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Best Spring Break Destinations for Broke College Students

eberhartexaminer profile picture
March 02, 2016 · 7.7k Views

Spring break is almost upon us and you’re looking for the best place to go for the best price, right? While everyone else is throwing away a few hundred on airfare, a couple hundred on hotel rooms, and another hundred on meals and drinks, why don’t you keep that thousand in your pocket and try out some more budget-friendly destinations that are just as fun? Mainly for our U.S. readers, we've listed both popular beach town getaways and city getaways to choose from this Spring Break. Check it out!

SEE ALSO: 3 Easy and Affordable Spring Break Destinations for 2016

Travel Spots in the United States

South Padre Island

South Padre Island, Texas: A barrier island located off the tip of Texas, this is a great spot for spring breakers who are looking for fun in the sun. The island sits at the convergence of the Gulf of Mexico and the Laguna Madre Bay, which means many fantastic (white sand!) beaches, in addition to some great restaurants, spas, shopping, fishing and other attractions. Plus, the nightlife is great all year round with singing, dancing, and (if you’re old enough, of course) plenty adult beverages.



Seattle, Washington: So this isn't exactly a sunny beach getaway but for those who prefers a little chill in their daily climate, Seattle is your city. Plus, since it isn't peak season to visit, your flight and stay will be cheaper! Visit Capitol Hill for interesting bars, 24-hour diners and check out amazing live shows at Neumos. Spend a day touring Seattle's downtown by foot. You'll get to visit the charming nook and crannies of Pike Place, shop at around Westlake center and make your way North to the Fremont neighborhood and visit the beautiful Gasworks Park.


Crater Lake

Portland, Oregon: Another chilly destination but if you love the great outdoors and cheap beer. This place is a can't miss. Hike Crater Lake, visit downtown Portland and don't forget to checkout the Southeast Hawthorne neighborhood for those cute Portlandia shops and... the Waffle Window.


Big Sur

Monterey, Carmel-by-the Sea & Big Sur, California: If you're from the West Coast, you can most likely hit up all three places in as little as a single weekend. Start your way up with your first destination being Monterey or travel down South with your first destination being Big Sur. Either way, you're bound for a beautiful beach town getaway with plenty of hiking and outdoor activities to keep you busy during Spring Break. You'll see many amazing viewpoints throughout your drive so be prepared for frequent stops and mini hiking sprees.


Water Bike

Los Angeles & San Diego, California: Okay hear us out. Yes, traffic is bad but if you live on the West Coast, Southern California has some of the best destinations for beach getaway and home to some of the most delicious foods! Enjoy the warmer temperature at one of socal's many beautiful beaches (Santa Monica, Venice Beach, San Diego Mission Beach, La Jolla and etc), hit up a hiking trail plus, you're likely to find a great hole in the wall joint to feast using Yelp. Oh, and you can bike on water. 


Las Vegas, Nevada: It's dry as heck here but you can drink on the streets, there are epic pool parties and the gals get free drinks. If you go as a group and share a big suite, that will definitely bring down the cost of partying up in Vegas during Spring break. Enjoy the toasty days spend shopping, eating and wandering down the strip and dance the night away at Vegas top clubs and live to do it all again the next day.


Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: You’ll find plenty of vacation deals for Myrtle Beach. There are any number of places to stay here: hotels, motels, even beach houses that can be rented with a big group of friends. Beach attractions include boating, surfing, kayaking, parasailing and more.


Daytona Beach, Florida: With temperatures often hitting 80 degrees during the spring months, Daytona will leave you wishing you lived there all year round. Hotel prices are far cheaper here than in bigger cities like Miami or in Orlando’s Disney World. With great bars and clubs, plus beach activities, you’ll certainly want to give Florida a chance.


Florida Keys

Florida Keys, Florida: We heard of this place via word-of-mouth but apparently, the Florida Keys gives you that beautiful teal water and white sand tropical vacation you've always dreamed of. Here, you can go scuba-diving or visit Key West and spend a weekend visiting museums, restaurants, do a little shopping and hit up the bars.


Lake Havasu

Lake Havasu, Arizona: Another famed Spring Break destination, Lake Havasu has it all. Check out the London Bridge, go shopping, hiking, fishing, boating and more. Top places to tour on your visit there includes the Lake Havasu State Park where you get access to tons of water based activities from jet boating to water skiing. Not a fan of the waters? Lake Havasu also offers hang gliding and hot air balloon rides.



