Spring Break is just around the corner, and if you haven’t already planned your holidays, now is the time to do so!
The thing is, Spring Break is an obviously popular time to travel as students enjoy their time off of their studies. As such, the crowds tend to be pretty heavy in popular vacation destinations. Places that are too crowded can totally cramp your style and really put a damper on your much-awaited itinerary.
But that doesn’t mean that any place you hit up over the Spring Break will necessarily be packed with bodies. If you’re looking to ditch the big crowds and enjoy your holiday without all the chaos, the trick is to pick a place that isn’t necessarily top-of-the-list among Spring Breakers.
Luckily, there are a few destinations that you can choose from where you won’t find too many tourists. You can enjoy your time off with the locals and relax without all the loud crowds.
Whether you’re the type who loves adventure, sightseeing, experiencing culture, or simply chilling by the crashing waves of the ocean, there’s something for everyone. Plus, there are often special travel discounts to be had because these places aren’t as highly sought after compared to other destinations.
Here are the best travel sites to spend your Spring Break without all the tourist traffic that are easy on the pocketbook.
1. St. Augustine, Florida
Florida has always been a hotspot for people traveling during Spring Break, and for good reason. It’s warm, convenient to get to, and relatively affordable compared to other southern destinations. But if you head down to places like Orlando or Miami, you’ll definitely be met with a ton of Spring Breakers.
Instead, consider St. Augustine. Right on the Atlantic Ocean coast is this beautiful city that’s well known as the oldest in the nation. As such, you’ll find beautiful old architecture that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.
Classic hotels and quaint eateries are scattered throughout, making this particular hotspot a great place for couples looking to spend a little romantic one-on-one time.
There’s even a “Fountain of Youth” archaeological Park, where it’s speculated that Spanish explorer and conquistador Ponce de Leon may have landed during the years of European settlement.
Do a little kayaking around the walls of the Castillo de San Marcos fortress, enjoy some shopping along St. George Street in the historic district, and take a scenic stroll along the sandy stretch of beaches along the south part of town.
Depending on where you live, you might find driving to St. Augustine a cinch. But for everyone else, an easy flight will quickly transport you from point A to point B in no time. Within a few short hours, you could be basking in the sun, sand, and surf of St. Augustine!
2. Havana, Cuba
As already mentioned, Miami is a hot spot for Spring Break travelers. It’s full of culture, entertainment, and of course, gorgeous sandy beaches. But because Miami is such a popular place for visitors, it tends to get overcrowded.
And for those who might want to be entertained but not bombarded with people, it might not be the best choice for booking a holiday. Besides, the prices for hotels in Miami are typically sky-high, making this vacation a lot more expensive than you’d like it to be.
Instead of dealing with the busy beaches in Miami, there’s another hot spot a short boat ride across the Atlantic: Havana, Cuba! Rather than only getting a small taste of Cuba in Miami, experience the real deal right on Cuban soil.
Havana is rich in culture and history. After spending the day basking in the sun and immersing yourself in the salty waters of the beach, enjoy a vibrant nightlife that still stays true to the rich Cuban culture.
And if you feel more comfortable being among Americans, the party scenes along the beaches of Santa Maria del Mar are open to US travelers.
The colors of the architecture are like no other and retain the vibe of the old colonial world. Stroll through El Malecón, a walkway that skims the ocean, or check out Old Havana and the Catedral de San Cristóbal. Listen to the vibrant sounds of salsa music that’s typically played throughout the city and enjoy the public parties and bazaars that tend to last through the night.
Havana truly is a party city that has no shortage of excitement and culture. And for those looking for affordable accommodations, you can easily find 4-star hotels near the $100-mark!
3. Alabama Coast
There’s no need to leave the comfort of the US to enjoy fun and sun during the Spring Break, and the Alabama Coast is a great choice in destination. Located right at the southernmost tip of the state of Alabama, the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach of the Alabama coast are fabulous places to spend your Spring Break Week.
Not nearly as well known as other vacation hot spots, the Alabama Coast spans a whopping 27,000 acres from Mobile Bay to Pensacola, Florida, offering stunning views of the Gulf.
If you’re into fishing, this is the place to be. And even if you’re not, you can be sure to enjoy fresh seafood at local restaurants.
