Gimme a spring break!
During the spring, Charleston, South Carolina is absolutely amazing. The flowers are blooming, the sky is a perfect clear blue and the beaches are warm. Charleston is packed full of family activities-so much so that you will not be able to see everything in a single week.
Do not, however, leave the city without taking a carriage ride around the historic district, shopping at the city market, visiting a plantation and, of course, cruising over to Fort Sumter. The view of Charleston from Fort Sumter is breathtaking.
I must mention Magnolia Plantation (magnoliaplantation.com) has the most to offer families. The gardens are massive and include an Audubon Swamp Garden. You will see alligators, miniature horses, a petting zoo (don't worry-all other animals are safely away from the alligators) and a replica of the hedge maze at Hampton Court Palace in London. If you get all of that accomplished and you still have some time, go for a dolphin cruise and then check out the Charleston Aquarium.
Got baseball fans in your family? I remember one spring break when my family bounced around Florida from one spring training camp to another. My brothers loved it. The atmosphere is less formal at the camps than at an actual game. Players sign autographs and pose for photos. Florida and Arizona have a host of stadiums; you just have to figure out where your favorite teams are training. For details, check out springtrainingonline.com.
If you are an Ohio fan, the Cleveland Indians train in Phoenix, Arizona at the Goodyear Ballpark and the Cincinnati Reds are in Sarasota, Florida at the Ed Smith Stadium. Batter up!
Nashville, Tennessee is the perfect option for families who have time limitations. The drive to Nashville is less than six hours from Columbus. But that's six hours farther south and about 10 degrees warmer!
After a visit to the Grand Ole Opry museum, kids can make their own country music karaoke CD either in the museum or right on Broadway. For young music fans, this is a big deal. As cliched as this may sound, have lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. There is something unique about being in Music City and eating in a music-themed environment. It just fits.
The Nashville Zoo has a jungle gym that (I'm not kidding you) will swallow up your kids. It's huge. There are animals too, of course.
Franklin, Tennessee is just south of Nashville by about 20 miles. Much of the city is historically preserved, as the city was the site of a Civil War battle. My nephew enjoyed Carter House because there were still oodles of bullet holes in the side of the building that he could stick his fingers into.
If you don't mind lines and tons of people, Disney World always has specials. With the economy right now, the specials get more tempting every day. Even with a hefty crowd The Mouse is worth visiting. Contact Michelle at AAA (firstname.lastname@example.org). She's amazing and was recommended to me on disboards.com. I use her every time I go. She'll find you the best deals, even at the last minute.
No matter where you choose to go for spring break, remember it's all about relaxation, fun and family. Enjoy it!
Kristi Farrow is a freelance travel writer who lives with her family in Columbus.