The turn of the calendar to March not only marks the return of spring break season, it also means it has been a year that we’ve been dealing with COVID-19 safety protocols and travel restrictions.
In years past, your indecision about where to go for spring break might have come from having an endless list of possibilities. This year you might be feeling pandemic exhaustion as well as confusion over what you can do while balancing safety with your family’s need for a change of scenery.
In metro Phoenix, most K-12 public schools are on spring break the weeks of March 8 and March 15. Arizona’s three public universities have canceled spring break this year.
Whether you just need to get out of the house safely for a few hours or you feel comfortable enough for an overnight stay out of town, here are suggestions for a last-minute spring break escape.
Go to a drive-in or host a private movie screening
If the pandemic has you missing the joy of going to a movie theater and devouring buttery popcorn while taking in the latest release, consider a night at West Wind Glendale Drive-in.
Or, if you’d prefer to stay indoors, Harkins Theatres is offering private parties where you can rent an auditorium for a movie screening for up to 20 guests. The cost is $99-$149 depending on what film you choose.
See a play outdoors
Those who enjoy the electricity of live theater have a pandemic-cautious option. Phoenix Theatre Company is presenting shows on a stage they built outdoors in the courtyard of Central United Methodist Church. COVID-19 safety protocols include temperature checks upon entry, maintaining 6 feet of distance between parties and wearing a mask when not eating and drinking.
The remaining shows for the spring season are:
- “Murder for Two,” through Feb. 28.
- “Ring of Fire,” March 10-April 4.
- “My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra,” April 14-May 23.
Details: The church is at 1875 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. https://www.phoenixtheatre.com
Spend a day – or longer – in Tucson
Just 113 miles down the road from Phoenix, Tucson offers the opportunity for an overnight escape or a fun day trip, depending on your mood and budget.
From hiking in Saguaro National Park to taking a bike tour of the city’s historic sites, go to https://www.azcentral.com to check out Arizona Republic contributor Roger Naylor’s suggestions of things to do outdoors in Tucson. If you’re on a budget, Naylor also has a list of things you can do for free in Tucson. Or check out Visit Tucson’s online page of coupons for attractions in town.
Glamp at an Arizona State Park
If you need a socially distanced escape but don’t have the budget for a swank resort, check out the rental cabins at Arizona State Parks. Several still have availability during March and prices range from $59-$99 a night, depending on the park and type of cabin you choose. Cabins have electricity, heat and air conditioning. Some have picnic tables and fire rings, and bathrooms are nearby. You’ll need to provide your own bedding (and, of course, food and beverages).
Details: Reserve online at https://azstateparks.com/cabins.
Hate roughing it?Try renting a cabin at Kartchner Caverns State Park
Try Zion National Park now to beat the summer crowds
If you are comfortable venturing well out of town, consider a road trip to southern Utah’s national parks. Even though it’s a touch chilly this time of year and spring break is a popular time to visit, you’ll avoid the crushing crowds that swamp places like Zion National Park in summer.
Due to COVID-19, Zion now requires a reservation to ride the park shuttle, which is how you get to the trailheads in Zion Canyon. Make one online before you go. You are required to wear a mask on the shuttle and while in the queue.
If you’ve already checked Zion and nearby Bryce Canyon off your national parks bucket list, there are plenty of other opportunities for adventure, including Kanarraville Falls or Goblin Valley State Park.
Details: Explore Zion and other national parks at https://www.nps.gov/index.htm.
Visiting Zion National Park:Here’s what the crowds are like in summer
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