Spring is in the air and as the days get longer, it’s time to think about your spring break plans. The United States is filled with vast traveling options, but it is the road trip that will be cost-efficient, and an educational experience for all involved. All you need are the essentials – a car, a map (or, more likely, a navigation system) and the sense of adventure.
Nestled in the Colorado Rockies approximately 100 miles west of Denver, Vail has a multitude of affordable, outdoor experiences just over the Continental Divide—try your hand at snowshoeing, hiking and sledding. If you are coming from the east, make a pit stop in Silverthorne, home to outlet shopping that your penny-bank can’t refuse. If your spring break falls close to the Easter weekend, experience the mountain’s annual closing weekend – Spring Back to Vail. The event offers warm temperatures, live concerts and the World Pond Skimming Championships.
The historic Lookout Mountain Parkway extends 93-miles from Gadsden, Ala. to Chattanooga, Tenn. The beautiful, scenic drive will have your Nikon camera in constant photo-snapping mode as you witness the picturesque canyons and waterfalls. The quaint towns you pass through will give you spring break stories to tell back home. In addition, you will discover year-round activities and sights in both the state and national parks including the Parkway’s signature rhododendrons and mountain laurels flowering throughout your drive.
“Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona…” is truly a sight to see, as there are several ways to enjoy this small western town. Travel from anywhere in the United States and take a scenic route that will give you history and trivia for the long car ride. Or, hop on the train – the town has its own AMTRAK depot, which drops you off directly in front of the La Posada Hotel & Gardens, a historical hotel that dates back to the spring of 1930. The AMTRAK train stops in Winslow twice daily on the Los Angeles/Chicago line. Stay overnight or spend a couple of days at the La Posada – room rates start at $119 per night and you will be enchanted by the Winslow Arts Trust exhibits featuring newspaper articles and images of the hotel’s history.
A composite volcano in northern Oregon, Mt. Hood is the fourth highest mountain in the Cascade Range. During the spring, the weather in town is warmed by the sun, but keeps the icy alpine temps when you reach the mountaintop. Mt. Hood is known for “first-timers,” as many come here to take ski and snowboard lessons. Half-day group lessons are $75 (two-hour lesson), while full-day lessons are $95 (four-hour lesson). What to bring? Waterproof pants, gloves and a jacket are a must! And, don’t forget goggles or sunglasses – the JuicyOrange Ski Snowboard Sports Goggles ($14.95, Amazon.com) will tone down the glare off the snowy, white mountains.
If the great outdoors is on your list of spring break adventures, take a drive to the Adirondacks. Located near Lake Placid, where both the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games took place, you will discover a cozy, quaint town surrounded by a world-class ski area, hikes and other alpine activities. In addition, you will want to check out the High Peaks for uphill climbing as well as kayaking through the St. Regis Canoe Area. Don’t forget that you are in the wilderness and make sure you are prepared for the weather and the wildlife.