If your goal for spring break is to let loose and get wild, enjoying all sorts of fun activities during the day and then dancing ‘til dawn, these top party spots are sure to fit the bill.
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Cancun is widely regarded as the most insane spot for spring breakers to gather, with beautiful beaches, lots of all-inclusive hotels and great deals for the budget conscious as well as practically an endless number of clubs filled with partiers and quality entertainment. StudentCity’s Inception Music Festival offers 30 days and 30 nights of headlining talent throughout the month of March at the city’s hottest resorts and clubs. The all-inclusive Oasis Cancun is known for its great DJS and contests held on a massive beach stage all day long, but if your budget is really tight, you might want to consider forgoing the all-inclusive plan and staying outside the main drag at Grand Residences. This condo-style resort is just 20 minutes from downtown Cancun and features fully-equipped gourmet kitchens, allowing you to save money by making in-room meals.
Las Vegas, Nevada
While there aren’t any beaches in Las Vegas, it would be hard to find a rowdier spring break crowd elsewhere. In this place where “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” is the mentality all year round, during spring break, even more bikini-clad partiers descend on Sin City to take part in the notorious pool parties like the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino’s wild Sunday “Rehab” bash, and dance the night away in trendy spots like the Tao, famous as one of the hippest places to party on the Strip. Of course you can also try your luck on the slots or the blackjack table or if you’re a thrill-seeker, you can get your heart pounding on rides like the Sling Shot, which shoots passengers up a 100-foot tower at 4 Gs of force – faster than a rocket launch. The Big Apple Coaster at New York-New York features towering drops, multiple loops and stunning views of the Strip, and there’s also the chance to go indoor skydiving, zip-lining and much more.
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Cabo is another great Mexico destination, located at the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula. It’s long been a popular spot for party seekers who want to soak up the sun and the sand. Beyond lounging on the gorgeous beaches, visitors can take part in all sorts of activities like parasailing, hang-gliding, windsurfing, whale watching and fishing, just to name a few. Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo is something of a spring break mecca and a must-visit, though you’ll find an even wilder party at El Squid Roe. Some 3,500 revelers pack the place on any given night during spring break and many stay until dawn. It’s definitely not for the easily offended, with scantily clad dancers, beer-chugging contests, waitresses pouring Jell-O shots down the throats of the already way-too-buzzed and waiters gyrating with female club-goers. Only two hours from L.A., its pristine white beaches and luxury resorts are also popular with Hollywood stars like Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox, but that doesn’t mean that it’s out of reach for non-celebs. Cabo actually has a good variety of value resorts and all-inclusive packages – Royal Solaris in San Jose del Cabo offers outstanding all-inclusive deals that start at under $75 a night.
South Beach, Miami, Florida
Located at the southern end of Florida, South Beach has become one of the hottest spring break destinations in the world in more ways than one. With its steamy climate, white sandy beaches and an unbelievable nightlife scene, there may be no better place to party than this. The challenge for those that don’t have unlimited cash to spend is where to stay, with so many pricey luxury resorts and hotels. Fortunately, there’s the Clay Hotel, a budget Spanish-style boutique hotel in the unique Art Deco district that’s just steps away from the clubs on Washington Avenue and only two blocks from the beach. It also tends to draw an international crowd, popular with visitors from Italy, Germany, France and Japan, making it a fun opportunity to meet people you wouldn’t normally get the chance to. The district itself is well-known for its trendy eateries, chic sidewalk cafes and non-stop partying.
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Punta Cana offers more of a laid-back atmosphere, balancing spring break debauchery with stunning beaches and all sorts of activities. The beaches are quiet and peaceful, ideal for relaxing on the sand and doing nothing at all, but at anyone of the dozens of all-inclusive resorts you’ll find plenty of ways to keep busy, including contests, beachside games, swim-up bars and unlimited booze. Most of the resorts here are so vast that you don’t even need to leave the property unless you really want to. If you do choose to head out, you won’t want to miss Imagine, everyone’s favorite nightspot. From the outside it’s a medieval castle, but inside, it’s actually a large cave divided into four smaller caves with different themes. Of course, the alcohol-infused catamaran tours are also on the top of just about every spring breakers’ must-do list.
