It’s that time of year again — time to “spring forward,” watch the trees bloom, and smell the hyacinths. Okay, I know there’s still snow (mountains of it) on the ground in many locations, but spring is just around the corner (really — it is!). That means it’s time to start planning your spring break! Sun, surf, sand — who doesn’t love a quick getaway involving flip-flops and board shorts (especially since we’ve been bundled in heavy winter coats for months)? The best part: many of these locations are very affordable (if you haven’t tried camping at the beach, places like Myrtle Beach State Park provide a beach getaway without spending a lot of money).
Get set for spring! Here are some beaches you might want to consider:
1. Daytona Beach, Florida is the go-to spring break location—especially if you are a college student who enjoys beer, live music, and wet T-shirt contests. Bikers are also fond of Daytona Beach, making spring an exciting and never-boring time in this central Florida city. But even if you are not a college student, don’t let that stop you — spring in Daytona Beach is also about festivals, car shows, art shows, and seafood. The best part: the city wants to attract students, so the hotels are very affordable (and if you save money on the hotel, you might want to splurge by heading to one of the theme parks in nearby Orlando).
2. Panama City, Florida is a laid-back, sleepy bay city—until spring break, anyway. Calm waters, white sand, and plenty of sunshine make this a great little getaway. Gaining in popularity with college students, March and April come alive with parties, live music, festivals, and events. If you enjoy deep-sea fishing, Panama City has one of the largest sport-fishing fleets. It’s also the best location to see dolphins!
3. Amelia Island, Florida’s history alone makes this beautiful northeast Florida location worth a visit. Legends of Indians, pirates, and war combine to give Amelia Island an aura of mystery. Visit the Spanish Fort San Carlos, a plethora of historic homes and buildings, or just enjoy the miles of beautiful beaches.
4. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina has been one of my go-to destinations for years. This tourist hot-spot has it all: great beaches, fabulous shopping (including one of the best little antiques shops I’ve ever discovered), amazing seafood, and a wonderful state park complete with a maritime forest. (If you enjoy camping, Myrtle Beach State Park has a wonderful campground just a short walk from the beach.)
5. Jekyll Island, Georgia features golf, golf, and more golf. Yes, Myrtle Beach and Amelia Island are also great destinations for golfers, but Jekyll Island takes golf to a whole new level. But if golf isn’t your game, there are also great beaches, unique shops, museums, and even a water park to enjoy. If you’re up for adventure, consider staying at the Jekyll Island Campground! Pitch a tent for less than $30 a night — and enjoy free WiFi, a general store, a pickleball court, bike rentals, two bath houses, and an on-site laundry — all within walking distance to Clam Creek and Driftwood Beach.
6. Cape May Beach, New Jersey may not be the first place you think of in the months of March and April (it is still a little cold!), but this great destination isn’t just about the beach – although the beaches are some of the best. Try a ghost or historic tour, a spa, museums, deep-sea fishing, whale-watching cruises, shopping—or even tour a winery. And since the “Shore Season” doesn’t start until after Memorial Day, you can get a great rate in March and April.
7. Virginia Beach, Virginia is the perfect location to stroll along the boardwalk, picnic on the beach, marvel at the aquarium, or go parasailing and kayaking. This perfect family location is also a great place for exploring history – be sure to visit Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown!
8. Malibu Beach, California may seem a little cliche, but this world-famous location means “spring break” for a reason. It’s surf and sand, Beach Boys style. Grab your surfboard and get ready to play a little Beach Blanket Bingo! It may be more difficult to travel to Malibu on a budget, but it can be done!
9. Las Vegas, Nevada may not be your traditional spring break destination, but with sunny skies, shops, shows, casinos, and endless nightlife – why not enjoy this destination during perfect weather? Spring in Las Vegas means sunshine and temperatures in the high 70s—perfect for walking the Vegas strip.
10. Charleston, South Carolina has been on my places-to-go list for a while now. The historic plantations, beaches, beautiful architecture, cobblestone streets, and museums combine to make this elegant Southern gem a perfect getaway location. After all, how better to escape the every day than to step back in time?