As the days get warmer and spring break gets closer, your family is probably itching for a change of pace. Luckily, we are surrounded by a number of family-friendly destinations to suit everyone’s interests. Here are just a few ideas for places to get away this spring!
Visit an Island
Spring is a great time to visit Michigan’s Mackinac Island. During the 30-minute ferry ride from the mainland, take in the picturesque views and get acquainted with this charming destination on Lake Huron. More than 80% of the island is preserved as a state park, and one of the best ways to see it is by foot or by bicycle. Carriage rides are another popular mode of transportation on the island, and they’ll give you a behind-the-scenes look into the neighborhoods of Mackinac Island. No trip to Mackinac Island is complete without sampling some world-famous fudge at one of the seven fudge shops downtown. Mackinac Island shops make 10,000 pounds of fudge each day during peak tourist season, and if you’re lucky, you might even get to see it being made!
Make a Splash
It might not be warm enough to hit the outdoor pool just yet, but there is plenty of indoor water fun to be had at SoundWaves, an indoor/outdoor water experience housed in the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. This one-of-a-kind water park features 111,000 square feet of indoor attractions, dining and amenities, as well as 106,000 square feet of outdoor water attractions. And this isn’t your average water park. Mega slides, river rapids, a lazy river and more are intermixed with living walls and plant beds to deliver the feel of a tropical oasis. The best part? Year-round 84-degree temperatures make it feel like summer all year long. (Note: Admission is guaranteed with an overnight package at Gaylord Opryland, which offers the perfect opportunity to spend time exploring the Music City.)
Take in Some History
History buffs will find lots of destinations to visit on spring break, both near and far from home:
Harrison County, Indiana
Established in 1808, the town of Corydon served as Indiana’s first state capitol from 1816 to 1825, and is centrally located in Harrison County. This history is palpable when you walk downtown Corydon’s storied streets, with most of the buildings dating to the 1800s. Historic highlights include the Constitutional Elm, Indiana’s First State Office Building, Governor Hendricks’ Headquarters and the Porter Law Office.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
Carefully preserved artifacts, interactive displays and multimedia programs tell the tale of the life of our 16th president at this museum in Springfield, Illinois. Highlights include an original hand-written copy of the Gettysburg Address and the quill pen Lincoln used to sign the Emancipation Proclamation. In Mrs. Lincoln’s Attic, kids can try on period clothing, get a taste for what chores were like in the 1800s, and play with reproduction historic toys.
Hopewell Cultural National Historical Park
Visitors to this site in Chillicothe, Ohio, can walk in the footsteps of the state’s earliest inhabitants, the people of the Hopewell culture who thrived here for a span of five centuries (200 B.C. to 300 A.D.). There are five noncontiguous units within the park, all representing some of the finest examples of Hopewellian resources. Before setting out to explore the mounds, be sure to stop at the visitor center to learn the history of the mounds and view artifacts excavated from the area.
Do It All
If you want to visit one place that has something for everyone — from outdoorsy families and sports fans, to animal-obsessed kids and art aficionados — head to Fort Wayne, Indiana, a city that sits among three rivers. A visit to Promenade Park is a must: this one-of-a-kind park features trails along the water, a tree-top canopy trail, a kids’ canal with an amazing playground, and opportunities to hop aboard a riverboat cruise or rent a kayak. Plant lovers will find the Foellinger-Friemann Botanical Conservatory an oasis in the middle of the city. Science Central is also a must for kids of all ages. You’ll find lots of hands-on exhibits that teach scientific concepts in a fun and interactive way.