Spring Break means very different things depending on who the traveler is; college students see it as a time to head to a beach locale for a week of boozing and late-night partying, while families with young kids want a vacation to relax but still keep the little ones occupied. Based off what type of traveler you are, we've picked out the perfect destination for your mid-March getaway and a hotel to go with it. And Spring Break vacation isn't limited to students; we think it's perfectly acceptable to institute your own break.
1. Family with Teenagers: Telluride, Colorado
If you're a ski- or snow-loving family, a Spring Break trip to Colorado is a must. Once a mining town, Telluride is located in the Rocky Mountains and a top pick for snowboarding and skiing enthusiasts. The town has charming boutiques, art galleries, and plenty of restaurants to warm up with hot chocolate. Above the town is Mountain Village, and a free, 13-minute gondola ride connects the two, so travelers can explore both areas.
Where to Stay: The Peaks Resort and Spa
The upscale resort has a great ski-in, ski-out Mountain Village location and is one of the largest and most amenity-packed properties in the area. The numerous features include a huge 42,000 square foot spa and fitness center with Pilates and yoga studio; golf course; tennis courts; and two on-site restaurants. Families will likely appreciate the indoor/outdoor pool with a waterslide, indoor rock climbing wall, and organized kids' programs. The 161 sophisticated rooms offer fantastic mountain views and free Wi-Fi.
2. Young Couple: Carmel, California
Choosing a coastal southern California city means you'll be in prime position to enjoy those famous rocky cliffs over the Pacific Ocean. Located in Monterey County, Carmel (or Carmel-by-the-Sea) is a charming town with cozy inns, numerous art galleries, and boutique stores. There's ample outdoor activities like hiking, surfing, and sailing in the area, or couples can head to the world-famous Pebble Beach Golf Course, just a 10-minute drive away.
Where to Stay: Tradewinds Carmel
The 28-room Tradewinds Carmel has a Zen vibe throughout the hotel -- from the courtyard, complete with Buddha statues, a small waterfall, and a tranquil fire pit, to the rooms, decorated with Asian prints, stalks of bamboo, and orchids. The rooms are large and feature well-decorated bathrooms with nice soaking or Jacuzzi tubs, but like many small hotels in Carmel, the Tradewinds lacks a fitness center and a spa (though in-room spa treatments are available).
3. College Classmates: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
If you're in college, chances are you want to spend your Spring Break escaping the school year with alcohol, parties, and friends. Popular destinations like Los Cabos and South Padre are good choices, but we're fond of Puerto Vallarta along Mexico's Pacific coast. Though it's a little less-rowdy than Cancun, there's still plenty of mixed drinks by the pool and late-night partying to be had. And while the waters aren't quite as pristine as those in Cancun, the beaches are undeniably beautiful and water activities abound.
Where to Stay: Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta
The Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta has two free-form pools, a spa featuring ocean views, and several restaurants offering a range of cuisines. The hopping bars, nightly entertainment and contemporary rooms with high-tech amenities, funky rock-inspired decor, and double-jetted tubs attract young couples and groups, while the lively pools (including a shallow one for kids), varied dining options, and pretty beach draw families. There's also free Wi-Fi and purified water on tap.
4. Solo: New York City
No matter if you're 18 or 80, there's something for everyone in New York City. Spend your days checking off tourist sites like Times Square and the Statue of Liberty, marveling at museum after museum, or dine at some of the finest restaurants in the world. In a city of over eight million people, you likely won't feel alone and are bound to meet some friendly locals or other tourists while exploring the Big Apple.
Where to Stay: Room Mate Grace
For the price, this colorful 139-room Times Square boutique hotel offers more: great beds; free Wi-Fi; excellent healthy breakfasts; free access to sauna, steam room, gym; great rates on four-person rooms; and a small indoor lobby pool and swim-up bar that hosts a popular gay pool party every Wednesday. The hotel sees plenty of couples, families, and solo travelers.
5. Bachelor/Bachelorette Party: Miami, Florida
We love Nashville and Denver for less traditional bachelor and bachelorette parties, but there's a reason Miami is a favored travel spot. The beautiful beaches, renowned food scene, and celebrity-grade clubs that stay open until 4 a.m. make it pretty perfect for all types of groups. So whether the group wants to party until the wee hours, soak up some sun by the water, or find the best Cuban sandwich, they can do it all here.
Where to Stay: Thompson Miami Beach
The upscale 380-room Thompson Miami Beach has a beautiful beachfront, two pools, multiple bars, and staff that receive consistent praise. Guest rooms have a colorful, retro design and high-tech amenities, though views vary from city to oceanfront and there's some minor wear and tear. However, with ample amenities and a celebrity chef-helmed restaurant, it's a solid pick for groups who are fine sacrificing a central South Beach location for more affordable rates.
6. Family with Young Kids: Honolulu, Hawaii
Honolulu is a bustling city in Oahu with gorgeous beaches, a variety of hotels, and easy access from the airport. The year-round sun, excellent surfing, hiking at Diamond Head, and laid-back Hawaiian culture make it a must-visit for many travelers. And with kid-friendly activities like snorkeling and sandcastle-building, and plenty of chain restaurants to appeal to picky palates, it's a fun spot for the whole family.
Where to Stay: Hilton Hawaiian Village
The largest resort in Hawaii is a veritable four-pearl village with five room towers, 20 bars and restaurants, 90 shops, five swimming pools, direct beach access, and a separate lagoon. Everything from surf lessons to a regular luau to a kids' club are on offer here, and the garden grounds include exotic animals. Contemporary rooms can feature gorgeous vistas of the ocean and beach, or the back of neighboring buildings. For families looking for a self-contained resort with loads to do, the Hilton Hawaiian Village is a top choice.
7. Retired Couple: Charleston, South Carolina
Founded in 1670, Charleston still maintains its small-town vibe with cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, and Civil War-era buildings. There are beautiful churches and mansions lining the roads, relaxing beaches a short drive away, and the Charleston Jazz and Heritage Festival held here. The endearing city operates at a relaxed pace, making it ideal for travelers who want to stroll the streets and take in its history.
Where to Stay: The Jasmine House Inn
Housed in a beautifully renovated mansion dating to 1843, the Jasmine House Inn has all the charm of a B&B and the comfort of an upscale hotel, plus a central location in downtown Charleston. It has 12 large rooms with hardwood floors, 15-foot ceilings, flat-screen TVs and unique decor that might be a bit too much for some (think matching bedspreads and drapes, patterned rugs, and floral wallpaper). There are a bunch of great freebies, including a continental breakfast, Wi-Fi and evening hors d’oeuvres -- you’ll just have to pay for parking.