5 Affordable Spring Break Destinations That Are Fun
By the time spring break rolls around, most of us are ready for a change, especially given this winter's record-shattering weather. But the laws of supply and demand put the popular destinations off limits for frugal vacationers. There are deals to be found nonetheless, and here's our list of off-the-beaten track destinations for your well-deserved spring break getaway.
Curacao, Southern Caribbean.An all-inclusive resort may be the ticket for keeping the tab manageable when travelling to a tropical locale, like Curacao. You know upfront how much you'll be spending and can expect few surprises. All your food, drink, and some recreational activities are included. Many resorts on this island also offer hotel and flight packages, which may save you even more. Run the numbers with airfare and without to ensure you're getting a deal. And when figuring out how far your budget will stretch, remember to factor in tips for the resort staff (cleaning service, room service, and the like).
An all-inclusive resort vacation in Curacao works for a family or a couple. Look for marketing language like "adult only" or "family friendly" to help distinguish among the options. Many resorts also add in extras that increase the value. At Sunscape Curacao, for example, activities like windsurfing, kayaking, and rock climbing are part of the prepaid package, as are age-appropriate kids camps.
Vermont.While many of us associate spring break destinations ous with warm and sunny, don't overlook deals up north. Vermont is chock full of ski resorts, organic farms, and maple syrup, a winning trifecta for an adventurous and cheap vacation. Skiers can find many resorts offering discounted rates through early spring. A "Kids Ski and Stay Free" package is available through April for families that ski and stay in and around Stowe. Lodging is discounted up to 25 percent at select hotels and adult lift tickets are reduced by 15 percent. Other special deals throughout the state during March and April include lift tickets as low as $25 and lodging up to 30 percent off.
Vermont is famous for its maple sugar industry and March and April are peak syrup-making season. Spring break is your chance to indulge at destinations like Sugarbush Cheese and Maple Farm in Woodstock, a 90-minute drive from Stowe. You can visit the sugarhouse to see how maple trees are tapped and taste the end product. Many maple sugar farms in the state, including Sugarbush, are free to visit and provide a cheap, fun, and educational activity when you need a break from the slopes.
Washington, D.C.The nation's capital abounds with free activities that appeal to families and college students alike. The monuments and Smithsonian museums are always free, but the city takes on a special glow around spring break during Cherry Blossom Festival. The festival's three-week run features fireworks, a parade, and performances like the Blossom Kite Festival. Cherry blossom trees line the walkways around the Washington Monument, making this a destination not to be missed.
Photo by flickr.com/.Eromi
The Washington Metro is the best bet for cheap transportation, especially when stacked against the cost of parking and/or renting a car. To get the best value, avoid peak times, weekdays from 5:00am to 9:30am and 3:00pm to 7:00pm. On Friday and Saturday nights, peak times include midnight up to closing at 3:00am.
Accommodations and food are not particularly cheap in D.C. Budget hotel rooms within walking distance of popular landmarks cost about $150-$200 a night; lodging on the outskirts of the city goes for about $100 a night.
Biloxi, Mississippi.Biloxi, located along the Gulf Coast, is one of the South's hidden gems. Back on the map after Hurricane Katrina's wrath, the city offers sun, sand, historic landmarks, and gambling aplenty. Unlike many spring break destinations in the South, you can get a hotel room here at spots like the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino for a nightly rate of $100 or less. Even if gambling isn't your cup of tea, the hotel boasts a collection of music memorabilia that is definitely worth a stop.
The greater Biloxi area is suffused with history, and much can be experienced free or cheap. The Historic Train Depot is home to the Alice Moseley Folk Art & Antique Museum and the Bay St. Louis Mardi Gras Museum (both no charge). Visit Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library, for a minimal admission fee. The 51-acre estate is also home to a Confederate cemetery and the grave of Davis's father, Samuel.
Photo by flickr.com/slap757
For a special treat, take a day trip to New Orleans, about 90 miles away.
Montreal, Quebec.A trip overseas usually doesn't make for a cheap spring break, but some of the European charm can be enjoyed close to home. Head up to Montreal and stroll through the city's center, Vieux-Montreal (Old Montreal), where you'll walk on cobblestone streets surrounded by stunning architecture. Other free sites include Mile End, a neighborhood filled with artistic delights; Olympic Park; St. Patrick's Basilica; and TOHU, a venue for all things circus.
While booking your lodging, check out cheap rental properties instead of hotel rooms. These cozy stops offer many more comforts of home than a hotel room and some can be yours for as little as $60 a night. Budget hotel as accommodations start at about $50 a night; more upscale rooms near the city center go for about double that.
Make the most of your Canadian sojourn by hopping the Montreal-Quebec City train for a starting price of $29 each way.