10 Alternative Spring Break Trips That Aren’t Just Partying On A Beach

by Maggie Dickman

10 Alternative Spring Break Trips That Aren’t Just Partying On A Beach

Sure, Spring Break might best be known for beaches and too much booze—but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of destinations for the breakers who want to explore brand new places, experience a brand new culture, or simply keep spending to a minimum. The hardest part? Figuring out which one thing you get to do with your week off.


If You Want To Get Active, Try A Mountain Trek



Who says Spring Break has to mean lounging around? If you want to get out of that winter weather funk and build up some stamina while you’re at it, consider taking a hike and spending some time with good old Mother Nature. Whether you decide to take a waterfall hike in the Rockies, bike around the Grand Canyon, or hike the trails at Santa Cruz Island, California, you’re bound to have the active trip of your dreams.


If You Want A Feel-Good Break, Book A Volunteer Trip



Not everyone wants to head to the beaches and get super sunburned in the process. If you want to do something that’s both fun and rewarding, then booking a volunteer service trip might just be for you. United Way offers opportunities for students to volunteer in cities across the country, and Go Voluntouring gives volunteers the opportunity to spend a few days (and up to a few months!) in amazing places around the world, like Magdalena Bay on the Pacific coast of the Baja California.

Not only do you get to help serve others, but you get to make a bunch of new friends who are all hoping to make a change. What’s better than that?


If You Want The Culture, Head To (Unexpected) Europe



Okay, so you may be thinking, “How could I afford that?” Well, it’s time to think outside the box. Spots like Reykjavik, Iceland, and Prague, Czech Republic, are not the most common Spring Break picks, making them cheaper alternative for a dream European vacay. Of course, it’s typically cheaper to plan further ahead for the best airfare rates, but sites like Student Universe and Lufthansa’s Generation Fly offer discounted rates for students.

Another plus? It’s the perfect excuse to visit any BFFs you have that are already studying abroad. (Free housing is a huge bonus!)


If You Want To Take In The Scenery, Plan A Road Trip



Most people hop on a plane to the most exotic destinations they can imagine. But seriously: A road trip is just as fun. Maybe you’ll want to drive a few hours, making it an extended staycation, or a few hundred miles down the infamous Route 66 to track through New Mexico, or take on part of I-90, which connects Boston to Seattle, making it the longest interstate in the United States.

Either way, you’re bound to make endless memories because, as Ralph Waldo Emerson says, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” And this journey is bound to be amazing.


If You Want To Keep The Budget To A Minimum, Book A Staycation



How many times do you visit local hot spots—or cozy spots for that matter? Your Spring is the perfect time to visit that local museum or hole-in-the-wall coffee shop you’ve been eyeing but have yet to visit. Plus, making pillow forts and binge watching New Girl with your best friends sounds like the perfect way to unwind after a crazy start of the semester.


If You Want Entertainment, Visit A Festival



March/April is the unofficial kickoff of festival season, and if you want to hear some rad new music, that week-long Spring Break might just be the time to do it. Buku Music + Art Project is March 10-11 in New Orleans and packs a big festival punch with a small house-show vibe. SXSW combines the best from music, film, and electronics from March 10-19. Treefort Music Festival in Boise, Idaho, features a wide variety of musicians and bands from March 22-26. So What?! Music Festival is bringing all the nostalgia in Dallas March 24-26. Plus, be on the lookout for local pop up shows—the warm weather is sure to draw in entertainment to some local spots, too.


If You Want The Beach (Without The Breakers), Check Out The Unexpected



If you don’t totally want to give up those beach dreams, you don’t have to. There are plenty of other water destinations that are just as Instagram-worthy as Daytona Beach or Cancun, just with much fewer people.

Spots like Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, offer a relaxing getaway (with cute restaurants galore), and South Padre Island, Texas, still offers the fun, without the crazy crowds.


If You Want Some Alone Time, Pick Up A New Hobby



Sometimes your schedule picks up and leaves you with little time to do any of your favorite things—let alone pick up a new favorite hobby. (Wine and painting at a place like paintnite, anyone?) Yet, Spring Break is the perfect time to take a local drawing class or try out that weird new crystal soap trend you’ve seen pop up on Pinterest. Use the most of your free time and try something new—who knows, maybe calligraphy will be your new favorite thing!


If You Want Some Quality Time, Head Home To Visit The Fam



Sure, while everyone is off in paradise, going back home may not sound ideal. However, homemade meals, time with the kitty, and free laundry? All wins in our book. Plus, it’s always nice to have in-person catch-ups with mom. Skype just isn’t the same, you know?


If You Want To Save Up For Your Next Big Trip, Pick Up Some Extra Shifts



Spring Break might be a week of fun in the sun. But if you’re in the midst of planning a month-long jaunt through Europe for summer, you may not have tons of cash sitting around to have that crazy Spring Break you see in the movies. With all of your coworkers headed south, take advantage of the extra shifts to help make some extra dough while you’re free. You’ll thank yourself when you have a little extra pocket money to pick up souvenirs when you’re out and about on your next trip.