Where to Go on a Family Vacation this Spring

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Popular Destinations for Spring Family Vacations

National parks Any family on a strict budget should consider a national park vacation. Because national park accommodations tend to sell out many months in advance, prices do not vary too sharply with seasons. However, prices for flights and rental cars to nearby cities will be much cheaper outside of peak seasons. National parks offer a wide range of activities for families and young kids. Some will be content taking a short hike and having a picnic by a waterfall. More adventurous families can choose to go camping or stay at an inexpensive cabin. Prices for dine-in food are actually fairly expensive at most national parks, but groceries are relatively cheap and this option will still save families loads compared to high-priced tourist restaurants. With activities such as fishing, bike riding, and animal watching, there’s hardly a dull moment at the right national park. Best of all, national parks provide a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of regular life. It’s a chance for families to enjoy each other’s company and really appreciate the beautiful pieces of nature that are still preserved in this country.

Beach resorts While many would argue that the best time at a beach resort is winter or summer, spring offers great weather without the chaos of peak seasons. Most beach resorts will be substantially cheaper during spring months and many offer additional off-season discounts. A beach resort is a great place for a family looking to relax and unwind. When the weather is too cold to swim, there is hardly any enjoyment to be had near the water. Spring temperatures typically provide warm, but not scalding, weather for enjoying the beach and going for a swim. Children will often spend hours playing in the sand and surf, making the beach one of the most desirable vacation spots for parents and kids. A family can get a lot out of a beach vacation. With the right accommodation, parents will still have time to themselves while the kids are nearby. The beach is a very kid-friendly environment. Even getting a restaurant meal is less of a hassle, and many will opt to prepare their own meals in the full kitchen that comes with most beach rentals. A beach resort vacation is convenient, relaxing, and inexpensive if done during the spring.

Beach Resorts

There are several beach resorts which would be perfect for a family vacation and would be more than worth the price. In Florida, a great place for a family to visit is Daytona Beach, which has many affordable motels and hotels, plenty of family activities including amusement and water parks, and miles of sandcastle-building space. Also in Florida, Cocoa Beach is a more laid back, quiet community but is the perfect place for a budget-minded family, a family who wants to avoid the spring break crowds, or a family who wants to combine their spring vacation with a visit to the nearby Kennedy Space Center. South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach is a non-stop shop for entertainment and activity, perfect for families who never want to be bored. With amusement and water parks, restaurants and a large beach with volleyball and various other activities, there is always something to do. Last but not least, Virginia Beach offers a family the chance to visit a historical location along with spending time on the sunny beaches. With Busch Gardens amusement park and the historic triangle (Jamestown, Yorktown, Williamsburg) just a short drive away, there are plenty of family activities in a city that is both modern and rich in history. Beach resorts are ideal for families who are looking to spend quality time together in a relaxed but entertaining location.

National Parks

National parks are a great place to go for a family vacation. Many have educational programs for children and lots of fun and interesting activities. Depending on the part of the country you’ll be visiting, there are national parks that make a great destination from spring to fall. For instance, the big name national parks in the west may be chilly in the spring, but can be wonderful in the fall. The national seashore parks in the east and gulf coast are fabulous destinations from spring through fall. Any of the US national parks can make a great family vacation. All offer scenic beauty and interesting natural and historic features. Many parks have great lodges or cabins and a wide range of dining options. Wildlife is abundant in many national parks. In some you can do interesting and exciting wildlife tours. Fishing, horseback riding, and hiking are other fun and popular activities. On any day a hike or a drive can lead to a place with a great scenic vista, a beautiful waterfall, or a particularly good place for children to play and explore by a stream.

