Worlds Best Spring Break Beach Destinations
Are the pressures of classes, activities, and the looming real world driving you mad? Surely midterms are getting you down. For many young adults, spring break is the solution to these problems. Millions of college aged spring breakers swarm to beaches from Mexico to Texas to Florida, and the Caribbean searching for beach fun in the sun and a dense beach blanket of sun-tanned partiers looking for stress-relief during the day long and all night long parties. Many cable channels have picked up on the annual migration and produce spring break coverage of all the crazy fun and reverence in the sun, some of which even surprises the veteran viewers. For college kids and young adults seeking a week of escape from fluorescent lighting and whiteboards, there’s more than enough options to go somewhere new each year and enjoy snorkeling, cruises, beach parties, and crazy contest at the hotels and on the beach. And there’s also just plain old fun in the sun for those of you that don’t relish a 7 day hangover. New to spring breaking or an experienced spring breaker, you’ll enjoy any of the World’s Best Spring Break locations on our list for 2013. And we’ll give you some tips for nightlife and hotel deals with spring break parties that absolutely can’t be beat.
1. Panama City
Location: Panama City, Florida
What's cool: Get lost in the massive Club La Vela
If you're looking for the ultimate in spring breaks, be sure to book one of the 18,000 hotel rooms in the "southern Riviera," otherwise known as Panama City. Make sure to do so early, though, before the half-million other college students and spring break revelers reserve a spot of their own. Panama City has become headquarters for the young and carefree looking for sun, sand, and after-hours fun during the long winter months. And in Panama City the nightclubs abound. Club La Vela offers music and dancing in a maze of theme rooms and bars, while the Spinnaker Beach Club and Schooners are also popular. And if you ever do leave the nightclubs, there are 27 miles of beach crawling with twenty-something’s and teens resting up for another big night out.
Location: Cancún, Mexico
What's cool: Free island transportation to the most popular bars in town
Cancun is certainly one of the most beautiful beach peninsulas on the planet. We wonder if the Mayans would be surprised to see Cancún and its many beachfront hotels today. Or see it full of spring break party animals 24/7 for a month out of every year. This Caribbean resort certainly has gained quite a reputation. The land of the Mayan temples and ancient relics became a paradise for tourists during the 1970s, complete with high-rise hotels and discos galore. Cancún 2012 was one of the craziest spring break destinations, and we don’t expect 2013 to be any different. You’ll find activity everywhere, both on the beach, at the hotel, in the clubs, and even on the water with booze cruises and expensive yachts and speedboats. Cancun boasts all types of fun and wild activities that will garner a sun worshipers interest as well as a sports thrill seekers’. Tequila flows like water in clubs like Pat O’Brien’s and Fat Tuesdays. Parties rarely end, by morning they are gearing up for the next party shift and one day flows into the next.
3. South Padre Island
Location: South Padre Island in the Gulf of Mexico, Texas
What's cool: Head over to Mexico for an international spring break
Rumor has it that everything is bigger and better in Texas, and spring break in the Lone Star State is no exception. South Padre Island--located on the Gulf of Mexico--offers 34 miles of fun in the sun, loaded with hotels and cheap spring break hotel rooms, including a 5-mile stretch of laid-back beaches, ripe with volleyball and sunbathing. A favorite with spring breakers is Club Rio Beach at Schlitterbahn Waterpark, where highlights include live music, foam parties, and waterslide fun. If you can hack the early-morning hours, the Gulf offers great deep-sea fishing and other water activities. For those who want to sleep late, hotels sponsor spring break contests and events, and a trip to Mexico could be on your itinerary as the border is just 30 minutes away. (Don't forget your passport!)
4. Lake Havasu
Location: Lake Havasu City, Arizona
What's cool: A weeklong party on the water
If you are looking for a vacation with plenty of sunshine and a rocking spring break scene, but sand and beachside accommodations are not a priority, Lake Havasu might be for you. Lake Havasu, located in Arizona, has developed into a huge spring break party destination on the water. Options for lodging include houseboats or the London Bridge Resort. You can spend your days on deck, soaking in the sun and gazing out over the Sonoran Desert view. There are plenty of opportunities to participate in daytime sports ranging from rock climbing or mountain biking to whitewater rafting. For those whose physical activities don't stretch beyond dancing, Kokomos disco is the hot spot in town.
