11 incredible spring break destinations

After months of grey days and long nights, it’s about time. But where to go?


Explore the Big Island for spring break

Photo: Tec Petaja / Lonely Planet

With year-round temperatures that hover between 70°F and 80°F (21°C and 27°C), there's never a bad time to head to the Big Island.

But March marks the end of the high season, and budget travelers can usually find discounts on the largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago.

Trek into the snow-capped peaks, wander through a verdant Kona coffee farm and watch the the island get bigger at one of the longest-running volcanic eruptions anywhere in the world.

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

The laid-back atmosphere at San Juan del Sur, the country’s premier surfing hub.

Take surf lessons and experience some of the area’s world-class breaks, or hop around the neighboring coastline to visit the nearby string of glistening beaches: Playa Maderas, Playa Majagual, Playa El Coco, Playa Hermosa – the list goes on and on.

Party animals, don’t despair: down an ice-cold Toña or a stout rum cocktail at one of the town’s lively bars, try craft beer at the local cervecería or take a boozy catamaran cruise out into the bay.

If you’re really ready to throw down, join the Sunday Funday party, a legendary "pool crawl" hosted by local hostels that has a reputation for getting wild.

Whistler, Canada

For those who'd rather trade in the surfboard for skis on their spring break,

Photo: Alan V. Young / Moment / Getty

For those who'd rather trade in the surfboard for skis on their spring break, head to the Coast Mountain resort town of Whistler, British Columbia.

By March the peak season has begun to die down, and the resorts offer up great deals to keep the winter momentum going.

Longer days, clear skies and a good snowpack make a spring in Whistler the perfect choice for skiers and snowboarders.

Los Angeles, California

Sun, sand and surf (three spring break essentials) can be found in abundance in Los Angeles.

Photo: Layland Masuda / Getty Images

Famous beaches such as Santa Monica and Venice offer as much in the way of people-watching/partying as they do the chance to laze and sunbathe.

Other spots like Hermosa and Manhattan beaches are less known by tourists but are just as popular with locals – especially surfers.

For a much quieter (read: hungover) day at the beach, head for Malibu and Belmont Shore.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Stunning panoramas, fantastic food and a variety of outdoor adventures await to make yours a spring break to remember.

Photo: Johnny Greig/Getty Images

You’ll catch some of Brazil’s best rays on the sunny shores of the Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City): pick a post on Ipanema Beach to see and be seen, or join the ranks of other tourists on Copacabana’s hotel-lined oceanfront.

Take the cable car up to Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) or bask in the colossal shadow of Cristo Redentor atop Corcovado by day, and then hit the bar scene in Botafogo or party to the sounds of samba in the clubs of Lapa by night.

Southern Baja California, Mexico

plenty of options for a more back-to-nature spring break experience.

Away from the tourist resorts of Los Cabos, Baja California Sur has plenty of options for a more back-to-nature spring break experience.

The weather is ideal at this time of year, and the beautiful coastline offers the chance to swim with sea lions, kayak through turquoise waters, go whale watching (the season ends in March) and even help with turtle conservation, all of which will allow you to return home with ecological bragging rights rather than drinking stories.

Tampa Bay, Florida

Florida basically invented the concept of spring break...

Photo: Clayton Townsend/Shutterstock

...but hotspots like Miami and the ultimate spring break capital, Panama City Beach, typically snare the spotlight.

This is a shame because there are plenty of gems to discover in the state’s often overlooked Southwest region.

We recommend Tampa Bay, with its 35-plus miles of dune-dotted, pristine white beaches that promise traditional sun-and-sand relaxation.

Culebra & Vieques, Puerto Rico

You won’t find any resort ragers here, and that’s the beauty of it.

Photo: Pedro Díaz Cosme / Getty Images

hese two sister islands off the east coast of Puerto Rico are the things that tropical dreams are made of: white sand, sparkling blue sea and slow living.

Tiny Culebra is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean; relax in the sun on Playa Flamenco’s brilliant arc of sand or dive in at Playa Carlos Rosario, one of Puerto Rico’s best snorkeling sites.

Asheville, North Carolina

Southern charm, a thriving foodie scene and plenty of options for outdoor adventures

Photo: Jim McKinley / Moment Open / Getty

Asheville is the perfect spring break destination for travelers looking to compile a vacation itinerary that goes beyond the beach.

This small city in the Appalachian foothills is a haven for beer-lovers, with more craft breweries per capita than any other city in the US.

The food scene ranges from Southern classics like Tupelo Honey to authentic Spanish tapas at local favorite Cúrate.

Phoenix, Arizona

Springtime in the Valley of the Sun is just right

Photo: MarkSkalny / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Phoenix, Arizona, can be blistering in the summer months, but springtime in the Valley of the Sun is just right – especially if you want to escape the grey, damp fringes of winter back home.

Phoenix offers plenty of options to unwind, too, whether your idea of spring break means getting your Vitamin D while playing outdoors or soaking it up along with a few cocktails at your nearest bar patio.

The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Tthe answer for nature-loving, adventure-seeking travelers.

Photo: Paul Kennedy / Lonely Planet Images / Getty

Love the idea of spending spring break on an island but loathe the partying masses?

This otherworldly archipelago lies 563 miles off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean and is home to some of the earth’s most rare and unique flora and fauna.

Watch Next