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Spring Break Destinations for Families With Teens in Tow

March 03, 2022

As the winter months come to a close, it’s time to gear up for a much-needed warm weather holiday. If you’ve got teens in tow, here’s where to go to make the most of your spring break.

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Photo: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama

The spring break crowds may flock to Florida, but Alabama’s sugar-white sandy beaches are among the most beautiful in the country. Book your teens in a morning session at Sand Castle University to learn the "proper" way to sculpt a sand castle, then bike as a family along 28 miles of paved trails at Gulf State Park. For adventurous teens, book a ride in a gyroplane for bird’s eye views of the coastline. Spread out in the newly-renovated Eagle Cottages at Gulf State Park.

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Photo: Erin Gifford

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

According to Airbnb, Gatlinburg is among the top trending destinations for spring travel (bookings are up 173 percent over last year). As the gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg has a lot to offer families with teens. Inside the park, hike to Clingmans Dome for views from the highest point in Tennessee, then bike along the 11-mile Cades Cove Loop. Outside the park, get an adrenaline rush at Anakeesta, a new on-mountain experience that includes a canopy walk, zip lines and a mountain coaster. Before you go, ride the coasters at Dollywood in nearby Pigeon Forge.

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Photo: Visit SLO CAL

San Luis Obispo County, California

Affectionately known as "SLO CAL," San Luis Obispo County lies mid-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Boasting 315 days of sunshine and 80 miles of pristine coastline, this region is a great pick whether your spring break plans call for lazy days at the beach or adrenaline-fueled adventures, like paragliding along the coast or hiking on Pismo Preserve. Teens will love dune buggying at Oceano Dunes, the only California State Park that allows motor vehicles on the beach. Kayaking the Dinosaur Caves in the Shell Beach area is another must-do for families. Stay the week at the brand-new Kinney SLO, which offers plenty of fun family games, like Skee-ball and shuffleboard, as well as life-sized Lite Brite and Scrabble.

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Photo: Tourism Santa Fe

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe is brimming with history and culture, but there’s plenty to do for active teens too in this picturesque desert landscape. Santa Fe Mountain Adventures offers family adventures, like scavenger hunts, whitewater rafting and horseback riding. Their thrilling off-road "Pinzie" tours to Diablo Canyon in 4x4 all-terrain military vehicles are especially popular. Book a stay at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado, which boasts a dedicated Adventure Center for guided hiking and biking, as well as vibrant art tours on Canyon Road in historic Santa Fe. On Saturdays, make time for the Santa Fe Farmers' Market, one of the oldest and largest in the country.

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