Spring is in the air, and that means only one thing. Spring Break! It’s the highlight of the programming year for certain music-themed cable networks. It’s a welcome respite from the regular routine for students everywhere. And, It comes right at the time of year when nothing sounds better than a week at the beach.
Now, some of us make it a tradition to fly away to a sunny, coastal locale when Easter week rolls around. But when you’re lucky enough to live within driving distance of some spectacular stretches of sand, there’s no need to feel bad if you haven’t booked a vacay. Simply choose what kind of beach experience you’d like to have and point your car down the freeway. Find a room with a view and spend a night or two, or hoof it back to the comfort of your own home. Either way, you’ll settle back into the regular routine with a little salt air in your lungs and some sand in your shoes, which should carry you through until school’s out for summer.
Get Wild: Head north to Santa Barbara for a day of fun in the sun. The drive is beautiful, but if you don’t feel like hitting the freeways, Santa Barbara is easy to get to by train. It’s about a two hour trip from Burbank to Carpinteria, where you can grab lunch by the water and hang out at some beautiful, family-friendly beaches. Santa Barbara is just a short jaunt away, and you can take the train in. You’ll find loads of great beaches for strolling, but if you really want to walk on the wild side, pay a visit to the charming Santa Barbara Zoo. You can see the zoo’s resident high-tech dinosaurs get a check-up in the “Dino Doc” show. Ride the zoo train, or simply take in the beautifully landscaped gardens and ocean views at what has been called “the world’s most beautiful zoo.”
Poopdecks and Penguins: If you’re looking for a seaside experience that takes you from the upper decks to deep down below the sea, head no further than Long Beach. Start your day with a trip to the Aquarium of the Pacific, where you can take in schools of tropical fish, watch playful penguins and pay a visit to Betty, the sea otter. Next, experience the grandeur of shipboard travel with a visit to The Queen Mary, where you can book an overnight stay or reserve a seat at their elegant Easter brunch. Or, seep yourself in maritime history with a visit to the Battleship Iowa at the Pacific Battleship Center. This 70-year old battleship has hosted three presidents and numerous foreign dignitaries, and is a sight to see, with it’s 16’ gun turrets. And last but not least, plan a totally unique dinner by booking a Gondola Getaways pizza cruise. You’ll munch on pizza, salad, and garlic bread while on board your own private gondola, floating through the canals of the Naples neighborhood. Now that’s the way to have a pizza party!
Surf’s up: Get the quintessential Southern California beach experience in Surf City USA, otherwise known as Huntington Beach. If you’re looking sit on the sand, soak up the sun and catch some waves, this 3.5 mile stretch of pristine beach is the place to plant your umbrella. Beach snack shacks all along the wide bike path serve summer classics like Wahoo’s fish tacos, and soft serve ice cream. You can rent bikes or sign up for a surfing lesson. Be sure to swing by the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum, housed in a cool art deco building just off Main Street, to take a peek at a rotating collection of surfing memorabilia and local history. Before the day is over, grab a fire ring; they’re free, on a first come-first serve basis. Because there’s nothing like ending a classic California beach day with a sunset bonfire.
Toes in the sand, waves on the horizon…now that’s the way to do spring break!