With the promise of warmer weather on the horizon, it’s hard not to daydream about spring break. Whether you need a last-minute long weekend close to home or a cross-country adventure worthy for the chronicles of family legend, here are five underrated places to take that well-earned siesta in the sun.
To get off the grid, look no further than Gateway Canyons Resort in western Colorado, where you’ll be surrounded by red rock formations and cooled by the Dolores River. Along with the spa, pool and four on-property restaurants, visit the Adventure Center to plan hikes, horseback riding, rafting or rock climbing with staff experts who know the lay of the land. For a slight extra cost, families can even reserve time with retired Marine aviator Lt. Col. Al Sisson for an air tour of the canyons. Choose a five-passenger helicopter or seven-passenger Cessna Caravan — either way, there will be no time for technology when you’re soaring through the Wild West.
Often considered a hideout for the rich and famous (or at least those who want to be), the City of Angels is also a far-too-underrated destination for the entire family — especially if you choose the right location. Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Terranea Resort, about 30 miles southwest of the city, is an oceanfront property with a championship-caliber nine-hole golf course, day camps for children and activities for teens such as surfing, stand-up paddleboarding and horseback riding. If you want to venture into the city, skip Rodeo Drive and head instead to Melrose Avenue, a shopping district that features boutiques such as Tenoversix and Creatures of Comfort. For a family dinner, the choices are endless. From acclaimed chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo’s seafood mecca Son of a Gun to the well-established, graze-as-you-go Farmers Market, Los Angeles sets the standard for excellent fare nationwide.
As far as spring break is concerned, Boston has everything a family could want: mild weather, beautiful parks and a whole lot of history, too. Don’t worry about renting a car — the city’s public transit system is so reliable (and remarkably clean) that there is no need for the extra expense. For Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizza, check out Pastoral, a pizza house that opened at the end of March in the foodie haven Fort Point. Or opt for brunch in Cambridge at Tatte Bakery & Café and order a cup of housemade pumpkin muesli or a croque monsieur on a made-from-scratch croissant. For harbor views and luxury amenities (yoga classes, spa services, local cuisine with exquisite wine pairings), reserve a suite at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Boston Harbor Hotel. If the weather turns sour, never fear: Boston has plenty of indoor attractions as well — from the famed Boston Children’s Museum, which boasts hands-on art and science exhibits, to the New England Aquarium, which is located just three blocks from the hotel.
Kiawah Island, South Carolina
While the rest of the South descends on popular Myrtle Beach or Tybee Island, book a week instead at Kiawah Island, a retreat located just 21 miles from Charleston. A dream destination of preserved marshes, private beaches and manicured golf courses, Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort is a seaside mansion with access to 90 holes of championship golf, a Five-Star spa and shopping. The island is best experienced on two wheels, which the entire family can do. Bikes are available at The Sanctuary to rent by the hour, day, or for an entire week. Kiawah has more than 30 miles of paved bike paths that weave through oaks, Spanish moss and the marshes that make the island a beautiful, family-friendly hideaway.
Palm Beach, Florida
If you’re headed to Florida for a week, don’t miss your chance to spend every possible second beside blue waters. With seven acres of private beaches, Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa is an easy choice. Located on the state’s east coast in the small beachside community of Manalapan, the resort boasts four restaurants and activities for children and teens, including day camps, dance parties, biking and a wide array of water sports. If you need a break from the sunbathing, there is plenty to do in Palm Beach, as well. The National Croquet Center offers free lessons every Saturday at 10 a.m.; and forget the car and the hassle of parking — the Palm Beach Water Taxi offers service to shopping and dining attractions via shuttle or a private chartered boat.
Photos Courtesy of Noble House Hotels and Resort, Terranea Resort and Kiawah Island Golf Resort