With the glinting sand strips of tequila-doused Cancun and the come-laze-on-me hammocks that swing in the Bahamas, the rollicking beach towns of Florida and the dolphin-splashing bays of Puerto Vallarta all on the menu, it's never hard to fill a list of the best places to go for spring break. This guide splits them into handy categories, offering something for college goers, for those on a budget, and for those in search of a little springtime sun.
Warm spring break destinations
There's nothing quite like leaving behind the snowy Midwest or the leafless forests of New England in March and hopping south to somewhere that demands the wearing of Aloha shirts and sun screen. Cue the enticing spring break spots below, which promise soaring mercury levels and endless rays.
Mexicana charms in Puerto Vallarta
Have the sombrero at the ready for your spring break getaway to Puerto Vallarta. Huddled between the hazy Sierra Madre on the Mexican Pacific, this much-vaunted resort town boasts a lot. You can hit the surf at the peaks of La Lancha Beach. You can drink cold Coronas with lime as the sun sets across Banderas Bay. Or, you can get adventurous, choosing hidden eco lodges in the jungled hills to the north, to hike papaya plantations where monkeys swing this way and that.
The Bahamas – be ready for relaxation
Just a mention of the name Bahamas is enough to conjure up images of pink-tinged beaches and talcum-powder sands. And because the weather tends to be perfect for lazing and swimming in these parts between February and April, it's hardly a surprise that spring breakers come by their droves. Most will aim for Nassau, where waterparks and diving instructors give way to rum-soaked pirate bars for the evenings.
Cabo San Lucas – the Baja's best resort
Call it Cabo – everyone else does. It's as if they refer to this speck on the Baja map as an old friend. But that's what you get after so many nights of tequila shooters, so many days of cozying up on the sands of Lover's Beach, so many samba sessions down on the glitzy marina. There are loads of accommodation options, with the most luxurious peppering the so-called Corridor that lines the coast on the way to the airport.
Spring break getaways for college students
Throw down the pen, take off the thinking cap, and get ready for the rite of passage that is the spring break getaway. For decades, college goers have whisked themselves away from the lecture halls by swapping algebra for action-packed party resorts and science for swinging hammocks. A few young person's favorites are listed below.
Original spring break vibes in Fort Lauderdale
There was a time when Fort Lauderdale was considered the place for spring break blowouts. Thankfully, things have chillaxed a bit since the 80s, and you can now find at least some room to lay your towel and crack a beer on Central Beach. Las Olas Blvd – a mix of beachwear shops, sports bars, and seafood grills – tends to be the epicenter of it all.
Panama City Beach – Florida's white sands
No list of the best places to go for spring break for students could possibly be complete without at least a mention of Panama City Beach. Live music acts spin the decks in big open-air festivals throughout the season, there are beachfront resorts with swimming pools and cocktail bars all down Front Beach Road, and you can take your pick of super clubs that keep pumping until the early hours.
Budget-friendly spring break locations
You don't have to slash your savings in half to join the revelers on spring break this year. Read on to see a few options that can offer surprising bargains on both travel and accommodation when the college lectures stop in March…
Myrtle Beach – a forever favorite
Easy to access from most major East Coast cities, and with its own international airport to boot, you shouldn't have to fork out loads on long-haul flights to put Myrtle Beach on your spring break destination list. Condos, cottages, and elegant villas all cluster along the Grand Strand's 60 miles of pristine sand here too, so there's potential for a bargain stay. Party-hungry college goes will love the blocks by the Boardwalk. Families might prefer areas like Cherry Grove to the north.
Punta Cana is a surprise player
Loved-up couples looking to get away from it all for spring break could hardly do better than the deluxe villas and resorts of Punta Cana. Straddling the end of the paradisiacal Dominican Republic, they face up to sugar-white beaches and turquoise seas. Rates and weather will usually be good around March, after the Christmas snowbird rush but before the summer storm season.
New Orleans – in the aftermath of Mardi Gras
Start a spring break getaway to the Big Easy with a jaunt to the French Quarter, where iron-wrought honky-tonks echo with plaintive trumpet tones and dancers jive between the Creole eateries of Bourbon Street. Alternatively, you can take the whole family on spine-tingling ghost tours of Antebellum plantations, or wander Marigny to see Voodoo-themed pubs and taste the legendary Po'Boy sub. Prices in New Orleans tend to dip in late March, as the city winds down after its own heady Mardi Gras parades.