Going away with grandparents has its advantages. There’s the bonding, the memories, the (hopefully) free babysitting. And I never see my kids as excited about a vacation as when they know their grandparents are coming.
Spring break may not be the obvious time for a multi-gen getaway—but why not? We rounded up some destination ideas that offer something for family members of every age.
This mangrove-fringed barrier island on Florida’s Gulf Coast is sunny, relaxed, and very family-friendly. The flat terrain makes it easy to get around by bicycle, and there are 25 miles of paved trails to explore. Visit the Sanibel Island Lighthouse and the fishing pier on the east side, where you can spot dolphins and manatees or do a spot of fishing before indulging in the pancakes at Lighthouse Café. Nature-loving families can kayak through the mangroves or hunt for sand dollars on the beach before heading to Gramma Dot’s at Sanibel Marina for lunch by the water. It’s worth hiring a boat from the neighboring Captiva Island for a day on the ocean. Moor up at Cabbage Key, a 100-acre island that’s home only to an inn and restaurant for an early lunch.
Where to Stay: For family-friendly luxury—golf, pickleball and poolside massages are all on offer—try the 23-acre Casa Ybel resort. Spread out in Sanibel Moorings’ three-bedroom condos; the property has a pool and tennis courts.
National Harbor, Maryland
Less than 15 years old, this sprawling multi-use property on the Potomac River has more than 40 restaurants, the Tanger Outlets, the MGM National Harbor casino, and a kids’ carousel. Yet it’s also just five minutes from Washington D.C.; everyone can get their culture fix while staying out of the urban fray. If you’re traveling in March, the cherry blossoms will be in full bloom. For a fun family adventure with the best views, ride the Capital Wheel when it’s dark. You’ll find plenty of upscale, kid-friendly dining spots such as Fiorella Italian Kitchen & Pizzeria.
Where to Stay: The Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center has excellent facilities, including a pool. Kids (and grownups) will love the colorful fountain shows and milkshakes at Replay at Pose Rooftop Lounge.
Savannah is one of the most beautiful cities in the U.S.—but it can also be uncomfortably hot and humid in summer. Spring brings cooler temperatures and makes this walkable town especially easy to navigate, though the hop-on, hop-off trolley tour may be easier for the youngest and oldest family members. Explore the historic quarter, strolling past Victorian buildings and squares filled with the iconic live oak trees covered in Spanish moss. Savannah is considered America’s most haunted city, and braver family members might enjoy a ghost tour on foot or in a hearse. In need of a sweet treat? Head to Leopold’s Ice Cream, one of the nation’s oldest ice cream parlors. It’s easy to combine this trip with a short beach escape on nearby Tybee Island.
Where to Stay: The Kimpton Brice Hotel is affordable and centrally located hotel, and has an outdoor pool, restaurant, and daily wine hour. Another option is a Sonder Apartment, a cross between an apartment and a boutique hotel.
For a Spring Break vacation filled with one-of-a-kind experiences, Hawaii’s second biggest island, should be high on your list. The humpback whale migration continues into April, and you can see them by boat or from the shore in places like Wailea Beach. Family surfing lessons are available, and the Maui Ocean Center is worth a visit. The Malama Hawaii program provides opportunities for the whole family to give back by helping with projects such as picking up debris for the Coastal Marine Debris Monitoring Program or gardening and animal grooming at the Leilani Farm Sanctuary.
Yellowstone National Park
National parks can be great for multi-gen vacations, and that’s especially true for Yellowstone. Visitors can experience the outdoors in more active or more mellow ways, depending on inclination and ability. The Circle of Fire driving tour takes you past sites such as Old Faithful, the world-famous geyser. You can also saddle up and go horseback riding or enjoy a traditional Western cookout. Yellowstone also celebrates its 150th anniversary this year—it was the first national park created in the U.S.
Where to Stay: Mammoth Hot Spring Hotel & Cabins is one of several options inside the park; its two-room cabins can sleep six guests. For a more unusual lodging experience, opt for safari-style camping at Under Canvas Yellowstone, 10 minutes from Yellowstone’s West Entrance in Montana.
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
If you’d prefer to get your sunshine across the border, consider Playa del Carmen, on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. The destination offers a mix of relaxation and adventure, and you don’t need a Covid test to get there. You’ll find grand all-inclusive resorts with excellent restaurants, spas, kids clubs, and white-sand beaches. And while it can be easy to stay cocooned in a resort, it’s worth visiting Cenote Azul, one of the area’s many swimmable natural sinkholes, and the Mayan ruins at Chichin Itza. Most hotels arrange tours, or you can hire a car for a DIY experience.
Where to Stay: Hotel Xcaret Mexico is a locally owned, all-inclusive hotel with 12 restaurants, multiple pools including a family pool, a spa, and free access to seven eco-adventure parks. Another option is the Fairmont Mayakoba, a 600-acre resort with an oceanfront golf course and kids’ club.