Here you can enjoy 32 miles of crystal clear waters and white-sand beaches made up of miniscule quartz crystals stemming from the Appalachian Mountains. Then, enjoy some fun on the tallest Ferris wheel on the Gulf Coast at The Wharf entertainment district, which also happens to be the site of some serious shopping.
There’s a seemingly endless supply of rentals and hotels along the Gulf, giving you the pick of the litter when it comes to booking your accommodations. And just about all of them offer stunning Gulf views. From entire homes on the beach to hotels on the cheap, there’s something for everyone.
4. Puerto Morelos, Mexico
A popular destination for travelers, Mexico offers unparalleled beaches, crystal clear waters, lush greenery, and unending sunshine and hot temperatures. What’s not to love?
But instead of heading to the usual spots in Mexico – like Puerto Vallarta, Playa del Carmen, or Cancun – why not head over on the road less traveled? In Puerto Morelos, you’ll get all the pleasures of all the hot spots in Mexico without the crowds or the overpriced accommodations.
This gorgeous part of Mexico is located only 45 minutes away from the busy Cancun area and is just as stunning. But instead of all the expensive and traffic-inducing high-rise beach resorts, it’s a much quieter place for those who just want to enjoy stellar beaches.
In fact, the area features mangroves and an offshore reef that are protected thanks to eco-reserve designations. As such, you won’t see any development that’s more characteristic of nearby party beach towns. It’s an irresistible lure for divers. Even if you’re not an avid diver, take a lesson or two to explore the vibrant colors of the reef below!
Enjoy other outdoor adventures, such as scenic bike rides along the coast or hilly terrain, exploring authentic Yucatan history, or taking exciting jungle adventures. And after a busy day of all that activity, wind down and watch the sunset along the pristine beaches.
There are always discount travel deals to be had, especially if you sign up for travel deals on places like Wagjag or Groupon, or by signing up for travel deal alerts on your favorite travel booking site.
5. Guánica, Puerto Rico
Located on the southwest corner of Puerto Rico, Guánica is the site of turquoise waters and untouched sandy beaches. This secluded and lesser-known retreat offers miles and miles of gorgeous coastline that is so much much less crowded than nearby San Juan. Many beaches in Guánica are also home to nesting turtles during the season, which is perfect for the nature lover.
Those with an affinity for wine will love the fact that Guánica houses wineries with rows and rows of grapevines. More specifically, 12 Streets Winery is open for the public to do a little wine tasting amidst stunning landscaping and sunny skies.
If you love the idea of getting really secluded, Gilligan’s Island is right off the coast and offers a super quiet getaway. This tiny mangrove island is a great spot to do a little kayaking and snorkeling in the pristine waters. It’s wonderfully serene if you’re looking for some reclusion while enjoying your holidays.
In Guánica, you’ll even have the privilege of trekking through a UN biosphere reserve that offers plenty of trails, caves, ancient forts, and tons of trails amidst unique landscape like you’ve never seen before.
A great place to stay in Guánica is the Copamarina Beach Resort, a comfy resort that’s fully equipped with all the convenient amenities you’ll want to enjoy while on holidays during the Spring Break. It’s beachfront and offers stunning ocean views and provides ferry service to the main island. Be on the lookout for special discounts so you can enjoy some savings when you book.
6. St. Croix
This small town in the U.S. Virgin Islands is known for its crystal clear blue waters and bright yellow Danish colonial buildings. This place is not only stunningly beautiful, but it’s also full of rich history. If you’re the type to appreciate history while still enjoying sun and surf, then St. Croix is for you.
This tranquil tropical destination is chock full of cultural diversity as well as fascinating history. It was the site of Spanish, British, Dutch, French, Maltese, Danish, and American exploration and settlement, so you can just imagine how each one of these ethnicities influenced the culture in St. Croix. All of these backgrounds played a role in the island’s rich past that you can experience through its arts, music, and dining, especially during festivals and cultural events that occur throughout the year.
Here you’ll have the benefit of checking out beautiful botanical gardens, old sugar plantations, archaeological sites, mangroves, and coral reefs. There’s also lots of scuba diving to be had, allowing divers to get an up-close and personal glimpse of the gorgeous and vibrant sea colors beneath the water’s surface.
You can get a direct flight to St. Croix from Miami, Atlanta, or Charlotte, making it rather easy (and cheap!) to get to. There are plenty of cruise ships that also here, so if you decide to catch St. Croix as a stop on a cruise vacation, that’s always an option as well. If you’re a U.S. citizen, no passport is required, either.
