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Best Affordable College Spring Break Destinations in the United States

Last Updated on April 25, 2022

Come discover the most affordable college spring break destinations!


Finding inexpensive places to go for spring break can be difficult, so with the help of other bloggers around the globe, we have compiled a list of the best cheap spring break destinations in the United States! These spring break trips are from all around the United States and feature a variety of things to do depending on your interests. Traveling as a student can be affordable, so keep reading to discover some exciting and college spring break destinations!

Best Affordable College Spring Break Destinations

Jacksonville Beach, Florida

With 22 miles of white sand beaches and city life at your fingertips, Jacksonville Beach,  Florida is an ideal spring break destination. Jacksonville has an incredible array of fun activities to entertain any type of beach bum. Walk the Jacksonville Pier, go surfing, hiking or biking. There is a nearby surf spot known to the locals as The Poles. However, if you’ve never surfed before there are a couple of local surf shops that offer lessons. 

Stroll the Sea Walk Pavilion at night to catch a free movie or some live music. Otherwise, take advantage of great nightlife and great dining options. Jacksonville beach’s oceanfront clubs and bars are a hit with college students.

Jacksonville has lots of great free transportation options for cash strapped college students which are eco-friendly too! The Jacksonville Skyway is an elevated monorail that offers free transportation around downtown Jacksonville from Monday to Friday. Whereas, the Beaches Trolley bus runs between Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, and Jacksonville Beach. There is also a great bus network, which connects downtown Jacksonville, the beaches, and the greater Jacksonville area. 

For a well-connected city, great beaches, nightlife, and a plethora of activities head to Jacksonville Beach for your college spring break.

Contributed by sustainable travel bloggers Oksana & Max from Drink Tea & Travel.

Dallas, Texas

If Dallas isn’t on your spring break radar, it should be. With frequent flights into both DFW and Love Field, Dallas can be an incredibly accessible and affordable Spring Break destination.

The North Texas metropolis boasts some of the country’s best Tex Mex, cheap craft beer, and a booming arts district. And perfect 70-80 degree weather in spring! Enjoy the Dallas Blooms Festival, with over half a million tulips, at the Dallas Arboretum or head into downtown Dallas. The city is ideal for anyone looking to balance fun, food, and a bit of culture.

If you’re looking for free or cheap Dallas eats and activities, start with the Dallas Museum of Art. One of the largest museums in America, it’s free every day for everybody. Next, hop on the McKinney Avenue Trolley. The historic streetcar is free or donation-based during regular operating hours. Along the trolley route, stop at the Nasher Sculpture Center, Klyde Warren Park, or one of the many coffee shops or restaurants. Don’t miss some good ole Texas barbecue and authentic breakfast tacos.

Alternatively, Deep Ellum is popular for its craft beer brewery, the inexpensive Dallas Comedy House, and weekly, if not nightly, live music. The Bishop Arts District offers diverse street art and independent shops for anyone looking for a unique and fun afternoon.

Contributed by Tori of Tori-Leigh.com

Booking.com

South Padre Island, Texas

Located at the southern-most tip of Texas, South Padre Island has been the stomping ground for Texans celebrating spring break for decades. 
During spring break, the beaches of South Padre Island turn into huge dance parties, complete with live music. The price to attend events varies, but if you purchase a PadreManiac VIP Card ($79.99), you’ll get free access to several events for the week. Including a pool party at Isla Grand Beach Resort. The island is full of affordable hotels and condos located right on the beach, so you’ll never feel like you’re missing out on all the fun. 
If partying at the beach isn’t you’re cup of tea, there are so many other things to do in South Padre Island. If you love being outdoors, take a stroll on the Laguna Madre Nature Trail or sign up for kiteboarding or windsurfing lessons. For animal lovers, spend a few hours on a self-guided tour of Sea Turtle, Inc. where you’ll be able to visit resident sea turtles and learn about the sea turtle population in the Gulf of Mexico. 
Overall, South Padre Island is a great, and affordable, destination for college-aged spring breakers. Whether you’re looking to party on the beach all day or enjoy a relaxing week with your friends, South Padre Island has something for everyone.

Contributed by Michelle of the Pursuing Wanderlust Blog

Denver, Colorado

If you’re itching for a high-octane adventure, you’ve got to check out Denver, Colorado. Nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains, the city of Denver is an amazing budget-friendly spring break option. There are plenty of budget-friendly things to do in Denver, including tons of outdoor adventures. Spring is prime time for a fun-filled day skiing. Loveland Ski Area is only a 45-minute drive from the city and features budget-friendly, world-class skiing options.

