March 9, 2017 • PLACES
DJ on the Go: 5 Southern Beach Destinations for Spring Break
You say “spring;” we say “break”! As in: If you haven’t planned your annual family trip yet, it’s time to get crackin’.
“I love the west Florida coast for spring break—so many great beaches!” says Reese. With its laid-back vibe, charming structures, and pretty pools and parks, the gulf coast community of Rosemary Beach “is one of my favorites,” she notes.
The white sand beaches and turquoise waters of Rosemary Beach, FL, one of Reese’s favorite spring break destinations.
Of course the South has loads of beach destinations worthy of your family vacation. Here to offer her own list of five Southern beach destinations for spring break is resident DJ travel expert (and Charlottesville, VA native) Henley Vazquez. The Co-Founder and CEO of boutique family travel agency Passported has the enviable job of knowing the ins and outs of all the best resort destinations; we’re lucky to have her share the scoop with us.
1. Best Kids’ Club: Sea Island, GA
Let’s get real: Parents want togetherness on a family vacation, but they also crave (and deserve) a little down time. So finding a resort with children’s programs that please kids of all ages is the equivalent of a vacation Holy Grail. The kids’ club at at Sea Island is a prime reason families return to the beloved Georgia resort year after year. Programs range from Camp Cloister (it accepts children as young as age 3) to a full teen program that includes survival skills camping lessons, naturalist programs, and even a “private” lounge.
Where to Stay: The Cloister Ocean Residences are an 8-to-10-minute walk from the main building, but each of these units comes with a washer/dryer—an amenity we value almost as highly as the aforementioned kids’ clubs.
2. Best Surf: Outer Banks, NC
If your crew is more into “hang ten” than just hanging around, head to North Carolina’s Outer Banks, where surfers hit the breaks along a huge stretch of coastline. From the northern sand bars of Corova and Corolla down to the famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, you’ll find waves appropriate for all levels. Book a lesson for beginners, and head to the renowned S-Curves when surf is high to watch the pros.
Where to stay: Regulars rent houses, but if you’re a newbie or prefer the services of a hotel, check into Duck’s Sanderling Resort.
3. Best Activities: Hilton Head, SC
Beach time is precious, but for some active families, endless days on the sand can get—dare we say—boring. Families that need distractions beyond swim and surf flock to Hilton Head for the island’s myriad activities, plenty of which don’t require a swimsuit. From golf to horseback riding to ziplining, biking, fishing, and pretty much anything else you can name, Hilton Head’s beyond-the-beach alternatives keep even the most energetic kids busy. Don’t miss the Coastal Discovery Museum for history lessons, both cultural and natural.
Where to stay: Sea Pines Resort has multiple options to fit multiple budgets, from reasonably-priced townhouses to huge vacation homes and charming inn rooms.
4. Best Spa: Kiawah Island, SC
Ask anyone about Kiawah Island, and you’ll get an earful on biking, boogie boarding, great food, and the like. But be sure to save time for downtime when you’re staying in this South Carolina resort, because its spa is nothing short of epic. The top-rated The Sanctuary Spa has all the standard massage and facial services as well as two-, three- and four-hour “medleys” for those who want to binge on pampering. If spring break this year includes a babymoon or a mother/daughter getaway, make sure to bookmark this one.
Where to stay: When spa’s the focus, The Sanctuary Hotel is the spot. The best rooms are the ocean front suites; they open to balconies overlooking the waves.
5. Best Weather: Amelia Island, FL
As the saying goes, March roars in like a lion and out like a lamb. So if your spring break happens to fall earlier in the month, there’s the risk that the mercury won’t rise as far as you’d like. Solution: go south, to northern Florida. Amelia Island has the charm of a genteel southern town, with picturesque Victorian homes and charming local cafes and sweets shops, as well as golf courses, posh beach resorts, and endless stretches of beach.
Where to stay: Book a room at the Ritz-Carlton. You’ll be steps from the beach and the pool at any given time, and have access to a great kids’ club for the minis.