How to Spring Break With the Entire Family

Itineraries for the perfect family getaway, whether you keep it local or go abroad.

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Lorien Hotel & Spa. Photograph by Fred Licht

Lorien Hotel & Spa

Alexandria, Virginia

Although the Vincente Wolf designed Lorien Hotel and Spa in Alexandria is very chic, it also makes for a fabulous family staycation. Located in the heart of Old Town, there are loads of kid-friendly room options, including double/double rooms, adjoining rooms, and several suites with separate living rooms and pullout couches.

Amenities include a Dream Menu for a guaranteed good nights sleep: complimentary fans for the perfect temperature, a Bedtime Story Library and light clip, night-lights, humidifiers, soothing milk and cookies ($15) and a teddy bear for snuggling ($20).

The Terrace Menu comes with certain rooms and offers sleeping bags for lying under a star-filled sky and telescopes for astronomers of all ages.

And, all Kimpton Hotels are pet-friendly.

Tip: For the adult set—Lorien’s complimentary evening wine hour begins at 5.

Embassy Suites

Northwest, DC

Stay in town for spring break and play tourist. Never been to the top of the Washington Monument, visited the Sackler, or taken a paddleboat out on the Tidal Basin? Book a stay at the newly renovated Embassy Suites in Chevy Chase Pavilion and all the riches of DC are a Metro ride away—the Red Line is located directly below the hotel at Friendship Heights Station.

The hotel is an all-suite property— each room has a separate living room with pullout couch. Hotel amenities include a fitness center and indoor pool (great for tiring out the kids!).

Embassy Suites Washington, DC is offering a Family Fun package that includes free WiFi, late checkout, complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast in Atrio Café each morning. Late checkout is at 2 and is subject to availability and a three-night minimum stay. Rates begin at $291 a night.

Tip: For a night out, have the concierge arrange a sitter and dine and canoodle next door at Range.

National & State Parks

On a budget? A memorable way to enjoy a family vacation while keeping costs in check is to visit a national or state park.

Here you’ll find economical accommodations like cabins and lodges in breathtaking settings. Some are very rustic; others offer full-service cabins with heat, air conditioning, bathroom and shower, and full kitchens. Search online for the location or type of experience you want: hiking, horseback riding, skiing, boating, historic sites. A wintertime rental of a large, full-service cabin in Maryland’s New Germany State Park (not far from Camp David) for $80 a night, including firewood.

Tip: There are more than 30 state and national park camping options within a 50-mile radius of Washington.

One Tank Getaways

Salamander Resort. Photograph by Jim Hanna.

Salamander Resort & Spa


Only an hour away, the Salamander Resort & Spa offers the refined sophistication of a country estate in Virginia horse and wine country. But don’t let “luxury resort” fool you—the Salamander welcomes families with open arms with Friday Night Movie Night, croquet, bingo, arts and crafts, hiking, biking, scavenger hunts, geocaching, cooking classes, fire-pit s’mores, indoor and outdoor pools—there’s no shortage of fun. There’s also Camp Salamander, for ages four to ten.

The quaint town of Middleburg is a short walk from the resort’s winding driveway, and your brood will have fun exploring the historic town, coffee shops, bakeries, restaurants, and charming stores. For lunch or dinner, head to Julien’s Restaurant on Washington Street for casual but delicious French fare.

Tip: Don’t miss Salamander’s tree top canopy tours. This eco-friendly adventure offers a bird’s-eye view of the forest canopy, as well as zip lines and aerial walkways. Participants must be at least eight years old and weigh 70 pounds.

Four Seasons


This hotel’s location, right at the Inner Harbor, is a perfect home base for families exploring the city. It’s walking distance to the Baltimore Maritime Museum, Port Discovery Children’s Museum, shops, water taxis, restaurants, and more.

