5 Under-the-Radar Spring Break Travel Destinations That Offer a Great Value
For the majority of March and April, popular spring break travel destinations around the world are filled with college students and families reveling and relaxing — or at least attempting to do that.
Earn Unlimited 1.5x Miles on Every Purchase.
It can be hard to truly unwind when you’re facing crowded beaches, restaurants and bars at some of the top spring break destinations like Cancun, South Padre Island or Daytona Beach.
While travel during peak spring break time is usually a little more expensive and busy no matter where you go, there are several destinations that offer a better value over the popular hotspots. Here are five under-the-radar places that can provide enjoyable spring break travel while not being so terribly crowded.
1. If you like Florida beaches, try Alabama Gulf Shores instead.
Located just a few minutes across the Alabama/Florida state line, Alabama’s Orange Beach offers white sand beaches and delicious fresh-from-the-Gulf seafood, plus plenty of spring break-style fun (if you’ve never tried a Bushwacker, you’re in for a treat). Families can take a dolphin cruise, tour a nature preserve by Segway or camp near the beach.
“During the spring season, our destination stays calm and affordable, playing host to families from all over the country, rather than rowdy college students,” says Mary Sergeant, communications coordinator for Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism.
2. If you like the Caribbean, try Trinidad and Tobago instead.
Spring breakers flock to Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico every year, largely snubbing the rest of the Caribbean islands that extend to the south and offer a great value and often unexpectedly rich cultural experiences. Trinidad and Tobago, the dual islands located off the coast of Venezula, are a great example.
Of the two islands, Tobago offers the typical turquoise oceanside experience spring breakers typically seek (the snorkeling here is some of the best in the Caribbean), while throughout Trinidad, you’ll be treated to live steel drum music (Trinidad is the birthplace of the steel pan) and multicultural Caribbean fusion cuisine, which incorporates flavors from India, Africa, China and beyond.
3. If you like Mexican beach destinations, try Costa Rica instead.
Cancun, Cozumel, Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta all promise to be crowded with spring breakers this year. But for a slightly quieter option, travel south into Central America to Costa Rica, one of the happiest places on earth.
Costa Rica offers great eco-adventure options for high school or college students or families, from “ziplining above the rainforest canopy to kayaking on the Pacific coast, and from soaking in geothermal hot springs to hiking the slopes of a volcano,” says Deborah Tobey, destination manager of tour company Boundless Journeys. “And, of course, as one of the most biodiverse places on earth, people of all ages will be entralled by the sloths, monkeys, colorful birds and tropical plants.”
The surf town of Tamarindo offers beachside bars, shopping and nightlife, while Reserva Conchal offers an all-inclusive package with onsite dining, a wildlife preserve and a kids’ club.
4. If you like Las Vegas, try Park City, Utah, instead.
Although Las Vegas and Park City don’t have a lot in common, spring break travelers tired of the Sin City crowds — particularly families with younger children — might be surprised at the value and adventure waiting for them in the next state over.
“In Park City, families can enjoy snow tubing, dog-sledding, sleigh rides, snow shoeing, fly fishing, fat-tire biking and visiting the Utah Olympic Park, which will have just completed training athletes from around the world competing in February’s 2018 Winter Olympic Games,” says Nicole Meneses, who represents Park City. Occasionally, warmer seasonal temperatures there in the spring mean people can ski in their T-shirts, and rates are lower in the spring than in January or February.
5. If you like Texas destinations, try Santa Fe instead.
Here’s another offbeat suggestion: Although New Mexico doesn’t offer the beaches that some Texas destinations do, if you travel to Santa Fe instead, you’ll find a culturally rich, stunning landscape that offers a great deal for your spring break vacation.
Earn Unlimited 1.5x Miles on Every Purchase.
Santa Fe’s low-key vibe is perfect for families seeking a less rowdy environment for their getaway. From March 1 to April 15, the city offers Kids Free Fest, targeting spring break travelers that includes free treats and meals at various restaurants, free ski lift tickets on specified dates and low room rates.