The Cheetah Hunt roller coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay...

The Cheetah Hunt roller coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in Tampa, Florida. Credit: SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc.

Looking for a short getaway to a warm destination this spring break or a long weekend trip? Long Islanders can head down South via flights from MacArthur Airport (ISP) that offer beach, golf and family-friendly resorts. If you’re in “I want summer NOW” mode, here are four hot spots to consider that are a short flight from New York:

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

Passengers arrive at the main terminal at Long Island MacArthur...

Passengers arrive at the main terminal at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

Parking is available at Long Island MacArthur Airport (100 Arrival Ave., Ronkonkoma; 631-467-3300, islipny.gov) for short-term ($3.75 hourly, with a maximum of $26 per 24-hour periods) and long term ($4 hourly, max of $18 per 24-hour periods) stays. It's recommended that anyone traveling should arrive at least two hours before the scheduled time of departure. The airport also features concessions, including food and drink options Dunkin' Donuts, Nathan’s and Great American Bagel. There's also a Blue Point Brewery bar and grill restaurant, which sells food and craft beers.

Tampa Bay 

(Average March/April temperatures: 75-79F)

A Gulf Coast metropolitan area, the region is home to cities Clearwater, St, Petersburg and Tampa. MacArthur connects (via Frontier and Southwest Airlines) to Tampa International Airport.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Visitors can see 9-year-old Bandar at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in...

Visitors can see 9-year-old Bandar at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in Tampa, Florida.  Credit: TNS/Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Roller coasters and other amusement park rides are a main attraction at Busch Gardens, including its newest coaster, “Iron Gwazi,” dubbed the tallest, steepest, fastest hybrid coaster in North America. The park also includes an African wildlife preserve, home to animals from around the world.

INFO 10165 N. McKinley Dr., Tampa; 813-884-4386, buschgardens.com

Tampa Riverwalk

Take a 2.6-mile stroll along the Garrison Channel and Hillsborough River to explore parks, playgrounds and other attractions — at night its canopies and river-crossing bridges are lit. A Riverwalk Attraction Pass can be purchased, which grants admission to seven attractions (including The Florida Aquarium, Tampa Museum of Art and Glazer Children’s Museum), and can be used for a single day or over three consecutive days.

INFO thetampariverwalk.com

Greater Fort Lauderdale 

(Average March/April temperatures: 80-83F)

Located on the southeastern coast of Florida, it’s a city and surrounding region known for having a vibrant social scene, waterways and beautiful beaches. MacArthur connects to this region by way of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (via Southwest and Frontier Airlines).

NSU Art Museum

The NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Credit: Alamy/Rosemary Behan

Host to 25,000 square feet of exhibition space, the museum has over 7,500 pieces and specializes in Latin American art with contemporary pieces created by Latinx, Black and female artists. Current exhibitions include “Animation Generation,” which presents media that demonstrates the creation of illustration and animation, and “Malcolm Morley: Shipwreck,” focusing on the work of Morley, his painting techniques and inspirational source materials.

INFO 1 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-525-5500, nsuartmuseum.org

Broward Center for the Performing Arts

The Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Credit: TNS/Mike Stocker

A key spot to catch live entertainment, the center offers an event calendar that includes concerts, comedy and other performances; upcoming acts include rock Hall of Famers Blondie (March 16), Shen Yun (March 21-23) and the Indigo Girls (April 19).

INFO 201 S.W. 5th Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-462-0222, browardcenter.org

Orlando 

(Average March/April temperatures: 79-84F)

Set in the central portion of the Sunshine State, Orlando is reachable via flights from MacArthur  to Orlando International Airport (via Southwest and Frontier Airlines). 

The Walt Disney World Resort

Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake...

Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Credit: AP/Ted Shaffrey

Today's Disney-sphere includes themed attractions tied to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Muppets, PIXAR and all things Star Wars. The resort features hundreds of amusement rides, character experiences and live shows. This spring, the park is hosting the EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival (March 1-July 5), featuring several Disney-inspired gardens and topiaries plus a showcase of foods and live entertainment. The “TRON Lightcycle / Run” will open at Magic Kingdom Park on April 4, and is billed as what will be one of the fastest coasters at any Disney theme park.

INFO 1375 E. Buena Vista Dr.; 407-939-5277, disneyworld.disney.go.com

Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. 

Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.  Credit: AP/John Raoux

Universal Orlando Resort consists of three theme parks, which offer dozens of rides and other attractions. A spring break visit will also provide an opportunity to dine on Cajun and Creole dishes during “Universal’s Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval” (through April 16), which includes live musical performances. Universal's “Great Movie Escape” at Universal CityWalk opened Dec. 9, an escape room experience presenting interactive missions inspired by the classic films “Back to the Future” and “Jurassic World.”

INFO 6000 Universal Blvd.; 407-363-8000, universalorlando.com

Palm Beach

(Average March/April temperatures: 79-82F)

Recognized both for its shoreline and relaxed personality, Palm Beach is reachable from MacArthur via Frontier and Southwest Airlines to Palm Beach International Airport.

Beaches

Kayaking off the shore of Peanut Island in West Palm...

Kayaking off the shore of Peanut Island in West Palm Beach, Florida.  Credit: AP/Julio Cortez

This destination features 20 tropical beach parks that run on close to 50 miles of sand along the Atlantic Ocean. Spots to soak up the sun include Boynton Beach Oceanfront Park (6415 N. Ocean Blvd, Ocean Ridge; 561-742-6565, boynton-beach.org) — which has a boardwalk, concessions and lifeguards on duty daily, and Coral Cove Park (1600 Beach Rd., Tequesta; 561-624-0065, discover.pbcgov.org), where visitors can snorkel. 

Take a ferry to Peanut Island (6500 Peanut Island Rd., Riviera Beach; 561-845-4445, discover.pbcgov.org) for snorkeling, kayaking and other water sports.

Golfing

There are several courses open to the public, such as the Abacoa Golf Club (105 Barbados Dr. Jupiter; 561-622-0036, abacoagolfclub.com) — a course that features fairways that roll though tropical scenery, with water surrounding 14 of its 18 holes. Palm Beach Par 3 (2345 S. Ocean Blvd., Palm Beach; 561-547-0598, golfontheocean.com), an oceanfront course that, as its name suggests, is good for beginners as players need to take only three shots to make par. For a bit more of a challenge, Southwinds Golf Course (19557 Lyons Rd., Boca Raton; 561-483-1305, pbcsouthwindsgolf.com) has a Par 4 final hole that also features two waterways you’ll need to play.

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