For many, spring break is the perfect time of year to head to the beach or hit the slopes. And while we certainly love classic spring break destinations like Punta Cana and Park City, these six spots are a bit more unconventional -- and totally awesome. From the American Southwest to bustling metropolises a little further north, here are six alternative spring breaks we love -- and you will, too. Plus, your spring break stories will be way more interesting than the usual booze-and-sun tales.
Explore the Beauty of Zion National Park
Spring is one of the most beautiful times to visit Zion National Park, where you can stare in awe of Zion Canyon’s red sandstone cliffs and brilliant blue skies. After spending your days hiking, biking, and exploring the region’s natural beauty, Cliffrose Lodge & Gardens is a great place to crash. Located in Springdale, within walking distance of the park’s entrance, Cliffrose Lodge is a place where guests can expect incredible views of Zion’s sandstone cliffs, comfortable rooms, and a substantial free breakfast served each morning. Family-friendly amenities -- like a heated pool, playground, picnic area for grilling, and laundry facilities -- make this an appealing choice for those traveling with kids. But adults will also appreciate the property’s free Wi-Fi and access to a sandy “beach” along the banks of the Virgin River.
Discover Living History in Colonial Williamsburg
Spend your spring break reliving American history in Colonial Williamsburg. As you stroll along cobblestone streets, you can admire the charm of 18th-century buildings and even interact with local “townspeople,” who are Williamsburg employees dressed in period garb. One of our favorite places to stay is The Historic Powhatan Resort, with its sprawling, stately grounds, and well-preserved historic buildings. Here, spacious suites include kitchens, living rooms, and laundry facilities, but lack the charm and history seen in some of the common areas. There also are two pools (one indoor, one outdoor), kid-friendly activities like miniature golf, a general store that sells gifts and groceries, and an above-average bar and restaurants that serves American comfort food.
Relax and Recharge in Austin
Lake Austin Spa Resort is the perfect place for a relaxing spring break. Maybe you’ll spend your mornings kayaking on Lake Austin, or perhaps you’ll take a yoga class, join a “discovery program,” or treat yourself to a decadent spa treatment. Here, serene lakefront grounds give way to cheery interiors with stunning views around every corner. Guest rooms are airy and bright, and some suites even have private patios with whirlpools. There are three large pools, including an indoor lap pool housed in a converted barn. The hotel also serves free daily breakfast in the homey dining room and offers free Wi-Fi.
Have It All in Vancouver
Often ranked as one of the world’s most livable cities, Vancouver truly does have it all. A cosmopolitan metropolis, Vancouver features one of the most appealing environmental juxtapositions a city can offer: the mountains and the sea. Outdoor enthusiasts will likely appreciate Vancouver's parks, gardens, beaches, and mountains, and those who prefer a classic cosmopolitan experience should check out the trendy boutiques and luxury dining on Robson Street. The city is also one of Canada’s most culturally diverse and is particularly LGBT-friendly. Vancouver’s relatively mild weather means spring is a great time to visit. The Granville Island Hotel is conveniently located near great shopping, dining, and nightlife. Contemporary rooms have large windows with fantastic Vancouver views, and the on-site Dockside Brewery and Restaurant is a standout.
Retreat to the Great Smoky Mountains
If you’ve ever wanted to “rough it in the mountains,” but would prefer not to give up creature comforts like, say, well, mattresses and showers, a trip to The Lodge at Buckberry Creek might be your perfect solution. Set on 26 acres at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, The Lodge at Buckberry Creek is designed to reflect luxurious, rustic cabins of a bygone era. Here, guests can have an authentic lodge experience, without sacrificing any of the comforts of home. Large rooms feature cozy decor, private balconies, and full kitchens; some even have fireplaces. Bathrooms have large walk-in showers and separate whirlpool tubs. The hotel also offers free Wi-Fi and a free continental breakfast each morning -- try getting that in a tent! There are multiple hiking trails along the scenic grounds, and plenty of decks and lookout points with fire pits for enjoying the spectacular scenery.
Live the Ultimate City Experience in New York
Let’s face it, there’s never a bad time to visit New York City. It’s the city that never sleeps -- so you know there will always be something good going on. Culture buff? Spend your days exploring the city’s museums. Outdoor enthusiast? Check out Central Park, the High Line, and Battery Park. Lover of show tunes? See a different performance every night, both on and off Broadway. Food fanatic? This is New York, so you can sample any type of cuisine imaginable. One spot conveniently located near all the action is the Hudson Hotel -- just two blocks from Central Park and Columbus Circle. It's a hip, high-design hotel that aims to be affordable (by NYC standards). Rooms, while on the smaller side, are funky and stylish. But the hotel’s common spaces, like the lobby and restaurants in particular, are awesome spots for gathering.
Be Wowed by Lake Powell
Lake Powell is a large manmade reservoir created in the 1960s when Glen Canyon Dam corralled the waters of the Colorado River. The area surrounding it is replete with red-rock canyons and beautiful vistas. Guests at Lake Powell Resort, just a few miles outside of Page, Arizona, can take in the gorgeous scenery from nearly every corner of the hotel. Its two outdoor pools overlook the gorgeous lake, and its signature restaurant, Latitude 37, is the perfect spot for sunset dinners. Though rooms here are bland and somewhat drab, they are clean and comfortable, and all have balconies. From the hotel, guests can chart boat tours, or even rent one of their own.