Warm, Family Friendly Spot for Spring Break That Doens't Involve Mickey Mouse!!

Updated on July 20, 2009
M.G. asks from Olathe, KS
30 answers

Hi, I've gotten great response to my previous questions, so here I am again. I'd like to find a place to go for spring break that is warm and family friendly. We've done the Dinsey thing to death!! I enjoy Disneyland and Disneyworld, but I'd just like to go somewhere new. I've thought about Mexico, does everyone in the family have to have a pass port? I'm nor sure how much a Mexico trip would cost either, we don't really want to break the bank. Any ideas would be appreciated. I know this is very early to ask, but I figure this way I can check things out ahead of time.

Thank you, M.

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B.S.

answers from Springfield on

My brother loves taking his family to Mexico for vacation, but everyone does need to have a passport. It also helps if you ask around and find out if anyone you know has a time share that they won't be using... this can be fun and inexpensive comparitively.
Have fun!

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T.O.

answers from Kansas City on

How about a carribean cruise. A friend of mine booked one about 6 months in advance and got a great rate.

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V.Y.

answers from Wichita on

Why do you have to go out of the country. Go to Yosemite Park. They have great cabins. Get online for more info. Also What about taking a trip to Colorado, Arizona, Ohio, New York, Georgia, Mississippi. Pick a state and take a road trip. There are interesting things to do in every state. I wish I could afford this.

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S.L.

answers from Kansas City on

Branson is good or St. Louis has many things there to see. Our kids liked Grant's farm,the science museum ( hands on place), Purina farm, river boat rides and other things and almost everything there was free. That was some years ago though so maybe more to see now. Less traffic than Branson but both places we all liked. Also there is Merimac Caverns not too far from St. Louis. We all liked it too.

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V.S.

answers from Kansas City on

We were trying to do something else this year also. We've decided on a Texas vacation. Corpus Christi and San Antonio are both really great places for an alternative to Disney. There are dolphin tours, water activities, surfing lessons, museums, aquarium... the list goes on. San Antonio has Sea World, although it's not as entertaining if you've been to the ones in California or Florida already. There are several other things like the Alamo, Riverwalk, Tower of the Americas, Ripleys, caves, drive through wildlife park, gator farms, etc.

1 mom found this helpful

D.H.

answers from Kansas City on

Gulf shores is great...there are condos you can rent right by the beach and plenty things to do and it is warm. We love going there and haven't been in few years, and hope to go again soon. Good luck and God Bless.

1 mom found this helpful
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B.B.

answers from St. Louis on

We also just went to Pensacola Beach. This was our first time. That whole area - Pensacola, Destin, Sandestin, etc. is so pretty - white beaches and beautiful blue ocean. One of my favorite things is that it's a fairly easy drive. You could do it from St. Louis in one long (12 hour?) day but we broke it up with an overnight stop.

We went to Portofino Island resort. Beach, pools, water trampolines and inflatable slides - really fun for all of us. My four kids are ages 5 to 11.

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K.O.

answers from Wichita on

I agree with the poster that recommended Branson. We just went there with our four boys and we all loved it!
Myrtle Beach or Hilton Head are nice beach areas (Myrtle is very commercial; Hilton Head more upscale).
Also, your boys are old enough to enjoy hiking, fishing, boating, etc. Consider Colorado.
Good luck on making your plans! Enjoy wherever you end up!
K.

1 mom found this helpful
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C.B.

answers from St. Louis on

I recommend Kalahari Resort in Sandusky Ohio. It has the largest indoor waterpark in the country. Plus Cedar Point amusement park is about 8 miles away. Your boys would love Kalahari and so will you. Plus with it being indoors, the weather doesn't matter. I have a 19 and an 11 year old and we just went over the weekend. The whole family had a blast. Nice thing is the waterpark is included in the price of your room. It's a great family atmosphere and very clean. Check it out online.

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S.C.

answers from Kansas City on

We went to an all inclusive resort in Puerto Vallarta last year with my then 3.5 yr old boy/girl twins & 16 yr old daughter. We stayed for 5 nights and had a really good time. There were a few shows in the evening, meals were good, and we really enjoyed the pools & beach. It was a very nice trip for all of us and cost in the neighborhood of $3500. It was family friendly and we didn't have to worry about having appropriate entertainment for our age ranges.