7. La Paz, Mexico
Rather than get stuck fighting the crowds in Cabo, head over to the charming little colonial city of La Paz. Located right on the Sea of Cortez, La Paz is a wonderful little tranquil place to relax and enjoy the blazing sun and glorious surrounding greenery. Within close proximity is Balandra Beach where you can not only chill out and soak in the sun’s rays, but also enjoy a little snorkeling in Isla Espiritu Santo.
A unique experience that you won’t find in many southern destinations is swimming with sea lions. You may have marveled at them from a distance in other destinations, but getting right up to them and joining them in their own natural habitat is an experience like no other. There’s also whale watching to be had.
Strolling along the malecón is another must-do when you’re in La Paz, which is simply a wide open pavement that envelopes the edge of the sea and offers a plethora of bars, cafes, and authentic eateries to enjoy.
In addition to the natural beauty of La Paz, there’s also a rich culture to enjoy. Be sure to check out the political building of Centro Cultural La Paz, the Museo de La Ballena, Museo Regional de Antropología e Historia, and Teatro de la Ciudad. There are also Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations in La Paz to take part of as well.
To enjoy savings when traveling to La Paz, consider booking off-season or take an indirect flight to shave a few bucks off of airfare.
8. Panama City, Panama
Panama City has become a popular beach destination for travelers over the recent past, but it’s still a lot quieter than your typical Spring Break destination. This stunning city boasts tons of culture, history, wildlife, and of course, tropical beaches. It’s everything you could hope for in a sunny destination.
For starters, it’s easily accessible and only a 2.5-hour flight from Miami. Just about all major airlines fly to Tocumen International Airport in Panama, so you shouldn’t have an issue getting a decent deal on a flight. And with the currency in Panama being the US dollar (as well as the Panamanian balboas), it’s very convenient and affordable for American tourists to travel to Panama City.
Perhaps one of the biggest draws to Panama City is the famous Panama Canal, a marvelous 48-mile artificial waterway that connects both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. You can experience the Panama Canal numerous ways, from the Miraflores Locks to boat tours that cross the Canal. It’s an experience you don’t want to miss if you travel here.
There are also many different islands to explore once you’re in Panama City. In fact, there are hundreds of them, including the San Blas Archipelago with beaches that are considered some of the most beautiful in the world.
This particular group comprises about 100 islands – largely nameless – with about 30 of them made entirely of coral. You can also check out Bocas del Toro, the Pearl Archipelago, and smaller islands in the Island of Coiba.
Once you’ve finished marveling at the natural wonders of the city, take in some clubs at night while still enjoying amazing ocean views.
9. San Agustinillo, Mexico
Easily one of the best stretches of sand along the Pacific Ocean, San Agustinillo is a quiet retreat that can be opted for instead of the much busier and nearby Acapulco.
The beach faces open ocean and is marked by rocky outcroppings that stick out from the beach into the Pacific Ocean. The sands are wide, offering plenty of space to enjoy a game of beach volleyball, soccer, frisbee, or anything else you’re into.
Marvel at the stunning warm green and blue tones of the ocean water. And if you love untouched land, check out the far eastern end of the beach, where you may even be able to catch a glimpse of turtles nesting and laying eggs on the beach.
This small fishing village offers plenty of charming little inns and quaint restaurants, which are a far cry from the hustle and bustle of nearby artsy towns. Plus, you’ll certainly be able to find much better deals in places like this, making your overall trip easier on the wallet.
This is a great place if you’re into bodyboarding and surfing, as the waves are rather decent in size. For this activity, you might want to focus on the easternmost section of Playa Aragon that offers strong waves. Just be careful of the strong undertow as well. There’s even a local surf school that can show you the ropes before you take to the high seas.
Many avid surfers flock to the west coast in the US to catch some waves, but there are other exotic global locations where you can ride the waves, and Portugal is one of them. In fact, surfing is one of Portugal’s most popular pastimes, both among locals and visitors.
More specifically, the Algarve in the south of Portugal is particularly famous for its surfing – as well as its stellar beaches. Praia do Amado is the country’s best-known surfing beach thanks to its big waves, but it also features sand dunes, rock pools, and cliffs to marvel at. And if there’s one thing that Portugal is known for, it’s the beaches.
If you’re looking for something a little more artful and exciting to fill your days, explore the castles and palaces of Sintra, close to Lisbon, where you’ll find green hilltops and luxurious structures.
