2016 is shaping up to be an exceptionally exciting year for family travel and Spring Break is a great time to capitalize on the many options tailored for people with kids.

family on spring break

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood is about to give Disneyland some serious competition, the National Parks Service is celebrating its Centennial by offering free admission to celebrate during National Parks Week (April 18-26), and there’s been a shift by many travel brands to finally offer affordable family-friendly experiences. We’d like to share a few of our top family spring break vacations for you and your brood.

las vegas nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada
If the main priority is getting the fam into a distraction-free zone to chill out together, you could do a lot worse than Las Vegas. Wait! Hear us out! Sin City has been shedding it’s adults-only label for years and years at this point. If you still think it’s just a place to gamble, you’ve got to open your mind. You’ve got bargain-basement airfare to woo you, world-class dining experiences rubbing shoulders with the ubiquitous all-you-can-eat buffet options, and some of the best boutique hotel service in the world at reasonable price point. Tempted yet? How about amazing swimming pools to lounge around and bury your nose in a book? True, in the evenings the party people come out to play, but we recommend starting early at the pool anyway. Mom can have a spa treatment, dad can do a little late-night poker playing after the kids are asleep and the whole family can take in an amazing Cirque du Soleil show like LOVE. Getting there: It’s easy and cheap from virtually anywhere in the U.S. Flights from under $100 from Los Angeles on United and from under $200 nonstop from New York on JetBlue.*

grand canyon arizona

The Grand Canyon, AZ
We’re putting this one on the list as a PSA for parents. Don’t shortchange your kids by relegating their experience of the Grand Canyon to a one-hour photo-op after which they purchase postcards in the gift shop. To truly experience the immensity and majesty of the Grand Canyon, you’ve got to go in! An easy hike for kids is the South Kaibab to Cedar Ridge trail – an easy 3 mile round trip trek in that will still give panoramic canyon views. If you’re more seasoned hikers, you can camp inside the canyon at Havasupai Falls. It’s the only place to stay inside the canyon (on the Havasupai Indian Reservation land), and it boasts some of the best scenery in the Park. Getting there: Fly into Flagstaff for the convenience of being just 80 miles by car, or save the cash and fly into Phoenix or Vegas and rent a car. Flights from Boston from around $233 on JetBlue and from $215 on American.*

los ángeles ca

Los Angeles, CA
As we mentioned, Universal Studios Hollywood launches The Wizarding World of Harry Potter on April 7th,  and for some folks that might be all the incentive they need to come to Los Angeles for spring break. We’re a fan for the number of kid-friendly activities all over the city. The Kidspace Museum in Pasadena is a big hit with the under-6 set for good reason, and there’s oodles of kid-friendly dining options all over the city. Au Fudge has just opened on Melrose, a restaurant concept that lets parents dine with their kiddos and then send them off to a playground wonderland to be watched over by “au pairs.” There’s a pretty good chance that flying into LAX is going to be an economical choice, the sheer volume of flights in and out of L.A. means that spring break has little impact on flight prices. The beaches don’t normally warm up until well after spring break, but the unseasonably toasty weather we’ve had for the past couple of years means you could luck out and be in for 90 degree plus days. Fingers crossed. Getting there: Is easy peasy. You can even fly into Burbank or Long Beach if those options give you a better price. This city is all about options. Flights from Minneapolis to LAX for under $200 round trip and Denver to LAX is just $96 on Spirit.*

dude ranch, tucscon

Tucson, AZ
While there are dozens of options around the country to experience a traditional “dude ranch,” we like the White Stallion Ranch in Tuscon because as it’s site says, “kids rule the ranch” over spring break. After breakfast, kids head off to ride horse, go on hayrides, visit the petting zoo, watch movies, play games and generally do a whole mess of things sans the adults. The gang reconvenes at dinner. Kids under 5 stay for free. The family suites over spring break will set you back a cool 2K, but here’s what you get for that price: The Full American Plan rates include lodging, three meals daily, horseback riding, ranch activities, evening entertainment, wireless internet, and airport transfers. When you break it down like that it’s a steal! Getting there: Once you get to Tucson, you just head to baggage claim and meet your driver. Flights from $210 on American from Seattle to Tucson.*

glacier bay alaska

Glacier Bay National Park, AK
Our second National Park on this list is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences. You must fly into Glacier Bay (or take a boat) because roads just don’t go there. If you have science buff kiddos, you can use this experience to enhance their understanding of global climate change. Just 200 years ago, the shorelines and islands they see were completely covered by ice. Of course, the biggest bang for the buck is watching the behemoth glaciers in motion. You can charter a tour boat for the day to get up close and personal with these amazing natural phenomena. You can also take a kayak tour in Bartlett Cove. A guide will give you an informative lecture on the glaciers, vegetation and creatures that live in the vicinity. Getting there: Is a bear unless you’re on a cruise ship already, but there are ample charter flights and Alaska Airlines does service the area in summer only. Flights from San Francisco to Juneau on Alaska Airlines for just over $420.*

Where will your family head for Spring Break? We’d love to hear where you’re going and share your Spring Break photos and experiences with us. 

**Airfares include taxes and fees and are valid as of 3/3/16 on select dates between 3/3/16 and 4/30/16. Lowest fare seats are capacity controlled and may not be available on every airline, flight, or date. Fares subject to change without notice.

6 Comments

  1. Hello!! We r looking to fly from Houston to orlando March 11, 2017 through March 16, 2017, the ticket prices seem so high right now, when would be the best time to look at purchasing tickets or how to get tickets for 200 or under( preferably under?)

    • Hi Tracy, It’s not too hard to find tickets to Vegas from Chicago for under $200, but you are planning for spring break. It might not be a bad idea to book soon based on that fact. There is a flight on Spirit right now for just under $200, but it is on Spirit which some people don’t love because of the additional charges for baggage.

  2. Hello! We are looking for a spring break flight to Cancun, and I regret not buying them last week when I was within the 54 day mark. Now that they are increasing and flight times seem to get worse, I was wondering if airlines typically add more spring break flights when you are under the 2 month timeframe? Are we most likely stuck with the current options and I should just pull the trigger before the downward spiral of rising costs and less than optimal flying times continue?

    • Hi Brenda, This is one of our least favorite topics. It’s true, the airlines DO sometimes add flights, especially when demand is there (around Spring Break is as good an examples as any). The trouble is, if the market needs an extra flight, the travelers are usually willing to pay for flights at a premium. So, it would be bad form for me to recommend you wait, when if (and that’s a big if) a flight should get added at some point before your trip. There’s no guarantee the prices on that flight will be good, and in fact, the history suggests that those fares might be higher than what is available to you right now. When I personally find myself in your situation, I grit my teeth and buy and then remind myself to not wait so long on the next one. Waiting is just too much of a gamble.

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