Traditional spring break destinations are so last year. Visit these surprising top destinations for interesting sites, plenty to explore and maybe even a bit of a surprise.
Sedona is a four-season, red-rock playground where families can escape, outdoor adventures materialize and photographers' dreams come true — Photo courtesy of Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau
Hike, bike and explore in Sedona
Sedona offers stunning red-rock vistas, fresh crisp high-desert air, and a complete buffet of outdoor adventures.
There are over 1.8 million acres of stunning red-rock country, ideal for all sorts of excursions.
- Rent a Jeep, Tom Car or ATV for up-close-and-personal adventures. There's a wide range of outfits: Earth Wisdom Tours, Barlow Jeep Rentals, Pink Jeep Tours and more.
- Ride a horse. At local ranches M Diamond Ranch, Horsin’ Around Adventures, and Blazin’ M Ranch, visitors can meet real cowboys and enjoy horseback rides, chuck-wagon dinners and wrangle lessons.
- Go mountain biking. Over 200 miles of bike-friendly trails offer stunning views at every angle and at every ability level. With the knowledgeable staff at Over the Edge, Sedona Bike & Bean and Absolute Bikes, Sedona will have families zipping through the trails in no time.
A rocket launches off Cape Canaveral — Photo courtesy of Space Coast Office of Tourism
Watch rocket launches at Florida’s Space Coast
Launches are one of the most exciting things you can see in person. Inspire a lifelong love of science with a visit to Cape Canaveral on the Space Coast, the iconic home of America's space program.
The iconic home of America’s space program, Cape Canaveral hosts at least one launch every month. See upcoming launches here.
Where to watch the rockets launch
Because they're so big, you can watch the launches from tons of locations. It's really up to you: from the quiet solitude of a kayak in the mangroves near Merritt Island, or in a festive pop-up launch party on Cocoa Beach, locals and tourists will be soaking in the event. Choose your flavor.
Space Coast education and entertainment
Of course, there's a wealth of other scientific adventures to go on while visiting. Plan to spend a full day at the Kennedy Space Center, because there is a ton to see: from the IMAX and Astronaut Encounter Theaters to the Space Shuttle Atlantis Exhibit and bus tour of the whole complex, you'll want to see it all.
For non-space adventures, the region's gorgeous climate provides top quality outdoor adventures. Try kayaking with manatees at Manatee Cove Park, paddle boarding, surfing, and even just basking in the beautiful sunny Florida beaches.
The Bridge Walk is a 100-foot aerial adventure — Photo courtesy of Adventures on the Gorge
Explore river adventures in West Virginia
National parks are a great idea for families. They're superb for outdoorsy, adventurous experiences and deliver tons of cultural, historic and learning experiences.
The New River Gorge National River and Gauley River National Recreation Area are stunning national treasures of southern West Virginia.
- The New River Gorge National River covers more than 70,000 acres of land along the New River, from Bluestone Dam to Hawk's Nest Lake, and runs through the deepest and longest river gorge in the Appalachian Mountains.
- The Gauley River National Recreation Area includes one of the best whitewater rafting rivers in the world, the Bluestone National Scenic River.
While you're here, check out the Bridge Walk and tiptoe through the sky nearly 1000 feet up. It's the highest bridge walk of its kind in the world and offers an unparalleled bird's-eye view of the New River Gorge.
Where to stay
Adventures on the Gorge is a high-quality and family-friendly spot, offering cozy cabins and expansive suites. Located right on the rim of the New River Gorge, you'll dig the sweeping views of the river below.
The indoor waterpark at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions — Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Burea
Splash around at The Dells, Wisconsin
Have tropical fun in the Midwest at the Wisconsin Dells, “The Waterpark Capital of the World!”
Splash and slide in tropical-warm waters despite the crisp springtime weather in these indoor waterparks and attractions.
Fun in and out of the water
This popular town has quite a few waterparks to choose from. Top options include the Kalahari Indoor Theme Park, Mt. Olympus Resort, the Great Wolf Lodge and others.
You'll want to dry off at some point, though, because the other activities here at The Dells are just as good.
Don't miss the Knuckleheads Trampoline Park, Tommy Bartlett Exploratory, or the Red Ridge Ranch Riding Stable (which offer horseback riding through snow-covered fields and sleigh rides.)