After a long day on the slopes, you can stop by one of Colorado’s famous hot springs or have a craft beer at one of Denver’s 148 breweries. Denver is a young town, filled with innovative small businesses and delicious eateries. Find tasty deals at one of Denver’s best eateries such as The Source or Zeppelin Station. Active spring breakers can also hit up one of Denver’s world-class climbing gyms (almost all gyms give student discounts), or even bring their own climbing gear and check out world-class sport routes in Clear Creek Canyon. For trad climbing enthusiasts, head to the classic multi-pitch adventures in Eldorado Canyon. Despite the cooler temps, many of the south-facing walls in these areas are perfect for spring climbing.

Once your muscles are pumped and your energy is spent you can head over to Colfax to catch a rock show or enjoy the bar scene in the Highlands neighborhood. There’s so much fun to be had in Denver, Colorado it will be tough to choose. Get active in America’s adventure sports city this spring break with a trip to Denver, Colorado.

Contributed by Meg Atteberry of Fox in the Forest

Snowshoe, West Virginia

The best spring break I had in college was my senior year: ten of my closest friends spent the week in a house at a ski resort. Some of us were skiers, some were snowboarders and we ranged in ability levels. But whether we were taking it easy on green trails or hitting the hardest black diamonds we all relaxed together after the lifts closed in the hot tubs, cooked a delicious dinner and either checked out the local bars or stayed home partying and playing card games. Snowshoe, WV is the perfect destination for an unforgettable AND affordable spring break!

The mountain hosts the Ballhooter Festival for students in March and it’s always a good time. There’s a huge free concert held right in the village on Saturday night (recent headliners include Theory of a Deadman, Clutch and CKY) and on Friday night if you’re of age you can sample craft beers at Brewfest. There are competitions and games going on throughout the weekend, but the best event is the legendary pond skim! In a pond skim skiers and snowboarders fly into a long, shallow pool of water – hilarious for all involved! Although it may be tempting to head to a bigger resort, Snowshoe is a great value. Despite being on the east coast and easily accessible for both Northern and Southern colleges, the mountain has a wide range of trail levels and Western Territory boasts 1.5-mile long black and double black diamond trails – the closest thing you’ll get to out west!  

Contributed by Summer of Traveling Summer

Saint Petersburg, Florida

When it comes to affordable spring break destinations, St Pete (FL) is definitely worth a mention!  If you love beaches you will be able to discover some of the best in the country such as St Pete Beach, Caladesi Island, Honeymoon Island and of course Clearwater Beach, which was voted number 1 beach in the USA in 2019. Perfect to soak up the sun during the day and party at night! If you like water activities, you can rent a kayak or paddleboard and go out and explore the bay. You’ll probably catch a glimpse of dolphins! Once you’ve had enough of relaxing head to downtown St Pete. You will find many bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. It’s also home to Jannus Live, a very unique outdoor music venue. There are gigs every night (including some free ones). St Pete is way more than just a spring break destination. It’s also a culture and art hub. You will find many museums and art galleries. During your stay, it’s also worth going to Tampa. Tampa is a way bigger city and has loads to offer. You can go and see one of the Tampa lightning matches at the Amalie Arena, experience the thrill of Busch Gardens (theme park) or visit Ybor at happy hour. Bernini’s serves $3 martinis until 7 pm, every day!

St Pete is a very affordable destination. A lot of students live in St Pete which means a ton of free activities: beaches, museums, parks… You will be able to find accommodation for less than $60 a night. What about food, I hear you say. Well, you’re in luck then with loads of food markets and street food available downtown you’ll be able to grab some amazing grub for less than $8. You’ll be able to do all these amazing things and much more while enjoying some of the most beautiful places in the sunshine state!

Contributed by Pauline of BeeLoved City

Las Vegas, Nevada

You wouldn’t think it, but Las Vegas is a fantastic budget Spring Break destination for college students in the U.S. While it’s totally possible to have an extravagant visit to this iconic city, there are plenty of budget options for hotels and activities if you know the right places to look. 

Las Vegas is a great destination for students because there is tons to do and explore, from hiking day trips to quirky museums. And for the student who wants to spend their break relaxing? Vegas is for them as well – most Vegas hotels have beautiful pools where you can spend the day soaking up the sun. 

There are many free activities in Las Vegas that will keep you occupied for days on end. Visit the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat, explore the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, watch the Bellagio’s fountain show, or spend an evening watching free entertainment at the Fremont Experience. If you’d like to drop by some of Vegas’s many museums, the Mob Museum, Neon Museum, Burlesque Hall of Fame, and the Nevada Museum of Art are just a few of the museums that offer student rates. 

