Family-friendly destinations to visit this spring
Spend quality family time this spring with a trip to a kid-friendly destination. Exciting activities will ensure happy memories that stay for years to come. | By Paul Oswell | March 1, 2023
It pays to think beyond the usual theme parks when it comes to choosing a family vacation destination. These must-visit locations feature activities that are expertly curated for families, with fun ways for kids to learn and develop while they have unforgettable stays. Here are some of our top suggestions for family fun this spring:
Fun Phoenix: Wildlife encounters, waterslides and world-class art await curious young travelers
Playful Park City: Hiking, horses and thrilling ski slopes add to the excitement of the great outdoors
Amazing Anguilla: Enjoy snorkeling, scavenger hunts or horseback riding on this idyllic island escape
There are many incredibly family-friendly cities in the American Southwest and Phoenix is a particularly welcoming city for an enjoyable spring break. The Phoenix Zoo is well regarded for its conservation programs and VIP experiences for animal-loving visitors. These range from Discovery Tours on private eco-shuttles to backstage meetings with animal ambassadors and customizable wildlife adventures.
At the Phoenix Art Museum, join a PhxArt Field Trip for Kids program or Family Fun Day, with arts-engagement programming suitable for all ages. In nearby Tempe, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Arizona is another perfect day out for multi-generational groups. The VIP experience here includes a personal host who accompanies your family throughout the day, sharing tips and modeling facts, as well as presenting a behind-the-scenes look at the park’s workshops.
For a unique souvenir, head to Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, where you’ll find a resident artist that will draw charming caricatures of you and your family. The resort also runs yoga and lawn games for families, including corn hole, pickleball and bocce ball. There’s also plenty of fun to be had on the triple waterslide and saguaro splash pad in the Paradise Pool. Take a guided historical walk around the neighborhood, or around the property itself. Before bedtime, future astronauts can enjoy a stargazing experience and see the Milky Way through powerful telescopes with knowledgeable astronomers from Arizona Star Tours.
Park City, Utah
Visit Park City for its acres of ski and snowboarding trails through mid-April. Once the weather warms, families can still bask in the great outdoors, and there are plenty of kid-friendly activity options. Park City is home to more than 400 miles of trails for hiking or biking adventures suitable for every age and skill level. Gentle slopes and beautiful scenery await on tracks such as Dawn’s Trail or Gambel Oak Loop.
Take in stunning landscapes on a guided horseback ride, riding through the mountains and foothills around Park City, overlooking alpine valleys, lakes and rivers. Trot through the Aspen groves of Deer Valley or rise to the Jordanelle Reservoir views of Heber Valley. Take a day trip to Arches National Park, a four-hour drive from Park City, to experience the longest natural stone arch in the U.S. For even more outdoor adventure, try a family river rafting trip with highly experienced guides on the Weber River and spot the local wildlife, including marmots, chipmunks and squirrels.
The fun continues at Waldorf Astoria Park City. If you visit during ski season, the property is conveniently located near the slopes. The resort also runs Marley the Moose scavenger hunts, and younger guests can earn a special Moose Scouts pin for each adventure they complete. The Little Miners Camp package includes a tent set up in the room when your family arrives, an in-room camping experience that includes a stuffed animal, camping lantern and a book to take home. As well as the all-season heated pool and a special welcome for family dogs, the resort also has the perfect family nightcap — complimentary s’mores roasting kits to enjoy at the on-site fire pits.
Anguilla, West Indies
The calm, clear water that surrounds the island of Anguilla makes for an idyllic family vacation at any time of the year. This tranquil destination caters to a relaxed pace, allowing for quality time with each other. One of the best ways to explore the island is to hire a private boat tour to see some of the most scenic coves and hidden beaches. Snorkeling with your kids at Small Bay or taking the boat out to Sandy Island is a perfect outing for families, and if you have time for scuba lessons (or are already qualified), then you can see eagle rays and giant crabs.
If your kids are over the age of 5, then your whole family can enjoy one of the most memorable activities on the island: Horseback riding on gentle and graceful Paso Fino horses. Smaller children can ride in front of you on the same saddle as you take in the astounding views from the backs of these wonderful animals.
Your kids will also be well looked after at Zemi Beach House, LXR Hotels & Resorts. The on-site Kids’ Club provides all the latest toys, video games and supervised entertainment for guests ages 4-12. Head to the resort’s glass infinity pool for mermaid swimming lessons (mermaid tails included, of course!) and a certificate from the coach at the end. The hotel even has an environmental program to teach younger guests how to protect the coral reef that sits in front of the property. Guides can also take children to see a hawksbill turtle nest — where a turtle has been returning to the same spot at the hotel’s beach for 20 years.
With so many options for families of all types, a spring getaway to Phoenix, Park City or Anguilla will undoubtably raise the bar for future family travel adventures and provide the perfect combination of connection and fun.
Paul Oswell is an award-winning travel writer, and has been reporting from all seven continents for over twenty years. He is based in New Orleans and is the author of “The Bucket List North America: 1,000 Adventures Big and Small.”