Visitors can spend spring break experiencing the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. // (c) 2013 National Cherry Blossom Festival
Though spring break may have an overwhelming reputation as the party vacation, opportunities and deals abound during this season for a huge variety of travel. Whether your clients are looking for that last visit to the slopes before the snow melts, seeking some sun as winter draws to a close or hoping to find a unique seasonal experience, check out these spring break destinations.
Riviera Nayarit: For Sun Seekers
If you’re hoping to head down Mexico way — but prefer to avoid the wet t-shirt contest atmosphere of traditional spring break hot spots such as Cancun or Riviera Maya — try Riviera Nayarit on for size. With a bevy of activities and cultural offerings all in close proximity, spring breakers can find everything they need here, particularly at one of the all-inclusive resorts where meals, drinks and entertainment are already included in the cost of a stay.
Consider the new and versatile Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta. With options for families, couples and fun-seekers of all ages, the resort offers a variety of on-property entertainment including two pools and a kids’ pool, a stretch of beach, live music and shows, four bars and lounges, six restaurants, a Kids’ Club, watersports, activities and much more. Spring breakers can really make the most of their week, as guests who book three-night stays or longer can receive up to $1,500 in resort credits for room upgrades, tours, spa treatments and golf outings.
Colorado: For Skiers
More into snow than surf? No problem, spring break presents the perfect opportunity to hit the slopes before the weather changes.
Consider heading to Colorado Ski Country, where area resorts are hosting a slew of spring events and deals through March 31, ranging from festivals to races and high intensity competitions.
For a spring break-worthy party in Aspen/Snowmass, the 13th Annual Bud Light Spring Jam will take place March 21-31, with two weekends of competitions, concerts and parties including a performance by the band Grouplove on March 30.
Or, for family-friendly snow days, visit Arapahoe Basin on March 31, where the kids join the Beach’n Egg Hunt, a free Easter event where kids ski the trails in search of eggs or hunt for them on foot.
In conjunction with the season’s events, Colorado ski area resorts are offering special deals for spring snow stays — kids can get free stays, skiing and more in Telluride, and with the Spring Escape package in Aspen/Snowmass, guests are rewarded with deals on lift tickets, lessons and more April 7-14. Many other deals and events for spring break planning can be found online.
Arizona: For Sports Enthusiasts
When it comes to baseball lovers, springtime means one thing and one thing only: spring training. Scottsdale, Ariz., is home to Cactus League Spring Training, making it the perfect spring break destination for fans of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Oakland Athletics, Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers. This year’s schedule runs through March 30, with multiple games played every day.
To turn spring training into a spring vacation, take advantage of special hotel deals in the area, such as the 2013 Spring Training package at W Scottsdale. Baseball swag includes vouchers for two cocktails per person per night of stay, a baseball for autographs, a baseball cap and Cracker Jacks and peanuts in-room upon arrival; and complimentary transportation to Scottsdale Stadium. Rates start at $345 per night, through March 30.
Washington DC: For Spring Flowers
Springtime marks the arrival of one of America’s greatest seasonal treasures: the blossoming of cherry trees in Washington, D.C. The history of cherry blossoms in the nation’s capital dates back to 1912, when Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo gifted 3,000 cherry trees to the city of Washington, D.C. to honor the friendship between the U.S. and Japan. Each year, in commemoration of the gift, the city hosts the National Cherry Blossom Festival — an event that today draws more than 1.5 million people to Washington, D.C.
The festival, taking place March 20 to April 14, features special cherry blossom-themed events, tours, cruises and more, including the free Opening Ceremony on March 23 (advance ticket required) and the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade on April 13.
What better way could there be to experience America’s deepest history and culture than set against a backdrop of blossoming cherry trees?
Hawaii: For Families
Families looking for a beachside spring break probably want to steer clear of locations such as Cancun, Daytona Beach or Punta Cana, where party-fueled college students tend to run wild every year around this time.
Consider heading to Hawaii instead, where spring deals are oriented more toward families and less toward rowdy adolescents.
Families that book an Oahu vacation through All About Hawaii by March 29, get four nights for the price of three at Disney’s Aulani resort, starting at $699 per person for travel from April 10 to May 23.
The package includes four nights’ accommodations for two adults (with the last night for free), free stays for kids ages 17 and under, and a free upgrade on an Alamo rental car.
For island-hopping families, Fairmont offers the Dual Island Package, with which families can receive a free seventh night when they book a minimum three-night stay at Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui and a minimum three-night stay at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii. Rates begin at $519 on Maui and $359 on Hawaii.
Costa Rica: For Adventurers
Those interested in a warm-weather destination that also offers the height of excitement might consider Costa Rica. This Central America destination is a relatively short plane ride from the U.S. and, in addition to its spring break-worthy sunshine and beaches, the country is perhaps best known for its adventure tourism offerings.
With terrain ranging from active volcanoes to rainforests, rivers and waterfalls, activity options include (but are by no means limited to) hiking, kayaking, rafting, windsurfing, horseback riding, ziplining, scuba diving, snorkeling, rock climbing, biking, bungee jumping and surfing.
For a secluded, action-packed and ecologically-mindful experience, check out Rio Perdido in Guanacaste — a private reserve made up of more than 500 acres in a dwarf forest, a rare habitat in Costa Rica. Here, visitors can hike down to a thermal river for a swim in the hot springs; enjoy “aerial canyoning” made up of ziplines, free falls and human pendulums; ride a system of mountain bike trails; and soon, take on the Rio Blanco with the upcoming introduction of river sports.