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Calling all spring breakers! Spring break is the perfect time for a getaway to a sunny destination. Falling between February and May each year, spring break trips cater to families, college students, couples, and friends alike. Plenty of cheap flights, exciting vacations, hotels, and cruises are available—and those who book well in advance will save the most money on their spring break getaway.
Learn more about what and when is spring break...
Spring break is a holiday of about one week during the school year that takes place in late winter/early spring. Outside of the U.S., and particularly in many European countries, spring break is often scheduled around Easter and referred to as Easter holidays. While many families take this opportunity to travel with their school-age children, spring break for college students in the U.S. is frequently focused on party destinations and beach resorts.
The timing of your spring break will depend on your school’s academic calendar. Typically spring break takes place between mid-February and mid-April, with most spring breaks scheduled in March.
Spring break can be wherever you want it to be! Popular destinations for college spring breakers are beach resorts in areas like Florida, Mexico, or Texas. Those aren’t your only choices, though. You may want a more family-friendly vacation, a hiking trip with friends, or a journey to destinations a bit further off, in Europe or Asia.
If you’re heading off on a classic beachside party spring break, what do you need to pack? A bathing suit, some nightlife-ready clothes, and sunglasses are always a good idea, but what other essentials should you bring along? Here's our top 4 recommendations to up your spring break game so you can party safely and responsibly.
Looking for what to bring during you spring break getaway? Though it all depends on where you decide to travel, we've compiled a list of the basic necessities for a spring break getaway anywhere. Looking to head on a trip to Europe? Here's our recommendations on what you should pack for a carry-on for Europe.
If you have a nice digital camera, it may be tempting to take it down to the beach or on a night out to snap some pictures, but we recommend a disposable camera instead. Having a limited number of pictures helps you stay in the moment, and getting them developed and seeing the results after you finish your trip is half the fun! Added bonus: if you lose this camera during a party or accidentally drop it in the pool, it won’t ruin your trip.
Spring break trips often mean spending all day on the beach. Sunscreen in beach towns can be majorly marked up, so if you’re traveling by car or with checked luggage be sure to bring some along. While you’re protecting yourself, protect the ocean too—look for oxybenzone- and octinoxate-free sunscreens, which are much safer for marine life and coral reefs.
It’s important to stay hydrated if you’re spending all day in the sun as well as if you’re drinking alcohol. If you’re doing both, drinking plenty of water is absolutely essential. An environmentally-friendly reusable insulated water bottle will keep your water nice and cool and will keep you from getting dehydrated and sick during your action-packed week. Pack it in your beach bag in the morning and fill it up throughout the day.
Safety first! A basic first aid kit is crucial to have on hand for those little cuts and bruises that may happen while spending the day partying at the beach. Tuck it away in your beach bag or stash a few bandaids in your fanny pack so you can be prepared for any small accidents that may happen.
Spring break is the perfect time to explore a new and sunny destination. Although Mexico and Costa Rica may come out on top in terms of spring break destinations, we've rounded up ten incredible options that allow you to leave the passport at home. Whether you're looking for a city trip, beach getaway, or more of a party scene, we've found something for everyone.
Prefer a peaceful and relaxing spring break with your other half? Skip the rowdy beach parties and head to beautiful Kauai, Hawaii for a romantic retreat. Catch some waves at one of the less-crowded beaches or hit the hiking trails of Na Pali State Park before making the drive to Waimea Canyon for the perfect sunset view.
A fabulous and tropical option for those looking for a bit of adventure, Puerto Rico offers beautiful beaches, fun nightlife, and a culture all its own. Although the island experienced some damage from the hurricanes of 2017, Puerto Rico is open and welcoming tourists back with great deals on round-trip flights and hotels. Why not make this beautiful place your spring break destination?
Grab your friends and head to sunny San Diego. Book a kayaking tour through the La Jolla Sea Caves, take a cruise around the harbor, or stroll through the beautiful and historic Balboa Park. Enjoy some margaritas in Old Town before exploring the nightlife in the Gaslamp Quarter or catching a Padres game.
Grab the kids and your winter coats and head to Vail for an unforgettable spring break. Imagine crisp blue skies, 5,000 skiable acres, snow tubing and plenty of other family-friendly activities in one cool place. If you're ready to trade in a bit of sand for snow, this is the place for your family getaway!
