The snow is melting rapidly, the school year is winding down, and the flowers are blooming. Spring break is right around the corner, and your family (especially the kids!) is ready for a nice long vacation. After a long winter, fun in the sun seems like a no-brainer vacation plan. However, while it’s tempting to just pack up some toys and head to the beach or theme park, an alternative vacation might be just what your family needs.
Instead of: The beach
Why not try: The mountains
Sure, you could spend a thousand dollars on a week in a beachfront vacation rental, but why not spend half that and really enjoy some peace and quiet? If your kids are relatively young, head to the mountains and spend your vacation in a beautiful log cabin. Take your kids on nature walks and collect pretty leaves or stones. Build a fire, roast marshmallows, and tell ghost stories while you enjoy the last days of winter. If there’s a local town nearby, stroll through the quaint downtown area and have a picnic in the square.
Instead of: Disney World
Why not try: Colonial Williamsburg
School may be out, but does learning have to end? Pack up the kids and head to colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, where everyone will get a history lesson they’ll never forget. Actors (always in character!) clad in period-appropriate attire and houses that have been preserved in exactly the style of colonial times will result of plenty of gasps and very wide eyes from your young ones. It can seem like time travel even to adults. And, if you get tired of playing history buff, Busch Gardens is quite close by!
Instead of: A Cruise
Why not try: A Big-City Adventure
To get your kids ready for a stay in the Big Apple (or other major city), read them the tale of Eloise, the adventurous little girl who lived in New York City’s Plaza Hotel. The sights, sounds, and even smells of a bustling metropolis can be awe-inspiring for even very young children. FAO Schwarz, the famous toymaker, is a huge hit with kids of all ages, and a chance to see NYC from the observation deck of the Empire State Building is almost irresistible to anyone. Don’t forget the almost-endless options for learning in the big city: the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, the Underground Railroad Tour, and the marvelous wonders of Little Italy and Chinatown will leave your children feeling like they’ve visited an entirely new world.
Don’t be afraid to step off the beaten path for your family’s spring vacation. It’s never too late or too early to give your kids a taste of unexpected adventure or break out of the beach-vacation mold. Remember, the more creative you can be with your kids’ free time, the more fun you’re all likely to have!