Gazette Gal

Spring break is in a month or two, so you might think you have plenty of time to plan, right? Wrong. Two months can fly by in the blink of an eye. It's crucial to start planning now, especially when midterms and other school-related stressors can get in the way. There's a multitude of decisions to make: Where can I find affordable and stylish bikinis? Should I book a hotel room or Airbnb? Where exactly do I want to go? These are questions you need to consider early on in the process, which is why I'm here to help you navigate the chaos of planning your Spring Break trip. Take it from a college student who already has her trip booked– planning starts now!

Best Locations

First, decide what type of vibe you’re going for and how many people will be joining you. Do you crave a warm escape from the winter temperatures at a relaxing, hot beach or dive head first into them with a snowy ski trip? Are you traveling in a group, meaning you have to book an Airbnb that accommodates multiple people, or is it just you and your significant other planning a resort getaway? These are key decisions to make well ahead of the preparation phase. Here are some places to start:

In- State Beaches

Destin, Florida

This picturesque spot offers more than just a beautiful landscape and an opportunity to take cute sunset pictures with your friends– it contains vibrant nightclubs, perfect dining spots, and the ultimate shopping scene. This year marks my second spring break at this popular beach destination, and just like last year, it doesn't disappoint. Ideal for tanning and seafood lovers, Destin welcomes a plethora of college students every spring break to its sunny beaches, water activities, and beachfront bars. However, given its popularity, traffic jams can stretch on for hours at a time, so make sure your accommodation is within a walkable distance from both the beach and town. I’ve always booked through Airbnb or Vrbo as they're the most reliable websites offering accommodations for groups of 10 or more, but I suggest looking through places now as they fill up quickly. To keep this trip within your budget, don’t look for the maximum number of rooms for your group size, but rather half of the space. My friends and I managed with just two bathrooms and one bedroom for eight people, while the rest of us crashed on couches or inflatable air mattresses to save a bit of money. Remember, comfort is temporary, but memories are forever!

Panama City Beach, Florida

The most popular Spring Break destinations for college students are in Florida, which is important to consider when looking for places to stay during the break. Reservations fill up months in advance, beaches become crowded as early as sunrise, and traffic stretches for miles during rush hour. However, by starting your planning now, you can secure the perfect Airbnb or hotel that places you within the Spring Break excitement and offers you a walkable distance between the beach and town. Luckily, Uber is popular in this tourist town, alleviating any transportation-related worries. Keep in mind that day drinking and nightclubbing are part of the scene in Panama City and that sometimes you won’t always have access to your car. Despite this, the sandy beaches and all-day tanning opportunities are well worth it. This area offers a plethora of restaurants, and diverse foods, catering even to the picky eaters, and provides a variety of water sports activities or scenic spots for you to enjoy!

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Surprisingly, Outer Banks isn’t just a popular show on Netflix about a war between the Pogues and Kooks. While it may not feature Madeline Cline, it offers scenic walks along the beaches, boating excursions in the rivers, and plenty of shopping opportunities for you and your friends to find the perfect beach outfits. This is the optimal place for college students, as it hosts many fun activities like mini golf and waterparks, in addition to a friendly beach atmosphere perfect for spending all day tanning. It’s called Paradise on Earth for a reason (and not just because Chase Stokes said so).

Out-of-State Beaches

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

One of the most popular spring break destinations among college students, Cabo San Lucas offers a versatile and unique beach experience to your spring break. While you may not feel initially drawn to snorkeling and exploring the ocean in the States due to your familiarity with the waters, the diverse marine life, crystal-clear waters, and iconic Cabo arch will leave you eagerly anticipating your next snorkeling adventure. In addition to marine-related activities, Cabo offers plenty more for spring breakers, such as sunset cruises, Mexican cuisine, and nightclubs. Whether you're seeking a culture-filled experience or a relaxing day at the beach, Cabo promises an unforgettable spring break and lifelong memories.

Bahamas, Caribbean

This destination is a perfect option for Spring Break if you’re looking for beautiful beaches with crystal-clear waters and a diverse culture to experience through food, music, and entertainment. Not only can you hop through over 700 islands throughout the Caribbean, but it’s also conveniently located near the United States. You won’t have to worry about wasting your limited days on Spring Break traveling by plane; instead, opt for a ferry or cruise. The Bahamas offers a plethora of activities to keep you occupied during your break, from parasailing and jet skiing to swimming– with pigs! Obviously, these aren't mandatory during your stay, so feel free to explore other activities best suited for you and your friends. If you’re sticking to a budget, TripAdvisor provides many fun, exclusive deals that you can enjoy.

