Spring Break used to be about a bunch of friends jumping into a car and running off for a few days, usually just about long enough to run out of money and call home for a loan from mom and dad to get back to campus in time for classes to resume.

Back then, it was college kids from East Coast schools heading to Florida for some days of sunshine and a break from the snow. It wasn’t as easy to hop a plane so everything had to be driving distance in a buddy’s car or van.

Then came the mid-’80s and towns began noticing the large numbers of people just trying to get away, and when the public school systems around the country started giving out a week-long break, everyone started taking advantage of the chance to get away.

Las Vegas, for one, began being known as a “resort destination” and every hotel had a big pool area, some even with sand, and began offering getaway packages geared at college kids and all of a sudden, everyone wanted in the act.

Places like Las Vegas and South Padre Islands and Miami Beach were soon overcrowded and people began looking elsewhere for their week in the sun and now there are a number of places that are fun to go visit and still inexpensive enough to do so.

Here’s my list of favorite places to spend Spring Break.

1. Cancun

Cancún, is a Mexican city on the Yucatán Peninsula bordering the Caribbean Sea. It is known for its beaches, numerous resorts and nightlife. As such, it has become a famed destination for students during spring breaks. It is not hard to get there, flights are plentiful and fairly inexpensive so it is perfect in the spring time and offers great weather. It’s composed of two distinct areas: the more traditional downtown area, El Centro, and Zona Hotelera, a long, beachfront strip of high-rise hotels, nightclubs, shops and restaurants.

2. Las Vegas

There isn’t much to say about Las Vegas. There have been numerous movies made, a couple of television series, and entertainers by the bushel. In the ‘80s, Las Vegas began the move to be a resort destination. Flights were increased and you can fly in from nearly anywhere. There were a number of fun dance halls and taverns that sprang up just off the strip and young adults flocked there for the dancing and entertainment. Every hotel on the strip had to add something whether it was an amusement park or a roller coaster or just a huge swimming and tanning area to attract people and it worked. Just try and book a hotel during the month of March and you will see what I mean.

3. South Padre Islands

South Padre Island has grown so popular in recent years, it has become known as Spring Break Island. From discounted lodging and parties galore, there has been a great increase in entertainment designed specifically for college-aged and young adults. As the locals say, you get the “Vibe, the Island Life and for a lot less coin.” If you haven’t been, it may be time for you to take a trip. Just off the coast of Texas, you are also in range of a number of fine Texas beaches just in case the island wears you out, you will have a place to rest and unwind before heading home.

4. Bahamas

Who doesn’t want to visit the Bahamas? And now, with everyone trying to cash in on the Spring Break extravaganza, why not book a cruise or flight and find out just how fun the Bahamas can be? In recent years, the Bahamas have become one of the “go to” cities for Spring Break. There are special deals specifically for Spring Break, there are active popular entertainers that are booked specifically for Spring Break, and there is fun, fun, fun in the sun with plenty of beaches and hotels that are geared just for the spring breakers.

5. Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas is another destination resort area that is now catering to the lifestyles of college-aged young adults who want to spend their spring vacation at one of the many seaside hotels. Some are so anxious to get you to stay there that they are offering some pretty great packages. Some of the deals that you can find include lodging for $50 per day per person with three meals per day at any of 25 restaurants, free poolside beverages, and up to 15 beverages at a number of nightclubs and taverns within walking distance of your hotel. Not a bad deal if it is your kind of a place.

6. Miami Beach

Miami Beach has always been a destination for those on the East Coast and there has been many a beach movie made about the trips that kids made to the area for Spring Break. Not much has changed except the pricing, which has gone sky high since the early ‘50s and ‘60s when this was the place to go for Spring Break. There are still some good specials, you just have to plan ahead and book your favorite spot before the first of the year.

7. Jamaica

Jamaica is a great place to visit and spend some time. It is, however, out of my price range during Spring Break time in the spring. It is more in my price range in late summer or early fall than during March or April. There are some packages, but most of those require more money than I take home in a month and it is hard to spend that kind of cash on a single week’s time away from the winter in Idaho.

8. Puerto Vallarta

This seaside community is rapidly becoming more and more popular with tourists from the states and Spring Break is no exception. Located on the west side of Mexico’s mainland, the village was once one of the most popular fishing destinations for outdoors men from the United States. There are plenty of hotels, condos, time-shares and such to accommodate a lot of visitors. There is also plenty to do from clubbing to beach excursions to fishing trips to the opportunity to just lay around and relax.

9. San Antonio

As fast as South Padre Islands are growing, so is the city of San Antonio becoming more and more popular as a place to go for Spring Break. Beaches are close by and you can always get lost in the historical sites of the city. They of course would include the museums and stores that line the famous River Walk and of course the Alamo. San Antonio is a very progressive city in this day and age and well worth the visit if you haven’t seen the modern day Texas.

10. Punta Cana

Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic sprang up on my radar this year as the new place to go. Sparkling pools, daytime booze cruises, beaches galore and great outdoor activities abound in this new-found wonderland. Prices are reasonable and there is always plenty to do in this area of the Caribbean. There are a lot of different packages available from cruises, to airplanes and hotels with all different kinds of amenities. With the vast amount of competition available for your Spring Break dollars these days, you can shop around and find a great price that fits your budget and your group to ensure that you have a great time.

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