Skip the crowds that flock to Myrtle Beach or Miami for spring break and enjoy the savings available at the Outer Banks. Travelers looking for an affordable destination should consider renting a home for a few days on one of these beachy islands off the North Carolina coast.
Hiking trails, camp sites and thundering waterfalls can be found by spring breakers who head to stunning Yosemite National Park. March and April travel to this beautiful destination offer blue skies, temperatures averaging in the mid-60s and fewer tourists than the summer months.
Also known as "Music City," Nashville is the perfect spring break destination for music lovers. Plenty of live (and often free) shows, art galleries, incredible food and blossoming flowers await those who head to this cool Southern city.
If you're seeking beach parties, poolside fiestas, booze cruises—in other words, the ultimate spring break experience—look no further than South Padre Island! With DJs galore, dance parties, bungee jumping, rock wall climbing and many more activities, SPI reaffirms that everything is bigger in Texas.
Home to many interesting festivals between the months of March and April, Seattle is a cool spring break destination for people looking for a bit of city and culture. Get your caffeine fix at Pike Place Market and catch a ferry to beautiful Bainbridge Island for boutique shopping. Filled with fabulous seafood, views, and architecture, this Pacific Northwest city is not to be overlooked.
Book a bed and breakfast or a casita near the popular Plaza and dive into the authentic culture of this southwestern city. Take part in an artist workshop, have a bowl of the famous chili, explore nearby national parks and hiking trails and check out Museum Hill. Did we mention Santa Fe is totally walkable?
What do you picture when you hear “spring break”? For many, flashes of hard-partying college kids and white, sandy beaches come to mind. While South Padre Island, Cancun and Miami Beach will always have a special place in spring break lore, an increasing number of travelers are heading to under-the-radar spring break destinations.
The average spring breaker spends a few hundred dollars on a spring break trip, which often takes place in March or April, but the common spring break go-tos aren’t the only destinations where high value and low price points combine.
Immersive art experiences and “selfie museums” are on the rise nationwide, but Sante Fe’s epic Meow Wolf is a destination in itself. The interactive, immersive, and collaborative art experience in New Mexico draws countless art lovers to experience its non-linear storytelling. Even if you’re not a lover of once-in-a-lifetime immersive art experiences, Sante Fe is the perfect place to dine on incredible New Mexican food, which is a fusion of Pueblan and Mexican cuisine — or ski, as March is an excellent time to hit the slopes. The prices are easily one of the best reasons to hit up New Mexico for spring break, as most highly-rated, two-star hotels start around $60 per night. (It’s also an excellent destination for those looking for a Southwest road trip.)
Belize is on the rise as a top travel destination — spring break or otherwise. While a trip to one of Belize’s small islands, Caye Caulker, will give you warm weather and gorgeous, turquoise beaches, it’s also a nature-lover’s paradise. From the Belize Barrier Reef to the Great Blue Hole, spring breakers will have an opportunity to spend time with Mother Nature. Many hotels on Caye Caulker start at around $60 per night, with some hostels starting at just $22 per night. While flights will be your biggest expense, American, United, Delta and Southwest often run flight sales for their Belize flight routes.
Montreal is the perfect spot for a group getaway, as the city is one of our top picks for those seeking a city with excellent nightlife options. If you visit during the beginning of March, you may catch the city’s Montreal en Lumiere festival, where foodie culture (poutine or smoked meat sandwiches, anyone?) and illuminated art combine to bring some light and festivities downtown. Many downtown hostels start at $30 per night, while some highly-rated hotels in the city run just under $100 per night. Flights to Montreal, Canada from New York City are a little over an hour each way — making it an excellent spot for a getaway that feels like Europe without the average European price tag, especially if you can catch a great flight sale.
Whether you’re a major country music fan or just a fan of Tennessee barbecue, Nashville is on the rise for spring breakers. The city is home to many famous honky-tonk bars, incredible foodie options like hot chicken and sweet, mollasessy ribs and the wold-famous Grand Ole Opry. The Music City also has a wide assortment of highly-rated budget options for downtown hostels and hotels under $100 per night. The city is also an easy flight from both coasts, with many airlines featuring this route for excellent springtime rates.
If beach vibes aren’t, in fact, your vibe, Portland, Oregon is a top spot for those looking for a top-notch foodie city with a wide assortment of cultural excursions. From the famous Voodoo Donuts to the Japanese Gardens in Washington Park, the City of Roses will keep you fed and busy. Cheap flights to Portland, Oregon are regularly available from both coasts, and the average cost of a hostel in some of the trendiest neighborhoods is $40 per night (a highly rated hotel will set you back a little over $100 per night).
