Save, Spring, Splurge: Spring Break Destinations for Families

by  Sheryl Nance-Nash | Updated on Feb 28, 2020
Family on the beach
Family on the beach / monkeybusinessimages/iStock

After a chilly winter season, you may be considering a spring break getaway but don't want to break the bank. However, your vacation doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg – even if you’re traveling with the whole family. Here are a few destinations and resorts at different price points that offer kid-friendly activities.


Santa Fe, New Mexico

Where to Stay: This spring, plenty of properties in Santa Fe are offering fantastic deals for visiting families. For example, La Fonda on the Plaza is offering a special promotion for kids to stay (and play!) for free. This package (from $349 per night) includes one guest room for two adults and two children under 17, complimentary breakfast, and four tickets to Santa Fe Mountain Adventures Off Road Tour.

What to Do: If you’re looking for even more kid-friendly activities in Santa Fe, you’re in luck. Head to the Santa Fe Climbing Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. or any time on Sundays to save 20 percent on climbing (without this promotion, an adult day pass is $16 and a child day pass is $12, excluding the $7 rental fee for shoes and harnesses. Also note children must be at least five years old to climb). If you’re looking to learn more about Santa Fe’s arty side, head to the Museum of International Folk Art, which is free for kids 16 and under. Looking to spend some time exploring nature? Also, stop by the 122-acre Wild Life West Nature Park, which has its own zoo ($9 per adult, $5 per student, free for kids under five). Before you head home, indulge your sweet tooth at the Art of Chocolate Cacao Santa Fe; the company runs chocolate tours each Saturday at 11:00 a.m. (the tours are free for kids under 12, and $10 for everyone else).

Chicago, Illinois

Where to Stay: While spending spring break in Chicago may not sound as tropical as, say, an island would, there’s still tons to see and do. In terms of lodging, check out the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel’s "Family Play" promotion, which offers a  50 percent discount on valet parking, four Shake Shack vouchers, a puzzle, and a scorecard for the property’s Springtime Scavenger Hunt. What’s more, the scorecard will serve as a voucher for a drink or dessert at Game Room, which also has games such as bocce ball, billiards, shuffleboard, chess, and checkers. Additionally, the hotel features six other restaurants and lounges, and even an indoor playground and basketball court.

What to do: Staying in Chicago means you’re never too far from kid-friendly attractions, including Millennium Park, Maggie Daley Park, the Lincoln Park Zoo, Adler Planetarium, and the Chicago Children’s Museum. While you’re in town, be sure to pop into Willis Tower — one of the tallest buildings in the Western hemisphere — which is home to Skydeck Chicago - The Ledge (general admission is $26 for adults and $18 for children ages three through 11). The Ledge's glass boxes extend out nearly four feet from the Skydeck on the 103rd floor (1,353 feet above ground). Once you make it to the top, enjoy views that span a whopping 50 miles and four states.


Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Where to Stay: If you’re looking to escape to a tropical oasis, look no further than Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Consider a stay at the all-inclusive Moon Palace Resort, which offers both kids and adults their very own slice of paradise (plus, kids under 17 stay for free). The resort features its own kids and teens club, which is complete with air hockey, arcade games, an indoor ball pit, Xbox and Wii games, and karaoke. If your little ones are looking for even more adventure, they can head to the pool and waterpark area, which features a FlowRider and Double Wave Simulator. While the kids enjoy their fun in the sun, you can treat yourself to some much-needed R&R at the AWE Spa (it’s the largest spa on the island). Additionally, if you’re looking for some family bonding time, consider snorkeling and paddle boarding as a family (also, be sure to ride the waves together on a Hobie Cat, a small sailing catamaran that's perfect for families). Since you’re at an all-inclusive resort, you can enjoy your vacation without worrying what everyone’s eating for dinner. The property provides loads of dining options, from seafood to Mexican cuisine and everything in between (along with 24-hour room service and snack options for mid-day munching). What’s more, the property is also offering several other packages, which include discounts of up to 45% on rates.  


Maui, Hawaii

Where to Stay: How fast can you say aloha? Year-round, kids under 18 can stay for free at the luxe Fairmont Kea Lani. Situated on Polo Beach and surrounded by palm trees and lush greenery, the property features a serene spa, seven restaurants and lounges, three pools (one that is adults-only, and two family-oriented ones that connect by way of a 140-foot waterslide), and 24-hour room service. The resort also offers activities such as canoeing, hula lessons, ukulele lessons, fish feeding at their Koi pond, and a torch lighting ceremony. Here, kids under five can eat for free, as long as they’re accompanied by a paying adult. Children will love the complimentary Keiki Lani Kids Club, a 1,500 square foot, kid-friendly oasis, which has an elevated performance stage and a crafting area, among other amenities. Activities here include volcano building, sand castle making, hula lessons, tide pool exploring, and so much more. 

Orlando, Florida

Where to Stay: At the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, kids under five can eat for free. One highlight of the resort is the five-acre Explorer Island, which features a lazy river and waterslides. Explorer Island is also home to The Hideout, which is where you’ll find video games, pinball, and billiards. Additionally, The Mansion at Explorer Island is perfect for family bonding and features table tennis, bocce ball, pool tables, and an outdoor fireplace.  During spring break, guests at the property will enjoy extra resort activities, all complimentary. For example, Kids For All Seasons (the resort’s complimentary camp for children ages four through 12) will offer hula-hoop contests, lazy river boat races, water balloon wars, laser tag, balloon artistry, face painting, airbrush tattoos, hair wraps, amongst an array of other activities your kids can choose from. In addition, each Thursday and Saturday evening, families can head to the pool to watch a Dive-In movie. However, it’s not just kids who have all the fun here. Parents can relax at the spa, enjoy some kids-free privacy at a serene adults-only pool, or get their fill of golf and/or tennis. Before you book, be sure to check out the resort’s offers tab.

What to do: The resort is on Walt Disney World property, which means you're close to all the action. From the resort, expect a 13-minute drive to Magic Kingdom and Epcot, and a 17-minute drive to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, respectively. (the hotel provides complimentary transportation to the parks via luxury motor coaches). Also, since you'll be staying on property, be sure to take advantage of exclusive Disney perks, such as access to EXTRA MAGIC HOURS benefit and DISNEY FASTPASS+ up to 60 days before your arrival. The resort also offers character breakfasts on Thursdays and Saturdays (and select Tuesdays) for an additional charge.


Where to Stay: Take advantage of the Elegant Hotel Group’s collection of properties around the island. At Tamarind; Turtle Beach; Crystal Cove; and the Colony Club, children five and under stay free. Take your pick of waterskiing, tube rides, stand up paddle boarding, sailing, and kayaking. Additional activities at the properties may vary, but you can expect to find painting classes on the beach, cooking demos, walking tours, and other activities on the schedule. 

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