Location: Montego Bay, Jamaica in the Caribbean
What's cool: Gather on the beach or at cliffside bars to catch the sunset
Jamaica makes the number 5 spot our list with a couple of dynamite spring break spots: Montego Bay and Negril. You can choose a casual and quaint atmosphere in Negril, the aptly named "capital of casual", or a slightly more urbanized and fast paced Jamaican city experience in Montego Bay. Whether you decide to go to either of these locations, you’ll really enjoy a stress-free Jamaican holiday break from your classes and college life. Set against a backdrop of dramatic cliffs and colorful beaches, these Jamaican vacations will be set to a score of reggae, whether performed by locals or popular artists such as Ziggy Marley, who has been known to pop in for a spring break show. Just don’t assume that stress-free is boring. There are numerous daytime and night time activities, parties, and things to do, with plenty of spring breakers. The local nightlife favorites include Margaritaville in Montego Bay, the Jungle in Negril, or the Legends Resort or Samsara. There’s plenty of natural beauty to explore in the daylight, like the underwater cave trips, and breathtaking cliff diving expeditions.
Location: Mazatlán, Mexico
What's cool: Mexican charm untarnished by tourism
The translation of this city's name being "the land of party," Mazatlán is the number-one spring break choice for many students on the West Coast. You are likely to spend most of your time at the trendy hotels, restaurants and beaches in the Zona Dorado area, which is also ripe for people-watching. Check into the El Cid, one of Mexico's largest resort hotels, if you're looking for luxury and resort fun, and be sure to get to Valentino's, Joe's Oyster Bar, Bora Bora Beach Club, and Coliseo for an after-hours good time. If you are around on a Sunday afternoon, join the locals in watching a bullfight in town; it is sure to be an experience that you won't soon forget.
7. Daytona Beach
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
What's cool: Drive your car right onto the beach
If you have a weakness for John Hughes, old-school Madonna, and all things Eighties, then Daytona Beach is a spring break dream. This is where spring break began, and for many Florida students, it is only a car ride away. Daytona Beach is not the exotic Caribbean destination alternative, rather it’s Ted Nugent “I can’t drive 55” densely packed, total party experience. This place is timeless and college students from as far as New England and Texas (even California hardcore road warriors) make an annual pilgrimage in their cars to book a room in a cheap Daytona Hotel and find the nearest keg party and volleyball net. Beachfront bars and hotels have plenty of dance contests, wet t-shirt and bikini contests, and at night you’ll want to stroll Atlantic Avenue to mix in the wild antics. So pack up your friends, collect some gas money, and be sure to bring along plenty of mix tapes, because when school lets out, thousands of other students will be doing the exact same thing!
8. Key West
Location: Key West, Florida
What's cool: Jimmy Buffet's original Margaritaville
Not impressed by the packaged, MTV version of spring break? Looking for a destination that provides more quality experiences than just flirting and frying in the sun? If so, Key West is a great choice for an activity-packed spring break. Hotels here include boutique and small luxury hotel accommodations. The southernmost city in the continental United States is famous for its sport fishing and captivating diving experiences. In fact, the pristine beaches and coral reefs provide some of the world's best scuba diving. You can snorkel by day and samba by night or just recline in a hammock and catch some much-needed zzzz's.
9. Rosarito Beach/Ensenada
Location: Ensenada, Mexico
What's cool: Close enough for a side trip to San Diego
If throngs of out-of-control spring breakers make you queasy, then head down the California coast and into the Rosarito Beach/Ensenada area of the Baja peninsula in Mexico. This site is for the more mature spring breaker, offering equal parts fun and relaxation on beautiful beaches. Although the water is too rough for most water sports and activities, horseback riding on the beach in front of your hotel is a great way to spend the afternoon. Just one hour's drive north lets you squeeze in your night of sophomoric nuttiness on Tijuana's Revolución Ave., or you can stay in a Rosarito hotel and visit Señor Frog's or ride the mechanical bull at Papas & Beer. Otherwise, hang by the historic Rosarito Beach hotel, drink some margaritas, and settle in for a lobster dinner. Be sure to pick up a T-shirt at Hussong's Cantina in Ensenada, where you can listen to mariachi bands and spend plenty of money on tourist-designed souvenirs.
10. The Bahamas
Location: Nassau, Bahamas
What's cool: The waterslide at the Atlantis
The producers of The Blue Lagoon chose the cove in the Bahamas for the right reasons; the temperate tropical seasons, blue green crystal clear waters, and the smooth silky sand beaches are several of the best reasons to consider making the Bahamas your 2013 spring break destination. Just because it’s last on the list doesn’t mean we think it’s really a last choice. For many spring breakers, it’s a first choice that they come back to year after year to places like Cable Beach, the enormous Atlantis Hotel located on Paradise Island, and the many casinos on the beach. Here you can have it all, and enjoy a really well balanced spring vacation. Even if you don’t stay at the Atlantis Hotel on Paradise Island, it’s a must see and you’ll want to spend some time at the lagoons and many pools that this world class hotel has to offer.