Generally speaking, March and April are some of the best times to take a short-haul vacation—and not just because public schools say so. When it comes to spring break destinations, these transitional months bring about relatively mild weather, and if you know where to look, smaller crowds. And while Cancun and Amsterdam were great in our college years, spring break looks different as an adult. A fun-yet-refined spring getaway might look more like whale watching in the Caribbean, or sipping wine on the west coast.
Spring break looks a little different this year, so some trips might have to wait until 2022. But for warmer seasons ahead, we’ve rounded up 11 spring break destinations for actual grown-ups. If you’re considering traveling in the near future, make sure to check out each destination’s COVID-19 restrictions and quarantine rules before booking.
All listings featured in this story are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission. This gallery was last published in February 2020. It has been updated with new information.
- Miami. (Bonus: It also draws in far fewer spring break crowds.)Stay here: The Breakers Palm Beach, opened by Flagler himself in 1896, is the island’s most classic stay. The 140-acre oceanfront Italian Renaissance–style property has more than 500 rooms, an on-site golf course, private beach, and every possible amenity. Unarguably the poshest place to crash in town, though, is the Brazilian Court Hotel. A relative newbie (it was built in 1926), the 80-room inn is situated around two large courtyards, filled with leafy palms, which provide instant seclusion from the outside world. Or you can find more privacy at the waterfront Palm Beach Shores Resort and Vacation Villas, where each suite comes with its own full kitchen and separate living areas.
- 21 places to visit in 2021, because it’s one of the most alluring slices of California wine country. The charming hamlet is known for its world-class food and wine, and you can expect even more restaurants to pop up this spring. And can you think of a better place to social distance than a gorgeous vineyard?Stay here: The place to stay is Montage Healdsburg, a newly opened retreat on 250 acres of vineyards and oak tree groves. Most of the bungalows feature outdoor living spaces (including fire pits), with forest, vineyard, or Mayacama mountain views.
- Dominican Republic is by no means an under-the-radar spring break destination, but the country still manages to have a few hidden gems here and there. Case in point: Samaná Bay, located along the northeast coast. The clear waters on the Samaná peninsula are ideal for snorkeling and diving, but from January through March, the ocean belongs to the 1,500 to 2,000 humpback whales that birth and nurse their calves in the bay. Head there before the season ends to participate in some next-level whale watching expeditions led by conservationist Kim Beddall (she’s been leading the informative tours since 1983). If you aren’t able to catch a boat excursion, you can observe the whales from land at the Punta Balandra observatory, located about nine miles northeast of Santa Bárbara de Samaná.Stay here: Voted one of the best hotels in the world in our latest Readers’ Choice Awards, the Peninsula House sits on 15 verdant hillside acres on the Samaná Peninsula. Beautiful rooms in earth tones have Brazilian hardwood floors, antiques such as Chinese bamboo storage trunks, and mahogany soaking tubs. Enjoy drinks on the terrace or head to the Beach Restaurant for a seafood lunch. It’s only a few miles—and a free shuttle ride—from the main hotel.
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- Rockies always attract ski buffs hoping to get in a few runs before the snow melts. And while we’re fans of a ski-themed spring break, there are tons of reasons to visit Colorado aside from winter sports—particularly in and around Denver. Travelers can enjoy special programs at several of the city’s institutions, including guided hikes at the Plains Conservation Center at Denver Botanic Gardens and exhibits at the Denver Art Museum. And of course, the city has an incredible restaurant scene worth exploring.Stay here: The Crawford Hotel in LoDo’s historic train station—called Union Station—just might have the best lobby in the city. Check it out, along with the luxurious guest rooms, before venturing out to the restaurants right in Union Station. As an added bonus, the station connects downtown Denver to the city’s international airport via the A-line train, so you won’t have to worry about missing any early morning flights.
- Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful parts of the United States. To soak up all that nature but still get the perks of city living, head straight to Bend, Oregon (about three hours south of Portland). The town receives an annual average of 300 days of sunshine, giving visitors ample opportunities to go hiking through the Cascades or kayaking and fly fishing on the Deschutes River. Make sure you set aside some time to visit a brewery (or five) along the Bend Ale Trail.Stay here: Opened in 2019, Huntington Lodge is a 104-room retreat on 640 acres in the world’s second largest juniper forest. Rooms have the perks of a rental home—fireplaces, kitchens, and terraces with mountain views—but you also get access to the resort’s restaurants and yoga classes.
