Off The Beaten Path Spring Break Destinations

Off The Beaten Path Spring Break Destinations

Spring Break is probably the most anticipated time of the year for college students, but they're not limited to Miami or South Padre Island to have fun and party. Places that offer fewer crowds and similar attributes to their more popular counterparts are fine alternatives to hot spots for the week-long break.

Essaouira, Morocco

Most people are interested in Marrakech as a destination that won't break the bank. For a more relaxed pace of life and untouched by tourism sands, consider going to the charming coastal town of Essaouria. Located on a peninsula surrounded by forests and overseeing the ocean, travel guides always recommend the ancient Mogador as a beautiful place for tourism and surfing in Morocco.

Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Surf, enjoy the culture, see waterfalls and wildlife, sit in a pool drinking mocktails, stuff your faces with delicious tacos, and have lots of fun whether you are a college student or taking a vacation with your teenage kids. There are plenty of beaches offering big waves for surfing but there are also shores with smaller waves to learn on such as Playa Hermosa. Santa Teresa definitely has an off the beaten path vibe, but the nightlife, although laid-back, is still entertaining. 

Santa Barbara, California

The seaside city claims the perfect mixture of festive and laid-back settings, a weather that is always just right, and educational cultural establishments. Nights are filled with partying and relaxation. You will find the crowds you're looking – from wild and rowdy to the more calm and sophisticated. Go to The Neighborhood for a typical Santa Barbara bar experience, including fun games and an easygoing atmosphere; visit The Velvet Jones or The James Joyce for some of the best live music and cocktails; and explore wine country with various tours.

Varadero, Cuba

Visit Cuba before the island becomes inundated with tourists. Varadero Beach is one of the best in the Caribbean and the longest in the country – more than 13 miles. Many also call it "the most beautiful." All-inclusive packages are offered by nearly every resort. Other fun adventures in Cuba include cave and scuba diving, rock climbing, hiking, and zip lining.

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Sand sledding in Colorado's rough Sangre de Cristo Mountains is an adrenaline-pumping option to spend Spring Break. There are 19,000 acres of dunes going up 750 feet. Make sure you get on slopes that are at least 20 degrees. You'll be sliding down regardless of your skill level. The park has the tallest dunes in the country. It's always peaceful at the Piñon Flats Campground.

Crystal River, Florida

Spring Break is one of the best times to swim with manatees – hundreds of them escape to Crystal River looking for warmer waters. This is the only place in the state where people can legally interact and swim with the easy going manatees, which can be as long as 10 feet, in their natural habitat. Make sure you book a tour in advance.

Cartagena, Colombia

This coastal village is full of history, adventure opportunities, beautiful weather year-round, and great prices. Walk the City Walls and enjoy the magnificent view. Take a tour of the old town, visit Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, and spend a couple of days at Rosario Islands. You can choose from adventurous activities like snorkeling, SCUBA diving, hiking, biking and more. Check out Cartagena's famous museum, The Museo del Oro y Arqueología, and take salsa lessons.

Pacific Coast, Nicaragua

Nicaragua is an unforgettable bucket list trip you can do on a budget. San Juan del Sur is a great choice on the long and mostly empty Pacific Coast. The region has every type of beach you could want – from forested hills overlooking the ocean to rocky crags with pounding surf to smooth, wide, flat shores, according to Nicaragua Guide. There are a few fishing villages dotting the coast but you can walk for miles without seeing a person. Stay at a resort on the Emerald Coast, surrounded by bays of surf, clear waters, great food, yoga, and a touch of luxury.

Malaga, Spain

If you want sea, sun, gardens, good food, sightseeing, historical buildings, and nightlife – but not in a big city – Malaga is your destination. It is in the Andalucía region of Spain. The city is one of the warmest in the country. Did you know that the famous Picasso was born in Malaga? Naturally, there is a museum named after him that is absolutely amazing and worth a visit (it is free on Sundays). 


Barbados, which has some of the most gorgeous beaches in the Caribbean, isn't as popular this time of year as Aruba or Puerto Rico, probably because the island is farther away. The towering cliffs on each end of Crane Beach and the coral reef in the ocean make for stunning views. The warm and lively waves make it an ideal spot for boogie boarding. Central Barbados is full of rolling terrain and scenery from its fascinating colonial past. You'll enjoy tons of bars and nightclubs, authentic cuisine and duty-free shopping.

