Grab your sunglasses, pack your bathing suit, and make sure you have plenty of sunscreen, because it's almost time for that magical week that comes but once a collegiate year — spring break! Just because you have a tight budget doesn't mean you have to stay home, because there are plenty of fun spring break trips in the U.S. that don't require expensive plane tickets or expedited passport fees.
Between the early morning classes, late night study sessions, and weekends spent hunched over a computer writing papers, you've been working hard all school year long, and it's about time you had a break... and a few cocktails. That's what spring break is for, taking time off from studying and letting yourself unwind for a week of sun, fun, and relaxation. And while it's common for coeds to travel to tropical beaches abroad, you can still plan an amazing and affordable trip without a visit to the international terminal of the airport. The U.S. has dozens of spring break-worthy locations, you just have to know where to look.
Just because you don't have a time share in Nassau doesn't mean you can't take an amazing trip. Pack your bags, because it's time to book one of these 10 spring break trips in the U.S. Are you up for some exploring?
1. Daytona, Florida
Florida is home to some of the most popular spring break locations in the country, including Miami, Panama City Beach, and Key West, but there's nothing quite like the party you'll find at Daytona Beach. There, you will find 23 miles of white sand beaches to have fun in the sun on, hundreds of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs to party in, and over 200 hotels, ensuring you can find one that fits all of your needs and your budget. Can you smell the ocean yet?
2. New Orleans, Louisiana
Mardi Gras may be over, but the fun never stops in a city like New Orleans. An ideal spring break destination for someone who loves strong drinks, delicious food, and live music, but who doesn't have their heart set on a trip to the beach, New Orleans has plenty to offer. From classy restaurants like the famous Carousel Bar to the breathtaking beauty of the Garden District to those watering holes that serve boozy slushies to go, there's something for everyone. New Orleans' amazing local culture will give you plenty to do during the day, and its never ending night life, especially on Bourbon Street, will keep you busy until sunrise. And if you're a book nerd like me, there are dozens of literary landmarks, like the home of Tennessee Williams and Faulkner House Books, that are worth visiting.
3. Aspen, Colorado
When you think of spring break, you probably think of sand and sun, not ice and snow, but a ski getaway is a fun and active way to spend your week off. Aspen, Colorado's most famous ski resort town, has everything you could want for a spring break: breathtaking views, fun outdoor activities, high-end dining, and tons of shopping. Who says spring break can't be fun in the snow, anyways?
4. Las Vegas, Nevada
It may be hours away from the ocean, but there are plenty of places to sport a bathing suit in sunny Las Vegas. From luxurious hotel pools to man-made beaches that are a Vegas staple, it's hard to notice you're even in a desert at all. When you're done having fun in the sun, Vegas has everything else you could possibly need to have the most insane spring break ever. You can try and get lucky at one of the many, many casinos, dine in some of the country's nicest restaurants, shop at the endless high-end stores, relax at the spa, or catch one of the city's famous shows, including Britney Spears' or J.Lo's residency. With a name like Sin City, it's as if spring break was meant to be held in Vegas.
5. Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania
A beach house isn't the only way to live it up over spring break. Instead, the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania provide a wintry mountain getaway complete with cozy cabins, historic inns, and all-inclusive resorts, some like Camelback Resort that even have indoor water parks, so you can design a vacation that fits your interests. The fun isn't just in the hotels, either. With winter activities ranging from snow shoeing to ice fishing to snow tubing, the Poconos is the perfect place for outdoorsy people to spend their break.
6. San Diego, California
From Santa Monica to Malibu to Laguna Beach, California is full of spring break-worthy destinations, but San Diego is the ideal spot for college students looking to get away. A coastal city in southern CA, San Diego is a warm, beautiful, and affordable place to stay. After you've gone to the world-famous San Diego Zoo, browsed the local art galleries, and taken in the exhibits at the museums of Balboa Park, you can head downtown for shopping, hit the boardwalk for great local food, or take a trip out to Coronado Island, which is consistently ranked as one of the best beaches in the U.S. San Diego is ideal for culture lovers and beach bums alike.
7. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
If you're looking for a seaside island resort that doesn't require you crossing into international waters, South Carolina's Hilton Head Island could be the spring break destination of your dreams. Though it's not a party city like some of the other locations on this list, Hilton Head is a gorgeous vacation spot with 12 miles of seashore waiting to be explored. A great place for active spring breakers, Hilton Head is a relaxing island getaway, not too far away.
8. Orlando, Florida
You might not be a kid anymore, but you're never too old for a trip to Disney World. Orlando might not be the best place to go if you want to see those gorgeous Florida beaches, but it is the perfect city for thrill seekers and theme park enthusiasts. Spend spring break visiting Mickey Mouse at one of Disney's four parks or walking through Hogsmeade at Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Come on, you know you want another excuse to rock your mouse ears, and this is the perfect one.
9. Austin, Texas
Music lovers, look no further than Austin, Texas, for your ideal spring break trip. The Live Music Capital of the World, Austin is a fun, lively city where you can find great live music to listen to anytime you're in town. Complete with a great local arts scene, delicious food, and, of course, honky-tonks and dance bars, Austin is a unique, low-key spring break destination.
10. Lake Havasu, Arizona
A watery oasis in the middle of the desert? It may sound too good to be true, but such a magical place exists, and you need to visit it for spring break. In addition to shopping, casinos, and off-roading, Arizona's Lake Havasu is home to sandy lake beaches and 60 miles of waterways perfect for boating, making it one of the best boating lakes in the country. Get your life jacket, because most of this spring break trip will be in the water.
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