Theme Parks

Disneyland Resorts are located throughout the United States: Disneyland California, Walt Disney World Florida, Disneyland Paris, and Disneyland Tokyo. In summer, the pirate and princess parties are a feature at all of the resorts. Boys love the swashbuckling adventure at the Pirate Adventure Park at Disney’s California resort. They get to follow a pirate’s treasure map, solve puzzles, and engage in a scavenger hunt. Little girls love the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Fairy Godmothers in training pamper your little princesses by transforming them with a princess hairstyle, nails, makeup, and a princess gown. Now they are all ready to meet the characters at the enchanted adventures and tales pavilion, where they participate in a story time with a Disney princess and also meet various pirates and princesses from around the world. Note that these are summer events that are generally hosted from May to August.

This spring, take your family on a trip of a lifetime by visiting an amusement park. Theme parks are always popular vacation spots and there is a good reason for that. Amusement parks are great fun for the entire family. Children love the magic of meeting numerous well-known Disney characters throughout the park. Meeting the characters in real life makes their movie experiences unforgettable. Character meet and greets are also perfect photo opportunities for your kids and a great way to relax for a few minutes in the shade.

Cultural Cities

Cultural cities make great destinations for the family vacation because there is such a wide range of activities everyone in the family will find something enjoyable to do. Visiting a cultural city is a great way to sneak in a little extra learning for the kids who will surely learn something historical without even knowing it. Places like Boston, which is rich in American history, or Washington D.C., where they can take a tour of the White House or see the museums, are great destinations for a family vacation. Not to mention most cultural cities will have a zoo or aquarium to keep the younger kids entertained. Museums, shopping, and other attractions mean there is something any adult can find entertaining as well. Remember to bring a camera so you can capture some great family photos, and no matter how young the kids are, have them pick out one postcard from the city to add to a collection. It could be the start of years of great family experiences together. Traveling to a different country can also be much easier and more enjoyable than the stereotype of a stressful family trip. In fact, Canada is a great destination for a family vacation to a cultural city, with Toronto being the top choice.

Factors to Consider when Choosing a Family Vacation Destination

What really defines an enjoyable family vacation is the feeling of being secure and out of harm’s way. Safety has always been a top priority for families when choosing a holiday destination. This can include protection from natural disasters, travelers’ health and well-being, and personal safety from crime. The best way to get an understanding of the safety and security of your desired location is to contact the tourist board of the country you are planning to visit. Here are some tips to consider. Find information from other tourists on travel forums, social media and apps: word of mouth is very powerful and you can find valuable information from other families who have traveled to your desired location. Consult travel safety resources: there are many credible online resources that offer travel safety tips and information, such as government travel reports, travel guides and travel insurance companies. It’s often a good idea to cross-reference information to get a well-rounded understanding. Travel agents: Travel agents who specialize in family travel can offer you peace of mind when choosing a vacation destination. They are aware of which locations are popular with families and can offer specific details regarding the safety and security of the destination, as well as offering suitable travel and medical insurance. Remember that recommendations do not constitute a particular country, but more about the location within that country. In relation to safety and security, families must always consider the accessibility to health and medical services for the destination-to-be. This can involve mapping the locations of hospitals, clinics and doctors. Families with special needs must consider the availability of special care services for their child. Lastly, it’s always a good idea to purchase travel and medical insurance. In the event of an unforeseen incident, travel insurance offers a safety net for trip cancellations, flight accidents, medical assistance and it could also cover your personal possessions.

Safety and Security

High crime rates can make for an unsafe and uncomfortable family vacation. It is possible to find general crime statistics for specific areas. Information can be found on the internet or by contacting the local police department.

Natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, or tsunamis can be devastating, especially when you are far from home. Be aware of the types of disasters that are common in your vacation destination and have a contingency plan. It is also a good idea to look into foreign health coverage as many standard medical plans do not include services outside your home country.

Be sure to check travel advisories for your destination before making any plans. The Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada website offers travel reports for all countries covering all of the above-mentioned concerns.

When considering types of family vacation destinations, it’s important to consider the safety and security of the location. Factors to consider include political stability, the possibility of natural disasters, health concerns, and general crime rates.

