of lakeside exploration and quality time with your loved ones. Located 20 minutes from The Strip, the resort is situated on Lake Las Vegas and is the perfect place to launch a desert adventure. On the lake, families can kayak, take gondola rides, and boat, and off the lake, the resort boasts a pool with a water slide. Kids can enroll in the resort’s Candy Sushi School, where they learn how to make rolls from their favorite sweet treats. For those seeking an adrenaline rush, the resort can arrange soft-adventure sports, including kayaking, whitewater rafting, hiking and biking around Henderson, Nevada. The resort is also in close proximity to area attractions such as Red Rock Canyon, The Neon Museum, and the Pinball Hall of Fame. Book the Love Your Family Package and kids 12 and under eat free with connecting rooms when you book two or more rooms. Room rates from $143 per night.

il Lugano (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Families who want a luxury hotel without the crowds and the exorbitant prices can hit Fort Lauderdale in Florida where luxury waterfront hotel il Lugano will run a Summer Savings promotion from May 1-September 30 when hotel rates are at their lowest. Soak up the sun with rates starting at $129 per night for a water-view suite. This all-suite boutique property has everything a family could need – in-room kitchenette, washer/dryer and water views from every room. The hotel has a pool, but there are also free transfers to the sea (with beach gear included) if the kids prefer the waves. www.illugano.com.

Hotel Madeline Telluride (Telluride, Colo.)
Nestled in a former mining town in a box canyon, Telluride is surrounded on all three sides by the 14,000-foot peaks of the San Juan Mountains, which provide the ideal environment for a summer getaway packed with hiking, biking, and outdoor activity at all skill levels, from the 2.5-mile hike up Ajax Peak and the 13-mile Wilson Mesa Trail to the San Miguel River rapids. Soak up all that Colorado has to offer in the summer, with hikes up into the mountains, picnics, outdoor yoga, fly fishing, and rock-climbing. Known as the festival capital of America, this summer is filled with weekend festivals. This year’s lineup includes the Telluride Bluegrass Festival (June 19-22), Telluride Yoga Festival (July 10-13), and Telluride Film Festival (August 29-September 1) – all perfect for aspiring bluegrass fans, yogis, and film critics. Hotel Madeline makes it easy for families to come out West and stay a while with two and three-bedroom condos that include: full kitchens, living spaces, washing machines, balconies. Room rates begin at $237 per night, two-bedroom condos begin at $551 per night.

Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa (Lake Arrowhead, Calif.)
Escape the buzz and business of Los Angeles for a family weekend and pass a few lazy summer afternoons at the quintessential American camp-era resort. Just a short, scenic drive from Los Angeles, Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa is the perfect weekend getaway for nature lovers, mountain climbers, and those wanting to spend time with their loved ones with classic campsite activities in a luxury setting. Tall pine trees surround pristine Lake Arrowhead, which offers swimming, boating, and water-skiing to the weekend warrior. Guided nature hikes around the San Bernardino National Forest and guided walking tours of Lake Arrowhead are available, so everyone in the family can explore stunning trails. In the evening, the resort offers Fireside Chats, where guests can watch the sunset, roast marshmallows, and listen to an expert from the San Bernardino National Forest Association tell stories and tall tales about the area. Rates from $206 per night.

Kiawah Island, SC
Whether you’re spending time with your own children or your children’s children, you’ll find Kiawah is an idyllic getaway for the whole family. Kiawah Island is a picture perfect destination located 21 miles south of Charleston, South Carolina. The island is complete with world-class golf courses, year-round pleasant weather, miles of beaches, wildlife and 123 acres of parks, playgrounds and sports fields. Kids can choose from “Kamp Kiawah,” where counselor-led programs are available with sports, scavenger hunts, art projects, camp fire activities, as well as the Night Heron Park Nature Center exhibition which features nature tours and naturalist-led programs, exhibits of local wildlife, interactive displays, and more. The entire family can enjoy a round of golf with the Family Tee Program, which invites players of all ages to learn the game on four of the resort’s championship golf courses, with specially placed family tee markers set in each fairway for all members to tee from. Children under 17 even play for free! Over the years Kiawah Island has become a haven for yearly family reunions and vacations. Families can rent one of the many homes on the island and live comfortably like the locals during their stay.