Cancun, Mexico

Like Cabo, Cancun is a popular tourist destination, especially for college Spring Breakers. If you’re eager to mingle with people your age, explore underground rivers and cenotes, and swim with turtles, Cancun is the perfect place for you. However, unlike the in-state destinations, Cancun can get pretty pricey if you don’t plan ahead. Find a group of friends who may want to tag along and build your budget from there, making sure to allocate funds for food, accommodations, and activities throughout the trip. Having visited several times, I can assure you the money is worth the experience. I’ve found that opting for an Airbnb and buying groceries from a local supermarket is ten times cheaper than booking a hotel room and eating out every night, allowing you to save some money while still exploring Cancun’s gorgeous scenery and cultural cuisine!

In-State Ski

Lake Tahoe, California

Beaches may not be your thing during Spring Break, making it a great opportunity to hit the slopes while everyone heads to the coast. Lake Tahoe stands out as one of the most popular skiing destinations in America, renowned for its family-friendly parks, powdered mountains, and breathtaking scenery. Unlike the fast-paced vibe of beaches on Spring Break, skiing here offers a chance to sit down and unwind after stressful midterms or a day at work.

Breckenridge, Colorado

Are you looking to embrace the chill of winter and showcase your phenomenal skiing skills? Breckenridge is the ideal destination for skiing, hanging out with your friends or family, or relaxing by a fire in a cozy cabin.  If you're in need of relaxation after a long day on the slopes or simply seeking a break from boredom, Colorado's hot springs are just an hour's drive away. With a variety of activities to enjoy, Colorado ensures there's always something for everyone to take pleasure in.

Alta, Utah

Another popular ski resort during spring break is Alta, Utah. Alta is renowned for its powdery snow, pristine slopes, and abundance of recreational activities. Unlike other tourist destinations, this mountainous area isn’t crowded, which means you can enjoy shorter lift lines, uncrowded slopes, and ample space to practice your jumps and turns. It’s also a short drive away from Salt Lake City, making the drive from the airport to your resort stress and hassle-free.

Out-of-State Ski

Whistler, Canada

You’ve probably heard of Whistler from your friends, family, or social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. That’s because it’s one of the most popular skiing places in Canada and for a good reason. With over 8,000 acres of skiing terrain, ranging from beginner to advanced slopes and challenging terrain parks not typically found in the U.S., Whistler offers a versatile skiing experience for everybody. Even if skiing isn’t your main reason for choosing Whistler, the scenery alone is worth the trip. Its towering mountains, abundant snowfall, and pristine bodies of water make it the perfect location for winter hiking and snowmobiling adventures.

Quebec, Canada

Snow and phenomenal skiing aren’t the only things Quebec has to offer. Filled with rich history and European ambiance, the French-inspired cuisine and Quebec Winter Festival provide the perfect experience for travelers to explore the historic town and ski along the pristine slopes. Several of my friends have visited Quebec and were blown away by the festivals, parades, and plethora of winter activities that offer a memorable experience for first-time visitors and seasoned travelers.

Zermatt, Switzerland

Zermatt is an exceptional destination for Spring Breakers for numerous reasons, including glacier skiing, scenic hiking, and upscale mountain lodges. This location is designed for a family-friendly atmosphere, offering a serene escape from the craze and chaos of popular beach destinations. Skiing in the States can be a bit hectic, with the overcrowded mountains, long ski-lift lines, and heavy traffic. In Zermatt, you can experience the beauty of the Swiss Alps, in addition to enjoying the highest cable car ride in Europe. You’ve heard of the iconic Matterhorn, but have you ever considered parasailing off it? Or indulging in cheese fondue while sledding down its slopes? These are just a few of the many experiences associated with this beautiful country, making it an ideal choice for your next Spring Break.

Cruise

Perhaps you’re looking for a combination of those options and want to explore the world on a boat. Cruises offer the perfect solution for just that and more. Your entire itinerary, destinations, and accommodations are planned before you board the ship, eliminating the stress of planning activities or maximizing the limited time your Spring Break schedule offers. Various types of cruises take you to different places, such as the Caribbean, Mexico, Bahamas, etc., offering beautiful beaches and sightseeing opportunities. Take a look at Silver Sea Cruises to book your next trip and explore the world within just a week!

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