Top family spring break getaways

Spring break getaways don't have to break your bank account.


Maybe your gang wants to ride theme park rides.  Maybe you want to join the cousins and grandparents on a cruise.  Maybe your idea of a perfect spring break getaway is cheering on your favorite baseball players at spring training games in Florida or Arizona. 

Whatever floats your family’s boat—literally—spring break is a terrific time to get away. 

Spring break has moved beyond bikinis and beer kegs as growing number of families find that school vacations make it an ideal time to get away together.  And if you plan smart, you may even snare a bargain. 

Spring break has also become a popular time for giving back with voluntourism.  Websites like TogetherForGood and can show you how easy it can be.

Whatever your interests, here are five places guaranteed to please:

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Play on the beach 

Whether it is in sunny San Diego or Carlsbad, Fla. there's nothing like getting out of the cold. Hunt for shells on Sanibel Island, build sand castles with the fine sand at Panama City Beach, or head to an all-inclusive in Mexico, the Dominican Republic or Jamaica.

Opt for an adventure  

OARS touts a Grand Canyon Sampler or a 4-day San Juan river trip in Utah.  Be the first four to book on a trip before March 31 and save 10 percent. Adventuresmith Explorations  touts small ship expeditions along Baja California where you can snorkel, kayak and see dolphins and Gray and Humpback whales.

Hit the seas on a cruise

Go from a port near home and you can avoid the hassle and expense of flying. See our Family Cruise Section.  Some ships like Disney Cruise Line and select Royal Caribbean ships even have daycare for infants, while Carnival Cruise's nursery begins at age 2.  On MSC Cruises, children 11-years old and under sail free, and kids 17-years old and under sail at reduced rates.

Got to a theme park

Orlando is family spring break central.  There are plenty new attractions, including Antartica: Empire of the Penguin at SeaWorld Orlando (complete with ride and live penguin colony), Universal Orlando Resort’s Transformers: The Ride, and world’s first "Simpsons" themed area based on the show's fictional town of Springfield.  

At Walt Disney World Resort, Princess Fairytale Hall is part of the New Fantasyland expansion at Magic Kingdom Park where little princesses can meet Cinderella, Rapunzel and other Disney princesses.  

LEGOLAND Florida opened The World of Chima, an expansion based on the Cartoon Network animated TV series and LEGO product line. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex unveiled the $100 million 90,000-square-foot home for the Space Shuttle Atlantis, which retired in 2011.

Hit the slopes

Late season is a great time for great deals—and lots of sunshine. Check out our Fun in the Snow section. At the Aspen resorts, kids stay, rent, ski and even eat free all March and April (as long as you book in advance and purchase lodging and a three day adult lift). Kids 12 and under ski free at Keystone Resort every day of the 2013/14 winter season. Or after watching the Sochi, go somewhere like Lake Placid or Park City where you and your kids can channel their inner Olympian at the sites where past athletes won their medals. 

Check out the Taking the Kids Guide to Super Spring Breaks


Eileen Ogintz is the creator of the syndicated column and website Taking the Kids. She is also the author of the ten-book Kid’s Guide series to major American cities and the Great Smoky Mountains. The third-edition of the Kid’s Guide to NYC has just been released.