For most college students, spring break means one thing: a non-stop party (preferably on the beach). If you're looking for the top destinations for your spring break party trip, look no further. We've rounded up the most popular destinations for college students to get the spring break party started.
1. Cancun, Mexico
2. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
3. Nassau, Bahamas
4. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
5. Montego Bay, Jamaica
6. Miami Beach, Florida
7. Panama City Beach, Florida
8. South Padre Island, Texas
This urban island just off of mainland Miami carries the city’s notorious party spirit and transplants it beachside. From the shiny luxury of South Beach to the dreamy, cotton-candy-colored buildings of Ocean Drive, Miami Beach draws you into the carefree party atmosphere. It’s no wonder this is a top spring break destination, with upscale clubs open until the wee hours, daytime festivities stretched across the glittering beaches, and wild booze-infused dance parties in all the spaces in between.
What better place than Sin City to let loose while classes are on hold? While Las Vegas brings the party every day of the year, the festivities head into overdrive in the spring break season. During the day, gather your friends and head to one of the famous all-day pool parties—if you’re feeling daring, places like the Bare Pool Lounge have opted to keep their pool parties clothing optional. At night, plan your own “casino-crawl”, hopping from party to party and trying your luck.
The sun-soaked white-sand beaches of Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic draw spring breakers year after year to swim in the surf, lounge by beachside bars, and party til the sun sets (and well into the night). Package vacations are particularly popular, as Punta Cana has an abundance of all-inclusive resorts that offer on-tap drinks, dining, glittering pools, and beach access, fun activities like booze cruises, windsurfing, snorkeling, and more. Punta Cana is ideal for large groups looking to stick together as well as meet up with other vacationers.
Right at the southern tip of the Lone Star state lies South Padre Island. This popular spring break destinations has hot days, breezy nights, and thousands of activities to fill those hours. From live concerts to club nights, from go karts to parasailing, it’s hard to have a dull moment in peak spring break season on South Padre Island. Be sure to check out some of the daily contests, like the Coca Cola Dance Contest.
Spring is a great time to visit Europe—head south to enjoy balmy weather, north for cozy, snow-dusted towns, and check out major cities like Berlin and Budapest as they shake off their winter coat and start to blossom. Not only will you encounter great weather for exploring, you will avoid the suffocating summer crowds and equally suffocating summer prices.
1. Valencia, Spain
2. Lisse, Netherlands
3. The Lake District, United Kingdom
4. Lisbon, Portugal
5. Lake Bled, Slovenia
6. Zadar, Croatia
7. Sofia, Bulgaria
8. Fårö, Sweden
9. Berlin, Germany
10. Sardinia, Italy
Las Fallas is an annual festival held in honor of Saint Joseph in the city of Valencia, Spain. Each year different neighborhoods within the city raise funds to construct intricate puppets called "ninots". These puppets, which are usually satirical in nature, are burned at the end of the festival, illuminating the midnight sky.
The festival runs between March 15 and March 19 annually, but there are many events that run leading up to the main celebration.
Hop over to the Netherlands for a trip Keukenhof, also known as the Garden of Europe, home to one of the world's largest flower gardens. There are many beautiful flowers to see in bloom every spring, with park operation running from mid-March to mid-May.
Many of the tulip gardens are outside of the park, but a train ride through the Dune and Bulb Region will give you the opportunity to see these colorful bulbs.
Not given the fame it deserves across the pond, The Lake District of the U.K.’s interior is well worth a trip for a bit of cozy relaxation combined with some fresh air and sunshine. Spend your days wandering between the peaceful lakes and rolling hills, and your evenings in the small hostels, boutique hotels, and bed-and-breakfasts that dot the countryside. Fair warning — this is one that’s best to book a few months in advance.
If you’re looking for truly off-the-beaten-path spring break destinations, why not try out some of the top springtime locales in Asia? Beautiful cherry blossoms, colorful festivals, and otherworldly beaches await in these far-flung destinations.
1. Delhi, India
2. Halong Bay, Vietnam
3. Kyoto, Japan
5. Bali, Indonesia
6. Luang Prabang, Laos
7. Chiang Mai, Thailand
8. Goa, India
The Holi festival, a celebration to mark the beginning of spring, is a colorful cacophony of vibrant powders and merriment. India and Nepal are home to this two-day celebration, which has become a bucket list experience for many travelers.
