← Return to Blog

Top Underrated Spring Break Destinations for 2024

Travel Team | Feb 23, 2024

Share Twitter   share

Spring is a season of renewal. What better way to refresh your own mind, body, and spirit than with an offbeat spring break trip?

Choosing an underrated spring break destination like one of the cities below can accomplish much. Maybe you want to avoid the crowds of a spring break beach. You could be looking for ways to travel more sustainably, avoiding overtourism. It could be that you just want something different.

“Offbeat travel is an attitude that travelers carry with them wherever their itineraries take them,” says seasoned traveler Luke Maguire. “It doesn't mean doing dangerous and uncertain things, but being open to scrapping the planned for the unplanned.

“There is nothing better than finding something novel, new, and better than what was planned, ditching that itinerary and setting a course for an offbeat adventure.”

It’s time to set your own course and have an authentic, offbeat adventure at one of these overlooked spring break destinations.

Underrated U.S. Spring Break Destinations

1. St. George, Utah

Utah Spring Break Info GraphicWhen it comes to spring break trips, Utah often gets overlooked in favor of its southern neighbor, Arizona. But if you’re hoping to marvel at dramatic landscapes and skip some of the massive crowds, St. George, Utah, is the destination for you.
Utah.com calls St. George a “national park gateway,” and it’s easy to see why. With national parks like Zion, Bryce Canyon, Great Basin, Capitol Reef, and yes, Grand Canyon, all within easy driving distance, St. George is an ideal spot to set up camp between excursions.
Closer to the city lie even more natural wonders: Snow Canyon State Park, Sand Hollow State Park, and Red Cliffs National Conservation Area.

Once you’ve had a chance to explore the great outdoors, visiting the town of St. George is the perfect way to unwind. You’ll have the chance to relax and rejuvenate at award-winning spas, enjoy a round of golf, or catch a show at the Tuacahn Amphitheater.

And if you’re feeling truly spontaneous, the fabulous Las Vegas is just a 90-minute drive away.

2. Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail

If you’re a member of the 21-and-older set, Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail makes for an incredible, cheap spring break trip.

Each year, tens of thousands of bourbon lovers flock to these internationally recognized distilleries for in-depth tours and tastings. You’ll learn each step of the distilling process, dive into the history of Kentucky’s bourbon industry, and even try your hand at pouring and sealing your own bottle of whiskey.

While bourbon is clearly the star of the show, an unexpected benefit of the Bourbon Trail is its network of gorgeous country roads (decide on a designated driver before you set off). Between distilleries, you’ll drive through Kentucky’s bluegrass hills peppered with white-painted fences and herds of thoroughbred horses.

Along the way, there are opportunities to stop at major cities. In Louisville, take a dining cruise with the Belle of Louisville Riverboats or tour the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. Spring is baseball season, after all.

You’ll want to swing through Lexington, too. Known as the horse capital of the world, you can tour horse farms and the Kentucky Horse Park. If spring break brings you here in April, visit Keeneland Racecourse to catch live thoroughbred racing.

To go off the beaten path a bit more, stop by charming, historic towns like Bardstown and Versailles (this one’s pronounced “ver-sails” ... as far from French as you can get it). Get you some down-home cooking, browse the quaint shops, and of course, have another sip of bourbon.

3. Taos, New Mexico

New Mexico Spring Break InfographicTaos is a town that’s all about balance. Ancient dwellings are just a stone’s throw away from contemporary architecture, while creativity and innovation are just as welcome as history and tradition. These elements create a one-of-a-kind community that’s the perfect spring break road trip destination.

For more than 1,000 years, the adobe homes in the Taos Pueblo have been inhabited by the Puebloan Native Americans. This Native American community is the only place in the United States to be designated both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Historic Landmark.

Throughout much of its modern history, Taos has also been home to a vibrant colony of artists and creatives. Visionaries like Georgia O'Keeffe, D. H. Lawrence, and Ansel Adams have all lived and worked here, finding inspiration from the area’s natural beauty.

Today, Taos boasts a vibrant Historical District with art galleries, shops, restaurants, and markets offering the best local fares.

Architecture and environmental enthusiasts will want to check out the Earthship community. The neighborhood of sustainable buildings was created from recycled and repurposed materials. They use passive solar technology, wind power, and every other strategy imaginable so you can go off-the-grid.