Taos, New Mexico

Taos is definitely the more unusual option in New Mexico that offers all the glamour without the possibility of bankruptcy. You can find exhilarating, peaceful and exclusive sites with a variety of pricing options. Spring breakers love to go there for rafting down the Rio Grande River and relaxing in healing natural mineral springs. Families love it for the opportunity to go hiking in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains or along the Rio Grande Gorge.


Spring break in Anguilla is a lot of fun for teenagers because there is extra action without the kinds of crowds you have on Seven Mile Beach. Most beaches are free. This is the time to go dolphin and whale watching. Take a glass-bottom boat tour if you are not up for snorkeling. Go scuba diving and horseback riding for more thrilling fun.

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

There is something for everyone here. Kids will love the turtles, colored fish and even sharks on a semi-submarine trip; they can also go on a glass bottom boat to see abundant marine life. Teens will love a chance to go on a parasailing trip or half-day snorkeling excursions to nearby cays. Scuba diving, kayaking through the mangroves and stand up paddle boarding are other favorites. Grace Bay was rated the No. 1 beach in the Caribbean, according to TripAdvisor. Some of the best rated hotels in the world are located on Grace Bay.

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga is a great off the beaten path Spring Break destination. In 2015 the city was also named the best place to live in by Outside Magazine, located by the rocky Tennessee River Gorge. You can count on Chattanooga for a lot of adventure opportunities. Climbers love it for the sandstone cliffs; bikers like it for the 120 miles of tracks; and thrill seekers enjoy rafting in the Class IV–V rapids on the nearby Ocoee.

Rangiroa, French Polynesia

You should go here if you are after great shark sightings. Divers at Tiputa Pass are likely to see many reef sharks and lemon sharks, according to Reef Traveler. Some divemasters have even reported seeing tiger sharks in the pass.  Spotting manta rays, large javanese eels, Napoleon wrasse, large titan trigger fish and even bottlenose dolphins is also possible. The strong current will take you through many more motionless and quiet sharks. This is known as drift diving.

Plitvice National Park, Croatia

This national park is more like a scene from a fairytale than an actual place on earth, but the 16 crystal clear lakes, breathtaking waterfalls and vaulted caves are not only real—they're natural formations. Water rich with minerals winds its way down waterfalls and along rocks, continuously changing the landscape as diverse wildlife (bears, wolves, rare birds and butterflies) live in the vast forest that surrounds the lakes.

Lombok, Indonesia

The Indonesian island east of Bali has always been overshadowed by its neighbor. But Lombok and its beaches, cool surf spots, and lavish forests is a thrilling place to visit. You also get to hike through tobacco and rice fields. Gunung Rinjani, Indonesia's second-highest volcano, is the island's most famous attraction. Others include Senggigi Beach for surfing, the Pusuk Monkey Forest, and waterfalls.

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

If you are a curious traveler, Lake Atitlan is the perfect destination for you. Take a tour around the beautiful lake, climb Volcano Atitlan and Volcano San Pedro, hike through the Onion Fields and take pictures of the amazing scenery. Visit the towns surrounding Lake Atitlan for unlimited experiences, providing you with both relaxing and partying atmospheres.

Death Valley National Park, California

Spring is the best time to visit Death Valley National Park because it's comfortably warm. You can enjoy the beautiful borders and out-of-this-world sand dunes and peaks. Go to Dante's View for sunrises and Zabriskie Point for sunsets. Visit in the spring to see some amazing wildflowers bloom. The park is a favorite place for hikers. Most routes are up canyons or along ridges. Camping is another favorite because you have a lot of choices – more than 3 million acres of wilderness and almost 700 miles of backcountry dirt roads.

Bozeman, Montana

Use the week off and camp out with friends or family. Explore the famous parks and trails in Montana that offer plenty of options for thrilling adventures. Before you go into the wild, though, get up close and personal with the bears in the zoo. If you feel like staying in the outdoors, Bozeman offers many fly fishing tours and safaris. Bars have live music and standup performances, amateur open mic nights, cheap beer, pool tables, and poker.