Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Spring Break 2014

Since I'm not in college anymore and I don’t have any kids Spring Break is of no interest to me now. But it still should register on my radar since it’s a big travel time. Most places' Spring Breaks take place in March and maybe trickle into April. So if you are still looking for something to do or somewhere to go Travel+Leisure have come up with a pretty amazing list that will have you covered no matter your budget or travel style. You can click here to see the whole article. 

If you want to Relax:

El Capitan Canyon, California
Why go: Planning, packing, and schlepping gear—camping is nothing if not a lot of work, which is why someone invented luxury camping. Get used to the concept at El Capitan Canyon in Los Padres National Forest, near Santa Barbara, California.
Why it'­s relaxing: You'­ll snuggle under a comforter on a queen-size bed in a roomy, wood-floored safari tent—the only thing you might have to pitch is your Pack '­N Play. If you still manage to strain your back, spring for a massage from a Canyon therapist in your tent or under a secluded sycamore. Meanwhile, your brood can hop on horses, swim in the pool or the ocean, or hike the 15 miles of trails. Provisions? Bug spray, hotdogs, s'more kits, even lattes are available at the resort'­s market.

One & Only Palmilla, Los Cabos, Mexico
Why go: In the race to be the family-friendliest posh beach resort, One & Only Palmilla in Los Cabos is a leader of the pack.
Why it'­s relaxing: There's major help with the kids. As soon as you walk through the puerta, they'­re handed a beach bag stuffed with a T-shirt, hat, and Mexican toy; in your room, you'­ll find a crib (plus a menu of bedsheets) and a bathroom stocked with adult and baby products from Lady Primrose'­s. Come bedtime, a bunny or chick shows up to read a story over milk and cookies.
Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Why go: Not one, not three, but five top-rated golf courses blanket Kiawah Island off the coast of Charleston, SC. Yet, golf clinics and family tee times are just some of the perks.
Why it'­s relaxing: Kids aged six and up can spot alligators on nature walks, explore 10 miles of packed-sand beach on a bike, or learn about the island's loggerhead turtles and other critters on one- or two-hour hikes; sibs as young as three attend Kamp Kiawah ($35-45 half day; $60 full). The Sanctuary, the island's only hotel, has all the requisite swanky-digs amenities, or you can rent your own place.

If you want to Learn:

Cooking Vacations, Italy
Why go: Take a trip with Cooking Vacations for a delicious week in Florence, Positano, Sorrento, or Rome.
On the syllabus: You and the kids will wander (to bakeries, pizza joints, farms), sightsee (Pompeii, the Uffizi), and, of course, measure, mix, knead, cook, and eat. In Florence, bake pizza in an outdoor oven; in Positano, pick lemons and make a big batch of fragrant granita (Italian slush). Participants are put up at inns and villas with plenty of outdoor play space.
Extra credit: Limited to eight, the tours are perfect for an extended family, and appeal to all ages (when a ball of sticky dough won'­t suffice, babysitters are available).

Space Camp, Alabama
What it is: A trip to the stratosphere may be overambitious, but training with the kids for a shuttle mission at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama, is a pretty cool substitute.
On the syllabus: At Space Camp'­s parent-child three-day program, kids 7 to 12 and their folks try out scaled-down versions of the flight simulator equipment astronauts use. That's right: they get to feel what it's like to tumble weightless. Trainees also build and launch two-foot rockets. For total ground control, students stay in a dorm (there'­s also a Marriott on campus).
Extra credit: NASA-issue jumpsuits in all sizes go for $80.

Sanibel Sea School, Florida
What it is: While you collapse on Sanibel Island'­s white sand, enroll your guppies at the brand-new nonprofit Sanibel Sea School, started by a marine biologist to teach kids 6 to 13 about animal life on this barrier island sanctuary.
On the syllabus: After a briefing on wading birds or mangrove crabs, children head out to get their hands sandy, often in parts of the island closed to the public.
Extra credit: Adults are encouraged to join in (though you might have to provide your own transportation if the school bus is full).

If you want to Splurge:

African Safari
 What to do: Blue-butt monkey alert! CC Africa'­s 41 comfy lodges and camps—in 18 game reserves across six countries—are designed for daylong game-spotting. The company is noted for its community-mindedness: 80 percent of its employees are locals, and a percentage of its profits go to conservation projects. A $10 donation sends an African child on a game drive.
The awe factor: Young guests go on mini safaris to collect frogs and bugs, and on "poo" walks to identify scat. Those over 11 take two daily jeep outings, one at sunrise, to watch elephants wake up, another as the sun sets, to view the nocturnal doings of mongooses and leopards.
Top this: Hyenas and lions permitting, guides serve dinner, complete with candlelight and linens, in the bush.

Australian Adventure
What to do: Heading all the way to Australia? Take in this vast country'­s greatest hits with Abercrombie & Kent'­s Australia Family Adventure.
The awe factor: Your 13-day tour starts out in Sydney, where the group learns to surf at Bondi Beach, and from there the action never stops: there'­s marsupial watching on Kangaroo Island, boomerang tossing in the Outback, and tours (by air and water) of the Great Barrier Reef.
Top this: Aboriginal hosts teach kids the art of spear chucking.

Grand Canyon
What to do: For a grand tour without a grand bill attached, take a trip to the Grand Canyon. The National Park Service's web site has all the essentials, including how to book a room at one of the park's eight well-priced hotels (choicest is El Tovar, a 1905 lodge on the south rim with spectacular views).
The awe factor: You can hike with the pros from the nonprofit Grand Canyon Field Institute to an 800-year-old pueblo or to rocks embedded with marine fossils older than the dinosaurs.
Top this: April to October, kids eight and older can sluice down Colorado River waters with Hualapai Indian guides.

The Galapagos and Machu Picchu
What to do: Pack in two World Heritage sites on an adventure guaranteed to rank as everyone'­s most memorable vacation.
The awe factor: On the first leg of Lindblad Expeditions' 16-day excursion to the Gal├ípagos Islands and Peru, you'­ll cruise around this remote archipelago off the coast of Ecuador on a trim and tidy repurposed Swedish ferry and watch as giant sea turtles, iguanas, albatross, sea lions, and blue-footed boobies go about their business just inches away from you and your kids. Next up: the Peruvian mountain city of Cusco and the ancient sacred site Machu Picchu.
Top this: During the Cusco leg of the journey, an overnight at the Sanctuary puts you right outside the gates to Machu Picchu. You'­ll enter the Incan ruins at dawn, when kids can bond with the resident llamas before other tourists descend.

Will you be going anywhere for Spring Break 2014?

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