If you’re early enough in the spring, you can also enjoy the last ski trip of the season with a drive to one of Taos’s many ski resorts. February and March are considered the best months to ski in Taos, with some areas still getting excellent snow coverage in April.

4. Hot Springs, Arkansas

Hot Springs, Arkansas, might not be anywhere close to an ocean, but it’s got all the right ingredients for a relaxing spring break. Hot Springs was dubbed “America’s First Resort,” and for generations, visitors have enjoyed its naturally heated springs and luxurious bathhouses.

It hasn’t always been a cushy getaway. In the late 1800s until the mid-1900s, Hot Springs was a hub for organized crime, with famous mobsters like Al Capone, Bugs Moran, and Lucky Luciano counted among the city’s regular visitors.

Today, that rowdy history makes Hot Springs all the richer. Local venues like the Gangster Museum of America now help capture and preserve the town’s notoriously fascinating past.

Located in the heart of the Ouachita Mountains, Hot Springs also has countless opportunities for hiking, camping, and fishing. If you’re traveling with kids or kids-at-heart, the Magic Springs theme and water park can get your heart racing.

When you just want a fun night out on the town, make plans to attend the Gallery Walk or Antique/Boutique Walk, held on the first and third Friday of the month, respectively. Local shops keep their doors open a little later those nights, and offer free food and live music throughout the evening.

5. Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. Spring Break InfographicThe nation's capital is a great place to visit any time of year, but go in the spring for a few special treats.

Hopefully your spring break will coincide with the National Cherry Blossom Festival (March 20-April 14 in 2024). The three-week celebration features the beautiful Japanese cherry trees, which were a gift from the mayor of Tokyo in 1912, that line the National Mall. Avoid the crowds by going early in the morning or booking a river boat tour along the Potomac.

When you’re in D.C., you need to take in a bit of history, even if you aren’t normally a museum nut. Most museums in Washington are free, so they’re perfect for a spring break on a budget or with the family.

You might also enjoy walking through historic Georgetown. The mansions and other buildings will make you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. Plus, you can’t go wrong with any of the great restaurants when you’re ready to refuel.

Underrated International spring break destinations

1. Oaxaca, Mexico

If your dream spring break trip involves listening to rhythmic waves on a scenic shore, Puerto Escondido and Mazunte in Oaxaca, Mexico, are hard to beat.

Oaxaca (pronounced woe-HA-ca) is a state in southern Mexico with a healthy share of Pacific coastline. Its location, combined with its affordability, makes it a great spring break destination.

Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca has some of the best surfing in this part of the world, making it a major draw for other travelers and tourists. For affordable accommodations, a great selection of food, and an amazing coast, make your way to a stretch of the beach called La Punta. You’ll find plenty of places offering boat tours and surfing lessons, too.

For a quainter experience, check out Mazunte, a one-hour, $20 taxicab away. Mazunte enjoys a chiller vibe and is known for Hridaya Yoga, which offers highly regarded yoga and meditation retreats.

2. Antigua, Guatemala

Guatemala Spring Break InfographicGuatemala is a favorite country of many travelers who find their way to Central America, so why not explore it on your spring break?

Make sure Antigua is on your itinerary. This gem of a colonial city has some of the best-preserved 16th-century Spanish-Baroque architecture you’ll find anywhere. Some say not much about the ambiance has changed since the Spanish left a few centuries ago. 

You can still see the Santa Catalina arch, built in 1694 to allow nuns to cross from the convent to the school on the other side of the street without being seen. Locals claim it’s the most photographed monument in the country.

Don’t let that fool you into thinking Antigua is totally old-fashioned, though. Restaurants and hotels are tapping into the rich Guatemalan and Mayan culture that exists today, offering a wider range of options than you might think.

Be sure to sample some of the iconic national dishes of Guatemala like pepián. Your taste buds won’t be disappointed.

Guatemala also makes our list of inexpensive spring break destinations. Tickets to Guatemala City, about an hour’s drive from Antigua, are usually quite affordable and easy to find from major U.S. airports. Plus, hiking the area’s volcanoes and forests is not only free but a highlight of many a traveler’s experience.

3. Bonaire

Dreaming of the Caribbean but don’t want to go where everyone else goes? Then you want Bonaire, the Dutch island located off the coast of Venezuela.

