The holidays are long gone, but summer seems so far away, doesn’t it? Take heart; it’s almost time for spring break. If you’re planning a trip for you and your family, we can help. Below are six spring break ideas for a fun and inspirational time with the family (all prices are approximate and for a family of four):
1. North and South Carolina Flower Festivals (Price Varies)
North and South Carolina are one big stretch of beautiful flora come end of March and into April.
Visit Biltmore Estate (Asheville, North Carolina) during Biltmore Blooms (March 20-May 25). You’ll see daffodils, hyacinths and every shade of tulip you’ve ever imagined. The event isn’t just flowers though—enjoy wine tasting, top-tier restaurant dining and delectable desserts, as well as a tour of the beautiful grounds at this family-friendly venue. Admission is $49 for adults, $24.50 for youth.
Visit the Flowertown Festival in Summerville, South Carolina, for the long weekend of March 27-29. This event, hosted by the YMCA, features beautiful azaleas and wisteria in bright pink and purple. You’ll find food, kid’s activities, a farmers market. And the best part is admission and parking are free.
The Azalea Garden Tour (Wilmington, North Carolina) is a long-running, 13-garden tour. Though it’s only open for three days (April 10-12), it ranges from traditional gardens to modern landscapes to downright whimsical designs. Tickets are $25 and valid for all three days.
Spring Break branching into May? Check out the Orangeburg Festival of Roses (Orangeburg, South Carolina; May 1-3) or the Iris Festival (Sumter, South Carolina; May 22-24). Both festivals won’t disappoint.
2. Savannah, Georgia (2 nights, $1,600)
For the perfect mix of beach beauty and Southern charm, visit Savannah, Georgia. The average March temperature ranges from the mid-60s to mid-70s, and the beach on Tybee Island is just 20 minutes away. For lodging, book a vacation rental on a site like Airbnb.
During the day, tour the city’s historic district with Old Town Trolley Tours, visit stately mansions, walk on cobblestone streets and marvel at the moss-draped oaks overhead. Water enthusiasts can rent kayaks, relax on a riverboat cruise or watch for dolphins. Finish the day with a fresh fish dinner and live music.
3. Coast Starlight, Los Angeles to Seattle (1 night, $600-$1,600)
Consider a train trip on the Coast Starlight. This Amtrak route runs daily between Los Angeles and Seattle through some of the most beautiful and diverse scenery in North America. From the comfortable Sightseer Lounge Car, you and the family view miles of unadulterated forests, mountains and sparkling blue coastline.
The route also features wireless Internet and Amtrak’s classic dining car, where everybody can meet and talk with other travelers over a hot breakfast, lunch or dinner. Sleeper car passengers can choose to eat or lounge in the plush Parlour Car (meals included), or watch a movie in the theater below. For a less expensive option, sign up for Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard and pay for your roomette with bonus points.
4. Denver, Colorado (3 nights, $3,000)
For an active family, a late-season ski trip in the Rocky Mountains might be just the right fit. Keystone Resort is an easy drive from Denver and offers many activities for the whole family including scenic sleigh rides, ice skating, hockey and tubing.
And when you tire of hitting the slopes, indulge in a facial or Swedish massage. Other renowned ski resorts nearby include Vail and Winter Park. Ask about discounts for children under 12 and bundled lift tickets for skiing at multiple resorts.
5. Valencia, Spain (5 nights, $6,000)
Craving something a little more international? Fly the whole family to Valencia, Spain, for the Fallas Festival (literally “The Fires”), a week-long celebration filled with fireworks, parades and gunpowder. All year, artisans labor to craft colorful, cartoon-like monuments made of plaster, wood, cardboard and paper-maché. After five days of festivities, the monuments (some many stories high) are burned to the ground on the streets of downtown Valencia.
If crowds and fire aren’t your thing, immerse yourself in Spanish history and culture during your stay by visiting Valencia Cathedral, Central Market or the historic Torres de Serranos. Wake up to a glass of fresh-squeezed Valencian orange juice, a flaky chocolate pastry and café con crema. Rent bicycles and ride along the beach. Enjoy mild evenings, Spanish-style, by shopping late and enjoying a light supper of tapas and, for Mom and Dad, sangria.
6. Home Sweet Home
Sometimes, being a tourist in your hometown is all you need. Take a tour of your state capitol building or county courthouse. Browse coupon sites for deals on local amusement parks or music venues. Visit your local office of tourism for more ideas on where to go; think zoos, art museums, historic buildings and community theaters.
You could also hold an at-home movie marathon—catch up on all the previous “Star Wars” episodes, maybe?—or invite some friends over to play board games. Take the whole family to play laser tag or go camping in your own backyard (if weather permits, of course).
Don’t forget about Mom time, either. Just as spring break is drawing to a close, treat yourself to an at-home spa package, complete with lotion, bath salts and a massage roller.
Whatever you do, take advantage of your time off to make some memories. Happy spring break!