This article by Heather Sweeney, with contributions by Sharon Wood, originally appeared on Military.com, the premier resource for the military and veteran community.
Spring is so close we can almost feel it. Even if your fingers aren't yet thawed out from the winter cold, it's time to start planning for Spring Break.
You may think your budget can't allow for too much fun, but with the help of military discounts, you can have tons of Spring Break fun without breaking the bank.
Need some suggestions for what to do? Here are six Spring Break ideas for the entire family:
1. Plan a staycation.
Staying home doesn't have to be boring. Do you live in an area that has attractions to offer visitors, but never take advantage of visiting them? Spring Break is the perfect time to check out what your area has to offer.
Visit your local military installation's ITT office to get some ideas and possibly discounted tickets to local attractions.
[RELATED: MOAA's Member-Exclusive Vacations]
You can also use this time to check out local restaurants you haven't had a chance to try. Some restaurants, like Melting Pot, Greene Turtle, Ryan's, Old Country Buffet and Hard Rock Cafe, advertise military discounts, but many restaurants don't advertise so make sure you ask wherever you dine.
2. Take a cruise.
3. Visit theme parks.
Perhaps there is a park that your family would love to visit. There's a wide variety of theme parks available that offer military discounts. Get your thrills at parks like Busch Gardens or Knott's Berry Farm or pose with your favorite Disney Character at Disney World. (Check out our full list of amusement park military discounts for more fun options.)
4. Relax at a resort.
Sandals resorts offer a 10% military discount. They have locations in beautiful places like the Bahamas, Jamaica, Barbados and more.
You can also check into Armed Forces Recreation Centers, or AFRCs, which are Joint Service Facilities operated by the Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Programs. Probably the best known AFRC is Shades of Green, located at Disney World in Florida. You can get great room rates (and if you're a golfer, check out their discounted golf rates for military).
So book your stay at a resort and spend your Spring Break relaxing in the sun.
5. Hit the road.
Even if you don't go on a cruise or head to a resort, Spring Break is a great time for a road trip. Whether you're visiting family and friends or heading out for some sight-seeing, make sure to use all the military discounts out there while you travel.
Need somewhere to stay? Hotels like Marriott, Red Roof Inn, Hilton, Best Western, Choice Hotels and Motel 6 all offer military discounts. (Click here for more details about military discounts on lodging.)
6. Learn a lesson.
Learn during Spring Break? Really? Remember, learning can be fun and can create wonderful memories for everyone. Visit places like Colonial Williamsburg, The National Aquarium, Presidential Libraries, and National Parks -- all with military discounts! Depending on where you live, even travel can be extremely affordable.
Blue Star Families also offers their Blue Star Theatres program, which gets you free or discounted tickets to more than 150 theatres and playhouses around the country.
Another learning experience for Spring Break is to find some local volunteering opportunities. Depending on your family members' ages, you can volunteer at local soup kitchens or nursing homes and not only make an impact on those you help, but your children can learn the valuable lesson of helping others.
Could your kids use the time to catch up on studies? Tutor.com offers free tutoring for military families.
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