5 Simple Spring Breaks for Families

Why stay at home this spring break when your family could check out cherry blossoms, travel back in time, or blast off into space?

By Reader's Digest Editors
5 Simple Spring Breaks for Families© 2011 National Cherry Blossom Festival, Inc.

Kids and parents alike will find plenty to do on these fantastic getaways. Make sure to look for special spring rates!

1. National Cherry Blossom Festival

Washington, D.C. The best time to see D.C. is arguably when its cherry trees are in full, splendid bloom. Spring break often coincides with the two-week National Cherry Blossom Festival, which commemorates the 1912 gift of thousands of cherry trees to Washington by the city of Tokyo. The festival includes a massive parade, a kite festival, a showcase of Japanese arts, and hands-on activities such as origami-making. Washington D.C. is an affordable destination and many hotels offer packages during the festival weeks. Families can also visit the free Smithsonian Museums, such as the National Museum of Natural History and the National Air and Space Museum. nationalcherryblossomfestival.org

2. Camping Without Cares

El Capitan Canyon, California Camping usually involves a lot of labor—packing and carrying supplies, setting up tents, and wrestling with sleeping bags—but not here. El Capitan Canyon in Los Padres National Forest, near Santa Barbara, California, offers luxury camping without a luxury pricetag. Guests can snuggle under a comforter on a queen-size bed in a spacious, wood-floored safari tent pitched by someone else. Spend the days on horseback, in the ocean or pool, or hiking along the 15 miles of trails. If you strain yourself doing any of these things, try a massage in your tent. The camp even provides bug spray, s’more kits, and lattes. www.elcapitancanyon.com

3. Family Friendliest Resort

One&Only Palmilla, Los Cabos, Mexico It’s hard to beat One&Only Palmilla for kid-focused fun. The second you walk through the puerta, kids get a beach bag stuffed with a T-shirt, hat, and Mexican toy. Rooms come equipped with a crib and a bathroom stocked with adult and baby products from Lady Primrose’s. At bedtime, a bunny or chick comes around to read a story over milk and cookies. The resort also offers a free children’s program for kids 4 to 12, where they can learn Spanish, make piñatas, or do yoga while you’re at the spa. Check out its spring break special offers. palmilla.oneandonlyresorts.com/

4. Time Traveling

Fort Lewis Lodge, Virginia Live the life of the pioneers of old—without the discomfort—at the Fort Lewis Lodge. The 200-year-old cattle farm on 3,200 stunning acres in Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains offers horseshoe pitching, fishing for rock bass, and inner tubing down the Cowpasture River. Guests sleep in the farmhouse, silo, or log cabins. At night, wander down to the viewing platform to marvel at the stars. Meals made from local ingredients are served family style. And if you need a little something extra? Your hosts will build a bonfire to order. fortlewislodge.com

5. Stargazing

Space Camp, Alabama Okay, so you probably aren’t going to get your kids seats on the next space shuttle. But the U.S. Space and Rocket Center Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama, may be the next best thing. As part of the camp’s three-day program, kids ages 7 to 12 can try out miniature versions of the flight simulator equipment astronauts use. Campers can build and launch two-foot rockets, buy a NASA-issue jumpsuit, and find out what it feels like to float weightlessly in space. Dorms are available, as is an on-site Marriott hotel. spacecamp.com

Sources: Travel + Leisure, About.com, Shoestringmag.com

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