13 Best US Destinations for Spring Break

Warmer weather means one thing this time of year–spring break is coming closer. Americans must be gearing up for their spring break trips right about now. Between mid-March and mid-April, schools typically have a week-long break for everyone to enjoy the perfect spring weather. Naturally, places with sunny weather often rank as the best spring break destinations. 

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Florida is the most popular spring break destination right now, especially for college students, with Hawaii following closely behind. But apparently, more American travellers are now considering metropolitan areas as spring break destinations, too.

So, what are the best US destinations for spring break? We put together a list inspired by our own US travels to give you some ideas for your upcoming spring break trip. Whether it’s the beach, the city, the great outdoors, or even the snowy slopes, there’s something in here for all types of spring breakers. 

Bike ride along the Old Seven Mile Bridge
Bike ride along the Old Seven Mile Bridge, Florida Keys
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Beach Destinations

Miami, Florida

Gorgeous beaches, lots of sunshine, and a bold atmosphere have established Miami as a go-to vacation spot. The city’s world-famous nightlife draws in celebrities and models, and in the spring, younger crowds take over, bringing up the energy right in time for spring break. Tons of events and festivals are scheduled at that time, too, keeping the momentum going.

There’s Miami Beach, which includes the popular South Beach, Mid Beach, and North Beach, dotted with bars, clubs, first-class hotels, impressive restaurants, and more. But there are also other neighbourhoods in Miami worth exploring, boasting unique architectural styles and lush beauty. Some of these are the beautiful Coconut Grove, colourful Little Havana, and the iconic Deco Historic District along Ocean Drive with 800+ vintage architectural buildings and structures.

If the high-energy party scene isn’t for you, and you’re after a beach that’s a bit more family-friendly, consider spring break at Myrtle Beach in South Carolina instead.

Miami Beach
Miami Beach
USA Florida Miami Biscayne National Park Max 0823
Snorkelling in Biscayne National Park, Miami

Florida Keys

For a more relaxed spring break vibe that’s focused more on outdoor activities than partying, head over to the Florida Keys. We had fun there during our trip to the US. Key West is known as the main destination, and you can start off your spring break by getting acquainted with Key West Town. There’s lots to see and do, and the best bars and restaurants are lined up here.

The beautiful beaches at Key West shine in the perfect spring weather. March is a particularly exciting time for deep sea fishing, as the reef line 6 miles south of Key West can hold many different species of fish. Boating, snorkelling, and diving are also top things to do here. You can expect encounters with lots of marine life during spring break, making a snorkel tour or dolphin-watching tour particularly enticing.

Driving an electric vehicle on Florida Keys
Driving an electric vehicle on Florida Keys
Grassy Flats Resort, Marathon, Florida Keys
Grassy Flats Resort, Marathon, Florida Keys

Maui, Hawaii

After a difficult and unfortunate 2023, where wildfires caused great damage in Maui, the island is slowly opening up to tourists. They ask those who are considering visiting to observe “respectful travel,” and observe certain practices to honour their communities that are still recovering. Travelling to any of the Hawaiian Islands, except Lahaina, is welcomed and encouraged.

Maui has over 30 miles of gorgeous beaches—from white sand to black sand, from beaches with world-class waves to calm waters perfect for swimming, snorkelling, and even whale watching. Try your hand at several watersports, dip your toes into local Hawaiian culture, or simply lay back under the palm trees.

If you spend your entire spring break on the island, make sure to support local businesses and take some time to learn what you can about the cultural significance of Lahaina. There are many heritage sites and “voluntourism” opportunities available that would greatly benefit the locals.

Napili Bay, Maui
Napili Bay, Maui

Panama City Beach, Florida 

Did you know that there’s a beach known as the Spring Break Capital of the World? If you want to see what all the hype is about, head to Panama City Beach along Florida’s Emerald Coast. It’s a 27-mile long white-sand beach known for calm turquoise waters, ready for throngs of college students and partygoers ready to destress.