XV Beacon (Boston, Mass.)
Located in the heart of Boston, Fifteen Beacon is a luxury boutique hotel offering a classic family getaway for travelers looking to visit Boston this summer. With complimentary drop off and pick up to the city center via Lexus car service, the knowledgeable drivers also double as tour guides and can help you plan the best itinerary possible. Walk through the celebrated Freedom Trail, go on a famous Duck Tour, and watch a baseball game at the park where Babe Ruth once pitched. Get inspired by renowned works at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts or check out the new penguin exhibit at the New England Aquarium. After your day come back to Fifteen Beacon and indulge in a family style dinner at Mooo… Steakhouse located in the lobby of the hotel and let the highly acclaimed staff take care of the rest. Rates starting from $345 USD.

Hotel Vermont (Burlington, VT)
The eco-friendly and modern Hotel Vermont is the first independent hotel to join the quaint town of Burlington with activities for kids and adults. Perfect for an extended family getaway, the hotel invites guests of all ages, to enjoy perks such as a Bedtime Menu including Lunaroma Aromatherapy for the grandparents, and Vermont Flannel pajamas and Teddy Bears for the kids. Other activities the family can enjoy are complimentary bike rentals, a variety of massage therapies in studio and in-room, regular yoga classes and sailing. After a long day of shopping in Vermont’s shopping district, which is right outside the hotel’s doorway, check out the “carbon-negative” cocktails and outdoor terrace with an open hearth overlooking the scenery of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains. Rates will start at $195 per night.

10 Perfect Activities for Families Visiting California’s Central Coast

Wine Coast Country is the ideal place for families.
Wine Coast Country is the ideal place for families.

Wine Coast Country, as California’s Central Coast is often known, is the perfect destination for families and the area’s new Stewardship Travel program is filled with fun, authentic, and inspiring activities hosted by area historians, scientists and specialists. There are more than 70 unique activities and/or contribution opportunities in more than 10 locations that families can take advantage of. So, if you are like me, and are looking for something unique for the family to do during spring break but somewhere that isn’t too far away, Wine Coast Country is the place. Here are 10 perfect activities for families:

1. Elephant Seals Docent Talks (San Simeon) 
• Safe up close views of hundreds of seals playing, rolling in waves, flipping sand, and calling.
• Long viewing boardwalk for walks and talks.
• Docents help kids learn and share pictures to illustrate peculiar seal behaviors.
• Find out why there is a “loser’s beach.”
• Live Webcam for kids to track seals when they go home (www.elephantseal.org/Rookery/livecam.html)

2. Costal Discovery Center (San Simeon/Cambria)
• Hands-on exhibits and learning centers designed for all ages near sheltered state beach.
• Docents on hand to talk to families and answer their questions about marine life.

3. San Luis Obispo Kid’s Botanical Garden (Los Osos/Baywood)
• Features a kid’s garden and programs such as “Garden Fresh Family Cooking” and “Kid’s Garden Candy.”
• Lots of fun walking trails in and around well labeled botanical garden, a garden store, and an outdoor amphitheater for educational programs.
• Playground equipment and small rock climbing area nearby for kids to enjoy when they are done learning about plants.

4. Audubon Sweet Springs Nature Preserve Days (Los Osos/Baywood)
• Monthly Steward’s Day for the whole family – gathering seeds, planting seedlings, weed eradication activities depending on time of year. • Fun, relatively short hiking trails with little bridges, creek to ocean views on small “pocket” preserve.
• Great wildlife viewing – possible sightings include: great blue herons, pond turtles, snowy white egrets. Exhibits that show the history of San Simeon Bay from the Native Americans who lived in his area up to 10,000 years ago, to the Mission Era, the shore whaling era, and the Hearst Castle era. Citizen Science programs so families can help and learn about water quality monitoring. 
• Donation opportunities to help with preserve’s conservation and ongoing restoration and more.

5. El Moro Elfin Forest (Los Osos/Baywood)
• Five miles of safe, looping wooden boardwalks for waking with spectacular views of Morro Bay.
• See special “pygmy oaks” in the forest with 199 other plants, 110 kinds of birds, 22 species of mammals.
• Free self-guided plant and animal guide for walks.
• See historic Chumash Indian shell middens (shell heaps).
• Educational docent-led trips available.
• Conservation donation opportunities.

6. Avila Beach Free Stewardship Cleanup Kit & Tote Bag Gift (Avila Beach)
• Families can pick up the Stewardship Clean-up Kit at most Avila hotels/resorts and head to the beach (especially after a storm) to find and pick up interesting flotsam, jetsam and litter to help protect wildlife and keep beaches pristine.
• Have fun together by filling out the Cleanup Checklist (in the kit) and return to hotel for free tote bags.
• Older students can check with schools to receive educational credits for volunteer efforts.