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L.P.

answers from Wichita on

It really depends on what you like to do, but Tennessee down around Pigeon Forge is gorgeous. We always get a cabin at Townsend and then go see things. Dollywood is there, Cades Cove is a day trip with cabins from the 1800's that are really interesting, they have the mill set up and going. It is a lot of fun, my kids are grown now, but we have went the last few years and they look forward to it, as do the grandkids. They know we have a cabin and it has places they can go explore while we are making breakfast, etc.. it is a lot of fun for the entire family! Lot of shops in the area of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg! There is plenty to do, and then you can go to Cherokee, N.C. it is a short drive and lots to do there as well. Questions? Email me back at [email protected]____.com

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S.M.

answers from Kansas City on

Go to St.Thomas VI it dosent reqiure a passport it is US owned. Mexico does require all to have a passport.There are so many guys carrying guns there now it might scare the kids. WE do However love Sandos playacar in Mexico .Or Maui OutriggerHawaii is awesome for Kids and Starfish Tralawny Jamaica is Actuallly the very best for children and you can rent your own cottage . Good luck

C.B.

answers from Kansas City on

pensacola beach, florida! great atmosphere and still "small town"...our favorite vacation spot. sugar white sands and not too touristy. google it! i highly reccomend it, we just got back - email me if you have any questions!

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R.C.

answers from Wichita on

We LOVED Costa Rica. Haven't taken the kids yet, but hope to. Tons of stuff you can do that is not overly commercial. Message me if you want more details.

Have you thought about the Flint Hills? We are in Chase County. You'd be surprised how much you can do here, like a balloon ride, horseback riding in the prairie, live music jams in Cottonwood Falls, etc etc etc. Check out my site at prairiefireinn.com. Oh yeah, the weather, heh heh, you never know, it could be warm, but I wouldn't come here in the spring even for a weekend without clothes for every type of weather! Ha!

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R.M.

answers from Topeka on

I believe that every single member of your family has to have a passport...or at least a passport card....to go into Canada OR Mexico. I just applied for a new passport this week, in anticipation of a trip to Canada and then to Spain..it cost me $100 to get it and it takes 3 - 6 weeks for it to arrive. I think that each and every person has to have one....it didn't mention an age below which they are exempt.
Have you considered Branson Mo? Branson itself has some really great things to do...and Silver Dollar City is a goldmine of activities for the whole family!!! You can get rooms pretty reasonable there...we always stay at the La Quinta and have always been pleased. There are also things to do in Springfield Mo...before or after you do Branson....and it isn't any out of the way to add it to your trip.
There are just tons of places in the US to go to....it just depends upon what you want to do. You can google...."things to do in..... " and fill in the blanks with any destination..it will tell you what the area has to offer.
Good luck...hope you find a fun place to go!!
R. Ann

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C.M.

answers from Springfield on

Clearwater, Florida. Beautiful beaches and plenty for the family to do. Not sure where you live but Allegient flies direct out of springfield for very cheap. We've gone there the past 2 summers and love it!

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K.E.

answers from St. Louis on

One word Cruise!
There is somthing there for everyone.

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C.R.

answers from St. Louis on

As another poster mentioned, you do have to have passports to travel now to Mexico (or any other Caribbean destination). Your boys would need to get a child's passport, which I believe is a few dollars cheaper, but not much! It is valid until they are around 16 yrs old & then they would have to re-apply for an adult version.

You could probably get by MUCH cheaper on a stateside trip; however, if you decide for something more exotic, look into the all-inclusives offered through Apple/Funjet/etc. There are many resorts in Jamaica, Mexico & around the Caribbean that allow children. Some even feature "kid's clubs" and special activity centers that plan activities just for them (allowing you to curl up on the beach with a nice book & fluffy rum beverage undisturbed!) These packages run around $1500-$2000 or more depending on the resort for each adult but only $400 for each child. This will include airfare, hotel, transfers, unlimited food and beverage & most activities on the property. It is definitely higher on the price range, but you'll have no other expenses when you get there. "No worries, mon!"

