A destination guide to cheap spring break trips

Pining after some March-time sun but not sure if you have the dime? Longing for a getaway from the big city but the piggy bank is looking less than packed? Cue this destination guide to cheap spring break trips. It can whisk you away to amazing places between February and March, touting gold-tinted sands and let-loose party nights, family fun and real adventure, all without requiring masses of moolah.

Cheap spring break destinations for college goers

The rite of passage that is the spring break party trip doesn't mean forking out loads from your college fund. There are plenty of hotspots where everyone from sophomores to seniors can forget about the textbooks and the exams…

Daytona Beach spins with DJs and parties

One of the pioneer resorts on the spring break scene, Daytona Beach still manages to clock up crowds of 1000s of college students when the lectures stop in March. Bargain hunters can be close to the main sand stretches, where all the EDM mixes and neon-lit raves take place – but it is best to opt for condos just a few blocks back from Atlantic Avenue.

Key West – where the tropics take over

The Caribbean shacks and Bahamian cottages of Key West could be at their most affordable after the Christmas snowbirds have left in February and March. That throws this steamy tropical speck on the Florida map wide open to spring breakers, who can come for rocking nights between the Cubano grills of Duval Street or underwater adventures in the glimmering coral reefs and lagoons that abound.

Let Mexico take over in Cabo San Lucas

Don't worry, it's Mexican prices at the taco stalls and quesadilla houses in Cabo. And the beaches, from Lover's Beach to sleepless El Medano are all free to enter. Just be sure to skip the luxurious all-inclusive villa stays the pepper the Corridor on the way to the airport, choosing local rentals behind the Marina or along the miradors of Pedregal.

Cheap places to go for spring break on the beach

Getting sandy and sunned up is often the point of a cheap spring break. Thankfully, the abundance of condos and resorts, little coastal cottages and beach-side homes, means you can usually nail somewhere with waves, dunes, salty air, and budget-conscious rates rolled into one.

Myrtle Beach – a classic favorite

A whopping 60 miles of clean Carolinian sand runs along the East Coast out of Myrtle Beach. The upshot? Potential bargains are everywhere, what with such a medley of wave-side properties. Younger folk would do well to stick to the Boardwalk area and the buzz of Broadway on the Beach, while families and couples often prefer Cherry Creek and its soft dunes and golf courses to the north.

A surprise cheap spring break trip to Jamaica

You might not expect the reggae isle to have wallet-friendly deals, but there can be a bonanza sale on vacation homes around the north shore's stunning beaches after the peaks of the Christmas season. From Ocho Rios to Negril, there are palm-shaded shacks and even luxurious villas in resort complexes, offering all-inclusive deals, and access to cheap and cheerful Jamaican food bazaars – jerk and jackfruit, if you please.

Consider Puerto Vallarta

Yes, flights down south to Puerto Vallarta might be more than domestic connections, but there are lots of ways to save once you're on the ground. Food, cerveza, and tours – including whale watching and surfing – shouldn't be expensive, while nearby towns like Sayulita and San Pancho host low-key apartment rentals that are just a stone's throw from Pacific sands.

A cheap spring break for families

Just because the weather's warming up and the blowouts are happening on the beaches, it doesn't mean you have to choose a destination that's on the coast. In fact, some of the very best cheap spring break options are in cities, where you'll be able to enjoy the sights, the monuments, and the gastronomy without the usual crowds – or high prices.

Budget-friendly sightseeing in Washington DC

Guess what? Admission is a grand total of zero for all the Smithsonian museums and the major monuments of the National Mall. What's more, February and March are among the cheapest times of the year to seek out suburban vacation homes in DC. Neighborhoods like historic Capitol Hill or the buzzy Dupont Circle are both great picks for families.

Savannah, GA – prepare to sigh with nostalgia

Savannah is the stunner of the South. A city laced with ancient oak trees and Spanish moss, it's all redbrick rowhouses, Victorian B&Bs, and carved fountains babbling in parks. In March or April, you shouldn't find it too hard to find somewhere affordable in the Historic District, where you can wonder at Antebellum homes and ride age-old trolleys over the cobblestones.