The time of the festival varies from year to year, but usually falls between the end of February and March. In 2019, the festival takes place from March 20–21. While many regions participate in this festival, some of the largest celebrations happen in North India.
Spring is the perfect time to explore the many wonders of Vietnam and a visit to Halong Bay—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—is a necessity for those looking for wonderful weather and calm waters.
Head out on a cruise and enjoy the vivid isles and temperate climate. Nestled between the brisk winter and sultry summer, spring is the ideal time to enjoy this beautiful country in Southeast Asia.
Cherry and plum blossoms are the main draw to Kyoto for many in the springtime, as the vivid buds bloom across the city starting in mid-March. Within the city there are 17 ancient monuments that are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are sure to please even the most scrupulous traveler.
Cherry blossom season generally starts at the end of March and runs through the middle of April, so careful planning is required to catch these buds in bloom.
Often overlooked in favor of nearby countries like Thailand and Cambodia, Burma has unique pagodas, beautiful, sunny beaches, and dreamy, rolling hills. The temples of Bagan are well worth your time—explore individual temples on foot, or take a hot air balloon ride over the area to see the ruins from the sky. Stop at Inle Lake, where you can cruise in a low wooden boat through tall grasses and canals and witness the impressive floating garden.
Spring is one of Bali’s best months, with the wet season slowing down and tourist crowds still mostly at bay. Bali to many is synonymous with relaxation, making it the perfect place to laze on the beaches or indulge in quiet introspection with hikes into the island’s lush interior. Take note of a special celebration that takes places every year in spring: Nyepi, known as the “Day of Silence.” This day is reserved for silent contemplation, meaning tourists must remain in their hotels or rental homes, but we encourage travelers to lean into the Hindu tradition and use this day for reflection.
The ideal family spring break destination has something for everyone. Exciting activities suitable for all ages, family-friendly restaurants, and beautiful sights for picture-taking. Make the most of your family trip at one of these top spring break destinations that both parents and kids will enjoy.
If you want warm spring weather without hoards of college students, San Diego is an excellent choice. Temperatures are mild, the flowers are in bloom, and there are plenty of outdoor activities that parents and kids will both love. Our top pick? Balboa Park, which boasts 16 museums, the San Diego Zoo, and plenty of restaurants and gardens to sit and enjoy the sunny weather. For a truly unique experience, schedule a safari through the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park.
A classic family destination, Orlando is a good choice any time of the year. While most families may plan to head down to Disney in the summer, traveling in the spring lets you dodge the heaving summer crowds and wander the park without the intense heat. If you or your little ones get burnt out on Disney World, try an overnight camping trip on Makinson Island, where you can go kayaking, explore the island on foot, and end your evening making s’mores.
If you’re more interested in hitting the slopes than laying on the beach, a trip to Stowe is right up your alley. This picturesque northern town has long been popular amongst East Coasters looking to get their ski fix, but it’s worth a trip no matter where in the U.S. you call home. Stay at Stowe Mountain Resort for easy access to the mountain—here, young children can attend ski school, giving parents a chance to do a few runs on their own.
If you like a mix of urban and nature exploration, Phoenix is an excellent choice. This sunny desert city in the middle of Arizona is surrounded by nature reserves, mountains, and trails that are best explored in the cooler spring and fall months. Take a day trip to investigate the unique flora and fauna that flourish in the arid climate, or stay in the city and do a walking food tour, sampling cuisine with Native American roots. If you can, try to time your trip to catch “First Fridays”, an arts event that takes place all over the city and happens on the first Friday of every month.
Sanibel and Captiva merged thousands of years ago to form one island that now attracts tourists from all over to Florida’s southwest coast. Far from crowded Miami or Fort Lauderdale, Sanibel & Captiva Islands have all the beautiful beaches and signature Floridian sun without the party atmosphere. Kids will love combing the beach for shells, paddleboarding in the surf, and taking in the sights at the science and nature centers.
If you want a beach vacation without heading all the way south, head to this set of islands off the North Carolina coast. Play a game of beach volleyball, tour the lighthouses, and climb the dunes at Jockey’s Ridge State Park. For a day trip, head to Nag’s Head to go fishing and stay to take in the hypercolor sunset.