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As chilly temperatures keep people stuck in their winter doldrums, you may be dreaming of warmer weather and the chance to get out of town to enjoy it. With spring in sight, now is the time to book a trip to make your daydreams a reality. Even if you’re not in school anymore or don’t have kids who are, it’s important to shake off the winter blues. If cold weather and post-holiday fatigue have you down, you don’t need to pack your bags for international hotspots like Cancun or Cabo. Plan a vacation to one of these 21 leading American spring break destinations.
To find the most popular spring break destinations in America, we analyzed data from number crunchers at travel booking companies including Hopper and Kayak. We also looked at a study by market research firm Transparent. These are the destinations that were the most tracked and most searched for the spring break time frame in 2019.
The weeks leading up to Easter tend to be one of the worst times to visit Disney World, but if you can handle bustling crowds, a ride down Splash Mountain doesn’t sound like the worst way to spend spring break. For non-Disney things to do in Orlando, Florida, swim with dolphins at Discovery Cove, take a tour of Kennedy Space Center or shop until you drop at Orlando International Premium Outlets, one of the biggest malls in the state.
New York City, New York, is home to some of the most iconic American tourist destinations, like the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park and Times Square. Between Broadway shows, museums, must-visit restaurants like Katz’s Delicatessen and flowers in bloom at botanical gardens, there’s no shortage of things to see in The City that Never Sleeps. You might even see your favorite celebrity at any of these locations.
A trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, is fun any time of year, but in the springtime, you won’t be sweltering at the pool party. The average temperature in March is 71 degrees, whereas in May, it reaches 91 degrees — luckily, all dry heat. In addition to casinos, nightclubs and shopping, Sin City is home to many shows like Cirque du Soleil and Blue Man Group and the Neon Museum, a cool collection of retired neon signs you probably never knew existed.
The weather in Los Angeles, California, is almost always pleasant, with temperatures hovering in the 70s from March through May. What better time than spring for a hike to the Hollywood Sign? Get some Vitamin D at beautiful beaches — Venice, Malibu Surfrider, Manhattan, Hermosa, Santa Monica — or dance the night away at 1 OAK, Bootsy Bellows and Hyde. Don’t forget to take advantage of amazing eats from places like Langer’s Deli, Loteria Grill and Pizzeria Mozza; they’re some of the best casual restaurants in America.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Miami, Florida, is on this list. Snowbirds and beachgoers flock to this tropical destination for a hefty dose of sunshine, epic day parties and sizzling nightlife. Enjoy your favorite boozy beverages at the beach bar or go all out at hundreds of events during Miami Music Week, which ends on a high note with Ultra, one of the world’s most famous outdoor electronic festivals.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is a spring break institution typically flooded with college students itching to feel sand between their toes. During the day, the city’s 23 miles of beaches are jam-packed with sunbathers, boogie boarders and divers in search of coral reefs and haunting shipwrecks. For those looking to get away from the crowd, there are tons of museums, a scenic river walk, a butterfly sanctuary and a nice state park.
Phoenix, Arizona, averages 77 degrees in March and 85 degrees in April, which is much cooler than the summer months when temperatures teeter around 100 degrees. Get to a pool or water park, play a round of golf or catch a professional baseball game at any of 10 spring training stadiums. Just remember: Drink water and wear sunscreen. The Grand Canyon, one of the most popular national parks in the country, is just a day trip away.
Hawaii is pleasant year-round. But temperatures in Honolulu, on the south shore of Oahu, typically stay in the low to mid 80s in the spring, making this tropical spot a solid springtime destination for people in search of sunshine. Say aloha to picture-perfect beaches, lush flora and incredible seafood. If you’re traveling with your sweetheart, watch the sunset at Michel’s at the Colony Surf, the state’s most romantic restaurant.
Tampa is quintessential Florida. Want to swim with dolphins? Ride roller coasters? Get up close and personal with manatees, crocodiles and giraffes? You can, or you could head to a botanical garden, any of the nearby state parks or, obviously, the fantastic beaches. Within 30 miles of the city, there’s Clearwater, Fred Howard Park, Indian Rocks, Madeira, Pass-a-Grille, St. Pete, Treasure Island and more. For all-day family fun, check out Legoland or a Yankees spring training game.
