March and April are tricky times to travel, as just about everyone with school-aged kids is doing the same thing. But there are places you can go without having to sit in hours of traffic.
Before leaving, prepare your home for your absence. Ask neighbors to keep an eye out for suspicious behavior or park their car in your drive so it looks occupied. Some wireless alarm systems allow you to remotely check in on your home via apps and the Internet. This way you can enjoy your trip without fearing for your home's security.
If you want to avoid the lines of Disneyland but don't want to sacrifice fun and family time, here are a few location ideas that will make this year's spring break more than memorable:
An Outdoor Adventure
Explore one of the nation's many national parks. We suggest Yellowstone, Yosemite or the Grand Canyon. You can hike, bike and camp at each of these locations, but there's more to be done than picture-taking at each of these parks. Go horseback riding or llama packing at Yellowstone, and don't forget to stop off and see America's favorite geyser Old Faithful. Play I Spy at Yosemite — the amount of granite, glaciers, waterfalls, wildlife and giant sequoias will keep you busy for hours. Spend days trekking the Grand Canyon, experiencing the grandeur of a powerful and awe-inspiring landscape. Encourage your kids to become a National Park junior ranger while there. Usually you only need to fill out a couple of worksheets about the local wildlife to get a badge and become a junior ranger.
Soak Up the Sun
If sunny beaches are calling your name, San Diego has plenty of fun and free activities for the whole family. Besides playing in the ocean, you could fly a kite in Mission Bay Park, go to the San Diego Zoo, visit any of the many museums of Balboa Park, stroll through farmer's markets, spend a day at SeaWorld or have a bonfire on the beach. SanDiego.org suggests families have a picnic at Torrey Pines State Beach where you can watch hang gliders do tricks along the coastal cliffs.
For History Buffs
Even if your kids would get bored hopping from historical museum to museum, there's plenty more to do in Washington D.C. than visit national monuments. Intermix a few hours at the National Zoo with some time at the Nation's Capitol. Visit the Lincoln Memorial before heading over to the National Air and Space Museum or National Museum of Natural History. DC by Foot, a walking tour company, gives free kid-friendly tours that are full of fun facts, games and trivia, according to Washington.org. Before embarking on your journey, send kids to the library to find guidebooks about the city's attractions. Instruct them that they'll be responsible for choosing one place to visit each day of your trip!
Home Sweet Home
Take a staycation. Visit any parks, children's museums or landmarks of your city that you haven't gotten around to seeing. If you're afraid staying at home won't feel like a vacation, stay at a hotel. You'll be saving money on plane tickets and car rentals, so why not splurge and rent a room at a resort? Enjoy all your city has to offer while making memories with your family — as the saying goes, it doesn't matter where you go it matters who you go with.