Fresh conch, anyone?
Of course you have to dive for it first -- 16 feet down off Grand Turk Island. We go out with Trevor Watkins, who has lived on this tiny island (just 3,000 or so people) all his life and free dives every day for conch and lobsters.
The area is apparently full of conch. Our novice free divers snare 10 in just 20 minutes. We head to Gibb's Cay, a tiny island where Watkins prepares conch salad while he hands out shrimp for us to feed the half-dozen stingrays who swim around the beach.
Not exactly your typical day-at-the-beach spring break, and the conch got me thinking about all the ways to up the adventure ante on family spring breaks, wherever you are going.
The Grand Canyon, for example, is a terrific spring option -- especially when you can trek through narrow side canyons and camp, cooling off in the waters from Havasu Falls. This is a no-work camping trip, though, because Austin-Lehman guides (www.austinlehman.com) do all the work. Here's your chance to send a postcard from the Native American village of Supai -- the most remote in the country -- where mail and supplies are still delivered by packhorse.
Want to brush up on your French -- or maybe introduce your littlest ones to France? Try the historic Hotel Crillon le Brave in Provence (www.crillonlebrave.com/) where some of its stone houses, which make up the hotel, date back to the 16th century. A family spring break includes French lessons, the chance to make French desserts with the chefs, kayaking on a local river and visits to a local boulangerie to see how croissants are made.
Have a junior foodie in the bunch? Boston-based Lauren Birmingham Piscitelli leads culinary tours in Italy with a focus on kids cooking -- whether they are 3 or 18, she reports. Get $100 off a Spring Break Positano trip (www.cooking-vacations.com/).
Head to a ranch. At the Rockin' R Ranch in Utah (www.rocknrranch.com), an authentic cattle ranch, kids can ride and try their hand at barrel racing, archery, roping and more. You won't have to worry about feeding them either because all the meals are included.
If you haven't had enough fun in the snow, the Vee Bar Guest Ranch, along the banks of the Little Laramie River in Wyoming, has a spring break travel deal that offers families a chance to enjoy the last of Wyoming's powdery bliss before ski season ends. Located just 2 1/2 hours north of Denver it's a place to get into the backcountry with the kids on snowmobiles, snowshoes or skis. There are plenty of other ranch options too with many opening mid-spring, according to the Dude Ranchers' Association (www.duderanch.org/).
Tennis or golf more your speed? Consider Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort (www.sandestin.com) on the Gulf Coast of Florida, where, besides miles of white-sand beach, you and the kids can sign on for golf and tennis clinics that are affordably priced. Spread out in a condo or cottage (ideal for single parents vacationing together) and bike all around the expansive resort.
Head to the Caribbean to Curtain Bluff (www.curtainbluff.com) on Antigua where the kids can attend junior tennis clinics -- brand new to the resort this spring. Whale watch in the Dominican Republic and stay in Balcones del Atlantico, a new RockResort in the small fishing village of Las Terrenas on the Samana Peninsula, which incidentally is home to one of the largest breeding grounds in the world for humpback whales (balconesdelatlantico.rockresorts.com).
Take your favorite Little Leaguer and get up close and personal with his or her favorite baseball team. The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess (www.fairmont.com) has a deal that includes $100 daily food and beverage credit. The Intercontinental Tampa (www.intercontampa.com) promises 25 percent off the best available rate for deluxe accommodations (rates begin at $142 per night) and a Fan Tool Kit, complete with a baseball for signing, Cracker Jacks, peanuts, popcorn and more.