Don’t break the bank this spring break. There are dozens of places you and the whole family can visit that stay in tune with your budget and offer entertainment for all. Here are 10 places you should check out the next time you’re in search of sun, sand or fun.
1. The Alamo: San Antonio, Texas
In San Antonio, spring break is considered the best time of the year. The weather is perfect – not too cold and not too hot. There are dozens of cheap activities inside and outside to choose from. For this list, we’re focusing on the Alamo: the heart of San Antonio and the most visited historic landmark in the state.
The Gorgeous Spanish Fortress
The gorgeous former Spanish mission turned fortress is free to visit and open all the time, though there is a fee for tours. Learn about the Texan war for independence from Mexico and the resulting battle in 1836 that ended in defeat. You can take guided tours, explore exhibitions and purchase items at the gift shop.
While you’re in San Antonio, check out the River Walk. It’s just a couple of blocks down from the Alamo, and it’s a popular tourist destination in Texas. It’s lined with shops, bars and museums, and several festivals take place there throughout the year.
2. Grand Canyon National Park: Northern Arizona
The Grand Canyon is guaranteed to overwhelm your senses with its gorgeous natural beauty. You’ll find a stunning geologic color and peculiar formations at this massive canyon. It is 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide and a mile deep. This is a place where you can find peace and solitude among miles of rolling hills. It’s also a place where you can put your rowing skills to the test by kayaking or canoeing through the water. There are two parts to the Grand Canyon:
- Visited by only 10 percent of Grand Canyon tourists
- Only open May 15-Oct. 15
- Hard to access
- 8,000+ feet above sea level
- Most popular
- Always open
- Free shuttle bus
- 7,000 feet above sea level
Both are beautiful and both are worth it; it just depends on your preference for adventure as to which side you choose. Either way, you’ll be visiting one of the seven natural wonders of the world (as named by CNN).
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3. The Biggest Little City in the World: Reno, Nevada
Reno has become a popular destination for families with its multiple attractions and an endless list of things to do. As Nevada’s “other” gambling city, Reno boasts an extensive list of casinos and bars. It also has plenty of museums, parks and theaters to bring the kids to. We recommend you take a trip to the National Automobile Museum, especially if you have a love for antique cars. There are all sorts of vehicles that give you a blast from the past.
Reno also has a small, affordable ski resort you can try if you want to swap the “spring” part of your break for winter. Mt. Rose Ski Resort has great reviews and beautiful views; plus, it doesn’t get too crowded. This city truly lives up to its slogan of The Biggest Little City in the World. You’ll find it has an air of sophistication, fantastic places to eat and amazing areas to explore.
4. Sun, Sea, and Sand: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Puerto Vallarta is more than a coastal getaway. It has a small-town vibe with some of the most unique oceanfronts in the country. PV offers quaint cobblestone streets, warm waters, fine art galleries and mouth-watering tequila. Explore historic churches, ride ATVs through the mountains or head out on a whale-watching boat tour.
This town is a haven for artists, and you’ll notice the detailed sand sculptures along the beach. Every Wednesday from October to May, you can see the beautiful artwork from local talent at the Old Town Art Walk.
5. Bok Tower Gardens: Lake Wales, Florida
If the beach isn’t your thing, the Bok Tower Gardens is the perfect alternative for your spring break. Most of all this historic piece of Florida has more than 23 million visitors since it opened to the public in 1929. Explore the beautiful gardens, wander the multiple trails and listen as the carillon fills the air with a song from the Singing Tower. You can also take a tour of the 20-room Pinewood Estate Mediterranean-style mansion and see how wealthy folks live in a century ago.
This is a perfect addition to any vacation in Orlando and an easy day trip for Florida residents. It’s only about 15 minutes from LEGOLAND Florida and an hour away from theme parks such as Disney World and Universal Studios. This is a must see in Central Florida.
6. West Coast Getaway: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Mexico and total relaxation in Cabo San Lucas. This tourist destination is constantly growing, adding new resorts and flights to encourage more visitors. Spend an afternoon lounging on the beach, zip line through sweeping canyons or head out on a snorkeling adventure. You definitely need to stop by El Arco (Land’s End) at the southern end of the peninsula. It’s a romantic spot to see the sunset and the perfect place to snap photos. You may even see a sea lion or two. Since the only way to see this picturesque rock formation is by a boat tour, but swimming in the area is not recommended, as the water can get very rough.
7. The Big Easy: New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans has something for everyone in the family. The Big Easy is known for its wide array of delicious dishes, from Jambalaya and seafood to French pastries and saltwater taffy. Festivals fill the streets nearly every weekend from March to May, giving you plenty to do right outside your hotel doors. The city is flush with history, and you don’t have to walk very far to find ancient spots. Here are some of the free attractions you can check out in this vibrant city:
- Explore galleries in the Art District on the first Saturday of every month
- Check out a cooking demonstration at the Crescent City Farmers Market
- Especially relevant Tour historic cemeteries during the day
- Run around the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden (and take awesome pictures, too!)
New Orleans is famous for its Mardi Gras celebrations, too. That’s definitely something to have on your bucket list.
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8. Heart of the Caribbean: Jamaica
Vibe to reggae music, snorkel through colorful reefs and hike through lush forests filled with unique birds. Jamaica is a slice of paradise that you don’t have to break the bank to see. It’s known as the heart of the Caribbean for a reason. Jamaica is full of local culture, crystal blue water, and tropical lands. Plus, it was world-famous singer Bob Marley’s home. His colonial-era house on Hope Road is open to the public today, and you can see for yourself how he lived. Here are a few other cool places Jamaica offers:
Rio Grande Valley:
Float across the water under the moon for a surreal experience.
Indulge your nose and your taste buds with jerk-flavored meats.
Trek through the Earth and discover awe-inspiring natural rock formations.
Those are just some of the attractions Jamaica offers – and it doesn’t even include the beaches! From Fort Clarence Beach to Treasure Beach, you and your family have a wide variety of options to choose from.
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9. Historic Colonialism: Williamsburg, Virginia
Take a trip into the past by visiting Colonial Williamsburg. This city played a major role in the American Revolution. It is now part of what’s called the Historic Triangle in Virginia, encompassing Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown. The three represent the first English settlements in America and the country’s independence from England. You can go on a carriage ride, explore museums and watch entertaining evening programs. There’s something for every personality, from military history buffs to fashionistas.
10. Cigar City: Tampa, Florida
Check out Florida’s Gulf Coast and visit Tampa on spring break. This sunny city has a ton of awesome attractions and cultural experiences to check out. Here are some of the must-visits that locals recommend:
Busch Gardens Tampa:
This theme park opened in 1959 and quickly became a top destination in the state. Along with thrilling roller coasters, there are hundreds of exotic African animals to see. Plus, there’s a water park.
The Columbia Restaurant:
Furthermore, as Florida’s oldest continuously operating restaurant, this is also one of the most famous Spanish eateries in the world. Here you’ll find traditional dishes and Flamenco dancers.
Bern’s Steak House:
In addition, This ritzy place has open since 1956, and you’re guaranteed to feast on good food and fine wine. You can also tour the large wine cellar after your meal.
Museum of Science and Industry:
This hands-on museum is the largest science center in the southeastern United States. There are hundreds of interactive educational activities that your kids will love. Don’t forget to check out the hurricane wind simulator and the planetarium!
Therefore you can save money when you visit Tampa when you purchase a CityPASS. It offers discounts on a select group of attractions, including Busch Gardens.