20 Spring Break Destinations for Grown-Ups
If you’re looking for a spot to relax and unwind without running into college students, these places cover that perfect balance of serenity and adventure.
Santa Barbara, Californiajiawangkun/Shutterstock
If you’re looking for a trip that’s full of sunshine and sophistication, travel to this beach-clad U.S. city that calls itself the American Riviera, thanks to its Mediterranean-like climate and coastline. Stay in the affordable and centrally located Hotel Milo, which tastefully blends contemporary beach-chic décor and classic Spanish Colonial architecture, as well as beachy accommodations, outdoor pool, and lush gardens. Wine lovers will love the close proximity to Santa Barbara’s finest vintners and a weekly wine tasting offered by the hotel called “Milo Uncorked.” Make sure to save time for a stroll down State Street, Santa Barbara’s most famous avenue, as well as a visit to Santa Barbara County Courthouse, which is most famous for its Spanish-Moorish architecture scattered throughout the city.
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Lake Como, Italypixelshop/Shutterstock
If increased odds of a George Clooney sighting isn’t enough to sweeten the deal, maybe the scenic views offered by this fabled resort town will. Springtime is the perfect season to visit Lake Como, as the day-time temperatures typically average between the mid-50s to mid-60s. All of the hotels, restaurants, attractions, and shops that may have been closed for the winter are now open and the bus and ferry system that provides excellent (not to mention panoramic) public transportation is at its most efficient. The enchanting picture-perfect villages that hug the hillsides along the lake are the biggest attraction and most boast hotels for a range of budgets. One of our faves is the recently renovated Hotel Villa Flori, which sits directly on the lake and is only a few minutes from town. It was built in the 19th century by Marchese Raimondi and served as the coveted residences of a series of noble Lombard families, before it was transformed into a hotel in 1958. Other don’t-misses include Trattoria Bracconieri restaurant, which seemingly hangs off a cliff and has jaw-dropping views, Bar delle Terme for crowd-watching, and a fancy Italian meal or aperitif and Piazzetta on Argegno’s quaint postage-stamp of a piazza for contemporary Italian fare.
Charleston, South CarolinaSean Pavone/Shutterstock
This charming and historic city blends the right amount of Southern sophistication and hospitality with trendy, new-age offerings. During the spring break period, many of the students are away, leaving the city more open and uninhabited for tourists to explore and the temperatures couldn’t be more perfect during April and May. It usually hovers between 60 to 70° F. Take a walk down The Battery, with a miles-long walking path lined with Southern-style mansions and views of Charleston Harbor. If you love shopping, you won’t want to miss King Street, filled with high-end boutiques and recognizable retail stores. Stay at 86 Cannon, a boutique hotel in the heart of the city that will give you all the charming, old-school vibes you’ll want to feel when visiting such a historic and romantic place.
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Canary Islands, SpainMarcel Bakker/Shutterstock
For a sunny and relaxed vibe akin to the Caribbean, without crowds of loud and intoxicated college students, consider Spain’s Canary Islands. With an average temperature of 75 degrees year round, this archipelago off the coast of northwestern Africa is a top vacation destination for Europeans. It’s also oozing with rich history and culture. Stay at the Sheraton La Caleta situated in the south of Tenerife in Costa Adeje, right on the oceanfront. In addition to lazing on the sand, you can hang out in one of the hotel’s three outdoor swimming pools set among tropical gardens, play a 9-hole mini golf course, or relax in their exclusive spa, Eutonos, which also houses their fitness center, as well as a vitality pool, steam room, sauna, ice igloo, and several plunge pools. Off the hotel grounds, there’s plenty to explore as well, including hiking, parasailing, kayaking, whale and dolphin watching, and stargazing around Mount Teide, the largest volcano in Europe. Check out these babymoon destinations that don’t require a passport.
Scottsdale, ArizonaTim Roberts Photography/Shutterstock
For perfectly pleasant temperatures that stay between the mid-70s to mid-80s, along with crystal clear skies that hardly ever see rain, head to Scottsdale, Arizona. The downtown area is vibrant both during the day and at night, with tons of restaurants, bars, and a rich Arts District filled with galleries. Nature lovers will enjoy the expansive McDowell Sonoran Preserve, which is one of the largest of its kind and boasts nearly 400 miles of scenic trails. You can hike, bike, jog and horseback ride along the countless pristine paths. For sporting fans, Spring Training is underway in February and March with Major League Baseball stars hitting the field. Stay at the newly opened Andaz Scottsdale, which offers bungalow-style guest rooms and 1950s-inspired artistic suites—it’s youthful and eclectic, with local art woven through the architecture and design.
