For college students nationwide, that glorious week or two in March or April signals one thing: spring break, an annual ritual not to be missed. After the long winter season and with summer break still months away, spring break is the perfect time for students and adults alike to blow off steam.
From budget-friendly resorts to blowout trips, here are seven of the hottest places to be this spring break.
Panama City Beach, Florida
Party stateside with an easy getaway to The Sunshine State. Panama City Beach welcomes more than 250,000 spring breakers each year, making it one of the largest spring break destinations in the world. And the city’s slogan, “World’s Most Beautiful Beaches,” says it all: white sand beaches, crystal clear water, and serene weather. You’ll be partying it up in paradise.
The town has pretty much become synonymous with spring break, providing partygoers a respite from college stress for generations. Battered by Hurricane Wilma in 2005, Cancun is back and better than ever. Spring break is pretty much built into the fabric of Cancun, with budget-friendly accommodations aimed at cash-strapped 20-somethings and a range of dining options. And best of all? Cancun is one of the most affordable vacations with all-inclusive resorts coming in at every price point.
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
One of the best things to happen to spring break is the all-inclusive resort. Punta Cana, home to miles of turquoise water and white sand beaches, is overflowing with resorts the size of small cities. From daytime beachside lounging and endless entertainment to nightclubs on the premises, there’s pretty much no need to leave the resort all week.
South Padre Island, Texas
This close-to-home destination is becoming increasingly popular among the college-aged set looking to get away for spring break. Offering an eclectic mix of funky accommodations and local fare, this spring break hotspot is a welcome change to the spring break roster. But it’s still got the spring break staples, like copious sunshine, plush sand, warm water, and nonstop partying.
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Though it’s often compared to Cancun, Playa del Carmen ranks much lower on the debauchery scale and higher on the chic scale. Popular among European vacationers, Playa del Carmen is known for its sophistication and beauty along the sparkling shores of the Caribbean Sea. Playa del Carmen does offer a healthy dose of nightlife, but its varied boutiques, town center, and upscale cuisine make it a swanky destination with a college-budget price tag.
Experience the Caribbean without leaving the U.S., which means you can pay for that piña colada in American bills. Puerto Rico isn’t the typical spring break destination, but with pristine beaches, hopping nightlife, affordable accommodations, and flight options galore, it sure fits the bill. Pair all of that with Puerto Rico’s history, jungles, and caves, and this spring break destination tops the list for adventure-enthusiasts and relaxation-seekers alike.
The Bahamas’ longstanding reputation of a tropical paradise makes it a popular spot for a spring breakers to unwind, and with over 700 islands and cays, there’s no shortage of activities. Nassau is the largest city in the Bahamas, so there’s a wide range of accommodation options, bargain shopping, casinos, and nightlife. As an added bonus, Nassau boasts some pretty intriguing pirate lore.
Spring break only comes around once a year, and for many, it’s a highlight, so pick a vacation that fits with your expectations and budget. But whichever one you choose, with these hot spring break destinations you’re sure to come back tanned, refreshed, and filled with memories to help get you through those last few months of school before summer break.
– By Stephen Reynolds, Editor