Whether you're headed to the shore or taking a trip to Manhattan, your family vacation doesn't have to be filled with travel guide-suggested activities. Adding play to your spring break plans, regardless of your destination, is easy with a whimsical mindset. Check out these fun spring break activities for kids to enhance your trip.

For a Beach Adventure

Exploring the sand and ocean is the point of going to the beach. When frolicking on the iconic beaches of Myrtle Beach, gather items like shells, pieces of coral, sand, and rocks in a bin. Now it's time to design some pictures! Give your child a few prompts to outline in the sand with their materials—a sea turtle, Dad's face, or Wonder Woman's crown. Snap a pic of your child next to his creation and add it to the trip's photo album.

Shells, coral, and rocks make up this fun beach sensory bin

For another beach activity, pack food coloring in your suitcase (or stop at the drug store near the hotel), and bring it along to the beach. Your children can fill multiple cups with sand and add just a few drops of food coloring to make the sand colorful. In empty plastic bottles, add layers of multicolored sand and beach finds, like small shells and driftwood. Place a note in the bottle and pretend it's from a pirate's ship! This handmade souvenir will add a pretty pop of color to your child's room at home.

For a Mountain Trip

Just because school's out doesn't mean kids have to stop learning. Teach them some wilderness safety and encourage them to play park ranger with this hiking challenge. As you're walking through the woods, ask kids to collect items to mark their trail. Unique rocks, big sticks, or a pile of pine cones are all fair game to leave as markers. When it's time to head back, see if kids can lead you the right way.

Add adventure to your mountain lodge vacation by creating some wildlife. Discuss with your child what animals you may see on your travels. Using crayons and sheets of paper, draw bears, deer, chipmunks, and other woodland creatures. Tape these images to the windows, so each time you look up it seems like the animal kingdom is right outside.

For a City Excursion

For an urban take on spring break activities for kids, children can imitate different city sites they may have seen on their travels: Pose like the Statue of Liberty in New York, lay between two beds like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, or stand tall with arms up and feet spread like the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The gaps between furniture in the hotel can be bodies of water or subways and chairs can represent taxis. Take pictures of your poses, print them out, and use them as postcards to mail to Grandpa when you get home!

Alternatively, bring along pencils and a small graphing notepad. Now that your child is experiencing what it's like to be in a big city, she can design a map! When taking a break for lunch, envision what the city destinations you just saw would look like from above, as if from an airplane. Use the boxes to create an overview of businesses, roads, parks, and landmarks in the city. Darken the boxes and add labels to create a map you'll treasure forever.