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10 Best Spring Break Destinations in the U.S.

by Staff

When you think of spring break, what comes to mind? Maybe it’s a family road trip, a college beach vacation, or late-season skiing out West. Whether your imminent break is from work or school, time away from the daily grind is always a good idea. Spring break is not only an opportunity for a getaway, it’s a reminder that you’ve made it through the dreary post-holiday winter months.

Here are a few of the best spring break destinations in the United States to help you start planning. We’ve got vacation ideas for everyone — from families traveling with younger kids to couples looking for a romantic spring getaway — in almost every region of the country.

Destin, Florida

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On Florida’s Emerald Coast, Destin (along with Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island) is a popular spring break destination for families. Daily high temperatures in the 70s make it a prime spot for boating, fishing, and relaxing on the fine white-sand beaches. The warm Gulf waters are ideal for aquatic activities like snorkeling, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and parasailing. There’s also a kid-friendly boardwalk featuring a zip line and rock-climbing wall. In addition to Destin’s luxury resorts, you can choose from campgrounds, bed-and-breakfasts, and vacation rentals.



Cannon Beach, Oregon

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Early spring weather is in the chilly mid-50s at Cannon Beach, but it’s still a fun time to explore tide pools and watch seabirds. Every April, the resident puffins return to their roost on Haystack Rock after about eight months away.

The beach is dog-friendly, and leashes are not required, so your pet can enjoy playing on the sand or joining you for a hike. There’s a great selection of hotels, including luxurious oceanfront properties, plus vacation home rentals and campsites. When you want a break from the shore, you’ll find shops, restaurants, wine tasting rooms, spas, and theaters in town.


Park City, Utah

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Not everyone is looking for a beach vacation, so for the powder seeker or mountain lover, Park City charms with its artsy downtown and historic silver-mining town vibe. Late-season snow sports typically last through spring at Park City Mountain and Deer Valley, but it should also be warm enough for hiking, mountain biking, and strolling along Main Street. Families with kids will be happy to know there’s bowling, ice skating, zip lining, tubing, and more to keep little ones entertained.


South Padre Island, Texas

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This barrier island resort town off the southern coast of Texas is popular among college students and families alike because of its warm weather, water sports, and nature. Paddleboards, kayaks, Jet Skis, and kite boards are available for rent. Kids can learn about some of South Padre Island’s most-loved residents at Sea Turtle, Inc. or work on their sandcastle-building skills. The college-student party crowd will be found dancing and drinking to DJ sets at bars like Louie’s Backyard.


Palm Springs, California

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Warm weather arrives early in the Southern California desert, making Palm Springs and nearby desert cities attractive destinations for spring breakers. Kids can be kept busy at the hotel pool or with a visit to The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. A ride to the top of Mt. San Jacinto on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is fun for nature lovers of all ages. Boasting both fast food and upscale dining, budget motels and luxury resorts, hiking and high-end shopping and galleries, this desert oasis has something for any kind of traveler.



Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

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Hilton Head Island attracts beach bums from all over the Midwest and East Coast with its 12 miles of Atlantic shoreline and waters ideal for fishing, parasailing, kayaking, Jet Skiing, and sailing. On land, you can bike, play golf, and go horseback riding. The weather is warm, with highs in the 70s, but not too hot to spend entire days outside.

Families who take their dogs along will be glad to know that until Memorial Day weekend, leashed pets are welcome on the beach. If there’s time, a side trip to nearby Savannah or Beaufort provides even more Southern charm.


Atlanta

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Pleasant spring weather would be enough to attract visitors to this Southern city, and there’s so much to do that no one will even notice there’s no beach nearby. The Georgia Aquarium is the largest in the United States and features sharks, dolphins, sea lions, seabirds, and more. The World of Coca Cola offers tastings and other experiences in the city where the soda is headquartered. The Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame will delight university students, and there’s a Lego Discovery Center for kids.


New Orleans

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The Big Easy is known as a party destination, but families with kids should keep New Orleans on their spring break radar, too. The historic city has an aquarium, zoo, and several standout museums. The National World War II Museum, Old U.S. Mint, and Louisiana Children’s Museum mix entertainment and education. For the college students looking for a party scene, there’s no shortage of bars in the French Quarter.



Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

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One of America’s best beach towns, Wrightsville Beach offers water sports, restaurants, shopping, and history. Stay oceanfront or near the harbor in a family-friendly hotel or a beach house rented with friends. Surfing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding are popular, and scuba divers seek out the area’s sunken ships and reefs teeming with marine life. Even if it’s not swimming weather just yet, you can still enjoy being on the water with a sightseeing cruise or fishing excursion. Visitors can learn more about the area at a number of historical sites and museums.



Phoenix

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“The Valley of the Sun” is a well-deserved nickname for the Greater Phoenix area, which also includes Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, and Chandler. Even in the spring, this part of the Sonoran Desert sees temperatures in the high 70s and even 80s. Lounge in the sun by a pool, take a kayak or stand-up paddleboard on the Salt River, or join a jeep tour through the rugged terrain. With everything from five-star resorts to motels, campgrounds, and dude ranches, there’s an accommodation option for every travel style and budget.


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