7. Central Coast Aquarium – Avila (Avila Beach)
• Hands-on exhibits and learning center designed for all ages near protected beach.
• Aquarium staff on hand to talk to families and answer their questions about marine life.
• Fish and jellyfish aquariums along with live shark tank (stay for feedings).
• Exploration backpacks available for families to check out: includes field guides, hand lenses,binoculars and more.

8. Natural History Boat Cruise and Fishing Clinic in Lopez Lake Recreation Area (Edna & Arroyo Grande Valleys)
• Two-hour boat-cruise with Park Ranger for all ages (even the family dog is invited).
• Learn about local wildlife, forests, history on cruise – cleanup options available, just ask the ranger.
• Special fishing area for clinic with stocked fish (especially good for positive experience for youngsters who want to learn how to fish with parents).
• Learn about “leave no trace” fishing.

9. Museum of Natural History Morro Bay State Park (Los Osos/Baywood) 
• Ideal and fun central location above Morro Bay Estuary with fantastic views.
• Short walk to nearby Heron Rookery.

10. Visit 50,000 Monarch Butterflies near Pismo State Beach (Oceano/Nipomo)
• Relatively small protected area for butterfly exploration.
• Between late October and February 50,000 butterflies stop at Eucalyptus grove while migrating.
• Educational docents available to tell the butterfly story – some butterflies migrate 1,000 miles to this site.
• Family dog welcome on leash.


Is Spring Break Going to Cost You More?

Spring break vacations may come with a hefty price tag this year. Travelocity released its annual spring break travel data, which indicates a 14.7% year-over-year increase in domestic airfare while international airfare for spring break is flat year-over-year (.1% decrease). The traditional spring break travel period in the U.S. falls between March 1 and April 15. From a top destinations standpoint, Travelocity data reveals an affinity for Hawaii, continued love of South Florida and increasing desire to head to Las Vegas this spring. But it’s not all bad news.

“Though travelers are likely to face higher ticket prices for spring break, smart shoppers can still escape the harsh winter and find travel deals,” said Travelocity senior editor, Courtney Scott. “Travelers should try to travel on off-peak days, bundle flight and hotel bookings into vacation packages and search flights in surrounding airports.”

And, with international airfare staying relatively stagnant, maybe a trip abroad is the way to go this spring break.

“This might be the year to venture abroad for Spring Break,” said Scott. “Several international destinations have been trending in popularity over the past three years including Belize City, Aruba, San Juan, and the Netherlands Antilles.”

Travelocity Top 10 Spring Break Destinations
Travelocity Top 10 Spring Break Destinations


Adventurous Families Can Take on Spring Break ‘Hunger Games’ Style

May the “Paws” be Ever in Your Favor -- Hunger Games competition entices families to visit Montana // (c) 2014 Paws Up
May the “Paws” be Ever in Your Favor — Hunger Games competition entices families to visit Montana // (c) 2014 Paws Up

If you, like me, are a fan of the “Hunger Games” — or maybe if just your kids are — this could be the spring break trip for you. The Resort at Paws Up near Missoula, Mont., is inviting families to participate in its first annual Wilderness Games. That’s right, harness your inner Katniss and head into the Montana wild to find out if you can survive Hunger Games-style.

The Wilderness Games will team up family members during series of adventures. Over a four-day weekend of friendly competition, families are invited to partake in a variety of wilderness challenges. Ultimately, the family with the highest cumulative score will receive a return vacation to Paws Up with airfare included – a $25,000 value. If that incentive isn’t enought rile competitive spirits, hitting archery targets with the same bow model used in “The Hunger Games” might. Guests will have the opportunity to compete in the archery challenge with a Hoyt Buffalo Bow. From horseback riding to sporting clays, cattle drives and more, kids and adults alike can enjoy 37,000 acres of prime Lewis and Clark territory as a playground during an unforgettable spring break vacation.

The Wilderness Games are available over a choice of three weekends: March 26 to 29, April 2 to 5 and April 9 to 12. In addition to the Grand Prize of a return family vacation (awarded to the family with the highest cumulative score from all of the weekends combined), each weekend, prizes will be given to the families with the highest scores.

Inclusive spring break package rates range from $405 to $560 per person per night based on occupancy of the 28 available luxury cabins and lodges. Note: The Wilderness Games are suitable for children ages eight and older.