The gloom and thick coats of the winter months can weigh down on our hearts and leave us feeling a little less than the family love at home. Bring back the joy and laughter that’s so important for you and the ones that matter the most, with a quick change of scenery at any of these awesome and inexpensive spring time destinations.

Palm Springs

While this locale may at first conjure images of retirement communities and early bird specials, modern Palm Springs is brimming with family fun and vacation possibilities. Hotels in the area boast playgrounds, cabanas, hot spas, golf and literally hundreds of pools. If that isn’t enough delightful exhaustion for you and yours, take a trip to Joshua Tree National Park, Splashtopia Water Park at Rancho Las Palmas Resort, the Walk of the Stars, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and the World’s Biggest Dinosaur Museum.

Loreto, Mexico

A quick flight from LA will put you on this beach in about an hour for sun, sand, tapas, kayaking, cobblestone streets and tequila for older beach combers. Farmer’s markets make it easy to stock up on fresh vegetables and seafood for the kitchens of very affordable villas and condos, while local hot spots like Jorge’s smoothies & sandwiches bring quick and easy healthful options to you. ¡Viva la playa!

Catalina Island

Where do pancakes, buffalo and a yellow submarine glass bottom boat come together? Twenty-two minutes of the coast of Los Angeles, Catalina Island offers kid-friendly fun of all sorts. Avalon, on the island’s east side, hosts the urban amenities like golf and gondolas, while Two Harbors is perfect for hiking and camping, complete with firewood, charcoal and propane.


Known as the playground island, Maui greets you with a rope swing in one hand and a tropical drink in the other. There truly is no end to family friendly adventures available in this lush and incredibly diverse island paradise, from pirate ship tours to authentic treehouse accommodations (think Swiss Family Robinson). Get an eco-education at The Surfing Goat Dairy Farm or Tedeschi Vineyards (yes there’s wine tasting too!), ride a catamaran and then enjoy a fresh fish sandwich at Paia Fish Market. Ohana means family in Hawaiian and Maui welcomes you to theirs.

San Jose Del Cabo

History and leisure abound in this calm friendly bay, home to one of the most spectacular beach views you’ll ever lay eyes on. Desertica Adventure Park provides twelve zip lines with fully certified, bilingual safety guides, tarzan swing, a bungee bridge, pools and a bar for anxious parents who’ve just survived the zip line.  While you’re there be sure to step into El Matador, a restaurant who’s owner and chef was a matador himself.

Orcas Island

While its physically located just off the coast of Washington, a trip to Orcas Island is a voyage into another universe. The island is a wealth of  sustainable agriculture and wholesome adventure: berry picking, harvesting organic eggs, watching a bald eagle soar overhead or witnessing a killer whale crest the waves. Moran State Park provides trails, lakes and and Mount Constitution, the highest point on any of the San Juan Islands. Whether you’re looking for an outdoor camping spot or a hotel room with a hot tub, the atmosphere of Orcas Island will welcome every type of traveler.

–Genna McGahee