December 12, 2017

How to Decide Where Not to Go for Spring Break


spring break girlsIs 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 Five Places Not to Go in Florida During Spring Break

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.

If you are looking for some great trip ideas, you might want to check out this article with Spring Break Family Vacations!

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  1. I saw this post and it immediately caught my interest since I have already made my Spring Break plans. I was thrilled to see that where we were going was not on the list since I am heading to LA to visit my brother. This is great information for traveling with kids. Thanks!

    • Erin Gifford says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Bridgett. Please tell Andrea I said hello. She was one of my very first blogging friends! 🙂

  2. Best advice is to work with a knowledgeable and experienced family travel agent. You particularly mention Miami and Punta Cana as well as Cancun in a few of your links. These and several other destinations do have a bad reputation in the media. Truth is, most reputable family friendly hotels in these destinations have policies in place to prevent spring breakers. Last year I went to Cancun DURING the height of spring break to see for myself. I visited several resorts there that cater to families to see if kids staying at these properties would encounter any issues that would concern me as a mom. The answer was a resounding NO. Unless you plan on taking your young kids on an evening pub crawl, spring breakers won’t be an issue. I even visited local sights like the malls, aquarium, walked the beach…spring breakers are like vampires. They sleep all day and party all night. I honestly didn’t see any reason to tell parents to avoid these wonderful vacation destinations during spring break.
    As far as calling the hotel…normally hotels don’t know who will be staying with them until about two weeks prior to departure. Even at that point, all they have are head counts and numbers. They don’t specifically know their guests nor can they make any predictions about their guest’s personalities or behavior. For hotels, it’s all about sales. Even if they had a porn convention booked during the week you were planning a vacation with your kids, chances are they wouldn’t tell you because their objective is to sell rooms. It’s true that every hotel has a certain vibe that tends to entice different types of clientele. A travel agent who has visited a specific resort in person can be your best friend…especially if they visit the same area frequently. They will know all the details about the kids club and whether each room has free flowing liquor dispensers.

  3. Tonya @ The Traveling Praters says:

    Hmmmm….you really don’t want to be on the beach with MTV? I can’t imagine why not! lol My kids have wanted to visit Panama City for the past couple years and last time we were passing through we were tempted but then realized it was indeed spring break and just couldn’t bring ourselves to do it. The thought of being surrouned by throngs of party hardy college kids is not my idea of fun either. Great tips, Erin!

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