Spring break is a much needed chance to get away from all the stresses of school and spend some quality time with your besties. Taking a trip is the ultimate way to recover before the semester ends and to make memories with your friends, but it can definitely take a toll on your wallet if you don't know where to look. Luckily, there are lots of fun affordable spring break destinations where you can have tons of fun (and get all the cute Instagram photos and TikTok content) without completely draining your life savings.
Here are the best cheap spring break ideas for a memorable week with your besties.
If you're looking for the ultimate warm weather spring break destination, Orlando, Florida has it all. From theme parks like Universal Studios and Disney World to beaches, pools and amazing food and shopping, Orlando is the perfect destination for students as well as adults of all ages. When you feel like doing the most, spend your days (and nights!) hitting up theme parks with your friends, riding roller coasters, snapping content of all the delicious and grid-worthy food, and living out your Disney, Harry Potter, and/or Star Wars dreams. If you love rollercoasters, water rides, Harry Potter, and movies, make sure you stop at Universal Studios. You'll want to block out at least two days to get it all in and have time to stop at Island of Adventure and Volcano Bay. Then on days when you just want to chill, head to the pool and soak in the sun.
Stay at The Grove Resort and Water Park, and you never have to leave your hotel to have the most amazing trip. They have an water park on site, with everything from a lazy river and a surf stimulator (if you've always wanted to learn to surf, now's your chance — this feature couldn't be cooler) to epic slides. Or just chill poolside in your very own cabana. When you're ready to mix it up, head out on Lake Austin for a guided pontoon boat tour (the content you'll capture is worth it alone) or take out kayaks, swan boats, or fish from the pier. The rooms and suites are spacious and provide a great backdrop for selfies. Booking one of their suites is a good idea if you have a group. They come with kitchens and living areas, so you can make some of your own food or order in and have spots to hang out together. You can also head down to the family fun center to play arcade games or a round of mini golf when you're looking to get out of the sun. They have several food options on site so you honestly never have to leave, but when you're ready to, they have daily shuttles to Universal Studios and Disney World, making it easy to do it all.
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
If you're looking for a beachy getaway, Punta Cana is a beautiful budget-friendly option. Plenty of resorts in the area are all inclusive (meaning food and drink are part of the package) and offer reasonable rates. Plus, the weather is always beach ready.
Philadelphia is known for its deep connections to American history and cheesesteaks, but the city has so much more to offer. The city's waterfront has all kinds of attractions like built-in hammocks, roller skating in the summer and ice skating in the winter, and much more. Plus the city is home to the largest outdoor art gallery. That iconic, Instagram-worthy LOVE sculpture is out there too so be sure to snap a pic for your feed.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans has a culture and vibe all its own. Just walking down the street can make you feel like you're in a whole new world. If you're a foodie, this is definitely a city for you to explore.
Even though the city is known for its nightlife there's so much more to discover. Jackson Square in The French Quarter is full of American history and it's a popular spot for artists. And with St. Louis' Cathedral (one of the oldest in the country) right there, there's a lot of religious significance.
There's tons of museums, a bunch of spots for live music and art with so much of it within walking distance of each other.
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Take all that money you were saving to go to Vegas and head to Atlantic City instead. You can still have a great time with your friends on the beaches (and boardwalks!) and gaming without the Vegas price tag. Bonus: Jersey is close to NYC, so if you're about that city life you can pretty much go on two vacays.
You don't need to spend every cent to your name on a flight to the Amazon in order to get a taste of the outdoors. Just head over to Big Cypress Lodge in Memphis, Tennessee and check out all that nature has to offer INSIDE a 535,000-square-foot pyramid in the middle of downtown. Big Cypress Lodge has your hotel room, all your meals and a ton of entertainment options all under one roof. Located inside the Bass Pro Shops Pyramid with views of the Mississippi River, Big Cypress Lodge features 100-foot tall trees, a swamp with live alligators and a variety of fish, the nation’s tallest freestanding elevator, a bowling alley and many additional attractions. Even if there's bad weather, you'll still have a good time as the sights are all indoors. Your spring break is about to get totally EPIC.
Grand Canyon Village, Arizona
If you're looking for a more outdoorsy adventure, the Grand Canyon is one of the best places to check out especially around spring break season. There are a number of hotels and restaurants nearby and plenty of opportunities to hike and take in the gorgeous views all around.
There's plenty of things to do around Washington D.C., especially if it's your first time visiting. From all the incredible museums and monuments to the rich history that surrounds the city, you will never get bored. Also, spring break usually falls within the start of cherry blossom season, making it the perfect time to visit and watch them bloom.
Austin is perfect for any music lover looking to check out new bands and performers every single night while they're there. As Texas' capital, there's also a number of museums to check out. Also, some spring break dates fall within the famous SXSW Festival, which includes programming and events from technology to TV and movies, making it the perfect place to check out and get close with some of your favorite celebrities.
San Fransisco, California
San Fransisco is known for a lot of things, including its bustling city life and diversity. It has a huge LGBT-history, especially in the Castro District. It is also known for being the best place to check out musical theater shows before they hit Broadway or even see well-known shows like Hamilton.
First and foremost, Nashville is known for its legendary country music, so if you're a major music fan, this is the place to be. You can catch a show at the Grand Ole Opry House or tour the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. But if that's not your scene, don't worry! Grab a bite to eat instead. Trust me, this city has amazing southern food, like chicken and fried catfish.
Key West, Florida
Fun fact: Key West is actually Florida's southernmost point, and it's about 90 miles north of Cuba. Other than that, the island city is also known for its beaches, art galleries, and cute shops. Sure, you're on a budget, but that's doesn't mean you can't bring back a couple of souvenirs. Find the best places to shop over here.
Portland has super laid-back vibes, which makes it the perfect vacation spot for any teen who is in desperate need of a break from homework and exams. Whether you take up a yoga class or check into a spa, you'll find a way to unwind.
If you want to practice your French or take Insta-worth pics on cobblestone streets, Montréal is definitely worth a visit. Plus, there are so many sights and landmarks to see, such as the Notre-Dame Basilica (Montreal's oldest Catholic church) and Olympic Park, which helped host the 1976 Summer Olympics.
Salt Lake City, Utah
This might seem like a stretch for spring break, but hey, just think about Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's movie, Getting There. If you remember, they took a road trip to Salt Lake City for the Olympics and literally had the best time! But Olsen twins aside, this city has so much to offer, especially if you're all about the outdoors.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
This beach has all the major components of a good vacation spot, including water and amusement parks. Not to mention, it's home to the SkyWheel, one of the country’s tallest ferris wheels! For the record, it stands over 20 stories above the Atlantic Ocean.
Daytona Beach, Florida
Can't afford Miami? Don't sweat it! Known as the “World’s Most Famous Beach,” Daytona Beach really is the best place in Florida if you're on a student budget. And if you want to switch things up after a few days on the beach, check out these super crazy water parks with your squad.
Tamara Fuentes is the current Entertainment Editor at Cosmopolitan, where she covers TV, movies, books, celebrities, and more. She can often be found in front of a screen fangirling about something new. Before joining Cosmopolitan, she was the entertainment editor over at Seventeen. She is also a member of the Television Critics Association and the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
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