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Spring Break 2024: U.S. Destinations for Students and Families

By Diane Amato

Published February 8, 2024 • 6 Min Read

Spring break will be here before you know it. Whether you’re thinking of a warm-weather getaway for your family or planning an epic trip with your friends, you don’t have to go far to find great weather, beaches, parties and attractions. Check out these U.S. spring break destinations.

Spring break as a family looks different than spring break as a student – but all travellers have a couple of common priorities – good weather and good value. The U.S. has plenty of great options for spring breakers of any age and stage, hitting the mark on these must-haves and offering the added bonus of being relatively close to home.

Here, we list out some of the top U.S. spring break destinations for families and students alike, with great getaway options no matter where in Canada you’re travelling from.

5 spring break 2024 destinations for college and university students

1. Panama City Beach, Florida

Panama City Beach is a waterfront town in northwest Florida, known for its 27 miles of sugar white beaches fronting the Gulf of Mexico. It’s also considered by many as the “Spring Break Capital of The World.” 

With epic nightlife and legendary events, including foam parties, glow parties, top DJs and more, Panama City Beach also boasts hotel accommodations for any budget, making it a top choice every year for students looking for a classic spring break experience. 

2. South Padre Island, Texas

South Padre Island, located at the southern-most tip of Texas, hosts a huge Texas-sized spring break party every year. With four miles of award-winning sand beaches, the area hosts some of the biggest and liveliest spring break events in the country. 

Thanks to reliably warm weather and sunshine, spring breakers can take part in a wide range of daytime activities (think jet skis, parasailing, snorkeling, beach volleyball) and cap off the day at any of the many clubs and bars that keep the party going after the sun sets. 

3. New Orleans, Louisiana

For spring breakers looking for a city experience over a beach getaway, New Orleans offers loads of food, festivals and fun. With a great party scene all year long, the spring is particularly lively in NOLA – and while Mardi Gras is earlier in the year, it’s merely a kick-off for a season of parties, which of course feature the iconic colourful beads that are worn all twelve months.

Check out the French Quarter, the best beignets in the country, haunted hotels and swamp tours – and discover how a stay in New Orleans can recharge body and mind!

4. Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara, California, is a great spring break destination for those looking for a nice mix of outdoor adventure and relaxation. Located near the scenic Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara’s “Endless Summer” spirit comes alive in the spring, offering a range of activities such as parasailing, kayaking, surfing, and whale watching. And with 110 miles of coastline, Santa Barbara is home to some of the world’s most iconic beaches.

Throw in a couple of wine tours, fantastic meals and coastal hikes and you’ve got everything you need for a chill and scenic getaway, taken at whatever pace you please.

5. Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas during spring break is always a wild, rowdy time. Pool season starts in March and Las Vegas pool parties are in a class of their own, with world-class DJs, VIP table service and champagne showers. Dayclubs – just like nightclubs but in a pool and during the day – are where the action is during spring break.

If the club scene isn’t your thing, Vegas has so much more to offer – including premier shopping, restaurants, shows and casinos. Just pick your indulgence and have the time of your life!

5 spring break 2024 destinations for families

1. San Diego, California

While just as popular with the college crowd, San Diego is an ideal spring break getaway for families – especially if you’re travelling from the Canadian west coast (a flight from Vancouver to San Diego is less than 3 hours). With beautiful weather, family-friendly beaches and plenty of attractions (there’s the San Diego Zoo, Old Town San Diego and Torrey Pines Natural Reserve), there’s a wide variety of activities to keep adults and kids entertained!

2. Oahu, Hawaii

A little farther afield, Oahu, Hawaii is an idyllic destination for families, offering unique experiences and landscapes that are life-long memories in the making. From evening luaus, white sandy beaches, scenic hikes, fascinating culture and whale watching, Oahu has something for everyone. Create an adventure filled with variety and unforgettable moments in the lush Hawaii springtime.

3. Key West, Florida

The state of Florida is a classic spring break destination for families – whether you’re looking for theme parks, beaches or a place to take part in your favourite summer sports. Key West, however, offers a unique, low-key vibe while providing its fair share of activities for beach lovers. What’s more, Key West isn’t overrun with students over spring break like other Florida destinations, making it a perfect getaway for families.

Go for a dip in the ocean, go snorkelling in the crystal waters, take a sunset cruise or tour about the small island on bike or on foot – only 4 miles long and less than 2 miles wide, it’s a dense, walkable island with lots of sights to take in.

4. Savannah, Georgia

About a two-hour flight from Toronto and Montreal, Savannah is a beautiful spring break destination that offers much more than beachfront fun. A historic city with lots of charm (and interesting paranormal lore), Savannah is southern charm at its finest. 
Take in a festival, a bit of shopping and some great meals or check out the Savannah Children’s Museum or Old Fort Jackson – favourite spots for kids and parents alike! And if you want some beach time, you’re in luck – Tybee Island is just 20 minutes away, with three miles of wide beaches that offer white sand, lots of sunshine and plenty of relaxation.

5. Zion National Park, Utah

Looking for an active, outdoorsy spring break experience? The U.S. National Parks are great options for exploring a wide range of scenery and wildlife – and Zion National Park in Utah is among the best in the spring. The expansive canyon offers spectacular hiking opportunities, and spring-only waterfalls make your hard work worthwhile. There are plenty of kid-friendly hikes too, and Zion offers a self-guided Junior Ranger experience for families visiting the park. 

As this park gets extremely hot in the summer months, if hiking iconic trails is on your bucket list, make it a spring break destination.

There are many fantastic spring break destinations in the U.S., with options that can suit any budget, life stage and travel style. And with the right cross-border banking solution, you can have easy access to no-fee ATMs across the country and save on foreign transaction fees for U.S. dollar purchases – making spring break in the U.S. affordable and accessible for sunshine-seeking Canadians.

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This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

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