Is Spring Break on your mind? It’s definitely on my mind as I’ve been planning out a South Florida adventure for myself and my two older daughters (ages 7 & 9). Part of my plans originally included a two-night stay in Key West until I remembered my college trip to Key West, which included sunset booze cruises from Mallory Square and late nights dancing at Rick’s on Duval Street. Yikes.
Since I can’t imagine too much has changed in Key West in the last 15+ years, I nixed Key West. It might be good for a day trip (Ernest Hemingway Home, Key West Aquarium, Key West Lighthouse, etc.), but probably not the kind of place I want to spend the night, at least not if I want to sleep. That quick memory got me thinking about where else I don’t want to take my kids over Spring Break, and I put together a few quick tips to help you find similar spots to avoid with your family:
Do a Quick Web Search. I opened up Google, typed in “spring break” and “college.” One of the first articles I found was Spring Break Hot Spots on the Travel Channel website with a slideshow of the top 12 Spring Break party destinations. I can tell you already that South Beach (Miami), Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) and Panama City Beach (Florida) are out for me and my family, at least for Spring Break.
Look for Package Deals. Not for yourself, but look for those travel packages geared toward college students. There are plenty of them on the web, so this is another easy way to figure out where not to go if you’r looking for family-friendly (and family-appropriate) fun during Spring Break.
Call Your Hotel. Before you finalize your travel plans, call the hotel that you are considering booking and ask about the guests that plan to stay there the week you arrive. Are they primarily college students or families? Also, ask about swim-up bars (more for those traveling sans children) and kids clubs and other family activities (clearly, more for families).
Seek Out Hotel Reviews (from Last Year). Head to TripAdvisor, look up your hotel and scroll back to similar travel dates last year to see what guests had to say. This may give you a good indication of the kinds of hotel guests that patronized the hotel during Spring Break last year.
Call the Local Visitors Bureau. Dial up the local tourism bureau to get a feel for the expected vibe of the town over the dates you plan to visit. It’s always a good idea to try to find out whether bikini contests, massive outdoor beach parties or MTV plan to be on the beaches.
Another great tip is to Google “where not to go for spring break.” Here are a few of the articles I pulled up when I did this exact search:
USA Today: The 10 Trashiest Spring Break Destinations
Huffington Post: Top 10 College Spring Destinations for 2012
Each of these articles gave me a pretty good feel for where not to take my family this year for Spring Break. Do you have any other tips for figuring out where to avoid when you travel? Let me know in the comments section below.
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