The nightlife is known to be wild, and other attractions include theme parks and arcades. It’s definitely set up to be one of the best spring break destinations, best enjoyed with groups of friends. Of course, there are water activities here, too, like swimming, diving, snorkelling, and boating. The Pier Park is also a great stop for shopping and exciting events.

Panama City, Panama
Panama City, Panama

City Escapes

New York City, New York

New York is one of the popular city destinations for spring break travellers. As one of the biggest cities in the United States, you know there’s always something to see, try, or do here no matter the hour. Stay for at least a week to get to know New York’s different and distinct boroughs.

We always recommend that first-timers stay in Midtown, where they can be within walking distance from all the must-sees. That includes New York icons such as Times Square, the Empire State Building, Central Park, Fifth Avenue, Rockefeller Center, the High Line, and more. If you want a list of the best places to stay in New York, check out our guide here.

Midtown Manhattan, where to stay in new york
Midtown Manhattan, New York

READ NEXT: Where to Stay in New York

San Francisco

San Francisco is an iconic destination in its own right. Lots of famous landmarks, sweeping (not to mention steep) views, and hidden gems within the city make it one of the most exciting spring break destinations. The large crowds usually come to the city in the summer, so spring breaks are just the right time.

Head to Baker Beach to get a snap of the Golden Gate Bridge, spend a sunny day on a picnic at Dolores Park, or try out one of the many world-class restaurants. San Francisco has its own Chinatown and North Beach (their version of Little Italy), and you can book a guided tour around town.

San Francisco is a great starting point for day trips. There’s a ferry that takes you to Alcatraz and Angel Island, and it’s a convenient home base if you’re headed to Muir Woods, Wine Country, or Yosemite National Park.

California road trip Highway 1
San Francisco with the view of the Golden Gate Bridge
Pier 39, San Francisco
Pier 39, San Francisco

Phoenix, Arizona

How about a spring break trip that takes you to the Sonoran Desert? Phoenix, Arizona draws in visitors for its year-round sun and warm temperatures, best appreciated at high-end spas, expansive golf courses, and neon nightclubs.

Papago Park is a highlight in the desert. It’s where the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden is, so you get to see lots of native cacti, plants, and other native flora and fauna.

Phoenix also has lots of fine art facilities and museums, such as the Phoenix Art Museum, the Arizona Science Center, and the Pueblo Grande archeological museum. After a long day of checking out these cultural sites, you can stop and try their delicious food. The Sonoran-style hotdog is a must: grilled bacon-wrapped hotdog in a warm and soft bolillo bun.

Papago Park
Papago Park

National Parks and Outdoor Adventures

Yosemite National Park, California

A national park like Yosemite makes for a beautiful spring break destination. The park covers nearly 1,200 square miles (over 3,100 square kilometres) of mountainous terrain in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park is one of the most impressive and abundant areas of natural beauty in the whole country.

There’s a lot of ground to cover, which is good news for nature lovers. There are biking trails, hiking trails, scenic drives, and lookouts all around, with different levels of difficulty to accommodate all visitors. A day trip is seriously not enough. At the very least, we recommend a 2-day itinerary, though staying longer means more explorations. Spend spring break here and go on longer day hikes, enjoy the Merced River, and add a trip to see the giant sequoias in Wawona.

Spring is the perfect time to visit as the famous Yosemite Falls are at their most impressive during this time, gushing after all the rain and snowmelt. Apart from that, the wildflowers will also be in bloom.

Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park
Tunnel View at sunset, Yosemite National Park
Tunnel View at sunset

READ NEXT: 5 Easy Hikes in Yosemite National Park

Joshua Tree National Park, California

If stargazing in the desert sounds like something that would be on your spring break bucket list, it’s time to plan a trip to Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California. There, you’ll find rugged rock formations, giant boulders, an arid desert, and of course, its namesake, the Joshua Tree. Joshua Trees are spiny, twisted tree-like plants (but they’re actually succulents!) native to the Mojave Desert. There’s a rich history behind these trees. Legends say Mormon immigrants in the mid-19th century named it after the biblical figure, Joshua, as the limbs of the tree looked outstretched in prayer, leading them to the right way.

