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Taking the Kids: Where To Go for Spring Break

By Eileen Ogintz, Tribune Media Services on

Let's not kid ourselves. None of us want to wait until summer for some fun in the sun. We all could use some rest and relaxation right about now, whether your family's idea of vacation heaven is a bluebird sunny day on a ski slope, a blue-sky sunny day on a beach or a hiking trail.

Let's not forget a sunny day at your favorite theme park checking out the latest attraction, or letting the kids lead the way through a city you've always wanted to show them.

Maybe that's San Diego ( where the weather is warm, there are family attractions galore (everyone loves the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld!) and the crowds don't arrive until summer. Another plus: The new Legoland Hotel ( opens in nearby Carlsbad, Calif., in early April.

Maybe this is the year to tour London ( or Paris ( "Many airlines have sales in the market for Europe. Going in the back end of March, you'll get longer days, nicer weather, smaller crowds and cheaper fares," said Travelzoo editor Andrew Young, who suggests using a site like to search multiple sites at once for the best fares.

"Wait a few months and fares will go up $300 to $500," he warns.

I met lots of families beating the summer crush at the Grand Canyon a couple of spring breaks ago. (Hilton Sedona Resort and Spa,, about a two-hour drive from the canyon, is offering a whole range of complimentary spring break activities and special rooms rates from March 23 to April 6, 2013 -- everything from pizza-making and movie nights to kids' golf.) Other families I know make it a tradition to head to Yosemite National Park in April.


With so many options, no wonder spring break has become an exceedingly popular vacation time for families who find it easier to get away for a few days in March or April rather than during the summer with the demands of work, camp, sports, summer jobs and summer school.

The good news: It's not too late to plan a getaway, whether you've just got a weekend or a week. "It feels like for families it is a more spontaneous decision of where to go in March or April than other times of the year," says Thomson Family Adventure's Jim Kackley, who sees many last-minute bookings, even for international trips.

Your kids probably are begging for a trip to Orlando ( -- and Orlando is the country's Family Spring Break Capital -- but here's a suggestion: Go after spring break in May or June, You'll save significant bucks and avoid the spring and summer crowds.

(Check out our Taking the Kids Sun, Snow and Sea Spring Break Ideas


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