Thursday, March 22, 2012

Design Your Own “In Town” Spring Break

Design Your Own “In Town” Spring Break:  Inspiration from the Top 10 Hot Spots

It’s officially spring!  If you didn’t have the chance to get out of town on a spring break, maybe you aren’t all that excited.  So here’s some spring break inspiration.  We took a list of the top 10 spring break locations, then checked what attraction in that area was ranking #1 with visitors on various websites.  Surprisingly, sitting on the beach never made it to #1, but quirky events, top-notch museums, architecture, animal experiences and zoos did!  We hope these wonderful attractions will inspire you to find some wonderful things in your own area.  Have a wonderful spring break without ever leaving town!

# 10. Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona

Most popular attraction:  A dude ranch experience

There’s nothing like getting on a horse and playing cowboy or cowgirl to bring out the inner child. 

Spring break suggestion:  There is something relaxing about getting up close and personal with an animal.  Check out the riding stables in your area.  Many are expert at making adults feel comfortable.  Take a lesson, or a few.  Get to know a horse.  If horses aren’t your thing, think about spending some time volunteering to walk the dogs at the animal shelter.  Or walk a pet for a shut in.   

# 9. Honolulu, Hawaii 

Most popular attraction:  Bishop Museum

Bishop Museum was established in 1889 to preserve and share the natural and cultural history of Hawai‘i and the Pacific. Today, Bishop Museum houses and cares for over 24 million historical, cultural, and natural treasures. Each item in the collection has its own, special story to tell. These 24 million stories trace the history and cultures of the peoples of Hawai‘i and the Pacific, and help us to understand our unique island universe.

Hometown Springbreak suggestion:  Explore the History and culture of yoru own area.  If you don’t have a museum, you probably have an elder in area who can tell you stories and direct you to little-known places of historic interest.   Start with your county historical society.  Finding a guide to take you on a custom tour is a blast. 

# 8. Daytona Beach, Florida

Most popular attraction: Bike Week

Bike Week is a little less of a celebration of the bikes themselves and more of just the general biker culture. At first, I was like, "Oh, ***! We're going to be here during bike week!", but I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. The bikers were friendlier than I thought (never judge a big, sweaty, leather-clad book by its cover), and they were actually a lot of fun to be around. The only problem with Bike Week was the noise and the crowds, but it was worth it for the experience. Check the website for scheduling and stuff.

Hometown break suggestion:  Does your town have an interesting sub-culture you could get to know?  St. Paul has an amazing Hmong covered markets that are really friendly and fun.  How about Irish dancing?  Community newspapers are great for finding these gems in your hometwon. 

# 7. San Diego, California

Most popular attraction: Sea World

Everyone knows who the main attraction is here: Shamu, the killer whale (orca) - or over the years, a succession of Shamus. Shows are central to the Sea World Experience and you’ll also have opportunities to see marine creatures close up. In a few cases, you can touch and feed them.   We always have more fun at Sea World than we expect to.  Everyone else's happy mood is contagious - and besides that, the place is clean, well run and the animals are interesting.
Hometown Spring break suggestion:  Visit the closest zoo!  You never know what animal will make you laugh. Bring a kid along so you can act like a kid.  Don’t hurry.  Linger. 
# 6. Cancun, Mexico

Most popular attraction:  Swimming with dolphins
On Isla Mujeres and several other places in the Cancun area you can swim with dolphins. Then go snorkeling with tropical fish, rays and tame sharks, and don’t miss the wonderful sea turtles!
Hometown break suggestion:  This is a tough one.  The closest I can come is to visit the closest aquarium and then go jump in a swimming pool with a foam noodle and just enjoy floating!  If you don’t have an official aquarium, check out the local fish store and ask the usually enthusiastic staff to tell you about those beautiful fish.  Consider creating a sustainable fish tank yourself!    

-Come back soon to find out the top five spring break locations-

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