Vermont: Not every spring break needs to take place in a beach town along the East Coast. How about a skiing vacation in Vermont instead? Killington Resort, Sugarbush, and Stowe Mountain are all great spots to check out.


Cherry Blossom Festival

Washington, DC: Spring break falls just around the same time that the Cherry Blossom Festival takes place, which means there are so many events available that will keep you happy. There’s no beach, but D.C. has so much to offer you won’t even miss the sand. A slew of free museums and a trip down the National Mall makes for a great vacation.


International Travel Spots

For international tropical getaways, we suggest looking for all-inclusive resorts. You can't beat that when it comes to price and convenience. Take a look at the list below for some ideas! When you have a destination in mind, browse Groupon or Livingsocial for their all-inclusive resort vacation deals and look for the 'Best of Groupon' purple banner for hot picks from other shoppers.

LEARN MORE: 6 Popular Destinations Where You Can Travel for Cheap


From the East Coast:


Nassau, Bahamas: Nassau is the largest and capital city of the Bahamas, and home to miles of beach and coral reefs – the perfect destination for those who want to try their hand in snorkeling or other marine activities.



Jamaica, Caribbean: Enjoy long walks on the beach, bask in the sunlight amongst this gorgeous tropical setting. Visit Montego Bay for shopping, Ocho Rios for waterfalls and diving. Check out Jamaica's Runaway Bay which is a prime destination for water parks, snorkeling and golfing and end the night at Kingston, the biggest city in Jamaica with a rich nightlife and beautiful harbors.



Cancun, Mexico: Cancun has always been THE go-to place for Spring Break and its not hard to see why. The city is famed for its beaches, resorts and vibrant nightlife!


Playa Del Carmen

Playa del Carmen, Mexico: With perfectly clear water and an endless number of ways to explore it, who wouldn’t want to spend spring break in Playa del Carmen? There’s also Mayan ruins, golf courses, and a jungle sanctuary.


San Juan

San Juan, Puerto Rico: The capital of Puerto Rico attracts visitors of all ages from all over the United States and the world. It is known for its historic streets filled with museums and galleries, and beach life that is always hopping.


Costa Rica

Jaco, Costa Rica: Located on the Pacific Coast, Jaco is a lovely beach town that also boasts a rain forest and mountains. Try horseback riding, kayaking, zip lining, or even a tour of the waterfalls. If you like surfing, Jaco is an ideal place to catch the waves.


Quebec City

Quebec City, Canada: Quebec City is not a beach town, but there are many fun things to do here –  from snowshoe tours to Nordic baths, theater shows and historic museums.

Be sure to plan ahead for all those great deals you’ll find and plan with extra friends to save a bit of extra cash as well. Have fun!


From the West Coast:



Cabo San Lucas, Mexico: Cancun is a fun location to visit from the West Coast. This sunny location is rich with all-inclusive resorts and you get the best of everything from beach activities to energetic nightlife.



Fiji: Fiji is a great destination if you’re after the white sands, palm trees lined blue waters fantasy. Be prepared to have the time of your life exploring the blue lagoons doing various activities from mountain climbing to soft-coral diving.


Capilano Suspension Bridge

Vancouver, Canada: So this is another chilly destination for those who are not after the typical beach vacation this Spring Break. A friend tells us Vancouver is has all the perks of a small city like Seattle but on a grand scale. Spend a day wandering the big city, visit the vibrant theater, art and music scene. Pick a day to check out the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Bloedel Floral Conservatory, two must-see places during your visit.



South Korea and Japan: Okay, we’re completely deviating from tropical getaways but hear us out. If you’ve checked out our most on some of the worst buys in March, we also mention how to get cheap travel deals at unexpected times. Maybe even take into consideration a short trip to Europe because well... this airline offers $99 flights to Europe from major cities in the U.S.

Have an awesome Spring Break guys! Keep these beautiful destination in mind for Summer getaways too. Where have you traveled lately?

by Jennifer Eberhart
eberhartexaminer profile picture
Jennifer Eberhart is a freelance writer currently living in New York City. She is a regular contributor to the Arts column on Examiner.com. Jennifer enjoys traveling, reading, art, religion and video. She has a master's in art history and is attempting to make it to all the museums in New York City - a much harder task than it sounds!

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