Family-Friendly Activities

Virgin Islands: Many families choose to spend their spring vacation in the Virgin Islands, a territory of the United States. The weather is always warm, and there are plenty of beautiful beaches and fun water activities for the kids. On St. John Island, there is a national park with hiking trails that may be too rugged for the very young ones, but older children and teenagers will enjoy it. There is a guided underwater snorkeling trail called Trunk Bay Trail, a wooden trail with signs explaining the marine life and corals that have grown there. The trail leads directly to Trunk Bay Beach, one of the nicest beaches in the Virgin Islands. At Trunk Bay, there are lifeguards and equipment to rent for water activities. The trail and the beach are both great places for children to learn about marine life. The capital, Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas Island, has some fun and educational sights including an aquarium and a children’s museum.

When deciding upon your ideal spring family vacation destination, there are many factors you should take into consideration. Among the most important is the various activities, sights, day trips, and other events available that are friendly towards children and are designed with children in mind. Here are some ideas for family-friendly activities in three top spring family vacation destinations.

Budget-Friendly Options

The extent of how your budget will affect your destination choice depends on how hard and fast your holiday location is. If the holiday itself is a break from a mundane and stressful working life, then you are more likely to spend more in order to get what you want. If the holiday is a break between terms of your children’s school, which was labeled by an increase in stress levels and a decrease in household order, you may be prepared to spend a little more to keep the kids entertained. A budget offers more than limitations. See it as developing a strategy to get the most out of your money. It prompts one to be more thorough and thoughtful in checking options and planning ahead. A successful low-cost vacation will serve as a testament to the fact that money is not the be-all and end-all.

Undoubtedly, one of the most important factors in determining your choice of vacation destination is the state of your budget. Although you might have dreams of a sun-drenched five-star resort, if you are operating on a limited income with children to consider, this may not be a feasible option. Being aware of your budget will help you to rule out certain destinations and will also help you to make the most of your vacation while you are there.

Accessibility and Travel Logistics

Selecting a vacation destination should consider how accessible it is to travelers and what the travel logistics entail. The accessibility of a destination is a major concern for families with a special needs child. Before making travel plans, it is important to find out if the destination is easily accessible, in terms of transportation and amenities. Questions such as “Will we need to hire a car?”, “Are public transport and the attraction’s facilities suitable for a disabled child?”, “How far is the medical facility from where we will be staying?” need to be addressed. Transportation is a major issue when it comes to traveling with a special needs child. Consider whether the airlines in the destination provide services to assist the special needs child on the plane and at the airport. It is important to inform the airline about the child’s special needs so that the necessary assistance can be arranged for. For long road trips, bear in mind the comfort of the child. Are frequent stops needed to tend to matters such as toileting, feeding, and stretching? If so, determine whether there are proper rest stops along the way and if the amenities are suitable.

Tips for Planning a Memorable Spring Family Vacation

Deciding on a location that ensures an enjoyable travel experience for everyone is step one. If the kids are involved, it’s useful to take their opinions into account. Now is the time to browse brochures together or surf the net as a family. Adventure-seeking families will already have a pretty good idea of what activities they’d like to partake in, but if this is new ground, investigate the entertainment options available. Now, whether you’re a staunch “organizer” or more the “free spirit” type, every successful trip needs a well-thought-out plan. What do you want to see and do? Where do you want to stay? What’s the best way to get around? Bear in mind the latter is particularly important, as getting lost in translation when trying to figure out foreign public transport can be a holiday breaker. Do a managed cost comparison on various airlines and accommodation options in order to seek the best value. A great idea here is to invest in a travel guide book on your chosen location; they’re very informative and cover all bases. Make notes and ensure that these plans are both suitable and achievable. Step further and create a flexible itinerary. Scheduling too many activities in one day can be too much like hard work, often resulting in a very tired and grumpy family. “Winging it” on the day can be an option, but it’s far too easy to miss out on something worthwhile by having no set plan at all. This can be solved with a balanced “to-do list”, leaving room at each destination for spontaneous activities. An important issue at the planning stage and also to be maintained throughout the trip is safety. Always ensure that someone has researched and informed others of any possible risks at a chosen location. Finally, with accommodation and transport booked, the plans set in stone, and the excitement building, it’s time to make those all-important preparations and pack for the journey.

