Great spring break getaways for every taste
Say “spring break,” and most people think of sun, sand, and girls-gone-wild throngs of college students. But for couples and families, there’s a wide world of options. You can find adventure, tranquility, or natural beauty.
Whatever your dream spring break is, the odds are good that you’ll be traveling this year – or at least wishing you could. Despite sky-high gas prices, Americans are planning to get out town for a few days. The most popular places are California, Hawaii and Florida, according to statistics compiled by American Express Travel.
“We’ve had a really great year so far,” says American Express Travel Insider Lesley Trudelle. “A lot of travelers are looking for really authentic and culturally rich experiences – from spending a week at a dude ranch to finding their inner historian in Colonial Williamsburg. Of course, sun and sand will also always be popular.”
Our favorite beaches range from Florida's barrier islands to Hawaii to Huntington Beach, a.k.a. Surf City USA. To that list, we've added some rock-climbing in California, culture in Washington, D.C., and a handful of other great destinations. If you want to avoid the crazy college crowds, shake off the winter doldrums with one of our ultimate spring break getaways.
Sun and surf
Grab a board this spring and hit the waves in Surf City, USA, where nearly 10 miles of sandy beaches draw pro and amateur surfers from around the world. Located 40 miles south Los Angeles, Huntington Beach is a year-round fun zone that offers world-class surf, extensive bicycle and pedestrian paths along the shore, volleyball courts and hundreds of beach fire rings, popular spots for evening bonfires and s'mores parties. Take a surfing lesson, walk the city's 1,583-foot pier--one of the longest in the world-- or play with your dog on a beach reserved for Fido and friends.
Hollywood's back lot
Nicknamed Hawaii's Garden Isle, Kauai is a lush tropical paradise with picture-perfect landscapes that draw a steady stream of tourists and movie companies. Among the films shot here: "South Pacific," "Jurassic Park," "Pirates of the Caribbean," and most recently, "The Descendants," with George Clooney. The island is also popular with adventure seekers, who hike the challenging 11-mile Kalalau trail along the Napali Coast, soar on a zipline above 17,000 acres of plantation land, or hike Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.
Join in the "Nation's Greatest Springtime Celebration," in Washington, when the National Cherry Blossom Festival kicks off. The festival, which focuses on the blossoming of thousands of cherry trees on the Tidal Basin, is scheduled March 20 through April 14, but officials are always a little worried about the peak bloom date. But that hasn’t affected plans for a major celebration, including a parade on April 13, concerts, fireworks and a kite-flying festival.
And there’s much more to see and do in the capital: monuments, museums, the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian. One popular way to tackle the city is with a hop-on-hop-off trolley tour, which is flexible enough to give you time to see the things that mean the most to you. Another favorite is a nighttime tour of the city, which is stunning when lighted. And if your timing is right, there’s always the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, scheduled for April 1.