Venice, Italylemaret pierrick/Shutterstock
If you’re looking to escape overcrowded beaches and late-night partying, but still experience a relaxing vacation full of breathtaking sights, head to this one-of-a-kind destination. The capital of Italy’s Veneto region, Venice is built on more than 100 tiny islands that are connected by picturesque pathways and beautiful bridges. To fully soak up the charm that is this historic city, stay at Baglioni Hotel Luna, which is just a stone’s throw from the Piazza San Marco, the city’s main square that’s celestially lit up at night. You’ll also be walking distance to many other key sights including Saint Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Clocktower, Bridge of Sighs, and countless bars and restaurants at every turn.
This luxurious beach community in Maui is home to one of the island’s best beaches, Keawakapu, championship golf courses, pampering spas, exotic cliffs and a plethora of scenic views. It is truly a tiny corner of paradise far off the beaten path of most college students looking for a rowdy time. Stay at the luxurious Fairmont Kea Lani, which sits right on the beautiful Kohala Coast and offers a laundry list of cultural, spa and dining experiences, not to mention three swimming pools, including one that’s adults-only, and two activity pools that are connected by a 140-foot water slide. When you’re not soaking up the sun by the beach or pool, venture to the South side for some shopping, horseback ride on the history Ulupalakua Ranch property, or look out for dolphins at La Perouse Bay. Also, don’t miss the sunset at Keawakapu Beach—it will be the cherry on top of your entire trip!
For music lovers looking for a fun getaway, head down to Nashville, Tennessee, home to iconic music venues such as the Grand Ole Opry House and the Country Music Hall of Fame. As if the live music filling the streets wasn’t enough to garner a good time, Nashville’s recently passed to-go cup bill, which allows patrons and party goers to carry open containers of beer or liquor within one block of the city’s legendary lower Broadway area, certainly can. Stay at the brand-new Bobby Hotel which is just steps from the famous Printer’s Alley in downtown Nashville. Along with four dining spots, including a cafe, all-day restaurant, cocktail bar, and rooftop, you have easy access to the city’s world-class art museums, music scene, and discover local bars.
Guanacaste, Costa RicaEQRoy/Shutterstock
This tiny province in northwestern Costa Rica is best known for its vast beaches and biodiverse parkland, including pristine mountain ranges, dry tropical forests, and plenty of national parks. Its capital city, Liberia, is the region’s economic and urban center full of shopping, restaurants, and scenic architecture. Stay at Villa Buena Onda, a two-story, eight-bedroom boutique hotel, a 10,000-square-foot former private villa on 2.5 acres of dry tropical rain forest. It’s an easy 25-minute ride from the main airport and features the very best offerings for those looking to relax and let go of the stresses of work and day-to-day life. It has a modern saltwater swimming pool that overlooks the ocean, a waterfall/grotto area, and stunning views of the Papagayo Bay. The hotel also offers Costa Rican cooking classes free of charge, where guests can join the chef as he takes them into the kitchen and teaches them to prepare traditional dishes. Don’t miss these other popular spots in Central America, either.
Riviera Maya, MexicoPatryk Kosmider/Shutterstock
Cancun may be the hot spot for college kids and spring break partying, but just 40 minutes south is Playa del Carmen, where you get the same weather, turquoise waters, and fantastic offerings. For a full and immersive experience that caters to the adult looking to relax, unwind, and enjoy gorgeous weather, stay at the resort community of Mayakoba, which is home to four celebrated hotels: Fairmont Mayakoba, Rosewood Mayakoba, Banyan Tree Mayakoba, and Andaz Mayakoba. Each of the hotels have a unique appeal for different types of travelers. Fairmont is perfect for families, Banyan Tree and Rosewood are both luxury properties catering to romantics and Andaz, the newest of the bunch, has more of a hip vibe for those looking for an edgy experience. Within the resort community, there’s plenty to do, including shopping or dining at El Pueblito, a village modeled after the historic plazas of Mexico, cooking classes at El Pueblito’s Cooking School, golfing at Jim Mclean Golf School on Mayakoba’s golf course, and relaxing beachside or at one of the four spas on-site.
