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Traveling with teenagers for a Spring Break beach trip doesn’t have to strike fear in the hearts of parents. A beach vacation during your teenagers’ week off from school can be a lot of fun for everyone.

Here are 3 ways to have a fun Spring Break beach vacation with your teens.

1. Loop Them In On The Planning Process

Teens appreciate feeling like their opinion matters. Of course, you’ll be going to the beach. That’s a given. But what about other fun things to do? There are plenty.

Let your teens select a few of the family’s Spring Break activities.

Here are some of our favorite off-the-beach activities to indulge your teens in when staying in the Gulf Shores area:

The Park At OWA – With 21 amusement park rides for thrill-seekers of all ages, The Park at OWA promises to entertain for hours.

Test your “flight” skills in Air Race, designed to simulate the twists, turns, loops and dives of a wild air show. Alabama Wham’a is a vertical thrill ride whose circular frame changes course and raises its passengers in a Ferris Wheel-styled ride. Twister spins and twirls riders through the air and upside down. The Freedom Flyer swings ride takes riders way up into the sky, while Rollin’ Thunder is one of the longest roller coaster rides in the country, with big drops, loops, twists and hairpin turns.

If you have younger children in the group, there are fun rides for them, too, like Happy Haulers, Leap Frog, Flying Aces, Swingin’ Fun and Gully Washer.

While the older kids ride the rides, adults can browse shops or hang out at the Groovy Goat to watch a game, dine, indulge in an adult beverage or play in the family-friendly arcade.

Now open at OWA is Wahlburgers, where you’ll find hearty burgers, sandwiches, salads, floats and a kids’ menu.

The Factory A trampoline park with the motto “Play now. Grow up later” is a fun place for teens to hang out rain or shine. The Factory park contains more than 50 trampolines, angled wall trampolines and a series of launching decks from different heights. There is also dodgeball, a basketball goal and foam pits to soar into.

Just beyond the trampoline room is a flight simulator that invites you to try your hand at air-to-air combat, stunt flying and interactive roller coaster rides.

Breakout/Escape Rooms For an hour-long adventure, book an escape room at one of several venues throughout the area: The Wharf in Orange Beach, Bayou Village shopping center in Gulf Shores, or Waterville USA, for example.

An escape room is an adventure game in which players must solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints and strategy to complete a series of objectives within a limited timeframe. Completing your mission requires problem solving, collaboration and working under pressure.

Some people escape the room within the allotted time and many do not, but it’s all in fun!

Laser Tag – A high-energy adventure available at the Wharf in Orange Beach and at the Gulf Bowl bowling alley is laser tag.

At Arena The Next Level, upstairs at the Wharf, you and your teenagers will enjoy a 4,000-square-foot playing arena. Players’ vests and guns are wireless. Players have unlimited lives and ammunition. Duck, dive and wave your way through the room before your time runs out!

Another fun activity at Arena is Bazooka Ball, where participants shoot foam balls at one another using modified paintball guns. Vests and full face masks make this a safe and fun game.

Laser tag is also available at the Gulf Bowl in nearby Foley.

Bowling – The Gulf Bowl is located a few minutes north of Gulf Shores in Foley. Here, teens can play laser tag in the multi-level arena, bowl or play games in the arcade area. An on-site restaurant, called Captain’s Choice, is a great place for a quick snack while playing or a full seated meal.

A new VIP Bowling Boutique allows groups to get together for an experience that includes bowling, videos, music and games of pool.

Arcades – There are numerous arcades in the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area, including The Track Family Recreation Center in Gulf Shores, Adventure Island and Fat Daddy’s Arcade in Orange Beach and Waterville USA.

Parasailing – When you come to the beach, there’s no better way to experience the vastness of the Gulf of Mexico and the shoreline than from a bird’s eye view.

Parasailing involves attaching the “pilot” into a harness that is fixed to the boat via cables attached to a winch. As the parachute fills with trapped air and moved behind the boat, the drag created holds the parasail up in the air, creating a very pleasant ride. Some people fly individually, while others fly in groups of two or three.

Numerous companies operate parasailing services along the Gulf Coast.

2. Give Them Their Space

Let’s face it. Teens value privacy. They want to be trusted by their parents and thought of as mature and capable of handling their independence. And some teens enjoy spending some of their vacation time decompressing by themselves.

When we give teens the privacy they crave, they become more independent and confident. And a family vacation is a perfect time to offer teens a little independence within the confines of the watchful eyes of family members.

Choosing a vacation rental instead of a hotel affords everyone an extra measure of privacy. That’s because while there is plenty of common space in the living and dining rooms as well as the kitchen, there are also private bedrooms and baths.

Allowing teens to have their own quiet spaces will help them wind down in the evenings and sleep in during the morning hours. With any luck, they’ll return return home rested and fulfilled.

Be sure to book a vacation rental with enough bedrooms and bathrooms to allow your teen to have their own private areas.

3. Let Them Bring A Friend

Taking along a friend on vacation can be a great way to ensure your teen has someone to hang out with both on and off the beach. It can also allow parents to relax knowing they don’t have to entertain them!

To ensure a successful vacation, be sure to discuss accommodations. Will the teens share a room? Have separate rooms but share a bathroom? Decisions such as these made in advance of the trip can help make your teens more comfortable once they arrive.

A beach condo or house can be the perfect choice in giving everyone the space they need.

When your teenagers bring friends with them to the beach, why not consider a beach house with several bedrooms and a private pool? That way, you can easily keep an eye on them in the pool or while they are hanging out at the beach!

When you book a vacation rental for family and friends to stay in at the beach, your teens will appreciate the extra space, privacy and proximity to the many fun activities in the area.