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5 Top Vacations to Stretch Your Tax Refund

Put those tax refund dollars toward a great getaway.

U.S. News & World Report

5 Top Vacations to Stretch Your Tax Refund

Sunset in Honolulu

From a relaxing retreat in Hawaii to a desert oasis in Arizona, there are plenty of budget-friendly places to use your tax return dollars.(Getty Images)

With the end of tax season in sight, there's no better time than now to plan a vacation. In fact, approximately 80 percent of American taxpayers can look forward to receiving an average refund of $2,800. For this reason, we rounded up five enticing getaways that will help you put your tax refund dollars toward future travel. With a little research and creativity, you can book a stay at these hot spots for under $2,000. So, go on and celebrate the end of tax season with a rewarding vacation – you've earned it.

Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San Jose
Costa Rica

With special rates starting at $135, travelers can easily stretch their tax dollars at the Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San Jose. Set on a 30-acre coffee plantation, the hotel offers easy access to nearby ecotourism activities, such as rainforest excursions and canopy adventures. The colonial hacienda also boasts original artifacts including tables in its lobby that were once beds used by nuns in Guatemalan convents and courtyard stones that originally covered the streets of Cartago in 1910.

And coffee lovers, rejoice: The hacienda introduced a Café Chorreado experience for guests to make coffee in the traditional Costa Rican way. The property includes an on-site coffee curator who hosts latte design classes to teach guests about the local Costa Rican coffee bean and a Café Chorreado experience to make coffee following the traditional Costa Rican drip process.

Best of all, the hotel's Kuö Spa features a signature candlelight experience coffee-themed treatment, which places guests outdoors under Arabica trees and finishes with a scented hydrotherapy treatment in the outdoor hot tub.

Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa
Puerto Rico

The Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa is offering an all-inclusive package starting at $220 (per person, based on double occupancy). And thanks to this 500-acre resort's idyllic location, you'll be near El Yunque National Rainforest and many awe-inspiring natural wonders. Plus, wildlife-seekers can catch sight of remarkable sea creatures during their stay. From March to November, Hawksbill, Leatherback and Green Sea Turtles complete their nesting ritual on the resort's mile-long section of golden beach.

During your trip, you can embark on a three-hour trail visit with stops at the visitor's center in El Yunque National Forest, La Coca Fall and the Yokahu Tower. The breathtaking waterfalls, lush greenery, winding rivers and vibrant wildlife were sacred to the prehistoric Taino people, as evident by the petroglyph carvings that tourists admire throughout the trip.

The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa
Tucson, Arizona

Tucked away peacefully in the foothills of Arizona's Santa Catalina Mountains, the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa provides a beautiful and adventurous backdrop for the active traveler. Special packages begin at $189. Offering their own Running Concierge, the resort leads runs around the desert oasis at times appropriate to beat the Arizona heat that are complemented by spectacular views of the Sabino Canyon area. And the on-site New Balance Gear Lending program also allows guests to borrow any needed workout attire.

Once it's time to relax, travelers can enjoy a spa treatment at the newly installed therapeutic mineral pool. Plus, the property provides an Art Walk for guests that includes metal and stone sculptures created by the Tucson Metal Arts Village's artists. As part of the resort's 250 acres of desert landscape, the Art Walk was created as a sanctuary for groups to extend Westin's commitment to wellness to the great outdoors. In partnership with the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, the property's serenity garden has installed informative signs to educate guests about their flourishing cacti and succulent-infused surroundings.

Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
Honolulu, Hawaii

The Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort offers cultural activities from surfing lessons and lei making to a traditional luau. And Waikiki's outdoor luau features extravagant Lei greetings, Hula kahiko performers, acrobatic fire dancers and authentic Hawaiian dining in a memorable setting beneath the starlit, mid-Pacific skies. Experience the luau to embrace the island's heritage with traditional dishes like huili huili chicken, along with stories of Hawaiian legends.

Start your day with a sculpt, yoga or tai chi session on the Village Green, or incorporate some traditional Polynesian elements with an energetic on-site hula aerobics workout. After breaking a sweat, you can master the art of lei making, learn about Hawaiian Hula with lessons in the Village Green or join a ukulele lesson in the Paradise Lounge. Best of all, after the sun sets, you can marvel at the sight of silent Polynesian warriors emerging from the darkness, flame in hand, on their nightly ceremonial torch-lighting procession. Package rates start at $189.

Geneva on the Lake
Geneva, New York

Renowned for its superb wineries, the Finger Lakes region of central New York is an eclectic culinary and adventure destination. Only a quick trip from New York City – and easily accessible by bus, train, car and plane – the area is known for fresh farm-to-table dining at affordable prices.

Overlooking Seneca Lake, Geneva On The Lake was built in 1914 as an opulent private home. Its striking interior includes Italian marble fireplaces, wall tapestries, Ionic columns and ornate ceilings. The villa later became a monastery and in 1981, an elegant small resort. Sitting on 10 resplendent acres of formal gardens, highlighted by a terrace and classical sculptures, the property boasts a fine dining restaurant, a 70-foot swimming pool and a lakeside boat house. What's more, wine trails and interesting curio shops can be found in every direction while the nearby Red Jackets Orchard offers some of the best cold-pressed juice on the East Coast. Special rates begin at $197.

Cure Lingering Winter Blues With a Spring Escape

No matter the destination you choose, a spring vacation is a quick remedy to cure those winter blues. The cherry blossoms have bloomed, geese have begun their northward flight, and woodpeckers are drumming as part of their spring courtship ritual. So pick a spot, wait for your tax refund to roll in and get going.

About En Route

Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.

Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.

Edited by Liz Weiss.

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