Sante Fe, New MexicoAndrey Lebedev/Shutterstock
If you’re looking for adventure and luxury in one destination, New Mexico’s capital city situated in the Sangre de Cristo foothills is a must-visit. The weather is especially ideal during the springtime, when temperatures are not too hot during the day and not too cold at night. It’s almost always sunny—in fact, Sante Fe has, on average, about 350 days of sunshine each year! There’s plenty to do and see, including exploring the epicenter of Santa Fe’s artistic culture, Canyon Road, home to a plethora of art galleries featuring everything from paintings and pottery to hand-woven rugs and wood carvings. You’ll also want to make time for a visit to Santa Fe Plaza, full of history and culture, as it’s served as an important landmark since the city’s founding in 1610. Stay at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado just a 15-minute drive from the city center. The resort hosts an incredible array of adventures, from whitewater rafting and hot air ballooning to horse-back riding and snowshoeing—Santa Fe Ski Basin just 35 miles from the resort.
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Savannah, GeorgiaLawrence Roberg/Shutterstock
A coastal urban city with an innovative and pedestrian-friendly layout, Savannah Georgia offers a unique glimpse into Southern hospitality, art, and food culture. It’s home to one of the country’s best art schools, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), which is one of the reasons the city has become a rich tapestry of art. Stay at the Perry Lane Hotel, a brand new boutique hotel set to open this spring. It’s right in the center of Savannah’s Landmark Historic District, an area that recognizes the city limits prior to the Civil War. Before you check out of the city, stop by City Market, an open-air marketplace filled with restaurants and boutique art galleries and stroll through Forsyth Park, 30 acres of greenery in the heart of the district. Find out the most bike-friendly cities in every state.
Fort Lauderdale, Floridapisaphotography/Shutterstock
Looking to escape to warmer weather without running into the spring break crowd? Head to what’s arguably the best Miami alternative and a more relaxing destination for adults old and young. The city, which sits on the state’s southeastern coast, is known for its beautiful beaches, boating canals and walking promenade along the oceanside highway. Stay at Pelican Grand Beach Resort, a coastal-chic waterfront retreat that sits on 500-feet of private, pristine beachfront. The hotel has its own restaurant, OCEAN2000, a rejuvenating, Scandinavian-inspired PURE Spa, and Fort Lauderdale’s only lazy river. When you’re not relaxing on the beach or by the pool, visit Las Olas Boulevard, home to three museums, ten international art galleries, and tons of retail stores, take an airboat tour of the Florida Everglades at the Sawgrass Recreation Park, or hike or kayak in Hugh Taylor Birch State Park.
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If you love a good cup of Joe, a visit to the home of Starbucks and the city which still has the most coffee shops per capita in the U.S. is a must. But there’s far more to experience in the great city of Seattle than good coffee. It’s also home to lush mountain ranges, relaxing beaches, and bucket-list golf courses. While you’re visiting, don’t miss such notable sites as the iconic Space Needle, the 605-foot-tall tower built for the 1962 World’s Fair, which has served as a landmark of the city as well as the entire Pacific Northwest. Take a ride on the Seattle Center Monorail, which can reach a top speed of 45 miles per hour and takes you on a tour through the city streets. Museum lovers won’t want to miss the family-friend Pacific Science Center, Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum, Seattle Art Museum, or the Museum of Flight, which has on the of the largest space collections in the U.S. There are plenty of great hotels in the city center, some of the top recommended include the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Four Seasons Hotel Seattle, and the Inn at the Market.
