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2021 is the year of last-minute travel! I've had lots of my clients at my travel agency tell me they weren't going to travel for spring break this year, then changed their mind at the last minute. And who can blame them after the blowout of 2020? But Spring Break can be a hard time to travel last minute, sometimes all of the good stuff is gone months in advance! Never fear, here are ideas for off-beaten path travel!
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Cocoa Beach Florida
Cocoa Beach is located on the ocean side of Florida, about an hour from Orlando. The Kennedy Space Center is nearby, and it's definitely worth a visit, especially if your kids are into space! Even if you don't want to visit, you can check their website for rocket launches and watch them from the beach! If you want to avoid crowds, you can head a little north and check out Flagler Beach. When my husband and I visited in September we were literally the only people on the beach. While you're visiting Flagler Beach check out the Java Joint. I had possibly the best shrimp and grits I have ever eaten there!
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Where to Stay
There are lots of beachfront hotels in Cocoa Beach, but I'm partial to the Courtyard, because it's budget-friendly, has a nice pool, and has easy access to the beach.
Clearwater Beach Florida
On the gulf side of Florida, you will find Clearwater Beach, a cute beach town full of family fun. Clearwater Beach is near Tampa, making it easy to fly in and out. There are lots of attractions in Clearwater, everything from dolphin cruises to pirate cruises, to an aquarium! Want to avoid the crowds? Head down the road to Indian Rocks Beach which is quieter but still close enough to Clearwater to take advantage of the amenities!
Where to Stay
If you're in the market for a luxurious experience, you can't beat The Opal Sands Resort. The resort has a zero-entry pool, private beach, a spa, and concierge services at your fingertips.
If the beach isn't your thing, why not check out Nashville? Nashville is home to the Country Music Hall of Fame, The Grand Ole Opry, The Ryman Theatre, and enough hot chicken to make even the bravest of foodies break a sweat. If you have a music buff in your family they will feel right at home in Nashville. If you are prone to heartburn like me, then hit up Hattie B's hot chicken. They offer a more mild version of Hot Chicken for those of us that are prone to stomach ulcers, as well as the real deal, burn your mouth traditional Nashville Hot Chicken. The weather in Nashville is usually in the 70s in the spring, which by my northerner standards is pretty warm!
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Where to Stay
I highly recommend staying downtown if you can. Nashville is a great city, and walking around downtown is half the fun! We stayed at the Courtyard Downtown when we visited, and had a great stay!
Universal Orlando Resort
If your family are theme park buffs like ours, there is no better last-minute trip than Universal Orlando. Universal Orlando offers rides and attractions for all ages and all varieties of people who are amusement park chickens. Universal Orlando is also a great last-minute travel destination because you don't need to make dining reservations or other reservations ahead of time, same-day planning is almost always possible! A family-friendly version of Mardi Gras happens every spring, it's full of fun, food, and of course beads! It's one of my favorite seasonal events!
Where To Stay
I highly recommend staying on-site when visiting Universal because they provide transportation, deliver your shopping back to your room, and you get an early park entrance. Cabana Bay is very budget and family-friendly. Plus Cabana Bay has a lazy river, a water slide, 2 pools, and fire pits! Feel free to bring s'mores supplies from home, but they sell kits on-site if you forget. If you have the budget, I highly recommend upgrading to one of the hotels that offer free Express Passes, because they will let you wait in a much shorter line for all the rides!
New York City
I'm going to be honest with you. New York is not warm in March. If you aren't afraid of a little cold, it's a great time to visit! As your reward for braving the cold, you'll deal with way fewer crowds than you would in the summer! New York is full of history and culture. You can do almost anything in New York, from taking in a Broadway show to a history-focused tour, or take a tour of movie and TV filming locations. Or you can decide to eat everything in sight. And if you're into genealogy, you can visit Ellis Island and find your family's records. I'll never forget when one of the staff at Ellis Island helped me find my great-grandparent's records after months of searching. I can't wait to take my toddler there when he's old enough.
Where to Stay
If your budget allows you to stay in Manhattan, I highly recommend doing so! It's really fun to be in the heart of it all. I've stayed at Park Central Hotel, it was in a great spot to get around the city! If you have a tighter budget, consider checking out hotels in Long Island City, its cheaper but still close to the main subway lines you'll need to visit most areas.
If you've changed your mind about taking a Spring Break trip, I hope this list helps! Don't be nervous planning a last-minute trip either. Over the years I've learned all you really need to travel is a suitcase, a hotel reservation, and a plane ticket. Everything else will fall into place!
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