At check-in, kids receive a welcome amenity—usually an adorable dolphin, as the hotel is steps from the famed Baltimore Aquarium. Also complimentary are childproofing items, tiny Four Seasons bathrobes, cribs, highchairs, playpens, and baby shampoo and soaps. There is also a great kids menu.

Tip: Don’t miss the hotel’s 10,000- square-foot tranquil spa. Be sure to arrive early to enjoy pampering in the restful and luxurious Tea Lounge.

Omni Bedford Springs Resort

Bedford Springs, Pa.

Located in Pennsylvania’s scenic Cumberland Valley, an easy 2.5-hour drive from Washington, the Omni Bedford Springs is a world-class historic resort. Facilities include a 30,000-square-foot spa, historic golf course, fine dining, hiking trails, the country’s oldest indoor pool, outdoor pools, a kids club, and more.

The Omni Sensational Kids program caters to the youngest guests, who receive a backpack filled with fun items when checking in. Little ones at Bedford Springs also get milk and cookies delivered to their room on the first night, and can ask to borrow a rolling backpack full of toys, books, and games.

Kids ages 4 to 12 will love the Anderson’s Explorers kids camp, with a focus on the outdoors and nature.

Tip: Enjoy the fire pit; play old-school games like badminton or bocce ball on the lawn; or try tennis, geocaching, biking, even laser tag.

Farther Afield

Round Hill. Photograph by Ed Foley

Round Hill

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Imagine being on a beautiful beach with a rum punch after a three-hour nonstop flight from BWI. That can indeed happen with a trip to Round Hill Hotel and Villas, an oasis of elegance and fun in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Round Hill is one of the Caribbean’s finest resorts, but it’s neither stuffy nor fancy. It’s family-friendly, the staff is great with kids, and the vibe is decidedly low-key. Round Hill offers hotel rooms with double beds, connecting rooms, and villas for larger families. Many villas even have their own pool. Families who visit Round Hill will appreciate the gentle, shallow beach, complimentary non-motorized watersport activities, the kids pool, and the complimentary supervised kids programs, available every day from 9 to 5.

Tip: Complimentary afternoon tea in the Cocktail Bar features light snacks, tea, and coffee, daily at 4.

Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

An all-inclusive resort in Puerto Vallarta, Grand Velas is not only stunning but also family-friendly. Imagine the total relaxation knowing there won’t be a huge dining or activity bill at check out.—those margaritas can really add up.

Rates include three daily meals, snacks, fully stocked minibar, premium drinks for adults, and amenities like beach and pool activities, arts and crafts, movies, video games and water sports. Also included is the Kids Club for youngsters ages 4 to 12. From 9am to 11pm, little guests can enjoy a safe oasis to pursue their passions while mom and dad relax and soak up the sun.

Grand Velas is the only all-inclusive resort in the Mexican Pacific to be awarded five diamonds by the AAA, and it’s just 15 short minutes from Puerto Vallarta International Airport.

Tip: Visit San Pancho, a beautiful village about 35 minutes north of the resort. Families can volunteer at a wonderful children’s center in town, Entreamigos.

Smith Fork Ranch

Crawford, Colo.

Yeehaw, pardners! Smith Fork Ranch is the perfect family retreat for ranch enthusiasts who also appreciate the comforts of gourmet meals and a high level of personal service. Straddling three miles of the Smith Fork River Valley, the ranch is located midway between Aspen and Telluride in a beautiful setting.

Smith Fork Ranch is intimate—with room for just 26 guests—and guest rooms are charming. The two-bedroom cabins are perfect for families; the River House can sleep up to 10.

Activities include a kids’ program, horseback riding (with the same horse for the duration of your stay) skeet shooting, archery, biking, arts and crafts, campfires, and movie nights. All activities and meals are included in the rates.

Tip: On Saturday nights, SFR does a “cocktail ride,” where adults ride horses to a clearing above the ranch for drinks and appetizers. An hour later they ride on to a picnic where the kids join up for BBQ, songs, and s’mores.