To make our 2013 picks for the best spring break destinations for families, we focused on finding the best quick getaways to make the most of the short time spring break offers.
Travel expert Marybeth Bond, founder of GutsyTraveler.com, a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and mother, says cities with plenty of parks, hotels with swimming pools, and attractions like zoos, aquariums and museums can be just as rewarding as (and often more affordable than) a typical spring break on the beach.
Budget, time and activities that appeal to both parents and children top the list of priorities for most families when planning spring vacations, Bond says. To make the vacation more affordable, she advises travelers take advantage of city and state parks, free attractions and bike rentals. Even with a short spring break travel window, Bond says an ideal two- to three-day stay in a city still gives children a chance to become familiar with their surroundings, enough time for the family to explore the area and flexibility to change plans should bad weather enter the mix. Most of all, remember it's a vacation, she adds.
"Rest and relaxation should be high on your list of activities, too," Bond says. "Plan quiet time or naps. Picnics are a great way to slow down."
With those tips in mind, we analyzed Livability.com's city list for places that have temperate climates along with lots of attractions, parks, natural areas, affordable hotels and kid-friendly restaurants. We researched travel sites and contributor reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor, Expedia and Yelp to find highly rated indoor and outdoor activities in these cities that appeal especially to school-age kids.
After browsing our picks for 2013, check out our list of the Top 10 Spring Break Destinations for Families in 2012, for which we chose our best cities for beach, ski, adventure and amusement vacations.