Beach, please. Spring break is quickly approaching, and you’re starting to feel a little stressed. All of your friends are booking trips to tropical places. They’re going to the spots filled with sand and sun: islands in the Caribbean, wild resorts in Myrtle Beach, and beach houses in Florida. But, you want a different kind of adventure to truly leave school behind this break. Trading surf for turf might seem a little out of the norm, but traveling is all about getting off the beaten path. If you’re unsure of where to go on spring break but want to avoid the beach, get ready to take the road less traveled and trade the coastline for some city life and culture this year.
You’re so bored of your textbooks, and there are so many things that traveling can teach you that school never could. From navigating airports to experiencing foreign foods and making new friends, life should always be about living and experiencing as much as you can. Getting outside of your comfort zone, ditching the club scene, and making the most of this break will be in your best interest. As always, you’ll want to keep an eye on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel restrictions and any local health ordinances when planning a trip to one of these unique spring break locations.
Of course, some pals will stick to palm trees and pineapple-flavored drinks, but you’re going to seas the day by checking off some destinations on your travel wish list. Maybe you’ll finally book that trip that’s been on your bucket list for far too long, or take a trek in the mountains for some new scenery. You should probably still pack some sunscreen, but sneakers and a good camera will really help you make the best memories (and Instagram posts). If you’re already so tired of the talk about tan lines, then make one of these 10 places to go on spring break that aren’t the beach your spot.
The Windy City is waiting for you. If you’re looking for a quality city scene this spring break, you’ll want to book an Airbnb in Chicago. Relaxing on the beach is so overrated (although there is one off of Lake Michigan), and a place this lively is calling your name.
Take a walk through Millenium Park during the day, and snap a pic of your reflection in The Bean. At night, hit up some of the local restaurants for a deep-dish pizza that your entire crew will be craving, attend a comedy show, or see a game at one of the many stadiums. This city has some pretty dedicated sports fans, and you won’t mind joining the bandwagon while following your wanderlust.
Chances are New Orleans is on your bucket list. Commonly known for Mardi Gras and unlimited amounts of jazz music, this city is a cultural and historical hub. You’ll want to spend some time marveling at the mansions and bright-colored homes that are scattered amongst the southern greenery.
Hit up a Black women-owned restaurant for lunch or dinner to try the local cuisine. Some of the recipes have been around for centuries, and your dish will be loaded with unreal flavors — and maybe a pinch or two of Cajun spices. Also, don’t forget to grab some beignets from Cafe Du Monde, which are a must for foodies.
Arizona has quickly become a popular spring break destination due to its dessert climate, plethora of outdoor activities, and vibrant nightlife. Whether you stay in Phoenix and Scottsdale, or venture further out to Sedona or the Grand Canyon to fully immerse yourself in nature, you can be sure you’ll have a memorable trip.
Trade in the beach for the desert this spring break. In Las Vegas, you get the warm weather and chances to lounge by the water at a pool party but you don’t have to worry about finding sand at the bottom of your bag months later. Las Vegas is also known for its nightlife, so you and your besties can get dressed up to hit the town.
Check out a restaurant with Insta-worthy dishes, a concert, or just walk the strip snapping pics in front of giant neon signs and the Bellagio fountain. You can even be inspired by Vegas TikTok tips for one-of-a-kind experiences, like a drive-thru drive-in and Meow Wolf’s immersive art experience, Omega Mart.
While Florida may be known for its beaches, you can have a totally different spring break experience staying inland. In fact, Orlando is full of fun touristy spots that may be on your bucket list. Plan a magical day at Walt Disney World, eating all the dishes you’ve saved while scrolling through Instagram. You could even spend a day in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter drinking Butterbeer, casting spells from your wand, and riding the Hogwarts Express.
For anyone with a sweet tooth, you’ll also want to check out Gideon’s Bakehouse for the best cookies you’ve ever had. Then, plan a romantic walk around Lake Eola Park or a visit to the East End Market.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Canada may not have been originally on your bucket list, but after endless scrolling through Instagram, you’ll want to add it to the top.
The streets of Montreal are filled with a lot of life, but also architecture. From the cobblestoned streets to the Gothic-style churches, you’ll feel like you’re in a place much like Paris. The people are incredibly friendly as well and will sometimes speak to you in French, so brush up on those language books before you land. Canada will also be the perfect spot if you want all the perks of going abroad, without dropping months worth of paychecks on plane tickets. Just keep an eye on Canada’s current travel restrictions before booking anything.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
In Calgary, you’ll lose yourself in the land. You’ve spent hours studying in the library, so a little fresh air will have you feeling young, wild, and free again. Most people wouldn’t be seeking out opportunities for fitness during spring break, but you’ll want to spend days hiking the mountains and exploring the lakes of this lovely place.
Calgary is becoming a must-do for many travelers. Your pictures probably won’t do this place justice, but you’ll sure come back feeling refreshed and ready to take on new heights at home.
London, baby! If you’re located in Europe or planning a trip. overseas, you may want to take the leap for a slightly expensive, but oh-so-scenic spring break. Of course, it’s a good idea to check London’s latest health and safety guidelines before you book.
This city is nothing short of the unique cities we love, like New York, and if you’re going to blow your bank account, this trip is certainly the way to do it. It’s a fashion capital of the world, a home to many study abroad students, and another lively city worth losing sleep over. You’ll want to take a ride on the London Eye, ride a double-decker bus, and pose in a phone booth for some pictures. Once you’ve done all the touristy things, take some time to wander around the park to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, and have afternoon tea with your travel buddy. Invest in some quality time with the Queen and the only boy you’ll ever need this break — Big Ben.
Somewhere over the rainbow is a spring break spot filled with sights, sounds, smells, and stouts. Dublin is another city across the Atlantic you might want to consider checking out with your crew. With a pub on almost every corner, you could easily eat and drink your way through Ireland.
If your spring break falls just at the right time, you could get lucky enough to spend your St. Patrick’s Day on the narrow streets with the locals. Take a day trip out to the Cliffs of Moher if you’re in serious need of some nature, but definitely pack a blanket scarf, because it gets so windy. This is also a destination where you’ll want to keep tabs on the latest CDC guidelines for travel and any health requirements before you book your ticket and plan your itinerary.
Wherever you decide to go, this list is proof that spring break doesn’t have to be boring or spent on the beach. Follow your wanderlust around the world and have a different kind of adventure.
The CDC recommends traveling only after you’re fully vaccinated and your vaccine has become fully effective. If you’re not fully vaccinated and must travel, check the CDC guidelines before you book. Check your destination’s vaccination and testing requirements before you depart.