Spring break can be an ideal time for families to get away and do some bonding. Since this school recess is usually one to two weeks in length, it gives you time to spread your wings and do some travel. It also will help you get over the winter blues.
Where to go? The young ones often want to go to the water, while older family members are perhaps looking for fun activities and relaxation.
Let’s examine first places to visit near home.
Prescott is close and offers interesting places to go. The Sharlot Hall Museum displays the lives and culture of early settlers and the Native Americans who lived in the area. Docents will guide you through the many displays with narration if you wish.
The Prescott downtown area is built around a square and its fun to walk around the four blocks seeing the stores and restaurants that are available. Nearby is Watson Lake with hiking trails, as well as Lynx Lake.
The Phippen Museum offers art and exhibits related to the Old West. The Smoki Museum has exhibits of the American Indians, their art and culture.
Heritage Park Zoo is not large, but fun to walk through. The Spot is a child’s museum open Fridays and Saturdays between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
There are also some good restaurants in Prescott. Check them out on the Web.
Tucson has something for everyone. It offers adventures to keep all ages entertained. You will find museums, galleries, shops and live performances. You can connect with the natural world at places like Tohono Chui Park and the Sonoran Desert observatories, such as the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory, or ride the Old Pueblo Trolley, which moves between downtown Tucson, Fourth Avenue and University. You’ll find a vintage movie palace, an indoor climbing gym and outdoor movies and concerts.
There is an outstanding children’s museum located at 200 S. 6th Ave., phone (520) 792-9985 for directions and information. There are fun, play-based activities for both children and families.
Not far away is Biosphere 2 at 32540 S. Biosphere Rd, Oracle, phone (520) 838-6200. This will be of interest to the entire family.
Don’t forget Kartchner Caverns State Park near Benson. You walk through caves and discover what’s underground.
There is an outstanding aircraft museum in Tucson and one the entire family will enjoy walking about the planes from various periods of development. You’ll find prop planes and jets and the best thing is being able to get close to each aircraft. There are some 300 aircraft spread over 80 acres spanning 100 years of aviation history. The museum is located at 6000 E. Valencia. Phone (520) 574-0462 for information.
Phoenix is close and offers so much for everyone. Here, you might splurge and pick a nice resort for the family. You can relax, swim and do some sightseeing. Take the kids through the Desert Botanical Gardens or visit the Heard Museum for Native American art and culture. There is also the Phoenix Art Museum, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, and Arizona Science Center and the Phoenix Zoo. The kids can go to a first run movie while Mom and Dad have a relaxing spa massage.
The Children’s Museum of Phoenix is hard to beat and the Arizona Science Center has something for every age. Be sure to see the Dorrance Planetarium while you are there; it is at 215 N. 7th St.; phone (602) 253-0501 for details. There is also a railroad park in Scottsdale and a Railroad Museum in Mesa, which is open on Sundays.
Perhaps your family finances will permit a more distant vacation.
Hawaii is hard to beat. There are non-stop flights from Phoenix direct to the islands. Hawaiian Airlines and U.S. Airways are the carriers. Hyatt Kauai Resort is catering to the young ones, as are other properties there. Waikiki is great for the young ones and there are many hotels along the strip for your choosing. Ocean fun and sun is great for the entire family.
Mexico is the choice of many families for spring break. The family will probably be safe if you stay in a popular resort area and hotel. Cancun is my favorite, as well as Puerto Vallarta, the Riviera Maya and a few others. Stay away from Acapulco right now. The Hard Rock Hotel in Cancun offers a kids’ club where the youngsters will be swimming and singing along with organized games for the kids.
Florida is always good for the entire family. Orlando is loaded with activities for all with Disneyworld, Universal Studios and much more. This is a dreamland come true. Mom and Pop will enjoy Epcot, which is like a world’s fair for adults and part of the Disneyworld complex. We did this last year and enjoyed every minute of the experience. The new Fantasyland by Disney is the largest expansion in the park.
The Caribbean is a family pleaser with some of the most famous islands in the world to choose from. However, I would book a cruise through the area. It’s your best value. MSC Cruises will take the kids 18 and under free when using the same cabin as their parents. Many of the Caribbean islands are fascinating and worthy of a tour while others offer fine beaches. The ship’s cruise director will give you good advice before you arrive at each island.
Closer to home is Southern California. The beach areas are interesting, however, the weather will be too cool for swimming. Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm in Orange County may be the right places. San Diego is big city fun with much to do. You can take a sightseeing boat around the bay and visit the zoo, which is one of the best in the world. Nearby is Legoland just up the coast.
Another nice place is Santa Barbara, just 90 miles north of Los Angeles. Plenty to do here and a good place to relax and enjoy the salt air.
Wherever you go, may your travels be rewarding and enjoy the family fun.