Break the Mold & Spring for a Different Vacation

Earlier this week we had a taste of Spring here in Huntsville, Alabama. If you are like me, it also gets your mind to fast-forward to Spring Break. The most common Spring Break destination tends to be the beach. Unfortunately, the weather can be unpredictable during March and April at the beach, especially if you limit yourself to a five to six hour driving distance to the panhandle of Florida.

One of the many things I love about living in Huntsville is the accessibility of multiple vacation destinations. For those of you that have not solidified your Spring Break plans I would like to suggest something other than Gatlinburg or Panama City. With the aid of my previous Budget Friendly Advice, I assure you that you can explore some of the outlying destinations and make new memories for your family without driving more than seven hours.

New Orleans, LA (6 hours 18 min)

Suggested lodging: New Orleans Hilton Riverside
Fun for the Family:

Don’t leave NOLA without a visit or two to the famous Café Du Monde!
Check this out for free and almost-free New Orleans activities: 26 Cheap Things to Do, Eat, and See in New Orleans

PRO-TIP! Without-a-Passport Secret: Crepes without flying to Paris!

BIGGEST root beer ever!

BIGGEST root beer ever!

St. Louis, MO (6 hours and 17 min)

Suggested Lodging: Embassy Suites St. Louis Downtown
Fun for the Family:

PRO-TIP! Without-a-Passport secret: Gelato without visiting Italy

Cincinnati, OH (5 hours 44 min)

Recommended lodging: Great Wolf Lodge

Fun for the Family:

  • Jungle Jim’s is an adventure for the entire family
  • If you travel after April 18, 2014 you shouldn’t miss a visit to King’s Island
  • Nearby ski slopes if the weather cooperates! This is a family-oriented mountain with adventure for all ages and ability. For children with special needs check out their adaptive ski program!

Culinary adventure not to be missed: Graeter’s Ice Cream and Cincinnati Chili.
50 kid Friendly activities in Cincinnati 

PRO-TIP! Without-a-Passport Secret: Belgian Waffles of course without visiting Belgium!

With Perfect North Adaptive Ski Program everyone can ski regardless of disability.

With Perfect North Adaptive Ski Program everyone can ski regardless of disability.

Louisville, KY (4 hours 19 min)

Recommended lodging: The Galt House

Fun for the Family:

Off the beaten path: Which kid does not love a candy store? You will be sure to go home with a bag of homemade red hot candy drops from Schimpffs. From there, walk across the street and browse the largest party store I have ever seen at Horner Novelty.

PRO-TIP! Without-a-Passport Secret: Even though I have a passport, Ethiopia is not on my travel list, however why not try Ethiopian food…we only live once!

On the way home, a treat for mom in Shepherdsville, Ky, the Zappos Shoe Outlet!

Visiting the toy shop in Helen, GA

Visiting the toy shop in Helen, GA

Helen, GA (4 hours, 3 min)

Recommended lodging: The cabins at Unicoi are great for a family escape.

Fun for the Family:

  • A visit to Jolly’s Toys provides fun for all ages and a look into the past.
  • A glimpse into Germany at this railroad museum is great for even the smallest train lover!
  • If you have a little one that likes a good prank, check out Magic and Mischief. The kids can go home from their vacation with a new trick up their sleeve!

PRO-TIP! Without-a-passport secret: All of Helen is a miniature replica of Germany. They celebrate an annual Oktoberfest which is a blast if you can get a hotel reservation. My favorite German Restaurant there is Bodensee Restaurant. Check on mentioned in a previous blog for a discount!

In case you visit in the Summer Months check out:

I hope this guide takes you on a new adventure! Next year, Spring for that international passport and check out a whole new world! Be on the lookout for Part Two “Don’t Fall into a Vacation Rut” coming to RCM around the time of Fall Break 2014.