10 Unique Spring Break Destinations that You Probably Didn’t Think Of

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It is the bane of every college student.  Where to go for Spring Break?  That same bane is the bane of any adult looking to take a family vacation during a school break.  It is even worse for young professionals who want to relive part of college but don’t feel like dealing with thousands of hormone young adults just figuring out the world of drinking and adventure. Here are some amazingly unique spring break destinations to visit without having to deal with hordes.  All of these destinations are within a short flight of the continental United States.

Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

Dry Tortugas National Park is located about 70 miles west of Key West, Florida.  Despite being in Florida the park rarely sees more than 150 people per day.  The park is only accessible via boat, ferry or seaplane.  The park offers white sand beaches, a historic pre-Civil War fort (that was used to house the doctor who set John Wilks Booth’s leg after he shot President Lincoln), and snorkeling.  At night there is no light pollution making it one of the best places in Southern Florida to see the stars.  The best part of the park is to take the ferry and spend a couple nights camping in the park.   This allows you to access the fort and the beaches after the ferry has left (taking at 125 of the other tourists with them).

South Coast, Iceland

Iceland is hot tourist destination right now but it isn’t a typical spring break destination.  Spring is the low season for Iceland right now.  The weather is still unpredictable and it could snow but it could also be sunny and warm.  The winter activities are getting limited but the summer activities are just starting up.  Don’t let the weather get you down.  Be prepared for anything and take a road trip along the south coast of Iceland.  The road trip will take you around the Golden Circle, down to the black sand beaches and the glacier lagoon.  You can hike on a glacier if the weather is right check out the ice caves.  It is still possible to see the northern lights during the spring.

Tayrona National Park, Colombia

If you are looking for a hiking and beach adventure then there is no better spot that Colombia’s Tayrona National Park.   The funny thing about Tayrona is that you have to hike thru the jungle to get to the beaches.  There are several options for where to stay in Tayrona.  There are some small lodges, campsite or hammocks for rent along the way.  The best spot to stay is about 2 hours hike along to the San Juan beach.  If you have a group rent a tent and camp.  If not I loved my two nights in a hammock.  There are several trails along the beach as well as into the jungle to visit a few archeological sites.

Guadalupe Mountain, Texas / New Mexico

Surprisingly there is a mountain range along the border of southeastern border of New Mexico and western Texas.  This range is called the Guadalupe Mountains.  The region is home to two national parks.  In Texas, there is Guadalupe Mountains National Park and in New Mexico is Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The two parks are about a two and half hour drive from each other. Guadalupe offers nice hiking and backpacking in the mountains.  You can even climb up El Capitan (just don’t tell anyone it’s not the El Capitan in Yosemite National Park). My favorite hike is Guadalupe Peak which offers an amazing view of El Capitan and the surrounding landscape. Carlsbad Caverns is an amazing cave that they offer a range of tours.  I highly recommend the wild cave tour back to the hall of the white giant.

Ottawa, Canada

Ottawa, Canada is a great international destination that will not break the bank.  It makes for a great place to visit and explore the history of Canada.  Ottawa offers a great number of activities.  As the capital of Canada, the city is home much of the government and many of the national museums.  If you would like to tour the Center Block of Canada’s Parliment Building and see the famous library now is the time to do it.  Center Block will be closing at the end of Summer 2018 for a 10-15 year restoration project that is basically a complete rebuild of the entire building.  The city features museums such as the Canadian War Museum and the National Art Gallery. Across the river in Quebec is the Canadian Museum of History. The city has a great food scene in the Byward Market.  Take a guided food tour to explore the very best of the city.

Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee / North Carolina

The Great Smoky Mountains straddle the border of Tennesse and North Caroline.  The mountains are part of the Appalachian Mountains.  The Smokies are an excellent place to get some spring hiking before the summer crowds show up.  The trees have started to green up and animals are starting to become more active.  The snow melts have increased the size of many of the waterfalls.  If you are lucky, there may still be snow on the ground.  In addition, you can check out the cities of Asheville and Gatlinburg for some fun like Dolly’s Dixie Stampede.

Image from Flickr – Doug Kerr

Durango, Colorado

Durango, Colorado could be considered an outdoor adventure and beer hub.  The city is home to eight different breweries plus several bars that serve other Colorado microbreweries.  In the areas, surronding Durango is Mesa Verde National Park.  Mesa Verde is home to the famed cliff dwellings which you can purchase tickets to tour as well as several hiking trails along the mesa.  The Colorado trail offers mountain biking, hiking, and more outdoor opportunities. All winter I have been using different types of exercise bikes indoors so I am excited to get out and really start biking. The region is also home to climbing, ziplining, and whitewater rafting.

Mexico City, Mexico

Get away from the party zones of Cancun and Cozumel, check out Mexico City, the capital of Mexico.  Mexico City offers a unique look at Mexican culture thru the many museums such as Museo Nacional de Antropología, Frida Kahlo Museum, and Museo Nacional de Arte.  You can learn the history of tequila and mezcal at the tequila museum.  There are several day trips to historical sites such at Teotihuacan Pyramid of the Moon and Sun.

