With Easter just around the corner, kid-friendly resorts are rolling back prices, offering a shower of spring savings and bunny-themed events for the holiday weekend. Here are 10 packages and activities worth considering, including a special Easter train with Peter Cottontail as conductor:
Where: Hershey, PA
Why: The smell of chocolate wafts through the air all year long here, but at Easter the lawn is literally covered with cocoa. This elegant hotel right outside Hershey Park offers Easter weekend cookie decorating, egg hunts, bingo, pool games, s'mores, character appearances, a non-denominational sunrise service, and a Hershey's Kiss Hunt. The Easter package starts at $349 per night for a family of four and includes park admission, two breakfasts, and a few other area attractions -- but you can also enjoy the resort festivities with the room-only rate, which starts at $219 per night.
Where: Hot Springs, VA
Why: Because this family-friendly luxury resort has something for everyone in its Easter basket of activities. Kids can skate for free on the resort's ice rink, get their pictures taken with the Easter bunny, watch a magic show, or paint wooden Easter eggs. For quality family time, there will be hayrides, family bingo, s'mores roast over the campfire, horseback rides, and tours of the scenic Cascades Gorge. Sunday morning kicks off with an egg hunt followed by a traditional Easter brunch. The Easter Escape package starts at $250 per night and includes most activities, a breakfast buffet, and an Easter basket -- as well as a 20% discount on any outdoor activities that carry fees, such as pony rides or fly-fishing.
Copper Mountain Resort
Where: Copper Mountain, CO
Why: Because this family-favorite ski resort (see our review) is hosting Colorado's largest Easter-egg hunt with more than 50,000 eggs scattered throughout the resort and village -- including special "copper" eggs that kids can redeem for prizes such as ski lessons, gift cards, T-shirts, and the grand prize of a season pass for next year. This year's Easter festivities coincide with Sunsation, the resort's end-of-season festival that offers plenty of live music, visits with the Easter Bunny, and Egg Putt-Putt -- nine holes of "greens" on the snow using Easter eggs as golf balls. Easter weekend rates start at $89 per person.
Marina Inn at Grand Dunes
Where: Myrtle Beach, SC
Why: Because the Grand Strand is synonymous with family fun (see Myrtle Beyond-the-Beach), and the Marina Inn at Grand Dunes is offering a weekend of Easter-themed activities. Start off the weekend on Saturday with egg- and cookie-decorating, followed by a family movie night and s'mores roast under the stars. No Easter would be complete without an egg hunt, a savory Easter brunch, and visits with Mr. and Mrs. Cottontail. In between all the Easter activities, families can rent bicycles, take in a round of golf, or go for a swim in the indoor pool. Two-night Easter packages start at $409 and include an Easter brunch for a family of four (a $96 value) and a family Easter basket.
Grand Del Mar
Where: San Diego, CA
Why: Because this sunny Southern California resort offers a posh celebration, but one with some good value. Festivities on the Grand Del Mar's rambling lawn include two eggs hunts, races, crafts, and a visit from the Bunny in Chief. For holiday dining, you can choose from two brunches or an afternoon high tea in the library. The resort also offers pools, tennis, golf, and an equestrian center. The Grand Life package starts at $333 per night, which includes a $100 resort credit that you can use toward extra activities or those Easter feasts.
Grand Traverse Resort
Where: Acme, MI
Why: Because this award-winning resort and spa is celebrating Easter with an egg-coloring contest, cookie decorating, breakfast with the Easter Bunny, and an egg hunt. Kids will love the video arcade and indoor water playground, which features a 70-foot long waterslide, a water-walk, and water basketball nets. On Saturday, there will be a live magic show followed by a family movie. The resort also offers a Kids Night Out with swimming, arts and crafts, and a pizza party. The Easter family weekend package starts at $129 per night and includes accommodations and most activities. (Breakfast with the Easter Bunny and Kids' Night Out are an additional charge.)
Where: Pinehurst, NC
Why: Because this hallowed golf resort is surprisingly kid-friendly (see our review), and Easter weekend offers opportunities for families to have fun together. The weekend roster includes a resort-wide scavenger hunt, relay races, bingo, face-painting, an egg toss, and a build-a-bunny workshop. Aside from the usual Easter Sunday egg hunt, there's also a flashlight egg hunt on Friday night to give bigger kids a challenge, followed by a family movie. The Easter package starts at $189 per person and includes a breakfast buffet, a commemorative family photo, Easter dinner, and most scheduled activities. Kids 12 and under eat, stay, and golf for free with an adult.
Barton Creek Resort
Where: Austin, TX
Why: Because this luxurious golf resort has a stellar lineup of Easter weekend activities both indoors and out. At Saturday's Easter Carnival, there are pony rides, an exotic petting zoo, and a huge egg hunt. All weekend at Barton Creek Resort, families can play giant chess, compete in hula-hoop contests, or go diving for golf balls in the pool. Indoors, there's a game room with Nintendo, Wii, Ping-Pong, and classic board games. On Sunday, you'll have an Easter basket delivered to your door, and plenty of chances to see the Bunny himself wandering the halls and roaming the grounds. The resort's Honeys & Bunnies package starts at $225 per night and includes a free round of golf as well as 2-for-1 spa treatments.
Heidel House Resort and Spa
Where: Green Lake, WI
Why: Because this lakefront resort offers a quiet retreat for the whole family. If snow is still on the ground, families can go ice skating, cross-country skiing, and sledding, or head indoors to the pool, spa, and game room. The holiday weekend will offer egg dying, an Easter egg hunt, and craft workshops. The Easter package starts at $179 per night and includes a Sunday brunch for a family of three (a $50 value), activities, and an Easter basket delivery.
Easter Bunny Train Ride
Where: Strasburg, PA
Why: Because a hotel stay isn't the only way to celebrate Easter with a fun getaway. Over the Easter weekend (April 22-24), the Strasburg Rail Road will have Peter Cottontail playing conductor on a historical steam train that chugs through the Pennsylvania countryside. During the 45-minute trip, kids will have a chance to meet the Easter Bunny as he passes out treats. Back at the station, kids will have a blast riding the miniature train, and propelling themselves down the tracks on either the "pump" or "cranky" cars. Easter train tickets cost $16 for ages 12 and up, $9.50 for ages 3 to 11, and $2 for toddlers 3 and under.
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