My hubby & I travel extensively in the Caribbean and have also done Disney many times by ourselves & w/the kids. (Unlike you though, I'd go back tomorrow & the next day & the next day in a heartbeat!!) I have one of those big unwanted bdays next summer and we are planning to take our children who will be 9 & 10 on their 1st trip to our fave island, Jamaica to celebrate. I know that we will have a blast & you will too, whatever you decide!

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K.S.

answers from Kansas City on

not sure if it's too waem there in the spring, but what about Hershey PA? Looks like a fun place to go for a family.

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S.B.

answers from Kansas City on

St. Petersburg Beach, FL (via Tampa): great flat beaches, warm gulf waters. We have done this trip dozens of times in my life...I always enjoy going there. For more exotic, what about Puerto Rico? Good beaches and no passports needed. Bon Voyage!

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V.T.

answers from Kansas City on

My husband and I take our 3 boys (4, 6, 16) to Myrtle Beach every year. Last year we stopped in Louisville, KY on the way and went to the Louisville Slugger Museum and Six Flags. This year we are stopping in Chattanooga (Ruby Falls) on the way there and Memphis, TN (Mud Island) on the way home (to KC). We stay at the Breakers Resort while there - 3 br condo with washer/dryer, etc. We book the Family Plan which includes a free all you can eat buffet breakfast every morning and it is the best we have ever had. The resort has 6 buildings and the one we stay in has a pirate ship in the pool area with an indoor/outdoor lazy river, kids splash pool, indoor pool and 2 hot tubs. The other buildings have hot tubs and pools as well. The resort is ocean front. There is so much to do there - Alligator Adventure, dolphin cruises, parasailing, Myrtle Waves water park and there are tons of places to go in Barefoot Landing and Broadway at the Beach (the two main shopping areas) like the Ripley's Aquarium with the moving sidewalk that takes you through the shark tank. We had an added trip to Tybee Island / Savannah, GA this year and my boys didn't have as much fun although my nieces did.

M.B.

answers from St. Louis on

Hi!
We go to Destin Florida every year and Im absolutely in love with it, I even got married there. I never feel the need to go anywhere else. Im not sure about the passport thing, I have never been to Mexico. But I do book every place we stay off of VRBO.com its (vacation rental by owner). I find booking from the owner is cheaper than a management company! Anyways thats all I got! Good luck!

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D.N.

answers from St. Louis on

You've gotten some great suggestions, and I just wanted to add some of my family's favorites.
We love Gulf Shores, AL, and usually stay out on the peninsula, away from the more tourist-y areas. We also enjoy the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area in the Smokies. Dollywood is so much fun, and there is lots of hiking and beautiful scenery. It sounds corny, but Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana is so much fun! There are tons of rides your 7 year old will be able to ride, too (unlike places like 6 flags). We went on a Carnival Cruise last year and the whole family loved it (it was much more fun than I expected). Finally, we recently discovered (and LOVE) Saginaw, Michigan. It is beautiful and completely different than Florida beaches (which we enjoy, too).

Have fun, wherever you decide to go!

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S.M.

answers from St. Louis on

You could go to Virginia in the Hampton Roads area :)

Virginia Beach is a very nice place to stay and very family friendly (they actually have a fine for cussing). Besides the beach, there is Busch Gardens Williamsburg which is a wonderful fun clean amusement park (no disney allowed :) ) . There is Colonial Williamsburg where you can tour the old settlement and see reenactments and how life was when our country was founded. And there is a lot more in the area, the Navel base if you want a tour, Nauticus museum on the riverfront in downtown Norfolk which is really neat. I am sure I could think of more places but I am kinda on the spot at the moment :)

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L.B.

answers from St. Louis on

HiMichelle,
Our family really likes Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Florida. We stopped by on our way home from Disney several years ago and the kids decided they liked that even better, we have been back several times. Very laid back and relaxing, a very Beach-y vacation.

Good Luck with your planning, I was interested to see what some of the suggestions were, too!

Take Care!
L.

