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Spring Break Ideas: Avoid the Crowds!

DON’T WANT TO SPEND YOUR MUCH-NEEDED VACATION FIGHTING FOR SPACE AT THE BEACH, POOL OR RESTAURANT? THEN SKIP OUT ON THE MORE OBVIOUS GETAWAY SPOTS IN FLORIDA, MEXICO AND THE CARIBBEAN AND MAKE A BEELINE FOR THESE UNDER-THE-RADAR SPRING BREAK DESTINATIONS.


By Cailin O'Neil, Eagle Creek

You’ve been waiting for months to take a much-needed post-winter getaway—so the last thing you want to see upon arrival are hordes of other tourists heading for the same hotels, beaches and restaurants that you are. Who wants to spend their getaway fighting for a small square of sand, getting jostled at a bar or avoiding a wet t-shirt contest? That’s why travelers in the know avoid the most heavily visited Spring Break destinations—Cancun, South Beach, Punta Cana and the Bahamas—and instead choose to travel to under-the-radar spots that boast near-perfect weather and stunning scenery. Pay a visit to one of these four alternate destinations and you’ll guarantee yourself an amazing trip—without sharing the memory with every other Spring Breaker on the beach.


Bypass: Cancun, Mexico Book: Costa Rica

While the Central American nation of Costa Rica might be best known for it’s lush rainforests and friendly locals, it also boasts mile after mile of exotic beaches. You can learn to surf along one of the country’s renowned Pacific coast breaks, (the town of Tamarindo is a top-notch spot for surf schools) or soak up the sun along the Costa Rica’s broad swathe of Caribbean coastline. Wildlife lovers can get a thrill watching leatherback turtles wriggling up the sand during nesting season or by hiking through one of Costa Rica’s innumerable national parks (we recommend Manuel Antonio or Corcovado).


Bypass: San Juan, Puerto Rico Book: Cartagena, Columbia

Love the juxtaposition of cool colonial culture and incredible Caribbean beaches? You’ll find both—minus the crowds—by heading a little further south to one of world’s hottest new getaway spots. Just a two hour flight from Miami (five from New York), Cartagena is rapidly becoming known not just for its gorgeous, preserved 17th century Spanish architecture and always-on nightlife scene, but for its incredible cuisine that blends the best of local coastal flavors with influences from all over the world. Because the U.S. dollar is still fairly strong in this South American destination, you can splurge a little on an inventive meal—or a few—without busting your vacation budget.


Bypass: South Beach, Florida Book: Scottsdale, Arizona

If you’re a traveler who’d rather spend the day sunning by the pool than stretched out on the sand, then consider Scottsdale—a destination singularly devoted to relaxation in the form of sun, water and fresh air. Here, you’ll find several sprawling resorts with some of the most impressive pool decks and spas anywhere in the country, and no shortage of nearby hiking trails where you can find a little quiet and peace of mind. You can spend the full week unwinding in your own perfect desert oasis, or split your vacation time by heading north (250 miles) to catch a view of the Grand Canyon along its spectacular South Rim.


Bypass: The Bahamas Book: Grand Cayman

Can’t imagine a Spring Break getaway without an endless ribbon of sugary white sand? You’ll find one of the prettiest and longest stretches of coastline in the Caribbean at Seven Mile Beach, located on the island of Grand Cayman. While there’s no shortage of real estate on which to place your towel here, you may find yourself lured away by the promise of an even more spectacular setting—below the surface of the aquamarine blue sea. The Cayman Islands are widely regarded as having some of the best and most pristine scuba sites in the world, with healthy coral and long-ranging visibility. Once you’re settled in, check with a local PADI dive center to schedule a scuba trip or learn more about getting certified for your first undersea adventure.
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