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.
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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 deals as low as $100 per night and DJs and celebrities holding court at nightclubs, South Padre Island is a hot spring break destination. What's more, this 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 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 hotels, so you can save your cash for bars and boat tours.
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Daytona's spring break draw has to do with its ample amount of hotels (position yourself away from the shore for the best deals), its weather (which climbs into the 70s and 80s during the day throughout March and April) and its 23 miles of Floridian 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 Daytona Bike Week and the Daytona 200.
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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 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 a flood of cruise ship passengers during this time of year, you will at least be safe from the dreaded hurricane season. Opt for a vacation rental instead of a resort for cheaper lodging rates.
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For West Coast spring breakers looking to relax in the sun without traveling too far, San Diego is a great choice. It's home to 70 miles of beaches, gorgeous parks and pockets of nightlife. March and April weather is mild (averages hover in the 60s during the day), but hotel rates won't yet be at their priciest. You'll also get to experience Instagram-worthy flower fields blooming all across the city, from Balboa Park to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
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A Savannah spring break appeals more to culture hounds and foodies than partygoers, but it won't break the bank. This charming Georgia town is within driving distance of many East Coast cities, so you won't have to shell out extra cash for a flight. What's more, many top attractions are free to explore, and the historic district doesn't impose open container laws, so you can take your cocktails to go.
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Shabby-chic Sanibel Island 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 70s and 80s.