Vacation versus Staycation for Spring Break and Family Day Weekend

Looks like paradise, no?

How far in advance do you make plans for spring break? We usually have a rough idea early in the New Year and book by mid-February (is that late?). This year, we’re Maui bound. While I’m looking forward to tropical breezes and drinking from a coconut, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I’m a bit freaked out about the tumble the Canadian dollar has taken. Canadians travelling to the US will be paying 20% more than they did a few months ago. With that in mind, here’s a smack down of staycation versus vacation destinations to consider in these last few weeks (months?) of winter.

Family Trips for Calgarians

Staycation: Drumheller. The Royal Tyrrell Museum is world class and only a 90-minute drive away from Calgary. Spend the day at the museum, explore the hoodoos (I’m amazed these aren’t yet fenced off and people can scramble over them) or climb to the top of the world’s largest T-Rex. Stay at either the Ramada or Super 8. Both have a pool and water slide. Or recreate Night at the Museum and Camp In at Royal Tyrrell.

That's my girl on Polo Beach in Wailea, Maui.

That’s my girl on Polo Beach in Wailea, Maui.

Vacation: Maui, because I’ll be there. In all seriousness, it’s easy, safe and you’re pretty much guaranteed good weather. You know you’re not going to get sick from drinking the water and everyone speaks English. Go hiking, rappel down a waterfall or hole up on the beach if fly and flop is more your style.

Couple’s Weekend Calgary

Staycation: Sneak away to Hotel Le Germain for some sophisticated sexy time. With Charcut and Sante spa under the same roof, you don’t even have to leave. If you want to venture out, stroll around the river paths, work out at the Eau Claire Y or shop The Core.

Le Germain lobby

At least have a drink in the Hotel Le Germain lobby bar!

Vacation: You can’t go wrong heading someplace warm (where you wear minimal clothing). Cabo has daily direct flights from Calgary, so a Thursday to Sunday night stay is totally do-able. You can go high end (El Ganzo is the latest celeb spot), stay at an all-inclusive or rent a one-bedroom condo on VBRO sub $100/night. Since the hurricane, there are deals to be had. Party at Squid Row, take a boat tour to see The Arches or just play in the sand while the whales breach before your eyes.

Girlfriend Getaway near Calgary

Staycation: Ladies, make a beeline for the Solara Resort and Spa in Canmore. You can spend the day at One Wellness Spa, where the services go beyond your basic facial or massage. With their Pathways treatments, you chose a focus like joy or sleep, (whatever you want more of in your life), and they incorporate breath and visualization techniques into your treatment. Canmore boasts a vibrant restaurant scene and a charming main street laced with independent shops (Indigo Bay is my fave). For an easy, fun workout, hit up the Nordic Centre, where you can rent cross country skis or cruise down their toboggan hill.

hiking Phoenix

Hike up to the Wind Cave Tunnel at Usery Mountain Regional Park, outside of Phoenix.

Vacation: Greater Phoenix area. The shopping in and around Phoenix is superb, as are the spas. Fuchsia is a lovely day spa in Mesa that’s totally affordable yet pampering. Scenic desert hiking trails are abundant in Usery MountainRegional Park and there’s occasional yoga classes at their information center. Even if you’re not a health nut, it’s worth a visit to Southwest Herb, where you can try your hand at tincture making, or just get great recommendations to cure whatever ails you. Flower Pot and True Food are my first choices for restaurants, but check out my piece for the Calgary Herald on the 7 dining experiences you don’t want to miss.

Do you have plans for spring break? Where are you heading this year?