Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Cool Deals for Beach Vacations and Spring Break Getaways



The beach in St. Barth's at Le Guanahani Resort, which is offering Spring Break deals for families.


After a grueling winter for most of the country, polls are pointing to the beach as Americans' most desired getaway this spring. For families, "beach" is usually the first choice year-round, so this isn't much of a surprise.

What travelers consider a beach, however, seems to be evolving into a destination where it's warm enough to swim in the pool. Let's take a look at family options for spring break 2015.

AAA Asks Travel Agents Who's Booking Where?


According to AAA's survey of travel agents bookings, these are the Top 10 Spring Break destinations that clients have booked.

1.  Orlando, Florida
2.  Los Angeles, California (Anaheim)
3.  San Diego, California
4.  Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
5.  Miami, Florida
6.  Fort Lauderdale, Florida
7.  Washington, D.C.
8.  New York, New York
9.  Seattle, Washington
10. San Francisco, California

Trivago Asks Which Destinations Are You Searching?


In a survey looking at hotel room searches online by Americans, the metasearch engine Trivago.com  found these to be the highest ranking Spring Break destinations:

1.  Las Vegas, Nevada
2.  New York, New York
3.  Orlando, Florida
4.  New Orleans, Louisiana
5.  Miami, Florida
6.  Chicago, Illinois
7.  San Francisco, California
8.  Fort Lauderdale, Florida
9.  San Diego, California
10. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Although seven of the top 10 destinations are the same, perhaps the differences in ranking can be attributed to where people are actually going (the AAA bookings) and where they are hoping to go (the Trivago searches.) In any case, Trivago reminds us that hotel prices in New York and San Francisco, for example, have risen $50 per night on average since February, indicating that hotel room occupancy is definitely up, up, up.

So in keeping with the wishes of the masses, here are some fun beach destinations that may not be on your radar yet, meaning they'll be more affordable.  Let us know where you end up.

 

Always Thinking Outside the Room in California


Beachfront and health-oriented, many California beach locations are near surf breaks, but there are really fine resorts where a multitude of outdoor sports, spas and recreation offer non-beach fun as well.


Pebble Beach is welcoming kids to its famous golf courses this  spring.

Golf & Horses are Warmer than the Pacific


To combine the sea with golf and kids activities, go no further west than Pebble Beach. "Pebble Beach Explorers" offers even the youngest guests the amenities of both Pebble Beach Resorts and the Monterey Peninsula, with scavenger hunts, horseback riding, tennis and golf, itinerary planning, and more. The package allows ages 12 and under to eat all meals (with a paying adult), and play tennis, golf, or horseback ride for free. From March 1-July 31, 2015, the package starts at $595 per night. Visit Pebble Beach or call 888/251-9790.

Surf, Safaris and Legoland


About 45 minutes north of San Diego, the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa is offering exclusive love-the-outdoors packages to the fun San Diego Zoo Safari Park, including a room, 2 adult entry tickets and a daily "Grab & Go" lunch from their Marketplace Cafe. Stay a few days and you'll have time to visit Legoland too. Are you guilty that you're not camping in Carlsbad? We love that the hotel also offers full camping regalia for kids in the room, from a tent to folding chairs, with great tips and sleeping bags to take home. Just book online or call 866/716-8134 and ask for rate plan LWPKG1.


Poolside in Palm Springs


For less sand in the sheets, head to Palm Springs to the  Renaissance Indian Wells. It's located in the heart of greater Palm Springs -- one of our top same sex couples with kids destinations. The 560-room resort has a big multi swimming pool complex, faux sandy beach and free "Spring Days of Discovery" activities (March and April) with supervised games, bouncy house, on-lawn water slide, one-of-a-kind sand castle competition, group yoga, movie afternoon, and desert animal meet-and-greets. There's more at Easter, and family pricing on a "Spring Break in the Desert" package valid March 20-April 9, when double rooms start at $299 per night.


Tropical All-Inclusives where Kids Stay Free

 

Raggs cartoon characters do meet & greets around the Palladium Resorts' pools.

 We like the Palladium Hotel & Resorts chain because of its fun and educational Raggs characters who entertain kids. In their must-book-soon Spring Sale, valid till March 31st, 2015, families who book by March 31 and travel through April 30 (except from March 29-April 5, 2015), will find big savings. At their Caribbean and Mexico resorts, up to two kids per room pay only half the regular rates, with adult nightly rates starting at US$127. The Miniclub is open daily 9am - 11pm at no charge, and there's tons of watersports, land recreation and nightly entertainment for all ages. Offers vary by hotel, are subject to availability, and may be discontinued without notice. See Palladium Hotel Group for more information.


International Tropics, No Passport Needed


In Puerto Rico, where Easter is a big deal, two hotels are trying to make the school break more affordable and fun for families. The Condado Plaza Hilton in San Juan is planning Easter cookie decorating, face painting, an egg scavenger hunt with Mr. Bunny, face painting, movie and popcorn time at the Kid’s Room, tropical tastes such as fresh fruit pinchos and popsicles, multiple yoga classes and salsa lessons, and more. Families who book a stay with the resort’s new “Winter Escapes” offer can enjoy a $100 resort credit, daily breakfast and rates which start from $179/night based on a four-night minimum stay.

Going sky high on the upper upscale, the lovely El Conquistador Resort has all these activities plus a candy buffet, Easter Sunday Mass, beach relay races on the resort’s 100-acre private Palomino Island, dive-in movies, and a speed slide competition at the state-of-the-art Coqui Water Park. In addition, all ages can visit the resort’s award-winning Waldorf Astoria Spa or its dedicated children’s spa program, Ki’ Spa, for seasonal spa treatments. Nightly rates start from $289 at El Conquistador Resort.

Beachfront Adventures in the Caribbean

 

Beach outside a cabin at le Guanahani on St. Barth's.

Heading even more upscale, exclusive and very private, Le Guanahani on St. Barth's is looking forward to seeing springbreakers. Families, that is, as this 18-acre compound with private cottages along two beaches is said to have the only kids program on the island. The supervised camp is divided into a Kindergarten for ages 2-6, and a Junior’s Club (ages 6-12), both open daily from 9am to 5pm. Kids-only activities range from singing, painting seashells, and making jewelry to snorkeling, canoeing, windsurfing, and volleyball. Parents can join in tennis, hiking, kite-boarding, paddle boarding, wind surfing or kayaking then dine beachfront at Indigo, which also has a kids menu. There's plenty of lodging to choose from among the 30 rooms, 27 suites and 10 signature suites; spring rates start at $972 per night. If you can make it over the dates March 19 to 22, you'll catch the annual Saint Barth's Bucket Regatta, when 40 yachts and boats race competitively and crews and skippers like to party.


So now, how many of you are dreaming of Las Vegas in spring?

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