San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose is the capital city of Costa Rica.  This lively Central American city is a quick flight from most of southern United States.  The city is modern with typical Spanish colonial architecture.  The city has many plaza and parks to explore.  The cities museums highlight the history of the region from early Americans to present day.  The highlights of the museums are the Museum of Jade and the Museum of Gold.  They feature artifacts from the region made of the precious resources.  The Costa Rican volcanos and jungles are prefect for a day or two trip from San Jose.

Photo from Flickr – John Menard

Black Hills, South Dakota

The Black Hills, South Dakota is full of things to do. There are quirky roadside attractions such as Wall Drug.  It’s hard to miss the numerous sizes advertising Wall Drug. It’s basically a miny carnival with a western theme.   The Black Hills is home to Mount Rushmore National Monument and the still being carved Crazy Horse Monument.  The Black Hills played an important part during the Cold War. The region was home to 500 minuteman missiles.  You can visit one of the silos at the Minuteman Missle National Historical Site.  There is Badlands National Park with plenty of badlands to explore and if you are lucky to see find some fossil.  Two of the worlds largest cave – Wind Cave and Jewel Cave are located in the area.  The caves are not connected but each is unique and a cave tour is a must do.

What is the most unique spring break destinations you have been too?  Where are you headed for spring break?

Looking to go somewhere fresh for spring break? Check out my list of unique Spring Break destinations. These feature places that aren't typical destinations and not all of them involved a beach. These are more city and outdoor and adventure destinations.


20 Replies to “10 Unique Spring Break Destinations that You Probably Didn’t Think Of”

  1. Archana Singh

    that’s a wonderful list. Out of all the places, I have been to a few. I really loved New Mexico. I think it definitely deserves more attention. The art and culture scene there is insane and so is the food.

  2. Vicky and Buddy

    These are some great suggestions, and places I would have never thought to go. I’ve actually been wanting to visit Dry Tortugas for a really long time, but the cost of the ferry is just a bit more than I’m willing to pay. I know that I’ll get there eventually. I think being able to see the stars out there would be great.

  3. Christopher

    This is definitely an unusual list. As much as I love the capital of my Country, Ottawa it’s interesting to see it up there with Iceland. You really crossed over to a lot of random places, that I would never think to put together on the same list. Great post.

  4. Dylan

    We are actually heading to the Great Smoky Mountains for a few days this spring break! Just around Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge Tennessee. Glad you included them we made a good choice. I’m just hoping it doesn’t rain the whole time. We may have to plan the Guadalupe Mountain, Texas / New Mexico as a backup if it’s too rainy in the Smokey Mountains. Great list I’ll have to keep the other destinations in mind for future reference.

  5. Sandy N Vyjay

    These are some great destinations to head out to in spring. Of course, the main attraction of all these destinations is their relative seclusion without hordes making a beeline. The South Coast of Iceland looks irresistible, driving around the Golden Circle is an experience which is on our bucket list and we hope to do it someday. The other place that looks really appealing is Guadalupe Mountain, would love to hike in these mountains.

  6. Kim-Ling

    We don’t have ‘spring break’ in Australia, however I guess our equivalent could be ‘schoolies’. The destination of choice for most ‘schoolies’ is the Gold Coast, but I must say, I love the options you’ve listed! Camping in Dry Tortugas National Park sounds like an island dream! Iceland is on our bucket list too, but sadly for us Aussies, the flights are nowhere near as cheap. I haven’t heard of Tayrona National Park, which I’m surprised by, as it sounds amazing! I’ve added that to my South American bucket list. Mexico City is also on my list and I would love to see the architecture in Costa Rica. Thanks for the inspiration!
    Kim-Ling’s current road . . . Japan’s Most Instagrammable FoodMy Profile

    • Jennifer Post author

      The list is geared towards Americans and places that are easy for us to get to. The distance is the reason I haven’t been to Australia yet. I am betting there are some amazing places to visit down under.

  7. Samantha Sparrow

    I’m glad I live in the UK and don’t have to choose a Spring Break destination! If I had to though, I’d definitely head to Mexico City – I never got to visit when I went to Mexico and its always been a bit of a regret of mine. I would really love to see Teotihuacan Pyramid too. It would be such an exciting Spring break destination!

  8. Kate

    So many amazing options! There are so many cliche spring break spots, but I love these ideas! Especially the Black Hills. These all seem much more rooted in spending time in nature and trying new experiences.

  9. Anda

    Some great destinations on your list! I haven’t seen all of them, but I’d love to. Dry Tortugas National Park looks so beautiful! No wonder it doesn’t have that many visitors if it’s only accessible by ferry, boat or plane. I love places like this, where if you choose to camp you’ll have the entire area all to yourself.

  10. Christina

    You’re right, I wouldn’t have thought of most of those and they all look like places I’d like exploring. I’ve been to Ottawa and really enjoyed visiting the museums and wandering through the market. My picks would be Tayrona National Park and the Smoky Mountains.


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