Warming up for Spring Break 2016

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I can’t be the only one who is ready for Spring! It always seems like winter drags on until I get to go on Spring Break!  I’ve also been talking to friends and Chase’s friend’s parents to see where they’re spending their vacations and have gotten some great tips.

One of the great things about living in the Vinings and Buckhead areas is access to Atlanta’s international airport. Having a major airline based here means that whether you a looking for warmth and sunshine, fresh powder on the ski slopes, or a family friendly cruise, you can probably find a direct flight to wherever you want to go. And as anyone with children knows, minimizing your travel legs means minimizing headaches and maximizing precious vacation time for families.

Fun in the Sun

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Sting Ray City, Grand Cayman

  • Grand Cayman  is known for its luxury hotels and condos on 7 Mile Beach, its coral reef diving and snorkeling and for swimming with the rays at Sting Ray City.
  • Belize   – your family can charter a  sail boat for a snorkeling and diving trip inside the barrier reef, hopping between  Caribbean islands and then head inland for a rain forest canopy tour.
  • Costa Rica : Costa Rica is really growing in popularity for families; I was amazed how many American families I ran into last time I was there on Spring break 2 years ago. From rain forest eco/adventures, volcano viewing trips, to surfing in the Pacific Ocean, there are lots of fun things to do there.
  • Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands : if you want to feel like you’re really getting away  but haven’t gotten everyone in the family a passport yet (or the kid’s passport renewal snuck up on you!) these American territories have lots of options less than a 3 hour flight from Atlanta.
  • Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas is one of those places that seems to pop up every time I talk to friends about vacation plans. I haven’t been yet but a lot of friends love it for the water slides and adventures.
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photo credit: itravel2000.com

Skiing
  • Beaver Creek in Avon, Colorado is a popular resort not far from Vail that friends of mine love. I took Chase there for his first ski trip, as the ski schools are excellent and its a quaint resort with everything near by.  Denver and Vail airports serve the area. You can get bunny slope lessons for the little guys and black diamond slopes for the daredevils!
  • Steamboat  is another central Colorado ski resort that is a popular spring destination  with friends.
  • Park City, Utah is a short drive from Salt Lake City (with lots of direct flights from Atlanta on Delta) is a really pretty town in the Wasatch Mountains, with plenty to do even if you are more a fireplace-and-cocoa person than a ski slope person. My favorite resort there is Deer Valley with top class service and very convenient to town.
  • Lake Tahoe is accessible from both Reno NV and Sacramento CA. With dozens of resorts surrounding the lake, it’s known as much for its spectacular scenery as for its great ski options.
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Ski Lake Tahoe

Cruise
  • Royal Caribbean   was recommended to me by a friend for their great kids programs. If you love the ease of cruising, they have great options.  My friends that have recommended it love cruising, but I wasn’t thrilled with being on vacation with 5000 other people and being herded everywhere. My son loved it and basically its a floating hotel.  We traveled on Oasis of the Seas which was new then and one of its bigger boats.  I may have had a different experience if we had gone on a smaller ship.
  • Disney Cruise is another very family friendly cruise option (the secret being that they are also very parent friendly too!)  Many of my friends like it and have taken extended family.  If I were going to do a cruise again I’d probably try them to compare.  At the time they seemed more limited in their destinations with most of the boats going to their “private” island versus the more popular ports we went to in Cozumel, Jamaica and Haiti.

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Disney World – it almost goes without saying that this is a great option for families with younger kids, but Disney has been building its reputation as a destination for the whole family. So go for the classic kid-friendly experience, but don’t miss the dining, spas, and golfing at their resorts. USA Today posted a list of great tips to help parents make the most  of a Disney trip.  The first time we went there I bought the book to figure out the layout and what our priorities were.  I have friends that go here every year as you can drive from Atlanta and it avoids having to buy flights for a larger family.  As they get a bit old there is Lego land and other adventures close by.
We are going for fun in the sun for our spring break – this year I’m taking Chase to Hawaii!   We try to do something different every year as this one week I’m almost guaranteed that a majority of my clients will be gone and business will be quiet. I’m looking forward to relaxing in the sun with a good book while Chase gets a surfing lesson.  We will explore the volcanos like we did in Costa Rica a couple of years ago but via helicopter this time and take a catamaran to whale watch.  It goes without saying that we are very excited and counting down the days.  We are down to 2 weeks as of today!
Last year we went to Singapore, a great destination if you’re looking for a really different experience and great food while still being in a safe, easy to navigate environment.  Singapore may be too far for a Spring Break trip for most, but for me, it’s a dedicated week of vacation each year that I can count on. We also took a side trip up to Thailand and I would go back in a heart beat.  The water was gorgeous and the experience was more exotic than many I have been on.  Phuket is still recovering from the Tsunami and many buildings remain hollow and vacant.  The town and shops are thriving and we loved it!  English was spoken by most and the hospitality was fabulous.
Whatever you’re doing, I hope you all have a relaxing, recharging Spring Break!
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