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Ask The Expert: Top Ways To Prepare For A Spring Break Staycation In Philadelphia

If the cold, gray days of winter and its accompanying cabin fever are getting you down, just remember that spring is right around the corner. Before you know it, it will be time to pack your bags to head out for that much-deserved spring break trip, and now is the perfect time to start planning. The cost of airfare is going up, but that doesn't mean your spring break has to break the budget. With an abundant selection of destinations perfect for either an overnight vacation or a one day staycation just a hop, skip and a jump from the Philadelphia and surrounding area, residents don't need plane tickets to enjoy a fun-filled spring break getaway.
Singer Travel
18 Commerce Drive
Wyomissing, PA 19610
(610) 378-1610

Helene Singer, local travel expert and past president of the American Society of Travel Agents, runs Singer Travel in Wyomissing. Singer, whose agency has worked to provide unique journeys and memorable adventures to the Philadelphia area for the past 30 years, shared some of her top recommendations for spring break getaway destinations less than three hours by car or train from the Philadelphia area.

Related: Winter Vacation Industry Takes A Hit From Delaware Valley's Mild Weather

Castle Hill Inn

590 Ocean Drive
Newport, Rhode Island 02840
(888) 466-1355

Newport, Rhode Island is an ideal destination for the traveler interested in a slice of charming Americana. Steeped in history, Newport is home to the "cottages" of the American barons of the 20th century. For "Downton Abbey" fans who fancy the elegant past, Singer highly recommends a visit to one or more of the amazing mansions, including Marble House, Rosecliff, The Breakers, Chateau-sur-Mer and the Elms, all listed with The Preservation Society of Newport County. In addition to vineyards, museums and its own yachting museum, Newport is also home to the oldest synagogue in the United States.

There are many choices for hotels in Newport, including the Castle Hill Inn, which reflects the luxury and quiet warmth of 19th century coastal life. Accommodations range from the Agassiz Mansion to charming beach cottages.

Omni New Haven Hotel At Yale
155 Temple St.
New Haven, Connecticut 06510
(203) 772-6664

Singer recommends New Haven, CT, which is home to Yale University and offers excellent museums as well as a great tour of the university. With something for every palate and budget, Singer says there are excellent restaurants, including several fun pizza places. Steeped in over 350 years of history, New Haven's heritage is reflected in its cultural events and landmark architecture, as well as its dining and leisure venues. With a zoo and many museums, golf courses, theaters and beaches, New Haven is a perfect blend of history, tradition and charm.

Among the many accommodation choices New Haven offers, the family- and pet-friendly Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale has it all, from a complimentary fitness center to its own kids program for younger guests.

Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel
202 East Pratt St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 547-1200

If you're looking for a fun, family-friendly, waterfront destination this spring, Singer recommends Baltimore, MD. The art museum and state-of-the-art aquarium are popular attractions, and Baltimore is a great sports town. Check the schedule at Camden Yards for a baseball game, and don't forget to check out the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum! Enjoy the spring weather and sunshine as you paddle around the Inner Harbor in a paddle boat or one of the many other small boats available for rent. Round out your stay with a visit to the zoo or science museum. If you're staying overnight or for the week, your choices include many fine hotels that suit any budget, including the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel. Just across from the Inner Harbor, this hotel offers a family-friendly indoor pool and is just a short distance from most major attractions.

The Hay-Adams
800 16th St.
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 638-6600

Singer ranks our nation's capital high up on the list for a local spring break destination, adding that there is an incredible amount of touring to do. The Newseum, she reports, is amazing, and she also recommends a tour of the FBI building and the U.S. Treasury. The Mall, with all of its landmark memorials and monuments, is the perfect backdrop for spring, especially when the cherry blossoms are in bloom. The zoo is always a crowd pleaser, as is the Capitol building, the White House, and the many treasures housed in the Smithsonian. In addition to many other specially packaged getaway plans, The Hay-Adams hotel, which overlooks the White House and Lafayette Square, has a spring break package available from March through April of 2013.

The Hotel Hershey
100 Hotel Road
Hershey, PA 17033
(717) 533-2171

Last but not least, Singer recommends Lancaster County, PA as a spring break destination. Convenient enough for an easy day trip but with enough to keep your entire family entertained for an extended stay, Lancaster is a local gem with lots to offer. Nestled in the beautiful Pennsylvania countryside, Lancaster is home to many of the country's oldest towns and villages. From vineyards to amusement parks, outlet malls to Amish marketplaces, this city has something for everyone. To round out your trip, Singer says, stop by nearby Reading, PA to visit the Reading Public Museum and its very own 2,300-year-old resident mummy. Sweeten the deal with a stay at The Hotel Hershey, which offers bed and breakfast, spa and family packages that include some of the famous Hershey experience attractions, like Hershey Gardens.

Christy Ayala covers sports, recreation, the outdoors, and leisure activities in the Philadelphia area. She earned a masters degree in recreation administration from George Williams College and managed programs in the Midwest, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania. Her work can be found on
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