The Best Spring Break Destinations in the US - AWD

The Best Spring Break Destinations in the US

Spring break is not only an opportunity for a getaway, it's a reminder that we've made it through the dreary post-holiday winter months. Spring break isn’t just for college kids, but it can feel like that sometimes and the last thing you want to do is plan a spring break vacation, only to be bombarded by the antics of wild 20-somethings taking time off to party.

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Twelve miles of Atlantic Ocean beaches and water sports that include fishing, boating, parasailing, kayaking, jet-skiing, and sailing are a good start to keeping your group happy. On land, there’s biking, golf, horseback riding, and enjoying nature. Families who take their pets along will be glad to hear that until Memorial Day weekend, pets are welcome on beaches if they’re on a leash. Restaurants, pubs, bars, and cafes ensure that hungry visitors find just what they want. Accommodations range from hotels, inns, motels, and resorts to home rentals, perfect for families or groups of friends. If there’s time, a side trip to Savannah or Charleston would be a great change of pace.

South Padre Island, Texas

This barrier island resort town off the southern coast of Texas has earned its reputation as Spring Break Central with all-day music, beach parties, concerts, and crowds, especially during the month of March. Warm early spring weather is also part of the attraction, and there’s more to do than just party all day (nothing wrong with that!) Families with kids on school break can also enjoy the weather, water sports and plenty of nature while avoiding the beach crowds. Paddleboards, kayaks, jet skis, and kiteboards are available for rent, and kids can learn about sea turtles or even improve their swimming skills. Plenty of hotels, motels, rental homes, and even campgrounds meet most visitors’ budget needs.

Nashville, Tennessee

With its raucous music scene, lush hillsides, celebrity chefs and hip boutiques, it’s no wonder Nashville is becoming a popular spring break destination. Nashville has become so popular with tourists lately that hotels are popping up everywhere. The most important consideration is which part of town you choose as your home base. Downtown Nashville has plenty of hotel options but be aware if you stay downtown that when the sun goes down on Lower Broadway (the downtown tourist district’s main drag), the area becomes one big party zone. A downside if you have a car is mandatory valet parking at downtown hotels, which costs anywhere from $35-$40 per night.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach is a favorite spring break destination for East Coasters who drive down to visit its 60 stretching miles of shoreline. There’s a growing arts and culture scene, along with a culinary scene worth a taste. The best Myrtle Beach attractions like Ripley’s Aquarium and the Broadway Grand Prix Go-Kart Park are kid-pleasers, while adults can enjoy the vibrant nightlife and entertaining variety shows at spots like the Alabama Theatre. The shopping outlets are a draw too with hundreds of brands to browse and great deals. Myrtle Beach is a super fun spot to head to. You can walk the pier, going to restaurants and bars or just relax at the beach.

New Orleans, Louisiana

This year, Mardi Gras will be celebrated on February 25th so if spring break falls during that time, you could be in for a wild time in the Big Easy. It’s always fun, with streets filled with music, crowds, and drink-toting visitors enjoying the lively atmosphere. The historic city boasts a great variety of things to entertain. An aquarium, zoo, Audubon Butterfly Garden & Insectarium and even Mardi Gras World, the next best thing to being there. Other “non-party” activities include The National World War II Museum, Old U.S. Mint, Louisiana Children’s Museum to both entertain and educate. Find a place to stay in the middle of the action or on the outskirts, there’s plenty on offer.

Destin, Florida

Destin offers sandy beaches, warm water, boating, fishing, snorkeling, and plenty of water sports like kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, parasailing, and more. There’s also a zip line, rock-climbing wall, and boat tours. giant wave pool, lazy river, waterfalls, and miniature golf is there for family fun. Okaloosa Island offers aquatic animals, dolphin and sea lions shows, and hands-on experiences with starfish, sea urchins, and stingrays. Destin includes piano bars, restaurants, live music, and relaxing evening cruises. From RV campsites to bed and breakfasts, hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals, visitors to the Emerald Coast have it all in Destin to meet their needs.

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Early spring weather is in the chilly mid-50s F, but it’s still a fun time to be at the beach exploring tidepools, watching puffins and other sea birds, or just watching the waves. It’s a dog friendly beach, and leashes are not required so your pet can enjoy playing in the sand or joining you for a hike. Luxurious oceanfront lodging is available, and there’s also a lot of hotels, vacation home rentals, and campsites. Nearby Ecola State Park offers camping in rustic shelters that sleep four, encircling a large fire ring with firewood for sale at Hikers’ Camp. The atmosphere is casual, and the scenery makes it a great spot for families, couples, and groups.

Park City, Utah

Not everyone is looking for a beach vacation so why not head to Park City with its quaint downtown, restaurants, bars, and historic silver mining town vibe. Late season snow sports should still be happening at Park City Mountain and Deer Valley. Hiking, mountain biking, and strolling along Main Street are perfect end of season activities. Families with kids will be happy to know there’s bowling, indoor ice skating, and Park City Mountain Kids Activities, with a kid-only zip line, rope course, and tubing. Nightlife spots in town include pubs and bars, with lots of lively places to choose from.

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

Voted one of America’s best beach towns, Wrightsville Beach offers water sports, restaurants, nightlife, shopping, and local history. Stay oceanfront or near the harbor in the ideal place for your family or group of friends. Surfing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding are popular, and scuba divers seek out the area’s sunken ships, reefs, and sea life habitats. Even if it’s not swimming weather, you can still enjoy being near the water on a cruise or fishing boat. There’s no shortage of nightlife in the conveniently walkable downtown, with live music venues, bars, breweries, and of course, restaurants serving fresh seafood and casual meals.

The Catskills, New York

If you want to keep things more on the simple side, check out the Catskills area in upstate New York. Only about two to three hours outside of New York City, it is full of charming towns and lots of nature to take in. If it’s adventure you seek, then look no further. Take a deep breath of fresh air as you explore mountain vistas or travel downstream on a raft or kayak. The new generation of extreme sports fanatics will enjoy zip-lining and mountain biking, while traditionalists will revel in the abundance of areas for hunting, hiking and fishing. The Catskills also offer plentiful golfing experiences. From tee to green, you’ll find lush fairways amidst rolling hills with courses for golfers of every skill level.