Spring Break is just around the corner, but it’s not too late to book the trip of your dreams.
Whether you prefer somewhere warm, a ski trip, or somewhere more local, Make It Better has come up with the best 2011 vacation spots for your family.
1. Puerta Vallarta, Mexico
Welcome to the ultimate family vacation spot. Families looking for an adventure can go zip lining, horseback riding, parasailing, scuba diving and whale watching. Looking to relax? Enjoy the beach or the pool at one of Puerto Vallarta’s luxurious resorts. We recommend the CasaMagna Marriott Puerta Vallarta Resort & Spa. Located on the beach, this resort and spa offers beach activities for the kids and relaxing ocean-side lounges for adults. For a more modest budget, keep an eye out for the all-inclusive hotels for great deals and family fun.
2. Naples, Florida
This hidden treasure lies right on the Gulf coast and is the perfect family destination. The beach is minutes from the beautiful downtown area, which is filled with tons of boutiques and restaurants. Rent a few bikes, pedal down to the pier and grab some ice-cream cones for a relaxing afternoon. Or for a little more excitement, give parasailing or jet skiing a try! If you’re looking for more than just a beach, there are fabulous golf courses and the sunsets never fail to impress. There are plenty of lodging options, but the hotels on the beach are convenient and scenic. Edgewater Beach Hotel is popular among regulars.
Off the coast of Venezuela, this little island has become a popular destination in the past few years. Far away? Maybe. Worth it? We think yes. In a place where the weather is warm and sunny all the time, literally January through December, this is a place to kick back and relax, but there’s always something to do. Aruba’s white-sand Palm Beach is one of the Travel Channel’s top beaches. Try windsurfing or snorkeling in the beautiful ocean, or explore underwater shipwrecks or coral reefs. End the day with fine dining at Madame Janette’s and a night out on the town. We recommend staying at the Marriott Aruba Surf Club.
4. Palm Springs, California
This California hot spot is great for family members of all ages. Take a break from the pool with activities like hiking in Indian canyons, horseback riding and canyon jeep tours. You can also enjoy views from above on an aerial tram ride. At night, check out family-owned and kid friendly La Perlita for authentic Mexican cuisine. A favorite resort is the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa where there’s something for everyone—golf courses, shopping, great pools and sun, of course.
5. Cancun, Mexico
Cancun isn’t the MTV Spring Break spot that it used to be; it’s transformed back into the beautiful location that’s romantic for two or adventurous for the family. Looking for something easy and stress free? Well when it comes to Cancun, go Club Med or go home. Our readers highly recommend this location and resort to anyone looking for a great trip. “Easy, easy, easy!,” says one of our readers. “We love this resort because once we’re there, we literally have nothing to worry about. Our family includes teens and tweens and we vary from readers and beach sitters to those who never sit down except to eat. This Club Med has big, comfortable rooms and lots of activities from water skiing to snorkeling—all included. The beach is the best in the area and the food is better than most family resorts.”
1. Park City, Utah
Just 30 minutes from Salt Lake City, this mining town has turned into Utah’s epicenter of après ski fun. You can ski in/ski out at Deer Valley or snowboard in/snowboard out at Park City Mountain Resort. A little further away is Snowbasin, which is the local’s favorite for its over-the-top amenities and heated gondolas. For the non-downhill skiers, the area still has lots to do, including: Olympic cross-country ski trails, snowshoeing, tubing and even mineral springs in a prehistoric grotto. Accommodations range from family-friendly condo rentals to luxe hotels like the new Montage and The Sky Lodge.
2. Breckenridge, Colorado
Another fantastic mining town less than two hours west of Denver, Breckenridge is full of fun and history with authentic buildings that have been in the town for more than 100 years. This breathtaking little town has great skiing, shopping and dining, and vacationers have the choice of staying in condos, resorts or bed and breakfasts. Choose to stay right by the slopes or at a more discreet location a little while out. Lift tickets can be purchased for Breckenridge and Keystone, and passes for the whole week make planning a piece of cake! Check out their website to design the trip that best suits you with lodging, spa, activity information and more.
3. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
For the serious skiers, Jackson Hole is the perfect spring break destination. Located conveniently around multiple ski resort areas, Jackson Hole offers opportunities to ski different mountains; we recommend Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King Resort, and the Grand Targhee Ski for the longest and steepest mountains. Stay at the Snow King Resort for adventurous night skiing and tubing parks. Other skiing opportunities include cross-country skiing at the Jackson Hole Nordic center and Snowcats/Heli skiing through the Grand Targhee. Jackson Hole is a great place for a family ski adventure!
4. Lake Louise, Canada
You’ll step right into winter wonderland the minute you arrive at Lake Louise, Canada. This incredible vacation spot is perfect for families looking to enjoy themselves in a gorgeous, wintry atmosphere. Families can try cross-country or downhill skiing and snowboarding at the Lake Louise Ski Area. For more advanced trails, Mt. Norquay and Sunshine Village are great options that are both only an hour away in Banff, Canada. Other activities range from horse-drawn sleigh rides, dog-sled rides and helicopter tours. We recommend the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise for incredible mountain views and luxurious accommodations.
5. Stowe, Vermont
Looking to mix things up and head to the east coast? Stowe is said to be the most famous ski spot in the East and it has terrain for both experts and beginners. Aside from the typical great dining, shops and spas, Stowe Mountain Resort even has a performing arts center. Take a night to relax after tackling the “Front Four” double-black-diamond slopes and catch a show! The unique craft shops and galleries in town are sure to impress the artsy ones in group as well. If the little ones don’t feel like skiing, there’s an excellent childcare center so you can drop off the kids and enjoy a romantic day on the slopes.
And as a bonus, here are two great spots if you don’t have a lot of time or a big budget, but really need a change of scenery!
1. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
If you’re looking to get away for a few days but don’t have the time or funds to travel far, Lake Geneva is the perfect place for a quick family getaway. If the weather is cold enough, The Mountain Top at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa has 18 downhill ski slopes, a snowboard terrain park and 10 kilometers of winding cross-country trails. If skiing is not an option, families can enjoy the Moose Moutain Falls Waterpark at Timber Ridge Lodge, or will have fun exploring the quaint town of Lake Geneva. Other activities include hot air balloon rides, miniature golf and Watson’s Wild West Museum. There are lots of fun things to do in Lake Geneva and best of all it’s, only an hour-and-a-half drive from Chicago.
2. Hilton Head, South Carolina
There are lots of fun places to explore on the beautiful island of Hilton Head. With spring break highs in the 70s, Hilton Head offers the perfect opportunity to be outdoors; Families can hike or bike through nature reserves and play golf and tennis. The Coastal Discovery Museum is another fun attraction, where you can take a nature tour or cruise off Hilton Head. We recommend staying at The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa for a luxurious experience and plenty of fun activities for children. Hilton Head also has lots of outdoor shopping and beautiful beaches, if the weather permits!
If South Carolina still feels a littler far-off, there are plenty of great weekend getaways next door in Michigan or other surrounding areas! Saugatuck is a popular summer spot, but the artsy town and gorgeous lake views make for a fun spring break weekend as well. Mackinac Island is another great spot to really get away from the hustle and bustle of life in Chicago, seeing as motorized vehicles aren’t even allowed on this island of relaxation!
What are your spring break suggestions? Add them with a comment below.