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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn

6 Tips for an Amazing Spring Break Trip

Tips for Spring Break Family Trips in Panama City Beach, Florida

Family spring break trips can provide a much needed break in the long dash toward summer.  Pressing pause on the long, grey slog that is winter and heading to a warm beachy locale is my personal favorite way to spend spring break.  If done right, this well-timed break can be just what your family needs to finish the race to the end of the school year. Here are my top ideas for making the most of your spring break!

1.  Choose the right location for your family trip.

Think about what your family will appreciate the most for spring break.  If you live in a mild climate, maybe a taste of winter will be a fun change of pace.  Keep in mind that winter weather conditions can create travel challenges, so consider building some margin on either side of your travel days.  If your trip involves going to the mountains, altitude sickness can be a real thing, so you may want to let your family take it easy for the first day or two after you arrive.  Our family is a skiing family, so we have a special place in our hearts for a family ski trip.

But, let's be honest, you’re on the Joy Coastal blog looking at pictures of the gorgeous Gulf of Mexico. 

Gulf of Mexico, Dunes of Panama, Panama City Beach, Florida
Let's take a moment to appreciate the Gulf of Mexico...

And if you've been buried under the white stuff all winter long, you're probably not looking for MORE cold weather on your spring break.  You're looking for the promise of things to come. You're looking for a taste of summer! Right?!?! If this is the case, you want to make sure wherever you're going will actually provide that.

It's a great idea to check the long-range weather forecast for locations you're considering for spring break. There’s nothing like flying south only to find that you didn’t fly FAR ENOUGH south.  Am I right? I'll never forget a trip my sister and I took to the Bahamas in January. It was cold and windy almost the entire time. Going in the water was out of the question.  We still had a great time together, but any time we spent on the beach we were bundled under blankets. I had envisioned it going differently in my mind.

If you're going to a warmer location in the shoulder season, you need to know that depending upon the weather that week, the ocean and pools may still be cool.  If you have kids like mine, not being able to swim on a trip to the beach would be a major bummer. So, consider staying somewhere with a heated pool or hot tubs as a back up if the ocean is still a little chilly.

2.  Find a place to stay that will support the way you like to vacay.

I wrote about my specific tips for finding the right place to stay in another post.  So I won’t recount all of that here. But it really is worth spending a few minutes thinking about what you want out of your trip, and then making sure you stay at a place that jives with that.  Your home base for the week sets the tone for your trip. Look for the right location, ample space, with the right creature comforts and you’ve taken a giant step towards a great spring break trip.

3.  Bring Your Kids Into the Trip Planning

A sure fire way to get buy-in from your family on your spring break trip is to bring them into the planning process!  From a young age, kids can contribute ideas for the trip. Kids can help plan activities, find restaurants, or even choose the menu meals at your condo.    Making them a part of this process ensures that everyone in the family has something they’re excited about. You might be surprised with the great ideas children come up with!

4.  Plan enough activities to give the trip some structure.

We’ve all been there, that feeling of being run ragged from the daily grind of work, school, and a myriad of activities, week after week, month after month.  If you need a chance to relax and just.catch.your.breath for a minute, spring break can be an answer to prayer. While you could be content supervising the tides for a week straight, the rest of your family might not have the same vision.  So, I think it’s wise to build some structure into your trip.

Personally, I like to alternate beach/pool days with other activities.  This does two things. First, it changes the pace of the trip often enough that you won’t get bored with a single kind of activity.  Second, depending upon the activities you choose, this can give you a break from all day sun exposure. This is especially important if you’ve been bundled up like Randy from A Christmas Story all winter.  Fortunately Panama City Beach has many unique things to do, so you won’t have trouble choosing adventures the whole family will enjoy.

5.  Prioritize downtime, rest and relaxation.

Maybe you won’t park it on a beach lounger for the WHOLE week, but it’s important to build down time into your trip.  We’ve all been on those family “vacations” where you feel like you need a vacation FROM your vacation. Don’t do that.

Have you heard Coco Chanel’s advice on accessories?  I think that’s applicable for spring break trips too.  Think of the activities you’d like to do on your trip, and then pull one off of the list.  It will give you a little more margin on your trip to refuel your tanks. Plus, you have to save something to do on your NEXT trip to Panama City Beach, right?

Gulf of Mexico, Dunes of Panama, Panama City Beach, Florida
My favorite location for supervising tides...

And, if you DO want to spend a week on a beach lounger supervising tides, we fully support those life choices.  Maybe you need to come back with just your special someone or plan a girls trip? We’re here for those trips too!

6.  End the week with a highlight.

I heard this idea recently and I love it.  The idea is to plan a great activity for the end of the trip.  It gives you something to look forward to all week long and then you end your vacation on a high point!  The only downside to this is if the activity is weather-dependent, and poor weather could cause you to have to cancel.  So, choose your activity wisely, or cross-check it against the weather forecast before you announce it to your family.

Follow these tips and you'll be well on your way to a memorable family spring break trip!

What are your favorite tips for a family spring break trip?  Feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

If you’re still looking for a spring break destination, check out the Joy Coastal condo in Panama City Beach, FL.  At the time of this writing, we still have a couple of spring break weeks available.


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