Spring Break Destinations: Best Places to Visit with Your Friends
From turquoise waters to neon nights, you’ll relax, reenergize and reignite your wilder side at these fantastic spring break destinations. | By Jacqueline Kehoe | November 30, 2021
Spring break vacations aren’t just for college students. Whether you’re 19 or 59, let winter’s end be a cause for celebration with a trip to a white sand beach, a cultural capital or an outdoor adventure oasis. For a no-fail trip with your friends, these spring break destinations serve up memory-making fun and let you:
- Discover your flavor of beach: Relaxation comes naturally at these coastal hotspots
- Dance the night away: Live music, entertainment and late-night cocktail scenes make every night a celebration
- Find that foodie fix: Scout out local specialties in these hot culinary locales
Known as semana santa, spring break in Mexico is a classic for a few reasons: warm, cerulean waters, perfect sunny days on sugar-soft beaches and plenty of quality time with your trusty ice-cold margarita. Cancun and Playa del Carmen—both near the tip of the gorgeous Yucatan Peninsula—boast hot nightlife, picturesque beaches and numerous activities for groups. And with the right all-inclusive resort, you and your friends won’t even have to venture into the city. In fact, you won’t even have to leave the comfort of your cabana.
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Return Home with a Hobby
You and your pals can do more than relax in Cancun. Bring home the souvenir of knowledge when you take a Mayan art- and jewelry-making class. Alternatively, get a good shot for social at La Churrería, the all-you-can-eat ice cream and churro shop.Discover More
With conch-style houses, coral reefs and endless tropical sunshine, Key West is a postcard-perfect spring break destination for you and your besties. You could spend your week soaking in the island's nightlife—definitely check out Hemingway's favorite watering hole, Sloppy Joe's. For the beach-lovers, you could opt for time spent on private beaches. Your group might choose to go on diving adventures, a driving adventure (road trip!) or a bike ride around the 4-mile island from scenic viewpoint to scenic viewpoint via the east perimeter trail. Really, who says you have to choose?
Speaking of choosing, you have dozens of spring break destinations to select in Hawaii alone. Does your ideal spring break vacation involve sleeping—in style—next to a volcano? That’s Maui. Do you want to bounce around shops, art galleries and luxurious seaside restaurants? Try Oahu. How about traversing canyons, attending private luaus and relaxing under waterfalls? Look to Kauai. From buzzy Waikiki to the garden isle of Kauai, take the whole week to hop between your favorites.
The city that needs no introduction, New York puts on the world’s best theater, puts up the world’s best restaurants and puts the world’s best museums at your fingertips. Toss in the city’s tangible history and diversity, and you’ve got yourself a spring break trip that—while a bit untraditional—can and will cater to the whims and desires of everyone in your group. Bonus: From pizza slices at Dellarocco’s in Brooklyn Heights to Royal Osetra caviar at Le Bernardin, the city also caters readily to every budget.
The fun doesn’t stop after Mardi Gras. Spring break in New Orleans is a grade-A match. In good spring weather, you and your crew can enjoy the city’s sprawling outdoor spaces—it’s made up of more than 20% parks—and stunning architecture. We must mention its indulgent food—hello, beignets at Café du Monde and fried chicken at Willie Mae’s. You’ll explore history that interests everyone, from voodoo to jazz to bourbon—don’t miss Bourbon House, if "250+ whiskeys" sounds like your thing. Even the city’s mantra has that spring break spirit: laissez les bon temps rouler.
Bright lights, late nights and a city with an intoxicating energy and verve—cheers to spring break in Las Vegas. The key word for a trip here is “yes:” Ride high on the largest observation wheel in North America or grab a seat at a high-stakes table. You can dine at the famous buffets, Michelin-starred establishments or feast your way through 40 world-class dining concepts at Resorts World Las Vegas. Whatever your spring break vibe, you come to Vegas to have indulgent experiences, to let loose a little and to believe in luck and magic, making this one of the best spring break destinations for all travelers.
Perhaps no other city on this list has seen a modern renaissance quite like Nashville. For those laid-back, Parton-esque vibes, Lower Broadway’s known as the “Honky Tonk Highway,” and the music keeps playing until 3 a.m. If your pals are scattered around the U.S., it’s a great meeting point for less than a day’s drive. You’ll find trendsetting restaurants (check out Santo), premier music venues and a distillery scene that’s never been hotter (we’re loving Corsair Distillery).
Florida is the U.S.'s unofficial spring break destination. Maybe you and your friends have seen the sunny beach days, epic theme parks, endless fresh seafood. This time, take in something new, like swimming with manatees, encountering Indigenous history and hiking across roadless islands and parks with your pet. Beyond the classic spring break destinations of Miami, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, how about stretching along the white sands of Fort Walton Beach? Navigating wildlife refuges and uninhabited isles in Fort Myers and Sanibel? Or kayaking through Everglades National Park? From Palm Beach to the Palm Coast, cocktail-in-hand, toes-in-the-sand is a given.
London has two main high seasons in terms of tourists: the winter holidays and the warm summer months. Which is to say, spring break is an excellent time to experience one of the world’s premier cities. You’ll find shorter lines, smaller crowds and tickets and reservations easier to procure. By day, you’ll be exploring palaces, museums and secret WWII bunkers, shopping on Oxford Street or sipping a glass of Champagne at The Tea Lounge. By night, you’ll be taking in the magic of the West End, slinking into 400-year-old bars like The Seven Stars and maybe even feeling a bit like royalty yourself.
Jacqueline Kehoe is a travel writer, editor and photographer based in Madison, WI.
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