First of all, Bonaire is part of the ABC islands, known for being the safest places in the Caribbean to travel to during hurricane season. It often gets overlooked in favor of nearby Aruba, meaning you’ll have plenty of pristine beaches and uninterrupted scuba diving right outside your bungalow.

The flamingo is the national bird. You can see flocks of these pink beauties and many other species by booking a bird watching or bird photography tour. There’s also a donkey sanctuary, home to about 800 burros in need of some TLC. The cost of admission — less than $10 USD for adults — and souvenirs goes directly to contribute to the animals’ care.

Make sure you visit the Salt Pans, or pink salt flats. Bonaire is one of the world’s major salt producers today. It’s also the reason the island was a main stop in the transatlantic slave trade. You’ll find evidence of colonial occupation throughout the island, including forts and other monuments.

4. Zadar, Croatia

Croatia Spring Break InfographicYou’d be forgiven for not immediately thinking of Zadar as the go-to place for spring break. Or even for not realizing it’s a top destination in Croatia. Most crowds find themselves in Split or Dubrovnik, many of them coming off cruise ships.

Farther north along the coast of those other cities, Zadar still offers prime beach and everything that tends to come along with a prosperous coastal town: surfing, nightlife, and delicious food.

If you’re looking for an alternative spring break destination to avoid the beach — or if the temperatures are still a bit low for you this time of year — you’re in luck. Zadar is also supremely rich in history. The city was founded by the Romans some 2,000 years ago. St. Donatus Church dates back to the ninth century and, with its domed acoustic-friendly ceiling, is the perfect spot to catch a concert if you can.

Paklenica National Park is about an hour’s drive away in Starigrad. Croatia has eight national parks — an impressive total given that the entire country is smaller than the U.S. state of West Virginia — and Paklenica is the oldest. You’ll also find national parks on nearby islands. Take the ferry or book a sailboat tour to see them.

5. Smithers, British Columbia, Canada

Maybe you’re not looking to escape the cold. Maybe you thrive on low temperatures, fresh snow, and a brisk wind blowing in your face as you hit the slopes. If that’s you, Smithers is your city.

Located in northwest British Columbia — it's closer to Alaska than the continental U.S. — Smithers features world-class skiing, both backcountry and traditional. There are runs for both beginners and more experienced skiers.

Pay close attention to weather conditions, though, as the climate can get tricky this time of year. This far north, temperatures will still be quite cold in March and April during spring break.

You can test your skill at snowshoeing, or for a more relaxed view of the mountains, sign up for an old-fashioned sleigh ride, complete with a campfire stop to warm your fingers and toes along the way.

Travel Insurance for Spring Break

Spring break is the perfect time to cast aside your daily responsibilities and refill your proverbial tank. To really tap into that care-free feeling, you’ll want travel insurance.

Travel insurance protects your money, health, and belongings. While other spring breakers might be stressing about delayed flights or where their luggage ended up, you can rest easy knowing Seven Corners has you covered.

Answer a few simple questions about your spring break trip, and we’ll help you find the best plan for you. Our licensed agents are also ready to answer any questions, and help you customize your coverage.

About the Authors

Luke Armstrong, Becky Hart, and Grace Lower — three Seven Corners writers who know travel — contributed to this article on alternative spring break destinations. Find more tips, tricks, and inspiration from the pros on the Seven Corners blog.

Search Posts

Newsletter alert

Receive our monthly inspiration and travel tips from the travel insurance experts.

  Sign me up

This website and various social media updates provided by Seven Corners contain content, information, articles, videos, and links to websites created by third parties. Seven Corners, its owners, and its employees neither endorse nor are responsible for the accuracy, timeliness, or reliability of any third-party information, statements, opinions, or advice and are not liable for any loss, harm, or damage caused by your reliance upon them. Use of such information or the linked websites is entirely at your risk. Concerns regarding this third-party content should be directed to the third party. Seek professional advice, as appropriate, regarding your use of such information and websites.

Because the information on this website and in Seven Corners’ blogs and other social media is written and compiled using knowledge and information available at a certain point in time, it may become outdated. For that reason, information, events, legal requirements, and product changes (including benefits, limitations, exclusions, and services) may not be up-to-date, complete, or accurate at the point in time it is being read. Again, use of such information is at your risk.