From the cabin fever-struck New England to the blizzard-battered Midwest and the snow-blanketed slopes of Lake Tahoe, many families are looking to plan a Spring Break getaway. So, which destinations are hustling to attract families this spring, and how? We have some surprising answers.
This spring, all the early signs are pointing to a big season for families trying out vacation rentals in very new destinations. A recent study done with Google, Sojern’s 2017 Hotel Report, found that searches for the term “vacation rentals” across all brands rose more than 27% in the fourth quarter over the same time period last year, while the search for hotels on the major OTAs rose just 3%.
Airbnb conducted their own survey of family travelers, and found that 43% say their family prefers to travel to a new destination every year, while 45% say they like a mix of both old and new destinations. In terms of activities, 78% of families are interested in educational and cultural opportunities, and more than 72% said they planned to take a road trip. From their internal search data, the very international homeshare company says the top trending family destinations include Osaka (Japan), Fortaleza (Brazil), Valencia (Spain) and Malibu (California), based on an increase in guest arrivals for parties of 3 or more. (Airbnb found that 34% of families surveyed were traveling with grandparents and 20% with friends.)
Here’s a quick rundown of some fresh spring break deals in more destinations, whether you’re looking for sun or snow or some of our other family spring break ideas.
Hawai’i Adventures with Teens
From March 18-April 15, plug into the fun at Hilton Waikoloa Village on the island of Hawai’i, where ‘Operation Spring Break’ is underway from 10am-4:30pm daily. A Montana-based entertainment company is coming in to add to the resort’s already huge array of activities — from dolphin swims to lei making, luaus to ukelele lessons, kids clubs to tennis — with outdoor Laser Tag, remote control Stock Car Racing, and a Laser Shot Tent where players can practice their aim. Whether you stay in a hotel room or one of the elegant Hilton Vacation Club condos, there’s easy access to cultural entertainment such as hula lessons and historic Petroglyph tours. Rates begin at $247/night plus a resort fee that covers WiFi, an in room PlayStation 3 with unlimited movies and games, and other perks.
For a more tame flop n’ drop adventure, head to Palm Springs to the Renaissance Indian Wells. It’s located in the heart of greater Palm Springs — one of our top same sex couples with kids destinations. The 560-room resort has a big multi-swimming pool complex, faux sandy beach and free “Spring Days of Discovery” activities with supervised games, a festival on the Rose Lawn, sorbet social for ice cream lovers, kids’ races, a Kids Chef Demo teaching pizza making (for a small fee), group yoga and more. RSVP are suggested to hold a place; call 760/836-1286. There’s family pricing at the resort valid March 28-April 12, when double rooms start at $289/night and include a $50/night resort credit, valid towards spa and dining. Book online or call 800/228-9290 and use the code HO9.
Or, celebrate altered states during the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love at BAMPFA’s fun, family-friendly exhibit, “Hippie Modernism: Struggle for Utopia.” This venerated Berkeley institution partnered with the Hotel Shattuck Plaza on a $259 “Summer of Love” deal that includes a double room, museum passes, Summer of Love cocktails, $50 dining credit at their gourmet eatery and tie-dye surprises. Don’t miss the accompanying films and the #FreetheLove augmented reality app that showers love on other Bay Area hippie landmarks of your choice.
Hit the Powdery Slopes of Utah
At one of the prettiest ski spots in Utah, the rustic and seemingly remote Alta (actually quite close to the great après scene in Park City), there is a “Family Spring Skiing” deal on between April 2-16. All season, this resort offers free lodging and meals for kids ages 12 and under that kicks in when you reserve a minimum of 4 nights. You are able to have two kids stay in parents’ room at no additional charge — a savings of up to $200/night. Full breakfast and four-course dinners, plus a kids’ program that provides après ski activities and a special kids’ dinner followed by a movie, are all included. Pair that deal with great spring skiing conditions and their fun April perks: a few surprise complimentary receptions at the lodge, with with wine and appetizers; lunch served on the sundeck (weather permitting); complimentary picnic lunch with beverages packed for the ski slopes; and free kids’ ski rentals at Deep Powder House (for sizes 140 cm and under). For more information, visit Alta Lodge, or call 800/707- 2582.
