That one week off every March or April is precious for travelers looking to get away and break from their winter-induced cabin fever by enjoying time with family and friends in the sunshine.
Warm, tropical paradises are traditionally the go-to destinations, but according to Clint Henderson, managing editor at The Points Guy, some vacationers are thinking outside the box – and off the beach – for their spring break plans.
Here are the top destinations for spring break, according to Henderson.
Mexico and the Caribbean
Some of the most visited destinations in Mexico include Playa del Carmen, Cabo San Lucas and Cancun. According to Henderson, Cancun is probably the top spring break destination.
"Pretty much anywhere in Mexico is going to be really popular with spring breakers," Henderson said.
He noted that one of the reasons for Mexico’s popularity includes being comparatively inexpensive. Plus, Mexico has many all-inclusive resorts, which have become increasingly popular over the years.
Henderson added that a few locations in the Caribbean, such as the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, top the list of favorite spring break destinations for many of the same reasons.
The Bahamas also tend to attract spring breakers, but it tends to be a little pricier than the rest.
Whether in Mexico or the Caribbean, travelers looking to escape the winter blues will usually experience warm weather and sunshine. Additionally, since spring break happens before hurricane season, travelers spending their vacation in these countries don't usually have to worry about hurricanes.
For those looking to vacation closer to home, a number of domestic destinations are tried-and-true – and surprising – favorites for spring breakers.
Perhaps the U.S. destination that rivals Mexico and the Caribbean in popularity during spring break is Florida. Miami Beach, in particular, has been a top destination, according to Henderson. Sunshine and beaches attract many travelers, who are able to enjoy average temperatures in the low to mid-70s during March and April in this beach town.
In addition to the Sunshine State, the Lone Star State also offers a fun spring break escape. South Padre Island, which is located on the Gulf Coast and on the southernmost tip of Texas, offers beautiful beaches, Henderson said. The average temperature on those beaches is usually in the low to mid-70s in March and April.
Out west, beautiful beaches can also be found in San Diego, another top spring break destination. During March and April, average high temperatures in San Diego are usually in the upper 50s and low 60s.
While most travelers are looking for sand and sunshine during spring break, many others are enjoying their week-long vacation in the snow.
Henderson said that one of the trends for this year’s break involves travelers going to ski resorts in places such as Lake Tahoe, California, and parts of Colorado. These resorts have received so much snow this year and later in the year than usual that they are able to stay open longer and into the spring break season.
Europe and Africa
The U.S. and the Caribbean undoubtedly draw the most attention when it comes to spring break plans. Henderson recommends, however, that spring breakers think outside the box when planning their trip.
"If you can travel for spring break internationally to places like Europe, this is really one of the best times a year to go," he said.
He noted that the U.S. dollar is very strong right now, which means that travel budgets will go much further. Additionally, he said that prices in Europe are generally lower in the spring, due to fewer crowds.
"You've got Europe to yourself," he said.
Portugal and Spain top Henderson’s list of European destinations for spring breakers. Lisbon, Portugal, usually experiences temperatures in the 60s during the day and 50s at night during April. In Madrid, Spain, temperatures are also usually in the 60s during the day in April, but drop into the 40s at night.
Just across the Mediterranean Sea in Africa, Morocco was another top recommendation of his for travelers. April temperatures in Casablanca, Morocco, are usually in the 60s and low 70s during the day and in the 50s at night.
Advice for travelers
No matter where you travel for spring break, Henderson encourages vacationers to be aware.
For example, a number of travel warnings have been issued for parts of Mexico. Some advice Henderson offers includes:
- Don’t wear flashy jewelry.
- Stay away from nightclubs outside the tourist zones.
- Use a guide if you’re leaving the cities.
- Register with your local embassy or consulate.
- Know the location of your nearest embassy or consulate.
- Keep a picture of your passport and driver’s license with you at all times.
- Make sure you know that the Mexican 9-1-1 is the same as the U.S. 9-1-1.
For domestic travel, also be aware of the current situation.
In Miami Beach, for instance, the city commission plans to implement a curfew during the peak weeks of 2024 to deal with an increase in crime during spring break. According to WSVN-TV, some of the other measures the city commission enact include rolling back liquor sale hours during March and having some of the city's causeways shut down once crowds reach a certain level.
Being aware of considerations such as these will make travel plans to any spring break destination go much more smoothly.