What You Need to Know Before You Head Out on Spring Break

Have fun and stay safe with these tips and hacks.

Related To:

Spring break is practically a rite of passage for college students and other millennials. But some hot spots have enacted curfews and restricted alcohol use, so check out the local laws before you go. Then use our hacks and tips for fun in the sun at one of these popular destinations:

Surfing at South Padre Island in Texas

Surfing at South Padre Island in Texas

A girl rides some waves at South Padre Island in Texas.

Photo by: South Padre Island CVB

South Padre Island CVB

Bahamas. Nassau and Freeport are popular choices in this group of 700+ islands off the tip of Florida. Go swimming, snorkel or opt for many water sports. The nights crank up with a variety of Bahamian music including Goombay, Junkanoo and Rake and Scrape.

Cancun. Located on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Cancun offers beautiful beaches by day and clubs with top DJs at night. If you can tear yourself away from the sand and surf, visit the nearby Mayan ruins.

South Padre Island. Kiteboard, surf, hop a jet ski, find a pool party or go clubbing on this barrier island along the Texas Gulf Coast. Don't miss South Padre Island's Spring Break Beach Party (check their website for dates and details).

Panama City Beach. Known as the “Spring Break Capital of the World,” PCB has miles of sugary white sand, concerts, beach bashes, nightlife and more. Bring the sunscreen, a towel and your favorite shades.

Panama City Beach in Florida

Panama City Beach in Florida

Spring break is a busy season for Panama City Beach in Florida.

Photo by: Visit Panama City Beach

Visit Panama City Beach

Cabo San Lucas. Parasail, surf, crawl the bars or take a sunset cruise from this Mexican resort town on the tip of the Baja California Peninsula. A sister city, San José del Cabo, lies about 18 miles away.

Miami Beach. “America’s Rivera” welcomes spring breakers each year to its Art Deco hotels; Cuban, Caribbean, Asian and American restaurants; and beaches. Clubs often stay open until dawn, making Miami/SoBe--that's Miami and South Beach--the spot to be.

Spring break cruises are trending, and the parties aboard ship are as fun as any at your destination. Paolo Parisi, co-founder of College Party Cruises, puts an emphasis on staying safe, too. “(A) huge concern for students as well as parents is safety… On our cruises, no matter where you are on the ship, you are never more than a few hundred feet from your cabin. This means no cab rides, getting lost in scary areas, or sharing the road with drunk drivers," he says.

On Board the College Party Cruise

On Board the College Party Cruise


Photo by: CollegePartyCruise.com


Las Vegas. What can’t you do in this Nevada city that never sleeps? Eat at a fabulous buffet or hit a burger joint. Sunbathe, play the slots, float in a luxurious pool, take in a comedy show, or rent your dream car (restrictions apply). You might even run into Elvis.

Punta Cana. Located in the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana is a little more than a 2-hour flight from Miami. It's a favorite spring spot for its casinos and clubs by night, and sun-soaked, coral sand beaches by day. Try a catamaran sail, zip line through the rainforest or just relax and party.

New Orleans. Louisiana’s Big Easy is an hour away from a Mississippi beach on the Gulf Coast, and about two more hours from Florida beaches. Bourbon Street goes round the clock to make up for the drive to the shore scene. Listen to live jazz, blues and rock music; feast on Creole or Cajun food; and down a hurricane or frozen daiquri.

Tips and Hacks:

*Hot weather and alcohol don’t mix. You feel the effects of drinking faster when the temperatures climb and when the water’s warm in the pool, ocean or hot tub.

*Watch the weather. Storms can move in fast, so go to a safe place if you see lightning, hear thunder or experience strong winds.

*Lock your valuables in your trunk or hotel safe.

*Don’t drink and drive, of course, and if you use a taxi, Lyft or Uber driver, check their names, phone numbers, and license numbers against the info you're given when you book.

*Don’t flash your cash or go solo to an ATM.

*Take your drink with you if you leave a table or bar. You don't want anybody to add anything to your beer or cocktail.

*Stay close to friends, and make sure everyone is always accounted for.

*Drinking can make sunburns worse. Slather on the sunscreen before you imbibe.

*Don’t swim alone, and wear the proper floatation devices for water sports.

*If you plan to travel outside the U.S., do your homework, and find out if you need a passport and/or visa. Then apply early for any required documentation.

Next Up

7 Fun Things to Do on Your Fort Myers Vacation

From sunset kayaking to delicious eats, there is so much to explore in southwest Florida's island sanctuary.

6 Fun Day Trips from Washington, D.C.

There’s a lot to do in our nation's capital but sometimes you just want to get out of town. Here are six fun day trips.

7 Things You Can't Miss on Kauai

As one of the oldest islands in Hawaii's chain, this lush destination has much to offer.

4 Must-Try Portland Brunch Spots

Dishing up a lot more than just bacon and eggs.

11 Things Not to Miss in San Francisco

Christine Williams and Jules Hatfield from Don't Forget to Move, tell us how to do San Francisco right, on  a shoestring budget.

What to See and Do in North Carolina's Crystal Coast

Boardwalks, lighthouses, wild horses and more.

10 Wild West Family Adventures

Discover how Buffalo Bill, U.S. soldiers, railroaders and Pony Express riders opened the west.

Memphis: An Insider's Guide to This Funky Southern City

Experience the city's lesser known wonders.

Be Fit And Fabulous in Hawaii

Health and wellness are trending in paradise.

The Newest Reasons to Visit Miami Beach

Learn about Miami Beach's newest hotels, restaurants and more.