NORTH, SOUTH, East, or West

SPRING BREAK DESTINATIONS IN EVERY DIRECTION

BY ANNETTE BROOKS

After being cooped up most of the winter and feeling tired of staycations, Texans are ready to get away during spring break and spend time in the great outdoors. If you’re looking for something different than hitting the beaches in Florida or going to a typical ski resort, we’ve put together a collection of four unique destinations the whole family can enjoy.

“THE PLAYGROUND OF THE SOUTH,” BILOXI, MISSISSIPPI


With miles of beach on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, there’s a wide variety of beachfront hotels and vacation rentals to choose from. Sun and fun abound, as well as casinos and golfing. It’s never a dull moment in Biloxi, but it’s also a place where you can simply do nothing but unwind and enjoy the sand and surf.


Biloxi Beach is ideal for family-friendly activities. Pick up a picnic lunch and refreshments from one of the local restaurants, grab your sunscreen, towels, and beach toys for the kids, and enjoy a day lounging on the beach and playing in the water. Schedule a fishing charter, go kayaking, or take a boat tour. When you’re ready for a change of pace, check out the Biloxi lighthouse, a Mississippi Landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and climb the 57-step spiral staircase to take in a sweeping view of the Gulf Coast.

“COWBOY CAPITAL OF THE WORLD,” BANDERA, TEXAS


If you’re interested in something close to home, look no further than Bandera, Texas. Nestled in the heart of the Texas Hill Country on the bank of the pristine Medina River, the area is home to several dude and guest ranches where you can stay, but Bandera, population 903, is the main attraction.


With a style and personality as big as the Lone Star State, Bandera is the real deal, full of adventure and downhome western fun. Mingle with the locals downtown in the restaurants and shops. Saddle up and ride a horse through town with an opportunity to stop and shop along the way. Take the kids on a horse-drawn wagon tour of Bandera or experience chuck wagon storytelling at its finest. Lovers of western art and memorabilia won’t want to miss the Frontier Times Museum, and folks of all ages will find a treasure to take home at the old Bandera General Store, complete with wooden floors and a tin ceiling.

“ARIZONA’S WEST COAST,” LAKE HAVASU CITY, ARIZONA


A desert oasis replete with waterfront beaches, there’s something for everyone in Lake Havasu City. Visitors enjoy everything from boating, fishing, and water sports to hiking, biking, off-roading, and dining. The city even boasts a slice of World War II history. The London Bridge — yes, that London Bridge — is located near downtown and Lake Havasu State Park. In 1967, the bridge, still bearing marks of the war, was removed from its spot over the Thames River in London and reassembled in Lake Havasu City.


Centrally located and accessible by land or boat, Rotary Community Park is a popular place to kick back. The largest public beach in Lake Havasu City includes sand volleyball courts, a skate park, and a two-mile-long walking and jogging path. And here’s a tip for Mom. While Dad takes the kids go fishing, head to the Downtown District and the waterfront shops near London Bridge for some retail therapy. Or get pampered at one of the town’s upscale day spas.

“NATURE’S PLAYGROUND,” PAGOSA SPRINGS, COLORADO


Cradled among the rugged San Juan Mountains in Southwest Colorado, Pagosa Springs is a hidden gem. Perfect for a lower-key winter getaway, don’t forget to pack swimsuits. Swimming and relaxing in the healing waters of the natural hot springs is a must, especially in March when the weather is still cool.


When you’re not soaking in the Great Pagosa Hot Spring — listed in the “Guinness Book of World Records” as the deepest geothermal hot spring with a depth of 1,002 feet — try snowmobiling, sledding, tubing, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. (If it’s warmer in the lower elevations, snow-based activities are nearby up on Wolf Creek Pass.) Take the family on a horse-drawn sleigh or wagon ride. Visit Treasure Falls with its 105-foot drop just 15 miles outside Pagosa Springs. And be sure to enjoy a stroll along Mainstreet in the Historic Downtown area dotted with quaint shops, galleries, and restaurants.

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