It’s time to start planning your next vacation and you want to spend some time outside. But where will you go? Sandy beaches with swaying palm trees and clear blue waters? Rocky mountain trails with spectacular views? Warm deserts with red rocks and cacti as far as the eye can see? Forests and gardens surrounded by plenty of green and colorful flowers? Maybe even wandering outdoors in the big city. The best part is you get to choose.
If you’re contemplating spring break ideas or summer vacation plans, get outdoors and start exploring while the weather is warm and the sun is shining.
Travel with Kids to Paradise
The Caribbean is probably the closest you can get to paradise. These tropical islands have unbelievable seascapes full of bright blues and greens, plenty of sunshine and happy, helpful locals. Relax at the resort pool or play along the beach, but don’t forget to check out other outdoor kids activities. In Aruba, make friends at the Donkey Sanctuary or explore the Aruba caves. Adventuring through Belize, take a boat ride down Monkey River, snorkel at the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, go zip lining and race hermit crabs. Puerto Rico is another amazing spot, with bioluminescent bays where the water glows bright.
More tropical spots can be found in North America. On the Hawaiian island of Maui, explore the black sand beach of Wai’anapanapa State Park or head out on a snorkeling adventure where you can spot humpback whales. California’s Catalina Island is a great place for a submarine expedition and a desert hike. You can even head down to Mexico’s western coastline for colorful sunsets and warm water to splash around in.
To the east, the coast is a bit different—but still fun to explore. In Maine, find tiny marine animals in the tidal pools along the rocky coast or wander near the Portland Head Light. Down in Florida, bounce around the Gulf Coast Islands on a boat or look for local wildlife.
For a truly unique adventure, have your day at the beach in South Africa. As far as spring break ideas go, this isn’t a bad one. Ride a rickshaw to explore the local town.
Up on the Mountaintop
If you prefer a little more elevation, take to the mountains to explore. Estes Park, Colorado offers many fun kids activities Climb, run, swim or search for waterfalls, snow or wildlife. Either way, you’re bound to enjoy yourselves. Rocky Mountain lovers will enjoy scrambling over rocks on the Hanging Lake Trail in nearby Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
For a different kind of mountain experience, try hiking a volcano instead. Maui’s Haleakala stands at 10,023 feet so you can see nearly the entire island from the top. Explore the crater or ride your bike down to the bottom.
Kids Activities in the Desert Sun
In the western United States, the red rocks of Arizona and Colorado provide beautiful scenery for hiking. In Sedona, Arizona you can take a Pink Jeep Tour to see the sights, including Submarine Rock and Chicken Point. Colorado Springs’ Garden of the Gods welcomes you with the North Gateway Rock then gives way to an exciting hike full of other rock formations. Packing a picnic and trying to identify the formations while you eat can make your trip into a game.
Internationally, explore the deserts of Africa on a safari trip that will let little ones see animals from the zoo out and about in the wild. In Tanzania, you can also learn to make a fire with sticks and how to throw a spear—survival techniques that may come in handy in the wild.
Enjoying the Greenery
Some of the best spring break ideas are those that involve lots of GREEN. Being surrounded by plants and flowers really allows children to feel like a part of nature, especially if you live in a big city. Greenery can be found everywhere—in Monet’s gardens in France, along the river in New Zealand’s Karangahke Gorge Reserve, in the rainforests of Puerto Rico and Hawaii, under the Redwoods in California or in the Denver Botanic Gardens.
Although beaches, mountains, deserts and forests make us think of the great outdoors, you can get outdoors in the city as well. Concrete jungles are the perfect mixture of nature and hustle-and-bustle. Meandering with a stroller can be one of the best ways to get outdoors and see the city. Start your day by walking past the massive skyscrapers and search for a quiet park. San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park and New York’s Central Park are perfect examples of green spots in the middle of urban cities.