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BOISE -- For families held hostage by the winter months, the concept of 'spring break' is typically synonymous with a journey to much warmer climes.

It's a well-worn cliche: dad, mom, and the kids board an airplane and soar off to Mexico, Hawaii, or Florida. There's fruity drinks, overpriced t-shirt shops, and time spent by a pool or beach.

Consider that cliche officially plowed down by a 4x4.

That's because Idaho -- Boise, in fact -- has made the top ten list of Spring Break destinations for American families published by www.liveability.com.

Citing Boise's history, outdoor recreation ala Bogus Basin and the Greenbelt, wildlife (including the Idaho Aquarium and World Center for Birds of Prey), and other attractions, Liveability makes an interesting case for why Boise deserves to be No. 9 on list.

The article's pitch for Boise is as follows:

Spring breakers will find a perfect balance of urban culture and untamed outdoor adventures in Boise, ID.

There's even an official must-do activities and attractions list, including:

  • Fish at Arrowrock Reservoir
  • Play disc golf at Ann Morrison Park
  • Tour the Basque Museum and Cultural Center
  • Visit the Idaho State Historical Museum
  • Explore the Discovery Center of Idaho
  • Bike the Boise River Greenbelt
  • March to the Idaho Military History Museum

At least one local marketing organization isn't surprised by the list, if a bit taken aback.

The distinction is for families, and so because of that it doesn't surprise me, said Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce spokesperson Caroline Merritt.

Although Boise doesn't specifically market itself as a spring break destination, Merritt says the list does underscore the area's high quality of living.

It's just one more accolade that Boise has received in the past few years.

Now, to be fair, the folks at Liveability confess the list isn't about promoting exotic destinations.

We know that not every family has the time for or access to a lengthy, expensive vacation, said John Hood, Livability.com spokesman. For this list, we looked beyond the typical beach destinations to focus on cities where families can have a quick, yet enjoyable and memorable spring break vacation without breaking the bank.

Some good advice for spring breakers in Boise?Just don't forget your sunscreen... and your snowpants.

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