Spring is the best time to visit New Orleans, Louisiana, because the weather is comfortable — 70 to 85 degrees between March and May — and the festivities are in full swing. Enjoy jazz, blues, rock and more for free at the French Quarter Festival or all throughout the streets. Head to any of many award-winning restaurants for Cajun and Creole classics like jambalaya, gumbo, crawfish etouffee, smothered pork chops and the best fried chicken in America at Willie Mae’s Scotch House.
Witness one of the world’s last remaining Amur leopards at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo or tour the Olympic center, where gymnast Gabby Douglas and swimmer Michael Phelps have trained, during your visit to Colorado Springs, Colorado. Travel back in time at the Glen Eyrie Castle or Penrose Heritage Museum, or simply enjoy the best pancakes in the state at Mountain Shadows diner after a beautiful hike through Garden of the Gods.
Kahului, on the island of Maui, Hawaii, is home to the Maui Swap Meet, where local vendors get together to show off their crafts, clothing, collectibles, antiques and more, while snacking on eats from farm stands and food trucks. Take a guided pineapple tour, rappel to a 300-foot-deep jungle canyon with waterfalls and natural pools, go kite surfing, take a helicopter ride or bask on an uncrowded beach.
The Historic Downtown and Railroad District is a wildly popular part of Flagstaff, Arizona, where you’ll find 1900s-era buildings that have been turned into shops, restaurants, galleries, bars and breweries, plus friendly locals and open air music. You could also hike Walnut Canyon National Monument, challenge yourself to an adventurous obstacle course or go to the Lowell Observatory to learn about space.
Destin, Florida, is a major fishing city with sugar-white beaches along the Gulf of Mexico. On average, 343 days out of the year are sunny, with an average annual high temperature of 75 degrees. If you’re into angling, cast a line from Destin Harbor, take in the sights on a dolphin or sunset cruise, scuba dive or hit the links. Florida has more golf courses than any other state, after all.
There’s no lack of things to do in this California city. In addition to beaches — Santa Cruz, Natural Bridges, Capitola, New Brighton and more — San Jose is home to the original headquarters for Google, Apple and HP (two of which are listed as National Historic Landmarks). There’s also the historic and potentially haunted Winchester Mystery House. The beautiful, bizarre estate has 10,000 windows, 2,000 doors, 160 rooms and 47 stairways and fireplaces, and it’s worth a whopping $71 million today.
Asheville, North Carolina, is one of the best foodie towns in America. That’s where you’ll find North Carolina’s best chocolate shop, French Broad Chocolate, and best craft brewery, Wicked Weed. For something a little outdoorsy, lace up your boots and hike nearby trails for inspiring views of mountain vistas and wildflowers in bloom. Mount Mitchell, just 35 miles northeast of downtown Asheville, is the highest peak east of the Mississippi river. You can also visit the Biltmore Estate, the largest mansion in America.
With royal palm tree-lined roads and tin-roof homes, Punta Gorda has old Florida charm. Step back in time at the A.C. Freeman House museum, an authentically restored and furnished late Victorian home. And then there’s Fishermen’s Village, a 140-slip marina and vacationers’ go-to spot for waterfront shopping and dining. Here, there are harbor cruises, boat and kayak rentals, stand-up paddleboarding, live entertainment and fresh seafood. If you want to get down and dirty, you can hit up Trucks Gone Wild at Redneck Mud Park for four days of camping, truck races and trail riding.
James Franco’s “Spring Breakers” was partially filmed in St. Petersburg, Florida, but it’s actually much quieter than what was depicted in the 2012 movie. You don’t have to worry about being towel-to-towel with college students here. Lounge around with a good book and take in the sounds of the ocean, or pop into Sunken Gardens, one of America’s oldest living museums. For bigger crowds, head to Ferg’s, Florida’s best sports bar and preferred watering hole for Rays fans. With more than 90 TVs, the establishment typically sees more than 17,000 patrons for MLB’s opening day.
Odds are you’ve heard of spring break mecca “PCB,” or Panama City Beach, in northwest Florida. Due to its white sand beaches and wide selection of on- and off-shore activities, it’s become a popular spot for spirited college students and singles, but there’s truly something for everyone. Head to The Yard for one of the craziest milkshakes you’ve ever seen, have a beer at beloved British pub Eat My Pasty, sail away on a catamaran, jump on water trampolines or roast s’mores over a bonfire on the beachfront. The opportunities are endless.
