10 Best Spring Break Destinations in the U.S.

Hilton Head, South Carolina
Photo: Margaret W/Getty Images

When you think of spring break, what comes to mind? Maybe it's a family road trip, college beach vacation, or late-season skiing out west. Whether it's a "break" from work or school, time away from the daily grind is always a good idea. Spring break is not only an opportunity for a getaway, it's a reminder that we've made it through the dreary post-holiday winter months. Here are a few of the best spring break destinations in the United States with ideas to help you start planning. We've got something for all ages — from families traveling with younger kids to couples looking for a romantic spring getaway — and with ten options around the U.S., you can find the perfect spring break trip, near or far.

01 of 10

Destin, Florida

Destin, Florida
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On Florida's Emerald Coast, Destin (along with Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island) offers sandy beaches, warm water, boating, fishing, snorkeling, and plenty of water sports like kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, parasailing, and more. There's also a zip line, rock-climbing wall, and boat tours. From RV campsites to bed and breakfasts, hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals, visitors to the Emerald Coast have lodging options to meet their needs.

Related: The 14 Best Beaches in Florida

02 of 10

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach, Oregon
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Early spring weather is in the chilly mid-50s, but it's still a fun time to be at the beach exploring tide pools, watching puffins and other sea birds, or just watching the waves. It's a dog-friendly beach, and leashes are not required, so your pet can enjoy playing in the sand or joining you for a hike. Luxurious oceanfront lodging is available, and there's also a great selection of hotels, vacation home rentals, and campsites. In town, there are shops, restaurants, wine tastings, spas, and theaters. The atmosphere is casual, and the scenery makes it a great spot for families, couples, and groups.

03 of 10

Park City, Utah

Park City, Utah
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Since not everyone is looking for a beach vacation, we call your attention to Park City, with its quaint downtown, restaurants, bars, and historic silver mining town vibe. Late season snow sports should still be happening at Park City Mountain and Deer Valley. Hiking, mountain biking, and strolling along Main Street are perfect end of season activities, too. Families with kids will be happy to know there's bowling, ice skating, zip lining, tubing, and more. It's easy to line up a place to stay, whether you're looking for a hotel, motel, campsite, rental condo or home, or bed and breakfast.

04 of 10

South Padre Island, Texas

South Padre Island, Texas
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This barrier island resort town off the southern coast of Texas is popular among college students and families alike because of its weather, water sports, and nature. Paddle boards, kayaks, jet skis, and kite boards are available for rent, and kids can learn about sea turtles or even improve their sandcastle building skills. A range of lodging options including hotels, motels, rental homes, and even campgrounds meets visitors' budget needs.

05 of 10

Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs, California
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Warm weather arrives early in the southern California desert, making Palm Springs and the nearby desert cities an attractive destination for both families and college spring breakers. For most kids, a hotel or motel with a pool is a favorite attraction, but a visit to the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens or a ride to the top of Mt. San Jacinto in the Palm Springs Aerial Tram would be fun for all. From fast food to upscale dining, from luxury resorts to motels, from movie theaters to art museums, and from hiking to shopping, there are options to satisfy everyone.

06 of 10

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Hilton Head, South Carolina
Margaret W/Getty Images

Twelve miles of Atlantic Ocean beaches and water sports that include fishing, boating, parasailing, kayaking, jet-skiing, and sailing are a good start to keeping your group happy on Hilton Head Island. On land, there's biking, golf, horseback riding, and enjoying nature. Families who take their furry friends along will be glad to hear that until Memorial Day weekend, pets are welcome on beaches as long as they're on a leash. Restaurants, pubs, bars, and cafes ensure that hungry visitors find just what they want. Accommodations range from hotels, inns, motels, and resorts to home rentals, perfect for families or groups of friends, and all are listed on the Hilton Head site. If there's time, a side trip to Savannah or Beaufort would be a nice change of scenery.

07 of 10

Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia
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Pleasant spring weather would be enough to attract visitors to this southern city, but there's so much to do that no one will even notice that there's not a beach nearby. The Georgia Aquarium is the largest in the United States and features sharks, dolphins, sea lions, seabirds, and more. The World of Coca Cola offers unique experiences in the city of the company's headquarters. The Chick-Fil-A College Football Hall of Fame will delight fans, and there's a Legoland Discovery Center for family fun.

08 of 10

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana
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The Big Easy is known as a party destination, but families on spring break should keep New Orleans in their destination plans, too. The historic city boasts an aquarium, zoo, Audubon Butterfly Garden & Insectarium, and several museums. The National World War II Museum, Old U.S. Mint, Louisiana Children's Museum, and others will both entertain and educate. Find a place to stay in the middle of the action or on the sidelines with help from this guide.

09 of 10

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
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One of America's best beach towns, Wrightsville Beach offers water sports, restaurants, shopping, and local history. Stay oceanfront or near the harbor in the ideal place for your family or group of friends. Surfing, kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding are popular, and scuba divers seek out the area's sunken ships, reefs, and sea life habitats. Even if it's not swimming weather just yet, you can still enjoy being near the water on a cruise or fishing boat. Visitors can learn more about the area and imagine what it was like in the past in local museums.

10 of 10

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona
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The desert will see temperatures in the high 70s and even low 80s during spring break time, making it perfect to be outdoors in "The Valley of the Sun," a well-deserved nickname for the Greater Phoenix area that also includes Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, and Chandler. Lounge in the sun by a pool, tackle one of many stunning hiking trails, go fishing or boating in one of the area's lakes, take a kayak or stand-up paddle board on the Salt River, or take a jeep tour through rugged terrain. Stay anywhere from five-star resorts to motels, campgrounds, dude ranches, or RV parks — a place for every group and budget.

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