Research and Explore Options

This is possibly the most fun part of planning a spring family vacation. Motivate the kids to really get involved in this part of the planning process. Children love to use the internet, so educate them on where there are some good places to go on a family vacation and allow them to explore some options on their own. Provide them with a few destinations that you have in mind and let them become the family trip planners. Over the next week, tell them that it is their responsibility to learn as much as possible on their chosen destination and to report back to the family. Utilize the library or travel book store to get more information on your options. Family travel magazines and books are excellent resources in gathering more information on your options. Next, get online and visit travel blogs by other families that have traveled to similar destinations. This personal insight can help paint a realistic picture of what to expect and is very valuable when it comes to making a final decision on a destination.

Involve the Whole Family in Decision Making

A fun way to finalize destination choices is using random drawings. Write destination choices on a set of ping-pong balls and for each chore a child does, they can win 1 raffle ticket. Use the tickets to enter a destination raffle contest. This will give children a sense of accomplishment and teach the value of earning rewards for hard work. You can make a contest board with a smaller US map and a balloon destination at the end of the finish line. This is a race to the finish contest and all will have a blast with this. So you see, with ideas like these for planning destinations and activities, children and teens can definitely be involved in decision making and you can have lots of fun while doing it.

Ask for input from the very beginning so everyone has a say in what they would like to do during their vacation. When the decision has been made to take a family vacation, everybody will have their own ideas of where they would like to go and what they would like to do. Plan at least one family meeting to get destination ideas and suggestions. This can be done with a quick map activity. Hand a map to each member and ask him/her to circle a general area where they would like to go and a list of activities. Compare and contrast answers, asking the kids to give a small presentation on their chosen location. The parent can take notes during each little presentation, which is definitely a plus when making your final decision. With older kids, it may be easier to just make a pro and con list for each location and let everyone help rate each destination. If the location is being chosen based on a sporting event, have the kids take a look at NCAA brackets or other sport schedules to decide on an event all will enjoy. Once a choice has been agreed upon for what all will do for activities on your vacation, whip up a list of goals with kids of what they would like to accomplish while on vacation. An example might be a goal to visit 2 museums or an older child might have a goal of doing something more independent like parasailing. Any goals set will help decide on specific activities and create an amazing trip for all involved!

Create a Flexible Itinerary

A good way to do this is to plan a few events, however, to leave adequate time between them so that if you are enjoying the company of each other and the surroundings you do not have to rush to the next “tourist” moment. A helpful tool can be to search for events or activities that are recurring on multiple days of your trip. This way you can judge on the day which would be most convenient. The point of planning too many things is something that should be avoided, as an ideal vacation would leave you with things that you did not have a chance to do, so that there is motivation to come back again. This is the central reason for a flexible itinerary so that there is no feeling of having “missed out”.

Booking a plan is essential when considering any sort of outing or vacation. However, continuous oversight of an itinerary can be stressful and may take away from the whole purpose of a family vacation. You do not want to be strict on times and tickets as this may cause a few hectic moments and some may miss the main point of the outing. Scheduling many events with set times can also take away from the point of relaxation which is essential for parents. Thus, it is important to keep the schedule loose and leave room for versatility.

Pack Appropriately for Spring Weather

Spring weather can be more unpredictable than any other season. In fact, it can be downright moody. One minute the sun is shining, the next it’s pouring rain. It’s essential to pack for both rain and shine. Also, dress in layers. Mornings and evenings can be quite chilly, but the afternoons warm. If you have clothing for different types of weather in various colors, try to mix and match your packing so that you’re never wearing the hot-pink coat with the lime-green boots. People might mistake you for a flower and plant you in the ground. And don’t forget the sunscreen. Just because it’s not summer doesn’t mean you can’t get a burn. Make a list of necessary clothing for each family member and check it off as you put things in the suitcase. This is a great way to avoid forgetting kids’ essentials like shoes and jackets. Now isn’t the time for Cinderella incidents.