Valparaiso is right across the bay from Destin, Florida, another spring break destination on this list. With just over 5,000 inhabitants, it’s certainly a small town, but there are a lot of beaches within a short drive. There’s Miramar, Navarre, Henderson, Crystal Sands, Eglin AFB Postal Point and, as previously mentioned, Destin. Adventurers can roam Turkey Creek Park or head to the indoor shooting range. For food, check out Doc’s Oyster Bar. It’s really divey, and not particularly flattering from the outside, but it’s extremely charming nonetheless, and the bam bam shrimp tacos are out of this world.
Big Sky, Montana, is one of the cooler places on this list, with springtime temperatures ranging from 43 degrees to 59 degrees. So, why are people heading to this amazing mountain town instead of somewhere warm and affordable? It’s simple: Big Sky is one of the most popular ski resorts in America. The third-largest ski area in North America gets 400 inches of snowfall on average every year. Skiers and snowboarders can choose between four mountains, 36 lifts and more than 300 runs. For those who’d rather sit in the lodge than fly down a mountain, you can do just that, or go sleighing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ziplining or snow-biking.
Siesta Key is regarded as one of the best beaches in the world. It’s 3 miles long, and the sand is 99% quartz crystal that feels like powder on your feet. On top of that, the weather is practically always gorgeous (74 degrees to 85 degrees in the spring) and the Gulf water is warm. Due to its prime location on the water, some of the freshest seafood comes from Florida, so don’t sell yourself short: Have some sushi. If you’re not feeling fishy, visit any of the many island beach bars, where the beer flows freely and the bloody marys are superb.
Marco Island is the largest and only developed land in Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands. The sun-washed southern Florida vacation spot boasts luxury resorts worth the splurge, exquisite beaches and beautiful parks like Collier Seminole, where you can go camping, canoeing, fishing, boating or walking. Take a boat tour to see wildlife like sea turtles and manatees in their natural habitat.
Another cold destination, Winter Park, Colorado, averages 31 degrees to 47 degrees between March and May. The majestic mountain playground at Winter Park Resort gets over 300 inches of snow annually on more than 3,000 acres featuring 166 trails and 21 chairlifts for an average of 39,810 riders per hour. Other activities include dog sledding, rock climbing, hot air balloon rides, scenic train rides, live entertainment and more.
With average temperatures of 75 degrees to 92 degrees in the spring, Scottsdale, Arizona, is a great escape for people in chilly cities. For family-friendly fun, take a hike (with lots of snacks and water) or go to a spring training baseball game. Devoted fans can see the San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks in February and March. When you’ve worked up an appetite, try one of the best burgers in America at Rehab Burger Therapy.
Clearwater, Florida, just east of Tampa, is known for its sunny weather and gorgeous Gulf Coast beaches. The namesake 3-mile beach was named the best in America with serene, tropical scenery and a lovely Beach Walk Promenade, where visitors shop, listen to live music and enjoy incredible eats at beachside restaurants including Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill. The eclectic open-air venue offers stellar sunset views and a hearty selection of fresh seafood and other “Floribbean” cuisine.
Things can get a little rowdy on South Padre Island — nicknamed Spring Break Island — where once a year, “the island never sleeps, stops or slows down,” according to the city’s tourism page. Over the holiday, a mostly younger crowd flocks to Rockstar Beach at the Isla Grand Beach Resort for a massive pool party with celebrity guests, as well as to Clayton’s, the biggest beach bar in Texas. At the Beach Bash Music Fest in March, guests can expect performances from popular rappers, DJs and more.
Although it’s slim pickings for beaches in Austin, Texas, spring breakers make the trip here for attractions like Zilker Park, the city’s largest and most popular park, where they’ll find Barton Springs Pool, a 3-acre natural wonder fed by underground springs. Tourists can take a narrated duck boat adventure. On your trip, make sure to hit up Franklin Barbecue for the absolute must-try food in the state: the barbecue plate with tender brisket that falls off the bone, insanely good sausage and turkey and sides like potato salad, cole slaw and pinto beans.
Jamaica Beach is on Galveston Island, south of Houston, Texas. Things to do nearby include Galveston Island State Park, Sunny Beach and Moody Gardens, which has a 1.5 million-gallon aquarium with everything from seals to stingrays to sharks as well as a rainforest exhibit with endangered plants and animals such as river otters, monkeys and birds. And then there’s Moody Mansion, a gargantuan 28,000-square-foot, four-story structure built in 1895, formerly owned by a powerful local family. If you’re into underrated theme parks, bring the family to Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier. It looks a little like the boardwalk in Coney Island but has nothing on these opening day attractions you can still ride at Disney.
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