6 Alternative Spring Break Destinations We Love

Megan is a Senior Editor, SEO for SmarterTravel Media. Megan started with SmarterTravel Media’s Airfarewatchdog way back in 2008, moved over to FamilyVacationCritic, and finally SmarterTravel in 2021. Originally from Massachusetts, she has lived in Nova Scotia, London, and New York City. She has spent nearly every summer (or at least part of it) on Prince Edward Island. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, two young children, and their dog, Indiana Bones (Indy). The Handy Item I Always Pack: Kindle Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Some sort of wellness retreat somewhere exotic. Travel Motto: Be flexible Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: Window, if you prefer a middle seat, please message me so I can write an article about you.

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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 Cancún, 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. 

Zion National Park, UT

Zion national park on a sunny day

Spring is one of the most beautiful times to visit Zion National Park, where you can stare in awe at Zion Canyon’s red sandstone cliffs and brilliant blue skies. Spend your days hiking, biking, and exploring the region’s natural beauty. 

Recommended Hotel: WorldMark St. George

Los Angeles, CA

Skyline of Los Angeles, California at dusk on a relatively clear day

LA is always a popular place for tourists, and it should be on more spring break lists. Not only do you have a hopping nightlife, and loads of fun attractions, but you also have gorgeous beaches nearby. The weather in LA in springtime is pleasant with highs around 70 degrees, so on warmer days it’s perfect for beachgoing at El Matador State Beach in Malibu, Laguna Beach, and of course, Venice Beach, with its boardwalk filled with shops, street performers, and amazing people watching. For amusement park lovers, just outside of LA are Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm. 

Hotel Recommendation: Doubletree by Hilton Buena Park

Vancouver, British Columbia

Skyline of Vancouver, British Columbia next to a river on a clear day

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. 

Recommended Hotel:  Pan Pacific Vancouver

Great Smoky Mountains, TN

View of the Great Smokey Mountains, Tennessee

Visit one of the most beautiful spots in the U.S. with a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains. The perfect spot for an adventure-filled break, you can spend your time biking, horseback riding, and skiing away the day. Get an awe-inspiring view from above at both the Space Needle and the SkyBridge attractions in Gatlinburg. 

Hotel Recommendation: Glenstone Lodge

New York City, NY

Aerial view of downtown New York City at sunset

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. 

Recommended Hotel: YOTEL New York Times Square

Santa Fe, NM

Low-rise buildings in Santa Fe, New Mexico at sunset

Two words: Margarita Trail. If that isn’t enough to convince you to head to Santa Fe for spring break, I don’t know what is. But if 45 different kinds of margaritas isn’t enough to pique your interest, then maybe skiing, a sky railway, casinos and spas will help you decide. In short, Santa Fe has a wide variety of activities to choose from, no matter what your style. 

Recommended Hotel: Villas de Santa Fe

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