When most people hear “spring break,” they envision tightly packed tiki bars teeming with undergrads, loud music, barely-there swimsuits, and lots of tequila. And that’s a perfectly fine way to blow off steam for some, but it’s most definitely not for everyone.
For many singles, couples, and families alike, spring break is a chance to wind down and recharge, far from the amped-up crowds. If laid back is more your speed, check out these hidden gems from the travel experts at AAA, along with pro tips for achieving maximum chill.
Cala Dor Majorca Mallorca Spain Baleares Mediterranean Sea. Photo courtesy of pixelliebe/istock.com
SECRET SEASIDE SPOTS MAKE A WELCOME ESCAPE
Meet Ibiza’s laid-back sister, Mallorca. What this Spanish treasure lacks in eyebrow-raising nightlife, it more than makes up for in fascinating architectural ruins, stunning seaside villas, and fragrant citrus groves. Spend your days exploring the historic, walled town of Alcúdia before heading off to Palma for an unforgettable culinary experience.
Pro Tip: With many pandemic travel restrictions now behind us, major carriers have introduced and reopened many travel routes to and from Spain.
Barbados Racing Horse & Groom. Photo by David Cain/Unsplash.com
For thrill-seeking spring breakers who love catching a wave, the surf is always up at Bathsheba Beach in Barbados. After you’ve surfed to your heart’s desire, you can explore the surrounding rock formations or enjoy a peaceful float in Carlisle Bay. And the best part? The only tourists you’ll run into are fellow water-sport aficionados just like you.
Pro Tip: Barbados is just one jewel you’ll discover on a 14-night Caribbean cruise aboard the Seabourn Ovation, embarking March 11, 2023, from Philipsburg, St. Maarten.
STATESIDE HIDEAWAYS PUT SANCTUARY IN EASY REACH
GULF COAST, FLORIDA
Thousands of party-going tourists flood cities like Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Orlando each year. But on Florida’s central Gulf Coast, they’re emphasizing relaxing and outdoor recreation. Spots like Clearwater and St. Petersburg boast miles of pristine white sand, plus endless opportunities to fish, hike, kayak, and more.
Pro Tip: Florida sunsets are even more breathtaking aboard these private—and surprisingly affordable—sightseeing boat tours in Naples Bay and the Gulf.
Candid shot during The Nightowls band performance at Icenhauer’s bar on Rainey Street in Austin, TX. Photo by Faith D/Unsplash.com
Who says you have to hit the beach for your spring break getaway? The capital city of Texas combines the best of many worlds for travelers who prioritize great food and cool vibes. From its tasty tacos and world-class barbecue to its unbeatable public art and music scene, Austin is truly a walkable adventure for all the senses.
Pro Tip: Take a sunset stroll down South Congress Street to witness 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats taking flight. It’s the kind of wonderful weirdness you’ll only find in Austin.
Quebec City skyline with Chateau Frontenac. Photo courtesy of rabbit75_ist/iStock.com
ROMANTIC COOL-WEATHER RETREATS BUCK THE NORM
QUEBEC CITY, CANADA
Often overlooked as a spring break destination, Quebec City is a veritable winter wonderland, home to top-rated ski slopes, natural hot springs, historic architecture, and world-class French cuisine. Visitors can bask in the glow of cozy bistros and charming boutiques as they stroll the cobblestone streets of North America’s most European city.
Pro Tip: Take a ride on the famous toboggan slide at Dufferin Terrace, nestled below stately Château Frontenac, before savoring buttery baguettes smothered in smoked ham, Emmental cheese, and Dijon mustard.
Northern light evening. Photo courtesy of Nicolas J Leclercq/Unsplash.com
Many of Alaska’s natural wonders are not accessible by car. That’s why many cold-weather spring breakers opt to explore by cruise and rail. When you visit places like Anchorage and Fairbanks, plus Denali and Kenai Fjords National Parks, you can gain a new appreciation for North America’s untouched wilderness and its welcoming Indigenous communities.
Pro Tip: Spring is the perfect time to witness the aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights. And with very little light pollution and purpose-built platforms, Fairbanks is the perfect viewing spot for the spectacular night sky. While you’re there, take advantage of other regional activities like snowmobiling, dog mushing, and various cultural festivals.