The snow is melting, the sun is shining, and school is officially on break. How do you celebrate? The beach, of course! Not every beach on this list is a Spring Break staple, but there can be certain benefits to roving off the beaten path. We partnered with Expedia to discuss each of these unsung (or lesser-sung) beaches which offer something new and special for a Spring Break vacation that is truly memorable.
Grand Isle, Louisiana
Louisiana is admittedly not the first place most students think of when they think of Spring Break, but this gem of the Cajun Coast could make a strong argument. This is a beach perfect for those looking for a Gulf of Mexico beach without the typical crowds. Fishing, camping, and wildlife enthusiasts in the know travel here in the summers for its beautiful beaches, its great food—and its proximity to New Orleans. The state capital is only two hours north, making it a reasonable daytrip when you want a little adventure.
Carmel-by-the-Sea attracts its fair share of celebrity day-trippers, and there’s a good reason why: the city combines the feel of a classy beach town with some incredibly scenic vistas. Chances are you’ve already seen this rugged, romantic coastline and its iconic cypress trees on the big screen. Spend the day enjoying a picturesque walk down the shore or down Main Street before heading to an evening show at the Outdoor Forest Theater to soak up even more cinematic charm.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Florida
Snorkeling, scuba, kayaking, boating; if the idea of clear blue water and colorful underwater life fills you with a longing to dive in, this is the place! You can either rent a hotel in nearby Key Largo or camp in the park itself—that way there’s less distance between you and the water. The park offers glass-bottom boat, snorkeling, and scuba diving tours of the nearby coral reef. Snorkel and scuba tours also pass by Key Largo’s famous underwater statue, the “Christ of the Deep.”
Cat Island, Bahamas
With pirates, ghost stories, and eerie abandoned plantations, Cat Island is a haunting and dramatic Spring Break destination guaranteed to capture your imagination—an appropriate birthplace for the childhood home of acclaimed boundary-breaking actor Sidney Poitier. The sparkling pink-sand beaches offer a brighter and equally entrancing counterpoint to the island’s wild Armbrister Plantation ruins, many tidal lakes (some said to be homes to monsters and mermaids as well as rays, birds, and baby sharks), and hand-built monasteries.
Literally dive into an adventure in Tulum where subterranean caves, canopy zip lines, and Mayan ruins meet natural springs and rejuvenating spa service. This area on the Mexican Riviera is home to several eco parks which offer explorations of the nearby jungle, ancient Mayan temples, spring-fed cenotes, and astounding rock formations. After you’re done feeding your inner thrill-seeker at locations like Cenote Calavera (also known locally as the Temple of Doom) you can relax and wind down with a rejuvenating yoga retreat or Mayan clay massage treatment.