Best Spring Break Destinations
For many students, a spring break vacation is the perfect opportunity to let off some steam before the stress of finals and graduation. But for a destination to be spring break-worthy, it needs to be affordable, accessible and popular among the college cohort. Considering these factors, plus editor insight and traveler sentiment, U.S. News ranked the best spring break destinations. Vote for your favorite getaway below to have a say in next year's ranking.
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Cancun has all the makings of a quintessential spring break getaway. Along with its white sand beaches and beautiful coastline, this Mexico city boasts numerous all-inclusive resorts with budget-friendly packages that cover drinks, meals and entertainment, plus a rollicking nightlife scene (don't miss Coco Bongo). Many travel companies run student-specific deals on vacation packages to Cancun as well. If you ever tire of the beach, you can check out Mayan ruins at Chichén Itzá and El Rey Ruins.
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When you're not lounging on Miami Beach's wide shorelines, make the most of the city's event calendar, which includes Miami Beach Pride and Ultra Music Festival (both are typically held in March or April). This Florida city is packed with accommodation options at a variety of price points, too, meaning you can find everything from an affordable hotel to a large vacation rental that can fit all of your friends to a chic resort, depending on what you're looking for. Dodge exorbitant cover charges when you're out on the town by getting to the clubs early in the evening.
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If you're looking for nonstop beach and pool parties, concerts, budget-friendly lodging and celebrity-hosted events, South Padre Island is for you. While it's a popular family-friendly vacation spot for the rest of the year, South Padre Island welcomes college coeds in droves during the month of March. Keep in mind, the beach becomes quite crowded, so this Texas retreat is best for people looking to party rather than relax.
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The Bahamas might just be the spring break destination for you if you're searching for a bit of Las Vegas in the Caribbean. When you're not testing Lady Luck in Nassau's casinos, relax on the beach, then hit the bars and clubs of the various resorts for drinks and dancing. Having trouble finding affordable lodging and airfare? Consider a cruise or a vacation package that bundles your resort stay and flight costs.
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Located on the southern tip of Baja California, this Mexican beach destination boasts stunning golden sands, turquoise waters and a reputation for uninhibited nightlife. Coeds can spend their days soaking up some sun and splashing around at Playa del Amor or Playa El Médano before dancing the night away at popular haunts like Cabo Wabo Cantina. The area's all-inclusive options and traditional hotels are also packed with amenities, ranging from incredible pools to tasty restaurants to fun bars.
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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, is a spring break vacation made for night owls thanks to its scores of nightclubs and music venues. Students can sip cocktails at a bar along the Malecón or let loose and rave at one of the many clubs. When it comes to lodging, plenty of all-inclusive resorts are situated right on the beach and offer packages to entice travelers.
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What's not to love about reggae music, cream-colored beaches and all-inclusive resorts? That's what you'll get when you spend spring break in Jamaica. Those looking to relax and lounge on the beach will find upscale accommodations near Negril, while more adventurous types should choose a resort closer to Ocho Rios. No matter where you stay, expect plenty of food with jerk seasoning, welcoming islanders and no shortage of rum punch.
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Punta Cana is ideal for spring breakers who like all-inclusive resorts (think: flowing drinks, endless food and scores of activities, ranging from water sports like kayaking and paddleboarding to beach volleyball to pool games) but care little about venturing away from their hotel grounds. Nightlife options in this beach spot in the Dominican Republic are not abundant, but if you're in the mood to dance, head to The Cave at Imagine Punta Cana.
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Affordable accommodations and a prime spot on Florida's Gulf Coast draw spring breakers to Panama City Beach year after year, so much so that many consider it the spring break capital of the world. Though the 27 miles of beaches, lively parties and bumping clubs are the city's standout amenities, college cohorts can also fill their days taking advantage of other offerings like fishing charters and dolphin tours.
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With an enviable location along the coastline of Mexico's Riviera Maya, dozens of all-inclusive resorts and a fun nightlife scene, Playa del Carmen is a beloved spring break vacation spot. Revelers can relax on the soft sands, admire the turquoise water and enjoy tropical drinks by the resort pools by day. Then by night, partygoers can head to the clubs to dance to everything from DJ beats to Latin music.