Spring Break Trips: Tried and True or Something New
By: Heather Gausline Tate
After a cold winter, families are counting down the weeks until spring break for some vitamin D. It is not unusual for some to go to the same Gulf Beach condo every year, while others like to change it up occasionally. Although spring break is not considered a low season to travel, prices still tend to be less than summer months, especially for accommodations and airfare. This makes it a perfect time to head out on a family adventure.
Sand and Water
All-inclusive Caribbean resorts peak in price during January-April because everyone is trying to escape the cold. However, cruise prices are at their lowest during the January-February off-season. March is still a reasonable time to cruise, and vacationers may be surprised to discover that it is more affordable to take a four or five-night cruise to Mexico than to spend the same amount of days in Destin. In less time than driving to the Florida Panhandle, travelers can be in either New Orleans or Mobile, where they can take a four, five, six, or seven-night cruise to the Caribbean. Kimberly Reeder, originally from Fulton, says that the past two years her family has taken a cruise during spring break. They are planning to go to Florida this year, but instead of heading for the beach, they are going to see the Mouse.
Thrills and Chills
In addition to getting their toes in the sand, spring-breakers enjoy an adrenaline rush. More commonly in our area that means a drive (or flight) to theme parks, such as Six Flags, Universal, or Disney World. Other options include Busch Gardens, Legoland, Sea World, Silver Dollar City, and Dollywood. The milder temperatures during spring break, matched with less intense crowds, make it a great time for families to visit. Roller coasters aren’t the only way people can let loose. Water parks seem to be more of a summer fascination, but indoor water parks offer a great spring break alternative. Jennifer Williams-Cook and her daughter Aiden enjoy their many adventures together. Jennifer says, “Last year we tried an indoor water park. It was a great adventure along with the other activities on site, and it worked out for multiple generations of our family”. Those looking for nearby indoor water parks can find them in Branson and Gatlinburg. If they are willing to travel further afield, they would be impressed with the indoor water parks in Wisconsin Dells, known as the water park capital of the world, or one of the multiple locations of Great Wolf Lodge.
Springtime in the City
Spring break is also an ideal time to explore a new city. Parents can decide how far they are willing to drive and then look on a map to see all of the different cities that fall within that driving distance. St. Louis, Nashville, Atlanta, New Orleans, Little Rock, and Chattanooga are all within a six-hour or less drive from Northeast MS. For those willing to fly any spot on the map becomes a possibility, whether that means a potential trip to New York City, Washington D.C., or even San Diego. It would not be difficult to fill the week touring a new city. Museums, landmarks, shows and concerts, local attractions, and, of course, restaurants and shopping will provide endless opportunities for families looking for more stimulation than laying on lounge chairs. Debbie Long, a local mother of three, says that their spring break is different each year. She explains, “Some years we don’t really go anywhere, but in the past we have gone to Disney, Natchez, and on a cruise. This year we are spending the week in St. Louis.” While this trip has a dual purpose, they are hoping to incorporate some city fun into their break.
Beach condos and all-inclusive resorts may seem almost irresistible, but they are not the only options for families looking forward to a week of fun. Before summer jobs start and hotel rates skyrocket, families should really take advantage of a spring break trip together. And maybe this year they will be ready to try something new!
Heather Gausline Tate is a freelance writer, private English tutor, and travel planner. She lives in Guntown with her husband Logan and their two boys London (age 5) and Christian (age 1). This spring break they are taking a family vacation to Rome, Italy.