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- Oaxaca, in south-central Mexico, is one of the most important cultural hubs in the Americas. The winter-dodging crowds start to thin out in March and April, giving you some space to fully explore the region’s budding design scene, craft revolution led by female entrepreneurs, and incredible cuisine. Secure a table at Alejandro Ruiz’s Casa Oaxaca for traditional dishes and cocktails, then head to the streets for delicious tacos and moles served from food trucks. Outside the city, the gorgeous Hierve el Agua calcified waterfall remains one of the most popular day trips.Stay here: Oaxaca’s accommodations have traditionally been split between hacienda-style hotels and dated B&Bs, but a few openings are providing new options. Condé Nast Traveler editor Megan Spurrell recommends Escondido Oaxaca, the latest from beloved Mexican brand Habita. The design-led hotel has a distinctly Oaxacan look and feel (think thatched-roof palapas and aquamarine hammocks), and just 12 rooms right in the city center.
- know where to look: We’re talking rappelling into cenotes, climbing ancient Mayan ruins, and taking a nighttime crocodile-watching tour through Ambergris Caye. And don’t forget that Belize sits on the world’s second largest living coral reef, so snorkeling with sharks and scuba diving the famous Great Blue Hole are both viable options.Stay here: Up north in Ambergris Caye, Mahogany Bay from Hilton’s Curio Collection is a family-friendly jumping off spot for many of the outdoor activities listed above. For some more relaxed moments, the resort’s private Beach Club (accessible by water taxi every 30 minutes) is a joy to spend time at—especially in one of the hammocks or private cabanas suspended over shallow water.
- best weekend getaways in the country, and that designation certainly applies to a quick spring break vacation. The Midwest city probably brings to mind visions of smoke, ribs, and brisket, but it’s so much more than just a barbecue city—in recent years, it’s become a veritable food lover’s paradise. Take your pick from ramen bowls, po’ boys, and small Italian plates (and yes, barbecue), then burn off those calories at the massive Forest Park, which should offer ideal weather come March and April. Should you get a random cold front during your visit, head indoors to the St. Louis Aquarium or seriously cool and quirky City Museum.Stay here: Downtown is a visitor’s best bet for proximity to local attractions and a dose of Midwestern hospitality. The Four Seasons St. Louis is a getaway in its own right, with a cabana-lined outdoor pool, full-service spa, and spacious, well-appointed rooms—many of which provide direct views of the Gateway Arch.
- second-best island in this year’s Readers’ Choice Awards. It’s known for its volcanic beaches, family-friendly oceanfront resorts, and the towering Mount Haleakala, a traveler favorite to scale at sunrise. A newly launched Newark to Maui route from United makes it easier to reach, too. Stay here: Ho’olei at Grand Wailea features great views of the Pacific, more space than you could ever need, and luxury resort amenities. Each two-story villa has two or three bedrooms, at least two bathrooms, a lanai, a patio, a full kitchen, an elevator, a washer and dryer, a garage, and an outdoor grill—talk about a dream home away from home.
- Savannah is famous for its antebellum architecture, historic cobblestone squares, and Spanish moss that drapes the town in a sort of storybook haze. Pepper in the incredible Southern restaurants, treasure-riddled antique shops, and famous haunted cemetery tours, and you’ll see why it’s one of the best old-meets-new destinations to visit in the spring. (Better to avoid that summertime heat as well.)Stay here: If you want to go full old-school Savannah, book a stay at the Hamilton-Turner Inn, a grand Victorian mansion on the southeast corner of Lafayette Square. With its ironwork balconies, ornate fireplaces, and chandeliers in the bathrooms, you’ll feel like you’re living in your own opulent mansion.
- Shoal Bay is a notable standout), and delicious local dishes like crayfish and johnny cakes. Make sure to pay a visit to Sandy Island Restaurant—a sand bar you can only reach by boat—to fill up on seafood and pork ribs before lounging with a cocktail on the table-side beach chairs.Stay here: Fresh off a post-hurricane renovation, Altamer Resort is a private villa located on an enviable stretch of Shoal Bay West (you probably won’t see another single soul during your stay). Aside from its Myron Goldfinger–designed exterior, walls adorned with curated paintings, and five spacious bedrooms overlooking the sea, the property provides a secluded stay with curated concierge services—including the “beach concierge” option, complete with a personal butler to set up umbrellas, beach chairs, and a picnic lunch on any Anguilla beach of your choosing. For a more traditional resort stay, book an oceanfront villa at Zemi Beach House, located on Shoal Bay East. While every room on the resort has amenities like 24-hour room service, comfortable and breezy interiors, and Malin + Goetz bath products, the villas have private plunge pools and direct access to the gorgeous beach (if you’re on the ground floor, of course). Another perk? The property’s incredibly luxe and relaxing spa that includes Anguilla’s only hammam.