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While massive gatherings still aren’t a good idea, or even a possibility in most cases, for spring break 2021, there are still some great options if you want to make an escape. Many hotels and resorts in countries that are open to travel have implemented stringent COVID safety policies and even offer free COVID-19 testing now that negative tests are required to return to the U.S. Of course, there are also some great destinations in the country to consider as well.
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St. Lucia requires a negative PCR Covid-19 test within seven days prior to your date of travel, providing more time than most, and you’ll need to show proof of confirmed reservations at a “Covid-19 certified hotel,” which is easy as many have been certified safe at this point and offer testing too. One of the most unspoiled destinations in the Caribbean, it’s the ideal island to get away from it all, with lots of secluded waterfront resorts. You’ll also find outstanding dive sites with vibrant coral reefs and lush jungle for hikes.
While you may not think of Croatia as a spring break destination, if you love to get out on the water, it’s ideal and open to visitors, including Americans, who present a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 48 hours. Consider booking a yacht charter through Cruise Croatia as it’s not only cheaper than you probably think, but it’s like sailing in your own private floating villa, the ultimate in safety and unforgettability. Plus good deals can be found early in the season, with many leaving Split so you can spend time in the over 1,700-year-old city and visit favorite islands like Hvar, Korcula, and Vis too. Most include water toys and a chef on board for fresh, delicious meals with local ingredients that can be paired with Croatian wines too.
The drive through the Florida Keys on the Overseas Highway is incredibly scenic and there are many great places to stay and things to do throughout, from pristine white sandy beaches to vibrant coral reefs for snorkeling. Head south to Key West and you’ll find rich history and culture to explore in the Old Town too. From here you might take a day trip to Dry Tortugas National Park, one of the most remote in the country, or enjoy a sunset cruise, sipping wine while watching the sun transform the sky into a blazing orange glow.
Less than an hour’s drive from charming Charleston, Kiawah Island is a barrier island that’s a great choice for tranquility and outdoor recreation. It offers 10 miles of sandy beach for a peaceful haven, including plenty of luxe oceanfront resorts. Golfers will find lots to love with outstanding courses here, a sprawling open-air market for shopping, dolphin watching, and miles and miles of scenic bike trails.
You’ll need a negative COVID test to travel to Maui, but your reward will be a visit during a time when the waterfalls are at their best and the early spring surf is ideal for a beginner’s surfing lesson or boogie-boarding. Plus, you’re likely to see humpback whales that stick around during the winter and into spring with March being one of the peak months – they’re usually here in the protected waters through April, breeding and birthing. Snorkeling, swimming, and simply relaxing with a view all make for an ideal escape.
Costa Rica is known for its emphasis on health, wellness and nature, home to one of the seven Blue Zones in the world where the longest-living populations reside. Here you can enjoy everything from meditation and yoga on the beach to fantastic surfing, snorkeling and wildlife watching. There are zipline rides that whiz through the jungle, ATV tours, horseback riding, and more. Or just unwind at your resort, many are offering on-property COVID-19 testing. The country is open to all U.S. citizens – you’ll need proof of the proper insurance to cover Covid-19-related medical treatment and quarantine lodging should you become ill, as well as a completed health pass form but there’s no testing required for entry.
One of the country’s most stunning national parks, Yosemite requires reservations during the pandemic to prevent the crowds and spring is the best time of year to see the waterfalls at their fullest. It’s home to five of the highest falls in the world, along with those famous granite mountain peaks, alpine meadows, and streams. Don’t miss the legendary trails, especially the Vernal Fall/Nevada Fall trail. You can camp, stay in one of the lodging options in the park or just outside its borders.
If you love baseball and are craving warmth, consider Phoenix where you can catch major league spring training in action. Get your tickets in advance as the Cactus League stadiums will be limited in capacity to ensure distancing. In addition to baseball, you’ll find many scenic hikes right in the metro area, including the miles of trails at South Mountain Park and Preserve. The resorts are famous, many of which offer gorgeous pools and decadent spa services.
The Riviera Maya is a region of Mexico along the Caribbean coast, stretching south of Cancun to Tulum. While it’s popular with spring breaker students, you’ll find plenty of options where you won’t have to worry about the crowds, especially now as the resorts and hotels are limiting capacity and following strict safety protocols. Many also provide free COVID testing for your return. If you want to spend your time snorkeling, head to Xel-Ha, or enjoy small-town charms and all-inclusive resorts in Puerto Morelos. For diving and sea turtles, Akumal is the place to go.
If you’ve been dreaming of Cabo San Lucas, now is the time to go as it’s much less crowded and the luxurious resorts have taken safety to a whole new level, not to mention offering perks like free COVID testing on-site to meet the U.S. arrival requirements. You’ll find lots of things to do, with stunning stretches of soft sands edged by turquoise water, with the Pacific side ideal for surf and the Sea of Cortez side great for swimming. Just a few of the other outdoor activities include parasailing, kayaking, horseback riding, hiking, and even powered hang gliding through Cabo Sky Tours – viewing the coast from above is something you’ll never forget!
The Outer Banks region warms up by the time spring break trips get underway, and as most tourists don’t arrive until Memorial Day weekend, it’s ideal for a tranquil socially distance escape. Enjoy peaceful strolls on the sand and a wide range of other activities like paddleboarding, surfing and kayaking, with lessons and rentals available at many local shops. It’s also ideal simply for simply relaxing and letting that salty sea air melt stress away.
Arches is an ideal park to visit in the spring as the summer brings sizzling hot temperatures that can make outdoor activities rather uncomfortable and even risky. Spring is ideal for hiking, climbing, mountain biking, and more. Marvel at balanced rocks that teeter on pedestals and more than 2,000 sandstone arches that frame the sky through peek-a-boo windows. Don’t miss the 290-foot-long Landscape Arch, the world’s longest natural rock span, accessed via a two-mile roundtrip trek from the Devils Garden parking area.
Many Caribbean islands are open to international travelers, including Americans, like the Dominican Republic, renowned for its unspoiled white sands and aquamarine waters. You’ll need to fill out a Health Affidavit confirming you haven’t had coronavirus symptoms within 72 hours of travel. No prior testing is required but the airports will perform a quick, aleatory breath test to up to 15 percent of passengers and anyone who appears to have symptoms. Once you’re there, you’ll find resorts ranging from budget-friendly to luxurious along with a myriad of options for outdoor adventures, including the usual water sports like diving, snorkeling, surfing, sailing and kayaking, along with dolphin watching and zip line tours.
Barbados is welcoming all tourists who will need to complete an online immigration and customs form 24 hours prior to arrival and attach an upload of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result. While it’s possible to test upon arrival, it will be a much easier process if you can do it beforehand. Once there, you’ll be able to enjoy a spectacular tropical paradise with powdery soft white sands, translucent blue waters, mouthwatering cuisine, and more. A wealth of hotel/resort options are available with something for nearly every budget, including luxurious resorts where you can get tested on the property free of charge by medical professionals just before your return.