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Best Cheap Spring Break Destinations
Spring breakers don't need to shell out a fortune to spend a week enjoying life in the sunshine. To get you all of the fun without all of the fees, U.S. News carefully considered lodging costs, atmosphere, free things to do and traveler votes (among other factors) to bring you the best cheap spring break destinations. Check out the full list below and vote for your favorites to help determine next year's ranking. (Note: Some of the below destinations may be affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Check with the CDC and the U.S. Department of State before traveling.)
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The Big Easy is a prime destination for those seeking epic nightlife mixed with Southern comfort food. While airfare can be a bit expensive, hotel and vacation rental deals are available – especially if you stay a bit removed from the action of the French Quarter. Check the calendar to see when Mardi Gras occurs and try to plan your vacation around it. The popular event, which sometimes takes place during spring break season in early March, often causes airfare and lodging expenses to increase.
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With hotels offering nightly rates around $150 or less and DJs and celebrities holding court at nightclubs, South Padre Island, Texas, is a hot spring break destination. What's more, this South Texas locale is only about 30 miles north of the Mexican border, meaning you'll get plenty of sunshine without having to leave the country. Average spring daytime temperatures range from the low 70s to the low 80s.
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Panama City Beach – or PCB, for short – is a tried-and-true Florida spring break location that is sure to please the masses. Scope out a spot across the town's 27 miles of white sand beaches to sunbathe, play volleyball or scan the horizon for bottlenose dolphins. Just note: This town in northwest Florida bans alcohol consumption on the beach during the month of March, so you'll have to enjoy your adult beverages elsewhere.
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An easy drive from Miami (you'll likely score cheaper flights into this airport), Key West is a small Florida beach town that packs a big punch. You'll find plenty of hot spots for partying, but you can also soak up some culture at the museums and shop at the boutique stores in Mallory Square. Plus, this vacation destination offers multiple budget-friendly vacation rentals, so you can save your cash for bars and boat tours.
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Daytona Beach's spring break draw has to do with its ample amount of hotels (position yourself away from the shore for the best deals), its trademark Florida weather (which climbs into the 70s and 80s during the day throughout March and April) and its 23 miles of beaches. Though you'll miss the city's main event, the Daytona 500, you can still take part in a number of smaller, more affordable racing-themed festivities, including several that are part of Daytona Bike Week.
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With sprawling beaches and ample accommodation options, the Outer Banks in North Carolina is an attractive spring break vacation spot. The limited hotel choices are all pretty affordable, and this area is known for its large vacation rental homes – including some that can accommodate 15 or more guests – which makes it a cost-effective option for groups. Spring weather here varies: While it's often sunny, high temps can be anywhere in the mid-60s to low 70s. Cheap and fun activities include mini-golf, fishing and relaxing on the beach.
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Outdoor lovers who are looking for an alternative spring break experience can plan a budget-friendly trip to Arizona's Grand Canyon. Accommodations here are cheap: You can camp for a nominal fee or rent an affordable cabin or recreational vehicle that can accommodate a large group. You'll save money on dining and drinks since there are limited options nearby and you can bring your own groceries. Spring is also an excellent time to see this impressive natural wonder thanks to high temps in the 70s and 80s in March and April. Visitors can enjoy everything from hiking to river rafting.
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Shabby-chic Sanibel Island, Florida, is best for those seeking a low-key spring break getaway. Spend your days combing for free shells along the beach, strolling through quaint shops in town or snapping pictures of this Florida island's iconic lighthouse. At sunset, head out for a relaxing cruise to see dolphins, manatees and skyline views. Vacationers can expect moderate crowds and comfortable spring daytime temperatures in the 80s.
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Thanks to its plethora of affordable oceanfront hotels, 60 miles of beaches and proximity to many major East Coast cities, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is a great choice for budget-conscious travelers. From lively nightlife options to parties hosted by big-name DJs, this South Carolina town offers the classic spring break experience. If you're traveling with a large group, consider renting a house for more space and a full-size kitchen.
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This Mexican beach town offers multiple stretches of white sand, a lively nightlife scene and average highs in the 80s, making it a fun yet relaxing spring break spot. Though you may have to deal with some crowds since it's such a popular spring escape, you will at least be safe from the dreaded hurricane season. Search for specific spring break all-inclusive resort deals for the best value lodging rates.
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