Panama City Beach, Florida
The party never spots in this destination that’s been dubbed the “Spring Beak Capital of the World.” This is a spot where many spring breakers stay up for seven days straight – if you aren’t into a week without sleep, you’ll probably want to choose your hotel based on the noise level or you may not have a choice. This popular, low-key beach town hosts nearly a half-million students every spring, keeping them entertained with contests and concerts, countless restaurants and bars with extended happy hours, and even an amusement park. Plus, there’s the miles and miles of powdery white sands and beautiful state parks. Holiday Inn becomes ground zero for spring break during the entire month of March with its stretch of beachfront packed with young, attractive people competing to see who can chug the most beer and who has the hottest bod.
Lake Havasu City, Arizona
This Arizona city turns into a 24/7 party scene for several weeks each year, complete with sandbar shindigs and lakeside beach blowouts. The destination is known as “Arizona’s playground,” and certainly lives up to its reputation during spring break. College coeds literally take over the town, and the lake, in this unique and inexpensive destination where giant flotillas of party boats drop anchor and party hard. Spring breakers can take full advantage of one of the best boating lakes in the Southwest by renting a cabana boat, kayak or jet ski. Partygoers also can attend the new Havasu Heatwave Music Festival from March 6 – March 30 with headlining DJs, pool parties and games all headquartered at the Nautical Beachfront Resort, the city’s only beachfront hotel property.
Easily accessible from the U.S., Nassau has become a hot spring break destination, with thousands of students traveling here each year to enjoy a great party and some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet, with striking white sand and brilliant turquoise waters. It offers a party atmosphere and a relaxing paradise where you can spend your days soaking in the sun or getting active by snorkeling, diving, swimming with the dolphins or parasailing. Superclub Breezes Bahamas is the only “super-inclusive” resort on the island – located on an idyllic stretch of Cable Beach, all non-motorized sports are included in a stay, including sailing, kayaking, windsurfing and even the flying trapeze. Plus you can take in amazing pool and beach parties too.
Sun Splash Tours claims to have sparked Jamaica’s popularity as a spring break destination, bringing Spring Breakers to Negril in the 1980s. The once sleepy fishing village is now the Caribbean’s hottest spot for spring break with its seven-mile beach offering laid back charm during the day, and after dark, it comes alive with bonfires and bars pulsating with music. Stay at Jamaica Tamboo, and you can enjoy a hotel/club atmosphere with dance parties and bikini contests. Or head to Travellers Resort which features a swim-up bar and in-water tables while DJs spin tunes alongside the pool. Other highlights here include outstanding snorkeling and cliff diving, and the chance to explore underground caves at places like The Rock House and Rick’s Café.
Fort Myers, Florida
In Fort Myers, spring breakers begin arriving in droves in late February and stay through March. It ranks high on the list with college students as one of the best spots to party and enjoy the beach. For those who want the wildest of the wild, Lana Kai has long been the place to be, featuring everything from amateur booty shaking contests and limbo competitions to male firemen that strip down to just their firehoses. Every year, this lively adults-only resort hosts thousands of spring breakers with nonstop party action that starts from sunrise ‘til 2 am. Reggae, rock and DJs cover the sands with beach-themed melodies and high energy music keep the party going throughout the day, and you’ll have the chance to participate in outdoor adventures too, like parasailing, dolphin watching and jet skiing.
South Padre Island, Texas
South Padre Island is known as one of the most affordable destinations for spring break in the U.S. with amazing beach bars and wild parties all day long. Spring breakers can enjoy what Rolling Stone magazine called the “largest beach party in the world.” While the beach is the main attraction, there are plenty of things to do in addition to partying, like exclusive spring break concerts and events as well as exhilarating watersports. UME: Ultimate Music Experience, is a three-day electronic dance music fest that will take place from March 15 to March 18 in 2017, featuring some of the biggest names in dance music and the chance to get up on your feet with some 50,000 of your closest friends. If you aren’t into EDM, you’ll find nightly bikini contests for cash prizes at Louie’s Backyard, or you can just kick back and sip a tropical beverage on the sand as this is one of the few spots in the U.S. where alcohol is legal on the beach.
