The Getaway
It's Easy to Do Spring Break on a Budget

Spring Break is a rite of passage, providing a welcome respite from papers and exams as you live it up with your fav people. With ten riveting days to celebrate, however, millions of students have that same idea, and between transportation, accommodation, and activities, the cost can appear out of reach. However, the best destinations often fly under the radar, giving you a taste of the good life without breaking the bank. From relaxing getaways to vibrant cities, pack your bags for a budget-friendly Spring Break worth celebrating.


01 Panama City Beach, Florida

Panama City Beach lives up to its reputation as the "Spring Break Capital of the World," and it's the top choice among cost-conscious college students. The city practically invented the Spring Break party scene, so you'll discover engaging activities and events scheduled from sunup to sundown. With 27 miles of white sand beaches, rejuvenation awaits during the day, while bustling nightclubs continue the party until the wee hours. World-renowned artists and DJs perform across the city, with legendary light shows, glow-in-the-dark celebrations, scrumptious cuisine, and aquatic activities galore.

Drone Aerial Beach View of Panama City Beach, Florida, USA during Spring Break. Kruck20 / Getty Images

02 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

This 60-mile beachfront offers something for every student who wants to unwind. At Huntington Beach State Park, you'll find sandy shores filled with picturesque swimming, fishing, and hiking spots. Experience the city's finest shopping and dining along the boardwalk, or rev up the adrenaline with jet skis, parasailing, and surfing. Beach houses and student condos are readily available for rent, and a wide range of world-class nightclubs and bars features around-the-clock parties and premier performing artists. While in town, go beyond the shoreline and check out the High-Tide Ultimate Frisbee tournament or The Coastal Uncorked wine and food event.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Sean Pavone / Getty Images

03 Key West, Florida

Sunset over Key West, Florida. Wooden bridge at the port.

While the entire island encompasses just four square miles of space, it packs a punch with unique activities that are nearly impossible to find elsewhere. Get the crew together for a sunset cruise, explore the area on a jet ski tour, or dive deep into those aqua waters and swim with the dolphins. Snorkeling, swimming, and boating are all in a day's itinerary, but there's more to Key West than aquatic adventures. Hit the shore and explore the island's robust culture at Ernest Hemingway's House, view incredible architecture at every corner, or take a tour of one of the city's renowned art galleries.


04 South Padre Island, Texas

Get your sunscreen ready for an action-packed adventure with nearly 120,000 fellow partygoers. South Padre Island specializes in the occasion, crafting a full schedule of enticing events. Catch a performance from renowned DJs and artists such as Steve Aoki, Afroman, and Big Boogie, or stay behind and take a horseback ride along the shoreline. Dolphin watches, pool parties, and yacht cruises are all a part of the fun. After dark, get in on the action at the island's top nightlife destinations, which vary from laid-back dive bars to bustling mega-complexes.

05 Cancun, Mexico

Head south of the border and explore the scene in one of Mexico's top tourist destinations. With affordable resort packages and all-inclusive deals, your room, drinks, and activities are more budget-friendly than ever. Night after night, the city comes to life at flashy beach clubs with up to one million watts of sound, with options available for every musical taste. Water lovers will rejoice with outdoor activities peppered along the Caribbean Sea, including paddleboarding, parasailing, surfing, and scuba diving. Experience one of the New Seven Wonders of the World at Chichen Itza, a massive Mayan temple complex that dates back to 600 C.E.

Girl standing at Kukulkan pyramid in Chichen Itza Seckin Ozturk / Getty Images

06 Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Nestled along the Baja California Peninsula, Cabo San Lucas doesn't hold back. The city caters to college students with affordable packages featuring luxurious accommodations and party passes to exclusive events. Start the morning with sunrise yoga on the shore, experience scenic views while tipping it back on a booze cruise, try snorkeling and tequila tasting, or rejuvenate at a sun-soaked pool party. World-class performances and excursions along the coast amp up your experience, and the action goes hard around the clock.

Inside the bay at Cabo San Lucas, a small tourboat is dwarfed by rock formations including the famous "El Arco." Missing35mm / Getty Images

07 Nassau Bahamas

The Caribbean spirit comes alive in Nassau, which amps up the action every spring with day-to-night parties and events. You'll find white sand and pristine waters at top spots like Arawak Cay, Goodman's Bay, Cabbage, Junkanoo, and Saunders beaches. Further inland, roaring clubs bring the heat with lively theme parties, rooftop patios, and wall-to-wall sound. Sip fresh strawberry and coconut daiquiris, participate in a dance contest, or get gaming at the Baja Mar Casino, which offers over 1,000 slot machines.

Skyline of Paradise Island with colorful houses at the ferry terminal. Nassau, Bahamas. NAPA74 / Getty Images

08 Ochos Rios, Jamaica

Dunn's River Falls Mid Section

The ultimate vacation awaits at this up-and-coming destination. Discover aquatic life up-close at Dolphin Cove, where you can swim and interact with dolphins in a once-in-a-lifetime way. Soar down the slides at Pirates Island Waterpark, go rock climbing, rafting, or off-roading through the forest, and experience the captivating beauty of Dunn River Falls. Come nightfall, Spring Break parties abound. At Margaritaville, you'll meet a rowdy crowd of like-minded partygoers in a vibrant environment with a rooftop whirlpool and two-story 100-foot-long water slide.


09 Daytona Beach, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida, USA beachfront skyline at dusk

Located just 50 miles from Orlando's must-see attractions, Daytona Beach is a world unto itself. A jewel on Florida's Fun Coast, the city is an oasis for motorsports and festival lovers. Hundreds of events occur throughout the year, so you'll never run out of things to do during your trip. Twenty-three miles of sandy beaches feature ample space to spread out, and double-decker buses cart you around the area for free. Waterfront parks, bars, and clubs are rife with rides, games, and parties any time of the day.


10 San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan's island fervor is alive and well during Spring Break, with enticing events keeping the city bumping 24 hours a day. Adventure lovers will feel right at home whale watching, kayaking, or zip-lining across the island, while history fiends will love exploring the city's impressive selection of world-class museums, including the majestic 16th century Fort San Juan. Tour art galleries, taste tantalizing international cuisine or explore the scenic shoreline. Diverse beaches are suitable for every style trip, whether you're craving an enthralling party scene or a relaxing oasis.

woman on vacation in Puerto Rico, visit Castillo San Felipe del Morro, a 16th-century Spanish fort in San Juan Joel Carillet / Getty Images

Scroll Down

for the Next Article

The Getaway Badge
Sign up to receive insider info and deals that will help you travel smarter.