A great spring-break vacation doesn’t need to break the bank. Whether you’re exploring a cool city or lounging on the beach, you can beat the winter blues with a budget spring break.
It doesn’t cost a dime to enjoy Washington, DC’s culture and history, especially during the Cherry Blossom Festival when the city is awash in delicate white and pink blossoms. Free events during the two-week-long festival in early April include cultural performances, fireworks and a parade. There’s no charge for the main event — the stunning trees framing the Tidal Basin and around the Washington Monument. The bargain continues at the city’s renowned Smithsonian Institution, the network of 19 free museums and galleries.
Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Jamaica is a popular spot for the spring-break party crowd, but families can find fun for a bargain at the Beaches Boscobel Resort and Golf Club. This all-inclusive resort boasts five restaurants, six bars and one super cool water park with nine twisting slides and kiddie pools. A wide selection of supervised kids water activities are part of the package, also including Sesame Street events for the preschool set and gaming for tweens and teens at the XBOX 360 Game Garage.
Sanibel Island, FL
Spring break falls during Sanibel Island’s high season from February to April when the weather is perfect and shelling along the sandy shores is at its best. Rent a bike and explore the 22 miles of bike paths and you’ll not only save on gas, but explore the island’s beaches and parks more easily.
You can explore Pike Place Market with your wallet intact, if you can exercise willpower at the nearly 200 shops and restaurants, and both admission and parking are free at the Frye Art Museum. The Space Needle may be the skyline’s defining characteristic, but the Sky View Observatory offers panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains.
Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
Playa Del Carmen is Cancun’s classier neighbor with the same stunning beaches, but a more refined atmosphere. It’s a spring-break bargain less than an hour from the easily accessible Cancun airport. But if the resort atmosphere and 24-hour free-for-all isn’t your thing, try a dive package with Tank Ha Dive Center. Divers set off on intimate tours to explore the area’s reefs and cenote caverns and spend the night in budget accommodations around the town square.