It’s worth noting that there are no restaurants, lodging, gas, or grocery stores within the park, but there are 3 campsites. Come prepared with all your essentials if you’re considering staying overnight. Given how easy it is to navigate the park, you can manage a quick day trip here—but we recommend staying until the

end of the day to catch the stars at Cholla Cactus Garden. The view is sparkling and magical as this area has the darkest skies, and is far away from the light pollution from nearby towns.

Apart from hiking, you can also try fun activities in Joshua Tree like archery, rappelling, desert scavenger hunts, and horseback riding.

Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park

Death Valley National Park, California

About a 4-hour drive from Joshua Tree is another national park offering vibrant colours, sweeping views, and natural beauty. Death Valley National Park makes for a good road trip and is the largest US national park outside of Alaska, with over 3.4 million acres. It’s best known for Titus Canyon, a ghost town with limestone rock formations, and Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America.

Spring is the most popular time to visit Death Valley, and campgrounds and lodging are usually packed with spring breakers looking for an outdoor adventure. In recent years, a rare phenomenon called “super bloom” has been happening in California’s deserts, and Death Valley had one of the most spectacular displays of rare flowers. If the winter brought rain, then the desert puts on an impressive floral display peaking right in time for spring break.

Super bloom or not, there are tons of other activities to do here. Sightseeing, stargazing, and taking guided tours are the most common ones. If you’re feeling adventurous, try camping, hiking, biking, or even cross-country driving. A fun fact about this national park: a few scenes from Star Wars were filmed here, and there’s a self-guided driving tour that points out all those spots.

Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park

Ski Resorts and Mountain Getaways

Aspen, Colorado

While the spring season is associated with more sunshine and warmth, Aspen has also become a popular spring break destination. March is historically one of the snowiest months of the year in Aspen, with snowfall arriving just in time for spring break. 

The longer spring days and an extra hour of sun from daylight savings means more time to ride or ski. That, coupled with what they call spring powder, gives riders plenty of time to enjoy winter recreational sports on the mountain.

March in Aspen marks the start of après season. As the spring sun soaks outdoor patios, many establishments set up DJs, food, and drinks so guests can head there after a full day out on the slopes. It’s a great opportunity to mingle with fellow skiers and spring breakers. The Aspen crowd is usually made up of couples, so the vibe is more of a romantic getaway than a family vacation.

Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada

For a ski spring break adventure that can double as a family vacation, Lake Tahoe is your best bet. The lake has activities for the whole family on and off the slopes, even catering to smaller kids. The weather throughout March and April is great, albeit unpredictable. On some days, it’s mild, sunny, and even warm, and on the next, it can be white out. They say the inconsistency is part of the fun, but you’re almost always guaranteed good skiing conditions during spring.

Lake Tahoe is also quite busy even beyond the slopes. North Tahoe is known for a great line-up of spring events, festivals, and culinary affairs. There are also spas and resorts that can help you relax. Witnessing the transition from winter to spring at Lake Tahoe is a fun, exciting experience–making it one of our choices for spring break destinations up in the mountains.

Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe

Park City Mountain Resort, Utah

Spring break destinations aren’t always about partying and getting drunk. There are wholesome and pleasant spring break destinations, like Park City Mountain Resort. It’s the largest ski resort in the US, and they constantly invest in family-friendly attractions.

They’re the top Ski and Snowboard school in the state, which can put a lot of parents at ease. They also have an impressive selection of dining experiences and lots of fun activities for guests of all ages. Outside of spring skiing, there’s a ski beach at Canyons Village, and an annual pond-skimming event in April that everyone looks forward to.

Apart from that, there’s spring fly fishing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and flat-tire biking, tubing at Woodward Park City, and there are a few Park City thrill rides, too! As for dining and nightlife, the Historic Main Street has a lot to offer spring breakers.

READ NEXT: 12 Best Places to Visit for Spring Break

Where do you think the best spring break destinations are in the US? Leave a Comment Below!

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