Capture and Preserve Memories

The most classic way of capturing memories is through photographs. During a vacation, designate a photographer of the day or half day. Give the chosen person the responsibility and privilege of using the family camera to photograph whatever he or she feels is most interesting or representative of the day’s activities. It is intriguing to see the vacation from the perspective of different family members, and everyone can get in on the fun whether they’re behind the lens or in front of it. At the end of the day or trip, compile the photos into a digital or physical album. Make sure to include captions to forever capture the details and most importantly, the memories.

Emphasizing the importance of capturing and preserving memories is essential when planning a family vacation. While a good portion of the memories created will be intangible, there are several techniques for recording those that can be. The following methods are designed to engage the entire family, provoke shared reminiscing and storytelling, and help you, the trip planner and memory keeper, recollect many years down the road.

Best Practices for Enjoying a Stress-Free Family Vacation

So, how exactly does a family go on a stress-free vacation? It is possible for families to travel without tantrums and tears or sibling rivalry. Yes, stress-free family vacations do exist. No vacation will be entirely stress-free, but with some planning, parents can reduce the number of stressors and decrease their own anxiety. Setting realistic expectations and prioritizing family time are key to enjoying a successful and stress-free vacation. This means mom and dad talking about their expectations for the trip with each other, and with the kids, and coming to an agreement about what activities they will do. It can be helpful to discuss this in the weeks leading up to the trip so the kids have an idea of what to expect. Many parents have a peak and a pit at the end of each day with their children, especially while traveling. Sharing their best and worst parts of the day can help the kids process the day’s events, and can provide parents with some insight into how their kids are handling the vacation. During this sharing time, or at another designated time during the trip, families can take five minutes to make a group gratitude list. This can help shift the focus onto all of the fun and positive experiences of the vacation, and set a tone of thankfulness and positive reflection for the rest of the trip.

Set Realistic Expectations

Having realistic expectations is the first step in ensuring a great family vacation. This is especially true when visiting a new destination. Most unpleasant travel experiences are a result of unmet expectations. Your children have their own personalities, unique interests, and different activity levels. Understand that not all destinations cater to every taste. A grueling day of sightseeing for the parents may be met with boredom and temper tantrums by the kids. A white water rafting trip would be a hit with your son, but your daughter may be scared to death. An ideal vacation is one in which the interests of all family members are met. Conflict arises when there are conflicting vacation activity goals! While compromise is essential, it is important to maintain a degree of meeting individual expectations. A grandiose expectation is that a vacation will strengthen family bonds and provide lasting memories. While this is certainly possible, the pressure to have a perfect family vacation can result in stress and disappointment. Some of the fondest family memories are set against the most unexpected backdrops. A family vacation to Europe may be culturally enriching, but what the kids may remember most is the charming pizzeria in Rome where they laughed uproariously over a language barrier incident. An opportunity for family bonding can be found in the simplest experiences, so be open to new experiences and the unexpected.

Prioritize Quality Family Time

The best way to enjoy quality time with your family on vacation is by employing various smart practices. Try to eat at least one meal a day together. Even if it’s a coffee and bagel in the morning or an ice cream at a local parlor, sharing a little downtime nourishment is the perfect chance to regroup and enjoy each other’s company. Also, set aside one hour a day that is designated as family time. Suggest a fun activity that your family wouldn’t ordinarily do together. Be sure to get input from the kids to learn what they would enjoy the most. It could be horseback riding, a family game of mini-golf, or a tour of a local museum. You can treat the kids to activities of their choosing by making a deal. If the children agree to go to a museum one day, maybe the next they can spend the day at the pool. You finally want to do what you intended and carve out time where the family is literally doing nothing at all. Plan a vacation with a couple of days of no planned activities. Time to sleep in and wearing only a swimsuit is allowed. It’s likely that in choosing a vacation spot you found a good place where you can relax and unwind. This is the best way to truly enjoy the time spent and the environment. A great vacation is always judged by how you felt while there, so remembering to prioritize time together and enjoy each other’s company is definitely the right move.