You don’t go to Galveston for beautiful white sand beaches and pristine waters as you really won’t find either of those things there, though there are several beaches along the island’s south shore. Galveston is a place to go when your main objective is rowdy beach parties, cheap dining and amusements like the Pleasure Pier. The nightlife here packs a serious punch with quite a few heavy-pouring bartenders, and at the Float Pool & Patio Bar, just a block from the Gulf of Mexico, the two-story pool deck offers views of the beach and the bar’s frequent bikini contests. Commodore on the Beach offers cheap, clean rooms right across the street from the beach just a short walk from the Pleasure Pier, and all feature balconies that open up to Gulf views.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Another popular Mexico spring break destination, Puerto Vallarta is a perfect place for those that have some cash to spend. It offers an authentic Mexican feel, incredible nightlife and world-class hotels as well as being one of the country’s most picturesque beach spots, with cerulean seas set against a rugged mountain skyline and historic white-washed buildings. Visitors can also enjoy an array of water sports, like scuba diving with the manta rays off Isla Marietas, parasailing off Playa Los Muertos and boating around Los Arcos’ reefs. After dark is when things really come alive with rowdy local bars offering a steady stream of adult beverages and steamy salsa clubs lighting up the streets. Stay at the Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta and you can take advantage of a spa with ocean views, two free-from pools and a number of restaurants along with hopping bars.
Ibiza is the spring break spot for European ravers, though it’s a legendary destination with party-goers from across the globe. College students worldwide flock to Ibiza to enjoy an escape to its world-class bars, nightclubs and beaches. This party island in the Mediterranean is the place to go if you want to party 24/7, because whether it’s a weekend or weeknight and no matter what time of day it is, the clubs are always hopping at full capacity. The party season starts early here, with the Flower Power Festival hosted in early March, featuring open-air concerts and a colorful market with artsy products along with ‘60s and ‘70s DJ parties. A few weeks later the big Ibiza clubs begin opening their doors to the countless spring breakers, including the mega clubs like Pacha and Space, staples since the house music boom that started in the late ‘80s. You’ll find all the usual activities too, like booze cruises, beach games and pool parties.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach has become a popular destination for spring breakers in recent years, much to the dismay of locals. This South Carolina city has found itself near the top of COED’s trashiest spring break list. The site notes that “not only are there tons of beachside condos available for renting, but the booze is cheap, the water is warm, and it’s host to one of the greatest bike weeks in the United States of America.” The bars also happen to close earlier than the strip clubs, which means party-goers who aren’t ready to quit tend to frequent both. Most spend their days at the beach before heading to the Boardwalk and downing booze at Froggy Bottomz or Fat Tuesdays. When they close at 2 am, partiers head to their favorite strip club where they can imbibe some more and enjoy wild, sexy entertainment aimed for both guys and girls.
If you’d rather glide down the slopes than lie on the beach, you might want to think about heading to Breckenridge for spring break. This Colorado mountain town is a prime spot for spring skiing, and it’s become an increasingly popular place for spring breakers who want to enjoy the snow. That recreational marijuana was legalized here recently hasn’t hurt either – a fact that COED mentioned when it included Breckenridge on its trashiest spring break list. On top of all that, the town frequently hosts a variety of free and affordable events, including everything from live music to bar parties. You’ll find lots of vacation rentals available that make it easy to split the cost with friends and have your own kitchen to save on the cost of eating out too.
Key West, Florida
Although Key West is one of the wildest cities year-round in the U.S., it’s not often associated with spring break, but that’s the time things really kick off on America’s only “Caribbean” island. It comes complete with tropical weather and an exotic atmosphere without requiring a passport. Smathers Beach is the place most spring breakers spend their waking hours, lined with vendors selling and renting everything you could ever want, from beer and lemonade to jet skis, while music fills the air and the warm water is a perfect place for a dip. Duval Street is where everyone heads after dark, the only street in the world that spans from the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico, lined with shops, boutiques, galleries and nearly an endless number of bars, like Sloppy Joes, Ricks Bar and Hog’s Breath, all catering to the spring break crowd. The infamous Garden of Eden bar even features a “clothing optional” dress code, with plenty of eccentric characters making for an unforgettable night of fun.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
Gulf Shores has also become a recent addition to the “trashiest spring break destinations,” with many of the SEC schools ending their travels to Daytona Beach and Fort Myers. Today, many students from throughout Alabama and neighboring states are visiting some of the most picturesque shoreline in the U.S., where the sand is stunningly white and the water is crystal clear. Gulf Shores also has a lot of fun beach bars, like Pink Pony, Tacky Jacks and Flora-Bama, the most popular bar with spring breakers. It showcases live music on multiple stage, and multiple bars, including some that are outside on the sand. Instead of renting a room in a hotel here, the best thing to do is rent a house near or on the beach where you can party with your friends without worrying about the noise.