15 Perfect Spring Break Destinations For Last-Minute Planners

Discover hidden gems and vibrant nightlife in these spontaneous spring break hotspots.

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Updated May 28, 2024
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Spring break snuck up on you again? While the beach beckons and winter blues beg to be chased away, the usual spring break hotspots might be overflowing.

Instead of battling crowds in Cancun or Miami, you can still step up your travel game with these hidden gems, which feature warm weather without the massive party scene.

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Biloxi, Mississippi

David/Adobe mississippi t-jones educational plaza during day

Biloxi is the home of the popular Black Spring Break, which attracts tens of thousands annually. However, despite its popularity, Biloxi is still a lower-key destination than typical spring break magnets.

It has warm weather, beautiful beaches, casinos, outdoor and indoor activities, and the seafood restaurants of your dreams.

Biloxi accommodations are also affordable.

Carlsbad, California

marcel/Adobe beach in carlsbad california

With its relaxing beaches and vibrant nightlife, Carlsbad — less than an hour north of San Diego — is a great spring break spot not overrun by huge crowds.

The restaurant scene is hopping, the town is walkable, and there are many things to do indoors and outside.

A visit to the famous Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch is a must, as it's perfect for your Instagram snaps.

Corpus Christi, Texas

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe corpus christi texas

Tourism is on the rise in the Coastal Bend of Texas, but Corpus Christi is still known for being laid-back. Spring breakers can enjoy gulf beaches, water sports, and perfect weather.

The city has plenty of restaurants, with seafood and Mexican cuisine front and center. Don’t miss the chance to view wildlife at the Texas State Aquarium.

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Grand Isle, Louisiana

Jennifer/Adobe grand isle louisiana beach

If you’re looking for a spring break on the quieter side, Grand Isle is for you.

Louisiana’s only inhabited barrier island is a paradise for beach lovers, fishing fans, and wildlife aficionados.

Charter a boat, eat world-class shrimp and oysters, and enjoy kayaking in this remote oasis.

Ginnie Springs, Florida

Guy Bryant/Adobe dogwood spring illuminated

Ginnie Springs in North Florida can get crowded, especially on weekends and holidays. However, camping alongside beautiful natural springs is worth it, especially if you want a good party atmosphere.

Popular activities include swimming and diving in the springs, tubing the Santa Fe River, volleyball, grilling, and picnicking.

Ginnie Springs is one of the most affordable destinations on this list.

Gulf Shores, Alabama

Larry/Adobe Boardwalk at Gulf Shore

If you want the white sand beaches of Pensacola, Florida, without the traffic and crowds, head to Gulf Shores.

Spend your days lounging, playing watersports, going on dolphin cruises, and boating.

The beach is the main attraction here — it’s perfect for spring break. But the town offers plenty of dining, shopping, and other attractions.

Hilton Head, South Carolina

FotoRike/Adobe leuchtturm hilton head island with yachts

The beloved island of Hilton Head has pristine beaches, making it the perfect place to snag a vacation with your companions. Make sure to dine out, as Lowcountry seafood boils and oysters are top-notch here.

Enjoy water sports and activities like ziplining, pickleball, biking, and more. Adult beverages at the Tiki Hut right on the beach are a must.

Lake Havasu City, Arizona

levifrench.photo/Adobe lake havasu city channel

You might automatically think first about the East Coast for spring break, but Lake Havasu City has one of the biggest celebrations in the West.

Spend your days renting boats and partying with fellow revelers on the water. After sunset, enjoy the vibrant nightlife scene.

If nature is more your thing, spend your nights stargazing: The view is epic.

Molokai, Hawaii

vladimir/Adobe halawa bay on island of molokai

Hawaii has several spring break hot spots, but Molokai is one of its quieter islands: There aren’t even stoplights here.

Go to Molokai if you want old Hawaii: Beaches without crowds, locally owned businesses, and breathtakingly beautiful nature.

Spring break is a great time to look for migrating humpback whales, so keep your eye out.

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Savannah, Georgia

Andriy Blokhin/Adobe oak trees path in savannah

Savannah offers spring breakers the perfect blend of urban and outdoorsy vibes. Spend days lounging on the beaches of Tybee Island, or enjoy strolling through Savannah’s vibrant downtown.

Southern cuisine is king here. So, having fried chicken at least once is a must-do.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Martin/Adobe colorful houses line the hill

You don’t need a passport to visit this Caribbean paradise. For beach lovers, the destination is worthy of your bucket list.

Spend your spring break in San Juan, which has vibrant shopping, delicious cuisine, walkable streets, and Instagram-worthy locations.

If low-key is more your vibe, head to Rincon for stunning beaches without the crowds.

Santa Barbara, California

Klodien/Adobe east side beige cliffs

While Isla Vista is the notorious party community at the University of South California, the city itself is a posh spring break destination.

With beaches along the Pacific Ocean, a walkable downtown, ample shopping and restaurants, and nearby mountains, there's something for everyone.

When you're tired of water activities at the beach, the Santa Barbara Zoo is worth the trip.

Sedona, Arizona

franzeldr/Adobe slide rock park bei sedona

Sedona is the spring break spot for you if you're dreaming of desert heat. It boasts beautiful red rock scenery and abundant indoor and outdoor activities.

When you want to cool off, there are many charming swimming holes, many with stunning views. Wellness is also huge here, so visit a vortex and hit the spa.

St. Augustine, Florida

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe St. Augustine

The oldest European-founded city in the U.S., St. Augustine prides itself on being a laid-back alternative to crazier spring break destinations nearby.

Unwind on the beaches along the Atlantic Ocean and enjoy water sports. Then, stroll through the walkable streets of the historic downtown area. The ghost tours are great after dark.

Make sure to check out the peacocks at the Fountain of Youth.

St. Petersburg, Florida

artiom.photo/Adobe St. Pete Beach Florida

St. Petersburg is a world-class destination thanks to its sugar-sand beaches, hip downtown, and art scene. The Salvador Dali Museum is a must-see.

After a day at the beach, dine at one of the many restaurants that serve an array of cuisine. 

Pro-tip: Order the grouper or Cuban sandwich.

Bottom line

sirisakboakaew/Adobe friends having champagne at yacht party

You don’t have to visit Miami or Mexico for a memorable spring break experience. There are many other underrated or undiscovered destinations with plenty of amazing amenities.

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Intro Offer

Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases

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Cat Lafuente

Cat Lafuente is a Florida-based writer and editor with extensive experience in digital and print content spaces. Her own personal finance journey — particularly consolidating debt and paying it off, in turn boosting her credit score and becoming a homeowner — inspired her to join the FinanceBuzz team; she hopes she can help others do the same.