Check out these spring break hotspots

If you want warm weather and a beach, consider these locations.
Laguna Beach is one of a few cheap hot spots in California that college students consider for spring break. Outside of California, students often look to Florida or Mexico for cheap vacations.

*See below for an interactive graphic describing popular spring break destinations for students.

If you haven't planned a spring break trip yet, you're probably in trouble. But if you're thinking ahead to next year, you're in luck. Either way, here are some cheap, popular hotspots for college students. The prices used are based on a trip from Sat., March 27 to Fri., April 2.


California is one of the cheaper spring break destinations and is accessible because it offers a wide range of activities and locations within a three and a half hour drive between San Diego and Los Angeles. The beach cities also offer convenient public transportation and a variety of opportunities to relax or experience the beach culture. There are many great places to choose in Southern California, including Venice Beach, Oceanside and Laguna Beach.

Cost for Airfare and Hotel: $489.91

Flight: John Wayne International Airport (Santa Ana, Calif.)

Alternative transportation options:

  • Amtrak (runs from San Diego to Los Angeles with stops along the way, about $21 for a day pass)

  • Train pass (Oceanside to San Diego -- $4 day pass)

Possible activities:

  • Tour of Hollywood ($64)

  • Universal Studios ($69)

  • Disneyland ($149)

  • San Diego Wild Animal Park ($37)

  • Catalina Express Cruise ($66.50)

Interactive graphic: Spring Break Hotspots

Roll over the blue spring break hotspots below to find out more details about planning a trip there.


Through movies, TV shows and other media outlets, Florida's beaches have gained a reputation as an ideal spring break location. The unique culture offers a mix of Latino influences, laid-back retirees and wild college kids that draws tourists due to its many possible experiences. White sand beaches spread into clear warm waters as tall, thin palms sway over the whole scene, souvenir shops offer key chains at a ridiculously cheap prices and eclectic locals mix with the masses of tourists who come together to party at sunset creating what most view as the ultimate spring break trip.

Flight: Miami International Airport

The city offers a rich, heavily Latin influenced culture and a blend of tourists and wealthy locals. Little Havana, a 25-block center of the Cuban exile community, can also be found downtown. It offers shops, restaurants, and scenery rich with Latino flavor.

Miami also has the benefit of being the cheapest trip on this year's list of spring break hot spots and offers a mix of big city and beach city experiences.

Cost for Airfare and Hotel: $411.73

Alternative transportation options:

  • Coral Gables Trolleys, (free)

  • Rent an electric scooter (starting at $30)

  • Bus routes

Possible activities:

  • Biscayne Bay Cruise ($22.54)

  • Sea Experience (Snorkel, scuba dive, glass bottom boat, $29.68)

  • Dinner at Hard Rock Café (starting at $18.20)

Flight: Fort Walton Beach Airport (six miles from Destin)

The pace in Destin is casual and slow moving, as most of the locals are retirees and the majority of those in the resorts that populate the beaches are tourists who are there to enjoy relaxation in the sun.

At night a wide variety of clubs open their doors and the famed Destin nightlife comes alive, offering college kids the partying at night, sleeping into the afternoon, and then laying on the beach for hours before starting over.

Cost for airfare and hotel: $472.08

Alternative transportation options:

  • Five Flag Trolleys (point to point personalized service and fixed routes)

  • Bus routes

  • Rent a scooter, scooter car, motorcycle or electric car (FantaSea, starting at $80 for the day)

Possible activities:

  • Dolphin sightseeing cruise ($20)

  • Deep-sea fishing (InDemand Harbor Cruises, price varies)

  • Eat dinner at Fudpuckers Gator Beach and feed the alligators.

  • National Naval Aviation Museum (admission to museum is free)

Flight: Florida Keys

The Keys have the benefit of being small and self contained, so once you are on your island you won't necessarily need to travel around a lot to access the beach or the night life. These islands are perfect for relaxation, dancing, and even a bit of extreme water sporting.

Cost for airfare and hotel: $827.41

Alternative transportation options:

  • Key West Shuttle

  • X-press to Key West

  • TransFloridian

Possible activities:

  • Key West Power Adventure Trip (snorkeling, parasailing, wave runner riding, water trampoline; $158.15)

  • Champaign sunset cruise ($41.40)

  • Pub crawl ($35)


Mexico offers a rich culture with welcoming people, bright cloths, boisterous music and delicious food. Their beaches are also ideal for spring break. Travelers can access the beach and the nightlife all from a single resort, though the prices would be a little higher than a hotel. Travelers should be aware of safety concerns and precautions before traveling to Mexico. Take a look at Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta.

Flight: Cancun

Cost for airfare and hotel: $935.82

Possible activities:

  • Chichen Itza Tour (Mayan Pyramid, $99)

  • Sky rider ($55)

  • Tulum Mayan Ruins/Xel-Ha snorkeling combo ($139)

  • Zip line tour ($96)

  • Horseback riding on the beach ($80)

Flight: Cabo San Lucas

Cost for airfare and hotel: $959.56

Alternative transportation options:

  • Bus, less than $2 per ride

  • Airport shuttle

Possible activities:

  • Glass bottom boat ($30)

  • Magic of Todors Santos Tour (the area that serves as the namesake for the song "Hotel California" by The Eagles $69)

  • Whale watching ($70)

  • ATV bike tour ($65)

Flight: Acapulco

Cost for airfare and hotel: $806.70

Alternative transportation options:

  • Chihuahua Pacific Railway

  • Bus

Possible activities:

  • Explore the shaded Zocalo (free)

  • Catedral Nuestra Senora de la Soledad (free)

  • El Mirador lookout point (free)

Flight: Puerto Vallarta

Cost for airfare and hotel: $670.23

Alternative transportation options:

  • City bus

  • Taxi

Possible activities:

  • Las Caletas tour ($85)

  • Yelapa and Majuhuitas tour ($80)

  • Sea safari ($110)

  • Canopy adventure (zip line through rainforest, $79)


Flight: South Padre Island.

Although Texas is not as known for its beaches, it does offer warmth and one popular Spring Break destination in South Padres Island. The warm gulf waters are perfect for swimming or snorkeling and seeing the sea turtles, dolphins, and other sea creatures. Large land animals such as coyotes and deer can also be spotted on the Island, setting it apart from many other beach islands.

Cost for airfare and hotel: $524.95

Alternative transportation options:

  • Bus (free)

  • Shuttle

  • Taxi

Possible activities:

  • Original Dolphin Watch ($16)

  • Breakaway Cruises (prices vary)


Flight: Negril.

The city became a popular destination in the '60s when hippie culture was popular, creating the largely carefree and casual culture that exists today. The presence of locals helps to create a unique atmosphere where visitors can enjoy a taste of the Jamaican culture and a rich nightlife.

Cost for airfare and hotel: $712.96

Alternative transportation options:

  • Public and private taxi options

Possible activities:

  • Appleton Estate Rum Tour ($137.50)

  • Chukka Original Canopy Tour ($89)

  • Bob Marley Excursion($125)

  • Rose Hall Great House ($81.25)

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