There’s also some hiking and climbing to be had along the rugged terrain of the Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela, a massive protected countryside area that boasts amazing meadows, waterfalls, rivers, slopes, and lakes. Here you’ll find the highest peak in Portugal at the Torre, or ‘tower’.
Visiting Portugal wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Azores, an archipelago off the coast from Lisbon; it is the site of a rich marine habitat. Here you’ll be able to do some whale and dolphin watching. Back on land, you’ll have the distinct opportunity to check out extinct volcanoes and geothermal springs, the latter of which you can bathe in it and even drink the water!
You might think that traveling to Europe might be an expensive endeavor, but getting to Portugal is actually a lot more affordable than you might imagine. In fact, you can realistically book a flight Portugal for the same price you’d pay to fly across the US. Look for special discounts to international airports like Lisbon, Faro or Porto to save a few bucks at booking.
Doing an all-inclusive trip is always popular for Spring Breakers, but they typically tend to head for destinations like Mexico and the Dominican Republic for such trips. If you like the idea of spending some quiet time immersed in sun and sand but without all the crowds, Jamaica is a great choice.
A small island in the Caribbean, Jamaica offers long stretches of sandy beaches and a low-key atmosphere, perfect for winding down for a week of holidays. And if you still want to get a taste of the party life in Jamaica after a day of chilling at the beach, there’s a vibrant party scene to take part in.
Jamaica may be known for its long beaches, but it’s also got some rich landscaping further inland. Check out Holywell National Park within the Blue Mountain region of the island and not far from Kingston. Take a scenic stroll along the edge of the mountain and you’ll quickly find yourself immersed in clouds with local wildlife within close proximity.
Then, explore Montego Bay where you can get your fill of shopping for local arts and crafts. It’s also the island’s mecca for bars, eateries, and parties.
While not necessarily your first thought when it comes to Spring Break destinations, Slovenia is an excellent choice when it comes to holidays without all the crowds. In Europe, many people who are off on school holidays throughout March and April tend to head for Croatia to spend their time off, leaving Slovenia wide open for the taking.
Located right on the Alps just east of Italy, Slovenia offers plenty of amazing food, incredible wineries, and breathtaking scenery. While much of Europe offers a lot of the same, Slovenia has the distinct advantage of being a much quieter – and more affordable – place to visit.
If there’s one reason to go, it’s the amazing natural landscapes which change from one region to another. Slovenia is sprinkled with hills and mountains that are popular for hiking. If you visit in the winter, you’ll be able to take in some of the best skiing you can possibly experience. After all, what could be better than skiing in the Alps?
If you prefer a more traditional sun-and-sand type of holiday, head to the seaside where you’ll find crystal clear waters, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, and charming towns. Do a little biking along the Prekmurje lowlands in the northeast part of the country to stay active while enjoying breathtaking scenery.
No matter what type of holiday you’re looking to enjoy over the Spring Break, Slovenia has something for everyone.
13. Vancouver, B.C.
This Spring Break, head north of the border to visit our Canadian friends in gorgeous Vancouver, British Columbia. Full of culture and unbelievable scenery, Vancouver is a fabulous place to party surrounded by the majestic Rocky Mountains. While a little on the chiller side for this time of year, Vancouver is not an iceberg like many perceive all of Canada to be.
In fact, Vancouver is perhaps the warmest spot in Canada, with relatively mild winters compared to the rest of the nation. Here you can enjoy lots of great shopping in Gastown, sipping on local craft beers in Granville Island, and doing some hiking at Grouse Mountain.
One place that is an absolute must-see is Stanley Park, an expansive green space that’s filled with sky-scraping soaring trees that are as big as a few meters thick. It’s easy to get lost in a sea of forest right smack dab in the middle of the city.
And if you’d like to marvel at the roaring waves of the Pacific Ocean on a backdrop of majestic mountains, head over to the coastline and spend a couple of days in Tofino, a surfside town that’s a quick ferry ride away from Vancouver.
Or, head north to Whistler, a popular ski destination that attracts people from as far away as Australia.
This west coast Canadian city is relatively easy to get to. Depending on where you live, a quick road trip might do. For all others, an easy flight can be taken at rock bottom rates if you take advantage of discount travel deals.
When you think of “Tahiti,” you likely conjure up images of bright blue skies, turquoise ocean waters, and shorelines sprinkled with gorgeous palm dress swaying in the gentle, warm breeze. And you’d be right. Tahiti is all that, and then some.