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S.W.

answers from St. Louis on

Hi M., We go to Gulf Shores, AL every sommer and love it. We have done it as early as May and the weather was great. I know that quire a few go there for Spring Break. There is quite a bit to do around there that is only half a day, but you may have to drive a half hour or more. Since you have boys, they would like going to see the Alligators at Alligator Ally (they have Captan Crunch - the largest Alligator). You could drive over to Pensicola, FL and go to the Navel Avation Musum - it's huge, lots of real plans and it's free! They also have an Imax movie, that's not free but was reasonable. You can also take a drive to Mobile, AL and tour the USS Alabama along with a submarine. Plus beautiful beaches. We actually stayed in Fort Morgan, AL (about 12 miles from Gulf Shores). We stayed at the Beach Club and it was really nice. But for where ever you go check our VRBO.com (Vacation Rentals By Owner). You can get some great deals, we have used it for every vacation for the last several years and have several freiends who have used it. Good luck!!

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M.D.

answers from St. Louis on

Try French Lick Resort in Indiana.....beautiful old palatial hotel --the place were the rich and famous used to go in the early days! All renovated...Good food, great service. Lots of kid-friendly activities--games,art classes,cooking classes,bowling, kid club,movie night, playground, indoor and outdoor pools (with a solarium roof if the weather is cold), shuffle board,even horseback riding... Babysitting available. Activities for teens as well--acting/movie classes,geocaching,pizzaria,movies,wii,arcade. Adult activities too--Soak in the natural spring waters, have a massage, play golf. Also things to do in near-by towns--golf, railroad museum, waterpark,amusement park, state park, canoes to rent, hiking. It's something a little different from the normal get-away. It's only about a 4-hr drive from St Louis.

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H.L.

answers from St. Louis on

There are differnt locations, but we go to the Kansas City, KS location... Great Wolf Lodge. It is a great hotel that has an indoor waterpark. The kids love it! There is so much to do there, and a plus for dad, is nearby there is Cabellas! Check out their website and see all cool things they have to offer. Another place is Chattanooga, TN. There you can see Rock City and ride the largest incline railway!

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H.H.

answers from Kansas City on

we only did disney once and that was enough misery for me but we do still enjoy going to Florida but stay away from Disney. Universal Studios is so much better, we also enjoyed Busch Gardens, Gator Land, Sea World, and going to the beach.
In Missouri, St Louis is great with all kinds of activities. The zoo, Science Center, and Grants Farm are free, can go to the Arch, Cardinals game, or Six Flaggs (probably not open in the spring). Branson is also fun with all kinds of different things to do.

If you really like amusement parks. Cedar Point is the best park ever. It is in Sandusky Ohio, has 17 awesome roller coasters, an awesome water park and is right next to Lake Erie. If you live in the KC area, I recommend buying the 160/person passport at World's of Fun/Oceans of Fun, this pass is a park hopper and can go to all their parks in the country. We did this for vacation last year, went to Cincinatti Ohio to Kings Island first, then drove on up to Sandusky and spent 3 days at Cedar Point as it takes more than 1 day to ride everything. We plan to do this trip again next year because the kids loved it so much. With the passport you get unlimited entrance to all the parks they own, get to enter the park earlier than it opens and hit the lines quicker, free parking, discounts on some food places in the park, but we usually leave the park and eat at a restaurant and go back. You can check out their website at www.cedarfair.com plus you get to go unlimited here in KC to Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun. Since you are talking about Spring break you may want to check on the dates first as they may not be open that early in the year.

If you do decide on Mexico, you will need a passport for each person. You want to apply for them 4-6 months in advance as they take several months to get them back. My son went to Haiti on a missions trip. He was leaving the end of July, I applied for his passport in February and we were worried he wasn't going to get his passport in time, it came through a week before he left. They cost over 100.00 each.

Hawaii would probably be cheaper and you won't need a passport. My brother and his family went with their 2 little girls last year, they loved it and want to go back.

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L.B.

answers from Kansas City on

yes-all people need a passport. you can apply online at the Department of State-here is the link for everything that you need to know on them

http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html

san antonio tx is great too for a wildlife ranch where you drive through and can feed the animals from the car (even our 19 month old enjoyed), riverwalk (which you can take a boat ride up and down, and seaworld which you can get discounted tickets online, also the alamo

St augustine Fl, tybee island GA, and Savanah GA are also really beautiful too

hope this helps :)

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