Spring break with a twist

Kids are notorious for the whine, "How much longer till we get there?"

This time of year, with the excitement of the holidays long forgotten, the "there" isn't a destination, it's a date: spring break.

But where to go and what to do?

Disney? Been there, done that.

Cancun? Same old, same old.

A Caribbean cruise? Snooze.

Time for new family destinations and activities. Here's a sampling — domestic and foreign — in a variety of price ranges:

A multisport outing in Costa Rica: Biking is the star, but also available are whitewater rafting, zip-lining, surfing classes, ocean kayaking and more as options in a seven-day/six-night Costa Rica multisport package from Trek Travel, operated by the Trek bicycle folks.

Trek runs this as a regularly scheduled trip but can also design a custom trip, a much better option for a family.

During the two days of whitewater rafting on the Pacuare River, which National Geographic has named one of the 10 best river trips in the world, the family will stay at a safari-style river camp. More conventional lodging is used for other nights.

Biking might vary from 15 to 30 miles a day, and the trip typically includes hiking in a rain forest, where you might see monkeys, sloths, colorful birds and more. There is a visit to the area of the Arenal volcano, Costa Rica's most active, and other options include a cooking class, coffee plantation tour or a soak in a hot spring.

Custom tours range from $2,599-$3,199 per person, with a 15 percent discount for kids under 12.

To get an idea of what you might include in a custom trip, you can check out the itinerary for the regularly scheduled one at tinyurl.com/bdre8dt. Trek can be reached at 866-464-8735.

Blue Angels in Pensacola: Pensacola probably isn't the first city you think of for a Florida getaway, but the panhandle city has a lot of attractions for kids and adults, highlighted by the Blue Angels. The Navy's world-famous flying team is based at Naval Air Station Pensacola, and starting March 20, practice sessions are held every Tuesday and Wednesday morning.

There is a viewing area at the National Naval Aviation Museum, itself a worthy destination where visitors can climb into the cockpits of some of the country's most famous war birds or try out a flight simulator. There are more than 150 restored aircraft, including a Marine One helicopter used to transport the president, and 300,000 square feet of exhibition space.

For fun concentrated on the ground, there is Perdido Key and its two state parks inside the Gulf Islands National Seashore, the longest stretch of undeveloped beach on the Gulf Coast.

For some grub, take the kids to the Dog House Deli, which has been serving up hot dogs with a choice of 20 toppings for 40 years.

Visitpensacola.com has lots of information, including a link to Pensacola for Kids.

Europe's closer than you think: You and the kids can get the flavor of Europe without a flight of eight hours or more and without breaking the bank.

The nine islands of the Azores sit out in the Atlantic less than a five-hour flight from Boston, offering a taste of Portugal along with a dash of Flanders.