It's never too early to start thinking about the ultimate spring break trip. If you like nachos, beer, the sea, and 'round-the-clock fun, you're going to want to check out our suggestions for the ultimate spring break adventure. Most places have great group discounts and loads of student travel deals. We've mapped out some of the most popular party spots for spring break, including Cancun and South Padre Island. If you're feeling less like partying past midnight and sleeping through noon this year, we've also got some great ideas for an alternative spring break. Whether you want to tutor children, landscape parks, paint murals on inner-city buildings, or build houses, an alternative spring break is an equally attractive way to break away from the grinding school daze (and you can still tan while you work construction). Still, if the classic spring break combination of the beach and banana daiquiris sounds best to you, read below to find great travel deals in beach-and-beer capitals like Panama City, Florida. Cheap package trips abound... so pack up your beach towel and get ready to party.
Not sure where to go for your next spring break vacation? Check out our destination suggestions below. Then, enter your details into our FareFinder to find value travel options.
Cancun is a legendary spring break vacation mecca. Theme restaurants, jam-packed beaches, cavernous nightclubs, and the perfect quesadilla await you and your friends. Catch a tan at famous beaches like Playa Chacmool and Delifines. Stroll around Parque las Palapas in downtown Cancun in the early evening and check out a free concert or festival that occurs most weekends. If you want to get away from the day-glo and the crazy crowds for a little while, check out the small island of Isla Mujeres. Carribean-style homes and shops line the streets of the quaint downtown area. Explore a Mayan temple and lighthouse at the south end of the 5-mile-long island. Or just explore the sky-clear waters. Swing by the island's Avenida Hidalgo for some amazing eats. When you head back to Cancun, pick out a spot to watch the sunset. The talc-white beaches are all free and open to the public. After dark, head to a cantina or one of dozens of nightclubs. Remember as you make your plans, Cancun has a large number of all-inclusive resorts. No matter where you stay, you'll be close to some of Mexico's best beaches and natural preserves.
Panama City Beach, a 27 mile strip along the Gulf of Mexico, is the place to experience the essence of spring break. Get ready for a spring break filled with miles of beach parties and loud, thumping bass. You can check out the usual spring break events like live concerts and bikini contests, but Panama City Beach also offers more than just getting your drink on. Swim with the dolphins at Gulf World Marine Park, or kayak on Shell Island, a state-run nature preserve. Panama City is also well known for great deep sea fishing. Gather up your friends and head for Hall Queen Fleet Deep Sea Fishing to catch a big grouper. After an active day of swimming, fishing, or playing volleyball, sample some fresh seafood around town. Try Spinnaker Beach Club & Paradise Grill or Billy's Oyster Bar for some grub and then head to Sharky's for a Hurricane or a Sharkbite specialty drink.
This Gulf Coast haven is a popular spring break vacation hot spot. Near the southernmost point in the state, it's only about five miles from Mexico by water. Day trips to Mexico are common, but the island itself as 34 miles of beaches and the spring break weather provides highs in the 70s and 80s. Get ready for an active day by loading up on the good stuff at BadaBing Bagels. South Padre has every conceivable kind of water sport and scooters are a popular way to get around the island. Park it for lunch at the Padre Cantina Restaurant, and as night falls, take in the catch of the day at Daddy's Seafood & Cajun Kitchen as you prepare to party until 2 o'clock in the morning on the beach. As for where to stay, South Padre Island has 4,000 hotel and condominium units. Check out a condo, an all-inclusive resort, or an affordable beach house vacation rental with twenty of your closest friends. The gang's all at South Padre doing their spring thing.
A spring break trip is not all about partying hearty at the beach. Another rewarding way to spend your spring break vacation week is to do some volunteering. An alternative spring breaks may in fact be the hottest thing going these days. You can still experience spring break sun and sand while engaging in home building projects or teaching kids. The options are endless. Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit housing organization working in partnership with families and supervised volunteers to build homes in the U.S. and around the world. You don't need any special construction skills to volunteer; just go to their site to see where Habitat is building. It's not all work either -- volunteers often go on day trips or take in whatever interesting sightseeing the area they are working in has to offer. The American Hiking Society's Volunteer Vacations allow you to chop hundreds of trail miles if the wilderness and being active outdoors is your thing. Also check out the Break Away chapter on your campus. They have a database of over 350 nonprofits listing volunteer opportunities.