The 9 Best US Destinations for Spring Break

For many travelers, spring break is a blissful time to shake off the winter blues and bask in the sunshine, whether that means hitting up the beach in San Diego or looking for the best doughnut shop in Portland.

But with such a vast and diverse country like the United States, how does one choose? This curated list of the best US spring break destinations has something for every type of traveler. So pack your bags, grab your sunglasses, and join me on this coast-to-coast adventure:

Table of Contents

1. San Diego, California, for Beach Vibes

US best spring break destinations san Diego

San Diego is the epitome of the California dream, complete with laid-back beach vibes. If your only goal this spring break is to chill on the shore, this one is for you. Visit sandy hot spots like La Jolla Cove, with its dramatic cliffs and crystal-clear waters, or the ultra-popular Mission Beach. For surfers, the waves at Pacific Beach are epic this time of year.

Need a break from the sand and sun? Head to the historic Gaslamp Quarter, known for its Old World charm, eclectic dining, and vibrant nightlife. For a relaxed afternoon, Balboa Park has lush gardens, interesting museums, and a world-renowned zoo. Visit San Diego on its own, or add it to your spring break California road-trip itinerary.

2. Lake Tahoe, California & Nevada, for the Outdoorsy Traveler

There’s a certain magic about Lake Tahoe that captures the heart, turning first-time visitors into annual returners. Straddling the border of California and Nevada, it’s a place where the water is so clear, it reflects the sky like a mirror, with dramatic mountain peaks and rolling hills on all sides. Spring break is a stellar time to visit, because it’s warm enough to spend plenty of time outdoors, but the summer crowds haven’t descended just yet.

One of the best springtime activities on Tahoe is kayaking, though you can also do nearly every summer activity on this list too. The Sierra Nevada Mountains may still be topped with snow this time of year, offering a beautiful backdrop to your fun. Need a place to stay? Here are some options in South Lake Tahoe and some Lake Tahoe boutique hotels.

3. Sedona, Arizona, for a Spiritual Retreat

Sedona feels like a world unto itself. Known for its stunning red-rock formations and the energy vortexes that dot its landscape, it’s a destination that speaks to both the adventurer and the spiritual seeker.

Hiking in Sedona is one of the best ways to get a feel for the area. Trails like Devil’s Bridge and Cathedral Rock not only challenge your body but also offer moments of awe and contemplation. Plus, the cool temperatures are ideal for exploring the area.

If you need a break from the outdoors (yes, it does happen!), head downtown, a vibrant hub of art, culture, and gastronomy. Strolling through the streets, you’ll encounter art galleries, boutiques with unique crafts, and restaurants serving up both local and international flavors.

Check out these ideas for your Sedona spring break itinerary and places to stay.

4. Santa Fe, New Mexico, for Artsy Spring Breakers

Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a mosaic of history, art, and jaw-dropping landscapes. This city, nestled in the Sangre de Cristo foothills, has a mix of Native American and Spanish cultural influences that are visible in every corner. Make the most of your trip by staying in one of these chic boutique hotels in Santa Fe.

Art is the lifeblood of Santa Fe, so creative spring breakers will find their place here. The city’s numerous galleries, many along the renowned Canyon Road, immerse visitors in a world of creativity and color, showcasing everything from contemporary art to traditional Native American pieces. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is another must-visit, providing insight into the life of an artist who was captivated by New Mexico’s landscape.

5. Asheville, North Carolina, for Budget Travelers

In Asheville, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, small-town charm meets a rich artistic spirit. This city has a knack for making every visitor feel at home, with its welcoming community and laid-back atmosphere. It’s also an ideal spot for budget travelers, as there are tons of free and cheap activities to choose from.

One can’t-miss attraction is the River Arts District, which contains studios open to visitors, offering a window into the creative process. The city’s commitment to the arts is also seen in its numerous galleries and live music venues, showcasing local and national talents.

Nature is also an integral part of Asheville’s appeal. The Blue Ridge Parkway, known as “America’s favorite drive,” offers stunning views and access to numerous hiking trails. The great outdoors provides a backdrop for activities like hiking, biking, and kayaking, making it a superb spot for nature lovers.

6. Portland, Oregon, for an Urban Escape

Portland, Oregon, is famously where individuality and creativity are not just embraced but celebrated. If exploring a new city is on your spring break bucket list, the unique neighborhoods, quirky shops, and cute cafés of Portland are waiting for you. From Hawthorne to the historic charm of the Pearl District, exploring Portland is like uncovering a series of microworlds, each with its own character.

One cannot talk about Portland without mentioning its coffee culture. The city takes its coffee seriously, and you’ll find an array of cafés, each brewing up its unique take on the perfect cup. Food is another pillar of the local culture. From food trucks offering a world of flavors to upscale restaurants focusing on locally sourced ingredients, the Rose City is a haven for foodies.

Want to expand your adventure? Portland is just one of many awesome stops on this Oregon road trip.

7. Austin, Texas, for Music Enthusiasts

Austin marches to the beat of its own drum. It’s known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” but its appeal goes far beyond its vibrant music scene. This city is a blend of laid-back attitudes, outdoor activities, and a fervent love for all things local.

Music venues here range from the iconic Austin City Limits to intimate bars hosting live performances every night. The music festivals, like South by Southwest, draw visitors and artists from around the world, showcasing a rich musical heritage.

But there’s more to Austin than music. The city’s outdoor spaces, like Zilker Park and Lady Bird Lake, are perfect for a leisurely day outdoors. Whether it’s kayaking, biking, or just enjoying a picnic, Austin offers ample opportunities to enjoy Texas’s sunny spring days.

8. Charleston, South Carolina, for History Buffs

History is embedded in every cobblestone street and antebellum home in Charleston. Strolling through the historic district feels like a trip through time, and the best way to make the most of it is through a walking tour.

The city’s charm also comes from its welcoming atmosphere, colorful streets, and incredible Southern comfort food, among many other things.

Charleston’s proximity to the water also offers a variety of spring break activities. From relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Sullivan’s Island to exploring the waterways on a kayak, there are plenty of reasons. to enjoy the outdoors here.

9. Miami Beach, Florida, for Party Animals

There’s no party quite like one in Miami Beach, is there? If dancing on the beach all spring break long is your MO, there’s no better place to do it. From iconic South Beach, known for its picturesque shoreline and lively atmosphere, to more serene North Beach, there’s a stretch of sand for every mood.

Beyond that, Miami’s melting pot of cultures awaits you, reflected in its culinary scene, where you can savor everything from authentic Cuban cuisine to gourmet dining experiences.

In Miami Beach, it’s easy to lose track of time while you spend the day basking in the sun, exploring art galleries like The Bass, or shopping ’til you drop. Find out what else there is to do in Miami Beach here.

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