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The Voice of the Black Community

Life and Religion

Fun destinations for spring break
A list of where to go for beaches, blooms and booze
 
Published Wednesday, February 26, 2014
by Michaela L. Duckett

Spring is coming. That means it’s time to start planning your spring break vacation. Whether you are a college student looking to take a break from your studies, a parent looking for something to do with the kids while school is out or single and looking for someplace fun to explore, here are four destinations for an unforgettable spring break:

Washington, D.C.

This city truly comes alive in spring, and with so many free and almost-free attractions and activities, it’s the perfect destination for multi-generational fun.

When visiting the nation’s capitol, be sure to pack a pair of comfortable shoes. This is a walking city, and from the Smithsonian to the National Cathedral the list of must-sees is lengthy. See the cherry blossom trees in bloom during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which will be held March 20 – April 13. The annual event commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, D.C., and to celebrate the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan. More than 1.5 million people visit Washington each year to admire the blossoming cherry trees and participate in diverse programming that heralds spring in the nation’s capital.

Save time for visiting Bao Bao, the cute panda cub, which made her public debut at the Smithsonian National Zoo last month. Stop by to see her in the mornings when she’s most active. Cap off a day of sightseeing with cocktails at El Rey, a new taco joint and margarita bar from the Hilton brothers – who are known for creating unique outdoor dining experiences. It’s located on U Street, a prime spot for enjoying D.C.’s nightlife. Don’t worry – the taco window stays open well past last call just in case you need to satisfy those late-night cravings after a night of bar hopping.

Orlando, Fla.

Not only is Florida the nation’s top tourism destination, it’s also a top choice for spring breakers looking to get away. Taking up twice as much space as Manhattan with four theme parks, two water parks, a Downtown Entertainment Zone, five golf courses, and 24 themed resorts, it’s no wonder that Walt Disney World in Orlando remains at the top of the list each year for spring break destinations. And there is plenty to explore outside of the park.

If you seek thrills and adventure, Orlando is the place to be. Get up close and personal with wildlife at Gatorland and spend an afternoon flying through a swamp on an airboat. And the fun doesn't stop when the sun goes down: check out a show at Cirque de Soleil, Blue Man Group or one of Orlando's many dinner theaters for an entertaining nightcap. Orlando also boasts a vibrant local arts scene.

From independent film screenings to fine arts museums and live theater, there are plenty of cultural options available.  And what’s a vacation without a little rest and relaxation? Spend a day getting pampered at one of the city's many award-winning spas like the Waldorf Astoria Spa, the Mandara Spa at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel and the Ritz-Carlton Spa Orlando, Grande Lakes. Bring the kids along for the experience as many resorts offer spa menus for children.

Myrtle Beach, S.C.

South Carolina takes the number two spot as the most popular tourist destination in the United States. No doubt, the 68-mile stretch of beaches, known as the Grand Strand in Myrtle Beach, will be flooded with college kids and youngsters looking to let loose while taking a break from cramming for exams. And with so much to do, there's never a dull moment here.

Take a wander through that upside-down house known as WonderWorks. Or, journey under the sea at Ripley's Aquarium. Enjoy a thrilling dinner at Medieval Times or enjoy world-class live entertainment at the Carolina Opry, which is credited with pioneering the Myrtle Beach area's theater boom.

Hungry? Wander over to the Murrells Inlet Marsh Walk and immerse yourself in the "seafood capital of South Carolina." And no worries if seafood isn't your thing, Bite into a juicy, mouth-watering steak from such local favorites as Ruth's Chris Steakhouse or Kansas City Prime Steakhouse.

Atlanta, Ga.

Georgia’s capitol and largest city is prime destination for spring break. As one of the top 10 retail markets in the nation, it's an ideal spot for celebrating the season with a little retail therapy.

Shop for clothes, antiques, arts, and crafts and practically anything else you can imagine. Atlanta also boasts being home to world famous chefs and renowned for its southern cuisine. Take your dining experience to new heights with 360-degree panoramic views from at the Sundial on the Westin or Nikolai’s Roof on the Hilton. Another dining landmark is The Varsity, the nation's largest drive-in diner. Boasting a rich blend of old and post-modern sights, history, culture and fun, there is plenty of sightseeing to do while in Georgia. Check out the Georgia Aquarium, the new World of Coca-Cola, and Zoo Atlanta in Grant Park. Be sure to save time for visiting the Historic King District and taking the CNN Studio Tour.

When the sun sets, get dressed to impress and spend a night out on the town. Mix and mingle in Buckhead at Andrews Café or at any one of the other swanky lounges and bars in the area. Looking for a more low-key night out, head to Midtown. There are also plenty of watering holes downtown like Stats, a sports bar near the Centennial Olympic Park.

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