Charlottesville, VirginiaSteve Heap/Shutterstock
Although beautiful year-round, the spring season is arguably one of Charlottesville’s most gorgeous. Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this quaint destination is steeped in a rich history, while also possessing a warm Southern charm, perfect for escaping the more traditional (and crowded) beach spring break destinations. History buffs will enjoy the bevy of historic presidential homes including Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello (a UNESCO World Heritage site), James Monroe’s Highland, and James Madison’s Montpelier. Also worth a quick visit is the University of Virginia, which was founded by Jefferson himself. Tour the prestigious grounds and stop by and take a glimpse inside the iconic Rotunda, which serves as the university’s centerpiece. You can also catch a view of the room where Edgar Allan Poe lived while he was a student. After you’ve had your fill of history, there’s no better place to enjoy spring months in Charlottesville than by exploring one (or a few!) of the more than 30 nearby wineries or dozens of craft breweries, artisanal cideries, and distilleries. There are plenty of luxurious and romantic hotels to choose from including Keswick Hall, Clifton Inn, and Boar’s Head Inn. These gorgeous photos capture the beauty of spring.
Eagle, ColoradoAngelo Ferraris/Shutterstock
If you’re looking for an alternative to Moab or Vail, which both have a heavy college crowd, Eagle has a lovely low key mountain town and is saturated with scenic mountain views and full of hiking trails. The downtown area is ringing with live music, festivals and events, and plenty of award-worthy restaurants. Since Eagle is a high-desert town, biking is big. Over 100 miles of single track mountain biking trails are open well into mid-December, and are certainly in pristine condition by springtime. The new Eagle River Park opens this spring offering a world-class whitewater park and new recreation amenities. For a budget-friendly stay, the Comfort Inn Vail Valley, which offers everything you need and is centrally located.
Nassau, The BahamasRuth Peterkin/Shutterstock
This island is a true paradise, with white, sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and a vivacious culture. Avoid the partying spring break crowd by staying at the all-inclusive Breezes Resort & Spa on Cable Beach, just 15 minutes from the airport. Whether you prefer to be pampered in their Blue Mahoe Spa, relax in one of their beachside cabanas or try a fun water sport, such as paddle boarding or sailing, you’ll leave rested and rejuvenated. Don’t miss these photos of gorgeous beaches with the clearest water in the world.
St. LuciaJudith Lienert/Shutterstock
If you’re looking for a Caribbean destination that you don’t have to book a year in advance and that offers an escape from rowdy college spring breakers, head to St. Lucia, a mountainous island that sits between Martinique and St. Vincent. Stay at Jade Mountain Resort, a relaxing, 600-acre hotel that sits right on the beach. In addition to the breathtakingly scenic views of the Caribbean coastline, the resort boasts stunning architecture and a prime location just steps away from Anse Chastanet Beach. Accommodations include 24 infinity pool sanctuaries, five sky Jacuzzis, a full spa, a plethora of wellness and fitness activities such as yoga, culinary events, and both private and resort dining options.
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Amsterdam, The NetherlandsYasonya/Shutterstock
If you’re looking for a romantic and European spring break destination that’s not Paris, Amsterdam couldn’t be more up your alley. The beautiful and immensely diverse city looks like it’s straight out of a storybook, yet it’s extremely progressive and tech-savvy. The best time to visit just happens to be between the months of March and May before the summer tourists crowd the streets. The weather is also relatively mild around this time, hovering between 45-55° F. If you want to feel surrounded by water, much as you will in most areas of Amsterdam, stay at The Dylan, a charming hotel that sits right on the Emperor’s Canal, the middle one of three main canals in the city. If you prefer to stay smack in city center, stay at Conservatorium. It’s only a few minutes walk from important sites including the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum (which houses the world’s largest van Gogh collection), and just a short subway ride from others such as the Anne Frank House, Dam Square and Jordaan for shopping and hip eats.
Salem, MassachusettsKan Kankavee/Shutterstock
While most people think to visit this historical city on the north coast of Massachusetts around Halloween, you’ll actually get more bang for your buck and potentially enjoy yourself even more if you visit in spring. Most of the landmarks you’ll hope to visit are open year-round, such as the Salem Witch Museum, The Witch House, Peabody Essex Museum and House of the Seven Gables. Stay at the Hotel Salem, a brand-new boutique hotel that recently opened in the heart of the bustling pedestrian mall on Essex Street and don’t miss the chance to dine around the corner at Ledger, an eclectic restaurant serving up new American and New England fare, which opened up in a space that had served as a bank since 1818. Spirits lovers will want to add Deacon Giles Distillery to their must-visit list. The place serves up their own exceptional vodka, gin, rums and more.