Spring break spots that are blissfully free of spring breakers, from Barbados to Portland
Spring break is not just for college students – it’s also a time when families, couples, friends and even honeymooners travel. The tricky part is to find enjoyable places where spring breakers don’t take over a destination with rowdiness, partying and antics.
There are a variety of destinations that beckon fun and tranquil vibes without partying college students. Here are our picks for the 2020 spring break season.
Known for the gorgeous beaches and friendly residents, the island of Barbados is the perfect spring break destination for a relaxing vacation without the crazy crowds or rowdy spring breakers. Featuring pristine white sand beaches along the crystal-clear Caribbean Sea, a large selection of restaurants with dishes from around the world, bars and night clubs, and local shops, there’s plenty to do – and see – in Barbados.
Couples have great accommodation options where they won’t have to worry about wild college kids – or actual kids – at places like Sandals Royal Barbados, the resort chain's newest all-suite, adults-only all-inclusive retreat, located in the spirited St. Lawrence Gap area. The resort boasts a 4-lane bowling alley, craft beer bar and a rooftop infinity pool. The resort also offers optional excursions through Island Routes Caribbean Adventures – such as a snorkel tour or a Jeep safari – so guests can truly experience the island.
Greater Williamsburg, Virginia
For families who want a blend of adventure and education, the historic triangle of Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown in Virginia boasts great options for arts, history and fun. In Colonial Williamsburg, young travelers can become a citizen of the Revolutionary City, watching reenactments and enjoying Colonial games. Later, have a family meal at a Colonial tavern inspired by our nation’s history.
At Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, families can make spring break a historical adventure by trying on armor worn by Revolutionary soldiers as well as wandering through Continental Army tents. Plus, the Busch Gardens theme park is open daily for a limited time during that period (March 27-April 20) with rides, entertainment and events.
Grand Cayman, a Carribean island known for gorgeous beaches, is not on the radar for spring breakers, which means it's an idyllic – and ideal – destination for couples and families.
Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa, set on an expansive stretch of Seven Mile Beach, is a spring break getaway that the whole family will enjoy. While visiting the resort, guests can kayak, sail, waterski, waterboard or try a free, daily Stand-Up Paddleboard clinic as well as SUP Yoga on the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean Sea. With direct flights no longer than 4.5 hours offered from major hubs including New York, Miami, Denver, Chicago and Dallas, guests can easily enjoy a tropical getaway.
Santa Monica, California
Less than 30 minutes from bustling Los Angeles, Santa Monica is the quintessential beach town, boasting with warm weather and California sunshine, making it an ideal backdrop for outdoorsy family time. Stroll to Santa Monica Pier, along the expansive beaches, go for a bike ride, try surfing and cap your day by dining outside.
One great lodging pick is the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica with activities for the whole family. Families can use Fairmont Miramar’s cruiser bikes or electric scooters to explore the iconic Santa Monica pier, meander through Santa Monica Farmers Market (Wednesdays and Saturdays), and shop along the iconic Third Street Promenade.
Located in the scenic Pacific Northwest, Portland is a food and culture hotspot, but definitely not overrun with spring breakers during March or April, when Spring Break hits. After taking in the city’s sights, settle in at the Kimpton RiverPlace an 85-room property, the city's only downtown waterfront hotel. It has a relaxing lodge-like feel despite being so close to the city center.
There are miles of walking, jogging and biking paths (with bike rentals available) right outside the doors, along with easy access to watersport activities on the Willamette River. Spring is a beautiful time to visit Portland Japanese Garden, one of the most authentic such gardens outside of Japan. The attraction recently expanded, adding classrooms, a library, a tea café and several additional gardens.
Bar Harbor, Maine
In Bar Harbor, there plenty of activities to enjoy in beautiful Acadia National Park as well as ocean views. Plus, the low prices during the less-busy season make early spring for the perfect time to visit.
Acadia has beaches for building sandcastles, and car-free carriage roads for biking, walking, and horseback riding. The weather in Bar Harbor during March and April can range between 25 and 53 degrees and sunny days are ideal for outdoor fun.
For lodging, the Atlantic Oceanside is perfect for spring breakers who want to spend time both in Acadia National Park and downtown Bar Harbor, located just a mile away from each. The hotel is on an oceanfront property overlooking Frenchman Bay. There are both indoor and outdoor pools, which are ideal for the transitional spring season.
Located in the Southern Caribbean, the Dutch-Caribbean island of Curaçao is home to more than 35 secluded cove-like beaches, stunning European architecture, diverse cuisine, and year-round sunshine, making it the perfect destination for spring break travels.
Visitors can enjoy everything from riding ATVs across the island's rugged East Side, swimming with sea turtles at Playa Piskado, hiking Mt. Christoffel (Curaçao's highest point at 1,227 feet), or even venturing to the uninhabited island of Klein (Little) Curaçao by sailboat for a day.
At night, travelers can check out the island’s nightlife and dance to the beats of salsa, merengue, and rumba, and, of course, try some Blue Curaçao, the island’s famous liqueur that’s used to make cocktails a bright, vibrant blue. For a hotel, try the new Dreams Curaçao Resort, Spa & Casino, just opened last month and features 197 upgraded guest rooms and suites, two white sand beaches, seven internationally-inspired dining options including a brewery.
Hurricane-free Caribbean: Cool reasons to visit Curaçao
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Early spring is Hilton Head Island’s best-kept secret: down South, the temperatures heat up just as the northeast is still thawing before high season. Whether a relaxing gal’s getaway, a reunion with the guys or a couple looking for a romantic escape, Hilton Head Island has so much to offer.
Consider making Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island your home base for your visit. Located along the coast, it offers picturesque views and a lagoon swimming pool.
Rowdy Spring Breakers will be far from Bermuda, where the weather is gorgeous during early April. Only a 2½ hour flight from many cities on the east coast, visitors can enjoy this Atlantic island in its most pristine form in spring before the rush of the summer crowds, as beaches are clear of tourists, and cruises aren't yet coming into port.
The famous pink sand beaches are a highlight of Bermuda but there are cultural gems as well. Art lovers can make their way to galleries including the National Gallery at City Hall & Arts Center or the Masterworks Museum, which houses a collection of 1,500+ works.
Looking for a beachside retreat far from the crowds? Try the Hamilton Princess.