Embrace Spontaneity and Go with the Flow

Consider planning less and embracing spontaneity. Our family trip to Ireland was an unqualified success. Not knowing it was the most expensive week of the year to rent a cottage, or that our chosen location was four hours from where we thought we wanted to be, we ended up in a magnificent, isolated lodge on the most beautiful beach. It was sheer luck that we stumbled upon this paradise. Walking around the local town, Kenmare, we learned about the tradition of local music in Ireland. Our kids were eager to try it as they played traditional music from other countries (Brazilian and New Orleans). Usually they are too intimidated to play in front of strangers at home, but the informality and warmth of the Irish session made it easy for them to ask if they could join in. So we ended up doing three gigs in local pubs! It was a great experience for the whole family. We also took what was supposedly a three-hour guided walk in the mountains. It lasted six hours and ended in a sheep dog demonstration. We were all a bit tired and cranky by the end, but it was fascinating and so typical of the Irish, to be able to get into something like that by pure chance. These were some of the best aspects of our trip and were not things we had planned on doing. If we had adhered to a schedule or a plan, we would have missed out on these wonderful experiences.

Take Breaks and Practice Self-Care

Every family member may have their own vision of the “perfect” vacation. It’s important to find a balance so that everyone feels their needs are being met. Discuss as a family what each person would like to do, then try to plan activities that will make everyone feel like they’ve had a fulfilling experience. An example would be for a family with younger kids to plan one day of learning at a children’s museum for the kids, followed by a day of hiking, then a day at an amusement park. This way, the adults get the more relaxing scenic hike while still providing an outlet for the kids’ energy.

While seeing new sights and having exciting adventures is definitely a perk of family vacation time, the true benefit is the opportunity it affords to simply be together. With no conflicting schedules to keep, no pressing work issues to attend to, this is the time for families to relax and enjoy one another’s company. Make the most of this rare chance! The growth of the family unit is fostered when parents and children spend time with each other, sharing experiences, beliefs, ideas, and values.

The temptation when on vacation is to go at full tilt to make the most of the time away. This can bring on stress and fatigue, particularly for the parents. It is important to remember this is a break, so avoid scheduling things too tightly. Allow ample time to move between areas or simply chill out. Limit the must-see attractions and leave some activities for a future visit. Take a day to simply hang out at the beach or let the kids set the agenda.

Reflect and Appreciate the Experience

Reflecting at the end of your family vacation is a valuable process. Take some time to review the trip from start to finish. This is an opportunity to celebrate your successes and to learn from any mistakes you made. This is a good thing to do, regardless of whether or not the trip lived up to your expectations. So often in our busy lives we just let the bad stuff go. But reflecting on your experiences on holiday can rebalance the scales and you’ll come home with a clearer, more positive memory. Encourage your children to articulate their feelings. The best way of understanding your child’s holiday experience is to ask them. This is often best done at informal times, as opposed to sitting them down and grilling them. Those quiet moments before bed or whilst cuddling up on the sofa are ideal. Try to get them to evaluate the things they’ve done, the people they met and the places you’ve been to. If you’re concerned that they haven’t enjoyed it, you could ask them to rate components of their holiday experience. If it turns out that they didn’t enjoy it as much as you’d hoped, this can be a lesson in itself for next time. By identifying where they weren’t happy (and why), you can avoid making the same mistakes in the future. Even just having this conversation shows your child that you value their opinion, and it might also help to preempt any post-holiday blues.