For students who have car access, there are great day trips that can be taken from Vegas which are easy on the budget. Red Rock State Park and the Seven Magic Mountains art installation are both less than an hour drive from Vegas. If you’re up for driving a bit further, Death Valley National Park is a fantastic spot for scenic hikes. 

Want to know all the hacks for a trip to Vegas that won’t break the bank? Read Erin’s Guide to visiting Las Vegas on a Budget.

Contributed by Erin of Pina Travels

Washington, DC

Washington DC is the perfect city for an affordable, domestic spring break destination. The most cost-efficient way to get there is by flying or taking a car if you live just a few hours away. Every single museum and attraction located within the national mall in the heart of Washington DC is free to visit! With the exception of a $1 online reservation fee per ticket for some of the most popular museums.

You heard me right! Once you’ve arrived in DC and paid for a hotel, you don’t have to pay for any attractions if you don’t want to. You’ll just need some cash or money set ahead in your account for food (which can also be very affordable with so many quick service options and local grocery stores nearby). I recommend looking for an Airbnb in the area to save money or share a hotel room with a few friends. If staying near the downtown area, there is no need to rent a car—saving you even more money.

With so many free attractions there will be something of interest to everyone. Start a visit to Washington DC with a stop by the spectacular Botanical Gardens, home to a vast variety of plants, trees, and flowers from every corner of the earth. Or if the free museums are of more interest, start with the National Air and Space or National Museum of Natural History. Both have several fascinating exhibits with thousands of displays to explore. Visit Washington DC for a spring break you’re guaranteed to love…and save some money while you’re at it!

Contributed by Ann of Ann Plans Travel. Read more about the FREE museums in Washinton DC in Ann’s guide!

Panama City Beach, Florida

Panama City Beach, Florida is a beautiful yet very affordable spring break destination that is perfect for this year! If you and your crew are looking for a place with beautiful beaches situated in an area with lots of activities and adventures around, then head on down to PCB! 

Depending on where you are traveling from, many people choose to drive to Panama City to save money, or there is also a Panama City airport. For accommodations, the city is home to very affordable beachfront hotels and condos compared to other beach destinations. 

If you’re looking for a spring break party scene with beach bars and clubs, Panama City has it. But if you’re wanting a more relaxed spring break vacation, Panama City also offers that. That’s why this is the best spring break town because you can have a little of both! 

The 27 miles of coastline really is the best part of PCB. Make sure to soak up the beach and sunsets as much as you can. You can also visit the area’s state parks, like Camp Helen and St. Andrews where all you’ll have to pay is the entrance fee (it’s usually under $10 per vehicle)!

Contributed by Hannah & Adam Lukaszewicz of GettingStamped.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach, SC is a popular destination for people of all ages but holds a particular interest for college students as a spring break destination. Myrtle Beach features plenty of picturesque beaches along a 60 mile stretch on the Atlantic Ocean as well as plenty of fun-filled activities and attractions that are perfect for the college-aged student, including a boardwalk, arcades, amusement parks, nature walks, restaurants, and nightlife.

Free or inexpensive attractions for college students in Myrtle Beach are plentiful. The top attraction, of course, is relaxing on the beach. There are plenty of beaches that you can enter free of charge, such as the beach along the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk or Surfside Beach. Some beaches may require a fee for entrance, but these are usually pretty low, and will give you access to less crowded beaches.

The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk is a great option and you can choose how much you want to spend starting at $0. If you choose you can enjoy the boardwalk at no cost with enjoying a stroll along the boardwalk, taking in some gorgeous ocean views, and likely find some sort of entertainment going on along the stretch. If you choose to you can also spend some time souvenir shopping (there are many discounted stores along the walk), or take a ride on the Myrtle Beach Sky Wheel for views of the city and ocean. Prices for this are relatively inexpensive at $14 per person.

Tip: If you are traveling to Myrtle Beach with a large group of friends, consider renting an oceanfront home or apartment. There are a variety of options that will give you direct access to the beach and although the total price of the rental may be pricey, if you split it amongst the group the price will be relatively low. When we visited, we rented an entire apartment with 4 bedrooms and beachfront access and it came out to about $300 per person for the week.

Contributed by Melissa of Navigation Junkie

New Orleans, Louisiana

Oh, New Orleans, the city of non-stop festivals, great food and incredible history.  This fabulous city should be on everyone’s bucket list, especially those looking for an affordable college Spring Break destination in the U.S.  Not only can you find affordable accommodations this time of year, but New Orleans also has economical food and drink options sure to fit any budget.

