Spring break is almost here! If you’re totally over the beach-bunnies-and-keg-stands scene, we’ve got some suggestions for spring break (or summer vacay!) destinations that will provide just what you really need: a timeout away from work, school, and home responsibilities. Which will you choose?
Dude ranches don’t get the accolades they deserve. If you’re into outdoor recreation, a trip to a dude ranch, or guest ranch, will provide you with a wide variety of activities for a romantic getaway or a family trip. Most dude ranches offer horseback riding and some combination of camping, shooting, archery, whitewater rafting, campfire cooking, hiking, and fishing. But you can also find ranches with gourmet meals, spa services, golf, wine tasting, and children’s activities. You can even find working ranches that will teach you to assist on cattle drives and brush up on your riding skills. Many now offer girlfriend getaways, singles weeks, and adults-only stays. There's no shortage of opportunities to give you a taste of the Wild Wild West.
Great for: families, people without passports, outdoorsy types
While there’s really no bad time to visit Hawaii, the peak tourist season is generally tapering off in March, so spring break won’t be crammed with crowds. March is the time when humpback whales gather to give birth in the warm ocean, so be sure to book a whale-watching trip. Hikers can enjoy vibrant tropical flora, waterfalls, and volcanoes. Each island offers its own special attractions, so you may want to hop to several on your trip, although you’ll find exquisite scenery, fantastic animals, and exciting activities for all ages no matter where you are. Visit Pearl Harbor on Oahu, stay in Volcano Village on the Big Island next to Volcanoes National Park, and enjoy dazzling nightlife including fine dining and drinks right on the water in Waikiki. The aquarium in Waikiki is a popular destination, and snorkeling, helicopter tours, and swimming with sharks will thrill everyone in your party. In addition, Easter falls in April this year, so March travelers could get a bit of a break on travel and hotel prices.
Great for: pretty much everyone who can afford it
Is winter your favorite season? A late-winter, early-spring ski trip might be just your thing. Utah, Colorado, and Northern California all have resorts that are nearly always still snow-covered in March. Lift lines are generally shorter, discounts and packages abound, and longer daylight hours mean more time on the slopes. Ski schools won’t be crowded either, and many resorts offer family-friendly savings such as adults sharing a lift ticket when they bring the kids. Some will even offer kids-ski-free packages to entice late-spring snow buffs. Montana, Idaho, and New Mexico also have slopes accessible to all levels of skiers. Looking for something further afield? Resorts in Sweden are often family-friendly and offer alternative activities such as dog and reindeer sled rides, snowmobiling, skating, and ice fishing. France entices advanced skiers with off-piste areas and high-altitude runs, plus little towns with cafes, bars, and shopping. Switzerland’s quaint skiing villages and gorgeous scenery fare better when March’s temperatures are a bit warmer, and resorts in Italy, Austria, and Canada are also worth exploring.
Great for: snow bunnies who aren’t ready for summer
Head Down Under
Australia is a bit far off, and can be rather expensive, but have you considered a jaunt to South America? From the wilderness of Bolivia to the culture of Argentina to the beaches of Brazil, you can find nearly any type of trip you may be looking for. Multiple outfits offer package vacations where you’ll explore ruins, kayak through the rainforest, or visit multiple countries in a week. Choose an adventure vacation to bike the Death Road in Bolivia, climb volcanoes in Ecuador, or hike the Inca Trail in Peru. Luxury tours will take you wine tasting, have you sampling the best of local cuisines, and will put you up in opulent accommodations with breathtaking views. Families may choose a river cruise, museum hopping, or a tour of the Galapagos, where animal lovers can photograph the unique species that have evolved on the islands.
Great for: the adventurous