4 Best Alternative Beach Destinations for Spring Break

Napali Coast on Kauai

Written by Jane Chertoff on

Jane Chertoff is a freelance lifestyle writer who enjoys traveling and exploring with her Chihuahua, Cesar. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

Napali Coast on Kauai

Spring break for millennials has grown up. Forego those bleary-eyed mornings and focus your beach vacation around healthy activities like kayaking and hiking instead. Here are four fun alternative spring break spots that will be high on adventure and low on those pesky crowds.

Back in the day, when you were in high school and college, spring break as a student probably meant buckets of beer, Señor Frogs, and the most budget spring break destinations you could drive to in your friend’s van. Oh, precious memories...

Now, when you travel, instead of throwing your dirty laundry in your parent’s old luggage, you bring your rolling carry-on, pack your neatly folded clothing in a packing cube, and organize your toiletries in a matching packing set.

Your luggage isn’t the only thing in need of an upgrade, though. Now that you and your friends have grown up—at least a little bit—it’s time to rethink where you head for spring break.

That means focusing on a different type of beach vacay. (You know the kind without hangovers or regrets.) Look out for destinations where you can hike, kayak, relax at the beach, and even enjoy a glass of wine at the end of the day.

Here are four of the best ‘alternative’ spring break beach destinations, from Kauai to La Paz Mexico to Key Largo, Florida. (And if you still aren’t sure what to pack, here’s a handy checklist.)

1. Kauai, Hawaii

When it comes to a beach destination that offers it all, Kauai might top the cake. In addition to beautiful shoreline, this “quiet” little Hawaiian island also offers world-class hiking trails, delicious food (don’t miss the poke bowls and shaved iced!), and adventurous activities like zip lining and windsurfing. You can even go off the grid. Just don’t come here looking for a lot of nightlife—that’s all on Waikiki.

2. Key Largo, Florida

While the classic spring-break college kids flock to Miami beach for the nightclubs, say adios as soon you land at MIA, book a rental car, and don’t stop until you reach Key Largo. Island living on this small Key is all about water sports like snorkeling, scuba diving, and sport fishing, so you’ll have plenty of chances to stay active. End your days with a drink overlooking the crystal clear water.

3. Dominica

Don’t get it confused with the Dominican Republic—you won’t find any large resorts on nature-packed Dominica. This mountainous island is, however, home to a tropical rainforest, hidden gems, and endless hiking trails to explore. So bring your best daypack and prepare for epic daily adventures. (Plus, you’ll need one to store plenty of sunscreen!) Dominica also boasts black sand beaches that aren’t as crowded as other islands (and certainly not as crowded as iconic spring break hotspots in Florida and Mexico), so you can feel like you’ve unlocked your own little piece of paradise.

4. La Paz, Mexico

Forget Acapulco, if you’re looking for a laid-back visit to Mexico, set your sights on La Paz. Located just two hours north of the party town of Cabo, La Paz feels like a different world. You’ll find low-key accommodations like glamping sites and beach bungalow hotels. Activity options include stand up paddle boarding, trying to spot sea lions and whale sharks while you scuba dive, and visiting art galleries of local artists. Every evening you can find tacos to enjoy overlooking the sea.

Now that you’re ready to enjoy your own adventurous alternative spring break, don’t forget to do the adult thing and pack appropriately (that means plenty of sunscreen!) so you’re covered for all your adventure.

Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):

Unknown Found: Into the Wild on the Island of Kauai

Exploring the Hidden Gem Island of Dominica

Ultimate Packing List: Spring Break Edition