If you’ve managed to fight the icy cold of Winter for the past three months, let’s face it – you’re long past due for a proper vacation. But does a rejuvenating Spring Break getaway necessarily mean spending a fortune on your vacation? No, of course not! Let’s break down the best value destinations for you to have all the fun without any of the stress of breaking the bank. Whether you’re traveling with your family, friends, or a big group, you should have the fun Spring Break vacation you deserve. Here are five options for Spring Break trips that combine low lodging and food costs, affordable flights from the U.S., and an abundance of free things to do in the area – making these some of the best value vacation destinations this year.

1. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Famous for its forty-something miles of breathtaking beaches, lush tropical palms, gorgeous Caribbean-blue waters, and throngs of all-inclusive resorts, the Dominican Republic is an ideal Spring Break destination.

Whether you want to dive straight into the watersports scene at the beach, head to the spa, or spend your days golfing at one of the many top golf courses on the island, there’s a relaxing vacation for everyone in Punta Cana. There’s no shortage of things to do in Punta Cana when it comes to activities, and (since most of the resorts are all-inclusive) you may never need to leave your resort. Most resorts offer plenty of water and land activities along with entertainment, from ATVing to horseback riding, ziplining, and canopy tours. And for the fishing lovers out there, Punta Cana offers unique fishing charters and tours that give you the opportunity to catch local fish such as bonita, kingfish, white and blue marlin, amber jacks, dorado, and others.

The Dominican Republic is busy (and warm!) year-round, but Spring is an especially beautiful time in that country – the days usually have average highs around 80°F and not a rain cloud in sight! My personal choices for some of the best resorts in Punta Cana include the All-Inclusive Dreams Palm Beach and the Adults-Only, All-Inclusive Barcelo Bavaro.

Spring Break Destinations - Punta Cana

2. Aruba

Spring Break Destinations - Aruba 1Aruba’s tagline is “One Happy Island”, and it’s easy to see why. With crystal-clear Caribbean waters and miles-long stretches of white sand beaches, it’s hard not to be happy all the time on this little island oasis. Aruba is an ideal escape from Winter in the States and one of the most popular spots in the Caribbean for group trips, honeymoons, or just a long weekend getaway. Although Aruba may feel a million miles away, it is actually very easy to get to the island from the United States (there are direct flights of only a few hours from most airports in the Southeast).

Spend your days relaxing on the beach, windsurfing, exploring the island by jeep, or taking a sunset cruise. Make sure to stop by for lunch at Zeerovers – an ultra-casual seaside beach shack with some of the best flash-fried seafood in the World.

Keep in mind that prices are higher in March (it’s still high season), but if you wait until April, you’ll see prices drop as much as half per night in most of the best hotels, including The Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino – home to the Instagram-famous Flamingo Beach.

Spring Break Destinations - Aruba 2

3. Puerto Vallarta & Sayulita

With beautiful beaches, a colorful culture, and warm weather year-round, Puerto Vallarta is tough to beat for a Spring Break getaway. Average flights from the U.S. are under $350 round trip. Awesome and affordable value resorts like The Grand Miramar or Playa Los Arcos can make for a great home base for your vacation on Mexico’s Sea of Cortez. And if you’re saving so much elsewhere that you want to splurge a bit on your hotel, you can also check out the All-Inclusive Casa Velas or the All-Inclusive Fiesta Americana, both gorgeous luxury 5-star hotel options in Puerto Vallarta.

If you’re looking for more of a secluded, boutique hotel in a trendy village outside of the city, head about 45 minutes out of town to the hip little town of Sayulita. There you can stay at Hotel Boutique Siete Lunas or Hotel Vista Oceana Sayulita. Sayulita was originally a tucked away fishing village but has turned into a trendy surfer town with plenty of delicious restaurants, cafes, and chic little hotels surrounding its colorful downtown.

Spring Break Destinations - Sayulita

4. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

If you look up Spring Break in the dictionary, you might just find photos of Cabo San Lucas. Located on the tip of Baja California, Cabo San Lucas is especially affordable for West Coast-based travelers looking to make their Spring Break escape farther south. Popular with Californians, college students, bachelors, bachelorettes, and wedding parties, Cabo has something for someone at every age group. And the best part is that it’s one of the most affordable vacation destinations. Cabo San Lucas’s stunning beaches are free to access (as are its world-famous lively streets). Food is exceptionally affordable as well (taco stands and margaritas for every meal, anyone?), and many of the resorts are all-inclusive, including the Grand Solmar and Hacienda Del Mar, making them ideal group getaways where you won’t have to worry about splitting the bill even once.

During the day, head to Medano Beach for water activities like banana boating and parasailing or take a boat to Cabo’s famous Lovers’ Arch – the tip of Baja California where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez. At night, couples should head to the romantic Sunset Da Mona Lisa restaurant for the most beautiful sunset view in Mexico, while the more rowdy groups should head to El Squid Roe for some tequila and dancing.

5. Key West

Key West, nestled at the southernmost tip of the Florida Keys, is a small island with a big personality. It’s an easy drive from Miami (you’ll likely be able to find cheaper flights into Miami than to Key West directly), and the warm tropical weather, relaxed atmosphere, delicious seafood, free-flowing rum, and world-famous rowdy bars like Hog’s Breath Saloon make it a perfect destination any time of the year (but especially around Spring Break).

If you decide to ride a bike around the island during the day (something I highly recommend), be sure to stop at Blue Heaven for brunch. For hotels, the Pier House beach hotel is ideally situated to be your base, perfect for soaking up the Caribbean views and enjoying a frozen tropical sunset drink…or four.

Spring Break Destinations - Key West

If warmth, beautiful beaches, luxury, and affordability are your criteria, you won’t be disappointed with any of these choices! Each also offers its own taste of local culture and hospitality – not to mention a variety of activities and experiences. Wherever you choose to go on your Spring Break this year, these fantastic destinations have something for everyone. Hopefully this article was a great place for you to start your planning.

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