Go Italian with your Young Pope
If seeing the Pope is your idea of a real Easter bucket list trip, join Perillo Tours on a special 10-day Easter Tour of Italy that’s even more affordable thanks to a $250 discount. Depart April 13th for the Vesuvius Tour and spend Easter Sunday in Rome, at St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, for Easter mass. In addition to His Holiness’ noon address, Perillo participants will see much more of Rome, and visit Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri, Florence, San Gimignano (for a wine tasting and lunch) and Venice. Prices for this itinerary start at $2,745, not including international airfare.
For some families, spring means a celebration with church services, bunnies, egg hunts and all. For a classy and classic getaway, the Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa about an hour from Florence or Siena is offering a “Tuscan Easter” package featuring a hotel room for four overlooking the hills, daily breakfast, Easter egg decorating classes with the property’s chefs, and a traditional Easter supper of authentic Italian specialties, for US$504 for a two-night stay through April 17, 2017; use the promo code MAJ.
We know some families prefer the privacy of a vacation rental and, for them, Il Salviatino in Fiesole reopens in April so you can book a room with a view of Florence’s Duomo while they’re $400/night, which is 20% off (Deluxe and Dome View Deluxe rooms) with a two-night minimum. Go truffle hunting with a local hunter and his pup and enjoy a truffle tasting meal or, try one of the villa’s kid-focused foodie tours around Florence’s city center.
City Breaks mean Spring in Chattanooga, Tennessee
When we say city, we’re thinking offbeat and unexpected, like the elegant Chattanooga, Tennessee. Music fans will strike a chord at the world’s largest private collection of vintage guitars, seen at the Songbirds Guitar Museum opening with a weekend of festivities from March 10-12. Local bands are playing outdoors on the 10th from noon-5pm. The museum is located on the campus of the world-famous Chattanooga Choo Choo. You can explore their choo choo train terminal, of course, but for a “Spring Break Safari” from March 10-April 9, the city has designed activities like rock climbing, cave touring, animal training and more in a 14-site Scavenger Hunt. Download the guide, follow #SpringBreakSafariCHA on social media to get some help and clues, then explore the city, test out some of the special activities at area attractions, and enjoy top values in local hotels. Vacation rentals like local cabins are getting in on the fun too! Check out the Chattanooga Fun CVB site for family deals that include tickets to the Tennessee Aquarium or Railroad Museum, an engineer’s cap and a hotel room from $189.99/night.
Watch Baseball in Guadalajara
Baseball fans may already know that the sport’s biggest international competition, the World Baseball Classic, will take place in Guadalajara, Mexico from March 9-13, 2017. That’s the time to watch teams from Mexico, Italy, Puerto Rico and Venezuela compete in the First Round play at Estadio Charros de Jalisco. The full schedule of all six games costs approximately US$150 if purchased in advance. Grab the kids, practice your Spanish, and get some baseball smarts at the stylish Aloft Guadalajara Hotel, which has a special deal March 6-14 that includes an American breakfast, WiFi, use of fitness center and parking from just US$85/night. Up to two kids under 12 stay free with parents (you can request connecting rooms) and baby cribs and child-size air mattresses from camp Aloft are available at no extra charge.
Peru Highlands: Culture & Cooking
For many families, Peru and the magic of sky-high Machu Picchu are high on the bucket list, and spring is not a bad time to be there. The luxurious Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel, located at a lower altitude on the Vilcanota River in Aguas Calientes, welcome families with a kid’s cooking class and “Time for Andean Tales,” when staff recount Peruvian and Andean myths and lore. Their Sumaq Deluxe Triple Room sleeping two adults and two children under 12 costs $779/night from April to October; discount it by 20% if you choose the non-refundable option (and buy Allianz travel insurance, of course.) That rate includes two meals per day, an escort from the train station, WiFi, daily tea time and these family activities. For a fee, the hotel can help you arrange a hike to the Mandor Valley for bird watching and a beautiful waterfall; visits to another local ruin, Puente, in a stunning natural habitat; and a hike to see the flowers along the Orchid Trail. For more information, visit their site or call them at 866/682-0645.
Let us know where you decide to go in the Comments field below.
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.