A teeny island located in the South Pacific Ocean, Tahiti is part of the French Polynesia archipelago. This island is one of the few places on earth where you’ll find unique black-sand beaches. It’s also riddled with stunning lagoons, gushing waterfalls, and two volcanoes (don’t worry – they’re both extinct).
A popular beach destination, Tahiti won’t be overly crowded with Spring Breakers like many other popular spots, so there’s minimal risk of having to fight for the best spot on the beach to catch some rays. With miles and miles of pristine shoreline, you can enjoy plenty of space and tranquility away from the hustle and bustle of back home.
In addition to the virtually unspoiled shorelines, there are the lush jungles to get lost in. You’ll even be able to find amazing ancient stone temples deep within the jungles if you’re up for a little exploring.
The climate in Tahiti is perfect year round, so it really doesn’t matter when you go, as you’ll always be met with incredible balmy temperatures and seemingly unending sunshine.You’ll want to take some of it home with you once your holiday time is up!
On top of the stunning natural landscape and amazing climate, Tahiti is home to fabulous French cuisine to die for. Dishes like mountain bananas, smoked breadfruit, “poe” (a tropical fruit pudding), French crêpes, “poisson cru” (a marinated raw fish dish), and suckling pig are among the more commonly served Tahitian fare that locals and visitors can enjoy.
While not nearly as busy as many other traditional Spring Break spots, the capital Papeete can often get a little busy. But you can easily escape to sheer seclusion by trekking over to the other half of Tahiti (yes, the island is divided in half and joined together by a land bridge), known as “Tahiti Iti.”
With dozens of resorts on the island, there are plenty of accommodation options to choose from. And while Tahiti may be one of the more expensive destinations on this list, you may be able to whittle down the price if you’re willing to take indirect flights or book your stay in smaller hotels.
If you’re really serious about saving money while traveling to Tahiti, consider forgoing the restaurants at breakfast and lunch and stock up on goods that you can purchase at local supermarkets. Then you will have more cash to blow on dinners if you so choose.
If you’d love to visit Tahiti but it’s not necessarily your final destination, consider booking a flight with a layover in Tahiti if you happen to be traveling to the far east. Air Tahiti Nui often offers stopover deals in Tahiti, so you can take in this amazing tropical paradise on your way to places like Australia or Japan without splurging on two separate flight tickets and trips.
15. Oxnard, California
You’d be hard-pressed not to find an awesome spot in California to hang out in over the Spring Break, and Oxnard is just one of many. Located on the shores of the Pacific Ocean between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, Oxnard is a fun and jubilant place to visit and spend a few long-awaited days off work or school.
A quiet little town in Ventura County, Oxnard is perhaps best known for its abundance of strawberry patches. If you’re one for picking fresh produce right out of the ground and enjoying it on the spot, Oxnard might be the place for you.
With miles of gorgeous beaches and no crowds to fight, Oxnard makes it easy to enjoy sun, surf, and sand. Enjoy peace and tranquility sunbathing, snorkeling, kayaking, paddling, boating, tubing, swimming, or any other activity that tickles your fancy. If you’re into surfing, Silver Strand Beach is popular for riding the waves.
There’s also whale watching off of Ventura coast or yacht cruises along the shoreline to revel in. And if you’re into fishing, there are plenty of guided sport fishing tours available year round.
After you’ve soaked in some sun and taken advantage of plenty of adventurous activities, take a tour of one of the popular wineries and enjoy a glass of red or white with friends.
With so many fun things to do in Oxnard, you’ll wish you had an extra week of Spring Break to enjoy!
Depending on where you live, Spring Break tends to span late February through to mid-April. But March is usually the peak period for Spring Break in most centers across the US. Before you book your Spring Break vacation, be sure to double check when this highly-coveted vacation time slot takes place where you live!
During this time frame, you’ll see airlines, hotels, and travel agents very busy trying to accommodate travelers who are looking to maximize their time off of work or their studies to relax, soak in some sun, and escape much of the cold weather and snow that has been plaguing many parts of the country over the past few winter months.
But rather than go where everyone else is going and putting up with major crowds, consider going off the beaten path and choose destinations that not all travelers would necessarily think of. And the spots on this list certainly meet that criteria. Plus, when you take advantage of special discounts, you can realize some significant savings during booking.