We get it: Between, work, kids, and maintaining those baby-like highlights, certain things fall to the wayside—like actually booking that vacation you keep claiming you so badly need. With spring break fast approaching, we spoke with Travel + Leisure's Jacqueline Gifford for her top vacation recommendations the whole family can get behind, and all as effortless to put together as those highlights are supposed to look.
Not exactly beach-ready? Not a problem. "All families want to go to the beach," Gifford says. Given your late entry, "you'll want to look beyond the beach and think about places where it's not peak season." And so not a single one of her picks involves you packing a bathing suit. You're welcome.
1. Wine Country
The typical spring break timeframe of March and April is a good time to visit wine country, Gifford says, whether it's California's Napa Valley or New York's Finger Lakes region. "The weather is a bit cooler, but you still get good wine, good food, and beautiful scenery." But what about the kids, you say? Don't let their presence deter you from picking such a locale. "Sonoma is actually really great for a family," Gifford says. "Older kids will love walking around the town, and the Finger Lakes has lots of great outdoor activities." Of particular note there? The Inns of Aurora. "They take kids and its owned by Pleasant Rowland, founder of the American Girl dolls," Gifford explains.
If you have a family of foodies, they'll just eat up a trip to the Windy City. "Chicago is always ahead of the game when it comes to food," Gifford says, noting how the city's Chicago Athletic Association property just made Travel + Leisure's annual It List of the hottest hotels, in part due to its culinary prowess (part of which involves a Shake Shack).
3. Ski Towns
There are plenty of good deals to be had as ski bunnies try to get in their last runs on the slopes, Gifford says. "[Montana's] Ranch at Rock Creek—where Kate Bosworth got married—and [Colorado's] Dunton Hot Springs are luxury western retreats that are cheaper in the winter to spring season than in the summer," she advises.
4. New York
"Chances are, not a lot of people are coming to New York for spring break," Gifford says. That means hotels will have a lot of open rooms they'll be looking to fill, so chances are you'll be able to score a good deal.