There are so many things to do in New Orleans that you could visit numerous times and never have the same experience.  Start your time in New Orleans by getting to know the city and its vibrant culture.  After grabbing some beignets at the low price of 3 for $5, spend some time roaming around Jackson Square.  Here you can take in the street performers, view some awesome local art, and take awesome selfies in front of St. Louis Cathedral, all free of charge! 

After this, head a few blocks north to Royal Street.  Here you can admire the beautiful architecture of New Orleans while popping into the many art galleries that line the street.  Again, free of charge!  When the evening hits, head down to the popular Frenchmen Street to take in New Orleans’ great music scene.  There is something for everyone on Frenchmen Street, from reggae to jazz.  Just walk down the street listening to the sounds streaming out of the open doors of the clubs.  Find one that suits you and walk in. 

Of course, these are only a few ideas of how to spend Spring Break in New Orleans.  One thing is for sure, you will not be bored in this city!

Submitted by Michelle of That Texas Couple

Booking.com

Tampa, Florida

Kanupriyaa of Sunset Jeans let us in on what it’s like visiting Tampa, Florida! “I visited Tampa during the spring break in Junior year and being honest it was a pretty amazing trip. I travel solo so I booked an Airbnb near Clearwater beach to travel between the beach and the Airbnb easily. This destination is very affordable for college students due to the low cost of admission for most attractions and beach restaurants all across the beach strip that have an abundance of good cheap food to enjoy. This is a more laid back vibe than Cocoa beach or Miami on the Florida east coast which is why it’s great for students that are looking for a party but not be caught up right in the middle of the crowd. 

The Clearwater area I stayed in is famous for its pristine beach and good tanning opportunities. Pier 60 Park which lights up at night from a hundred different vendors and food stalls is right next to it, perfect to grab a quick bite or chill after a day spend soaking in the sun. Right behind the Pier, the Clearwater Bay offers dolphin and dinner cruises. On my cruise. we managed to see 3 dolphins within an hour so I definitely recommend booking one of these. And lastly, if you are the adventurous type, you could head down to St. Petersburg an hour away and partake in some kiteboarding lessons which will get your blood going quick. 

I am a beach junky but I do not particularly like beach crammed with a hundred drunk frat boys in the same vicinity so this town provided me with the perfect place to escape for the week and turn golden.”

San Francisco, California

San Francisco has a reputation for being an expensive city, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be enjoyed on a college student’s budget. With its culture, famous sights, and delicious food, San Francisco is a perfect spring break destination for a college student who wants something a bit different from the typical beach trip.

One of the best things about San Francisco is that many of its top sights are free to see! Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge, seeing the famous Painted Ladies from Alamo Square, riding the famous cable cars, observing the sea lions at Pier 39, and zig-zagging down Lombard Street are all fun and free things to do. With so many free things to do, you can use the money you save to get a ticket to Alcatraz, which is a must-do when visiting San Francisco. Tickets for the standard Alcatraz day tour are about $40, but it is well worth the cost. Make sure to reserve your tickets in advance!

San Francisco is also home to several wonderful museums, many of which offer student discounts! The Exploratorium, de Young Museum, California Academy of Sciences, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art are just a few of the museums that offer discounted tickets for students or young adults – don’t forget to pack along your student ID!

Contributed by Sydney of A World in Reach

Alburquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico is the Southwestern state’s biggest city and it’s a great off-the-beaten-path spring break destination for college students! Flights from major airports are typically inexpensive, it hosts an Amtrak station for train riders, and it’s an easy road trip from most of the Midwest. The weather in spring ranges from the mid 60s to low 80s with cool night breezes, perfect for outdoor explorations or camping. The cost of living is low, with lots of inexpensive or free places to explore. Lodging is typically cheap, with at least one student hostel option in the area. You can’t drive far without running into cheap and delicious restaurant options, like any true college town. There are many diverse cultural learning opportunities along with an active art scene (the infamous Meow Wolf is only a day trip away) and beautiful scenery, something for everyone.


Outdoorsy young adults will love Albuquerque with its desert climate and beautiful views; plan on hiking Sandia Peak, exploring the canyon at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, floating down the Rio Grande River, or taking a day trip to see lava tube caves (El Malpais National Monument), ancient carvings (Petroglyph National Monument), a super volcano super crater (Valles Caldera National Preserve), or ancient dwellings carved right into the cliffs (Bandelier National Monument).

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Pam & Kathrine

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