If the whole drink all night, sleep all day spring break tradition isn’t really your jam, we feel you—we’d much rather be doing some early morning chimneying than recovering from a hangover on our week off. Reconsider your vacation plans with one of these alternative spring break destinations perfect for the outdoor lover (beer tastes better under the stars anyway).
Can we just talk about how incredible a full week in Moab would be? You’ve got scenic Arches and Canyonlands national parks right on the outskirts of town for climbers, hikers, and photographers. For thrill junkies, there’s the 9-mile Jeep trail Hell’s Revenge on Sand Flats Road or the equally lengthy Slickrock mountain biking trail, both offering spectacular views of red earth and blue skies. There’s something for everyone in your crew—water babies will seek out kayaking and rafting in the Colorado River while those up for a little less adventure can relax at the Moab Golf Club or check out the Dan O’Laurie Museum of Moab. You can even pretend you’re really in the Old West by hitching a ride on a backcountry steed at Hauer Ranch before you collapse in your tent with a smile on your face at the end of the day. Sure beats bonging a beer in some cheap Panama City hotel.
Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
Hoards of students flock to North Carolina’s Outer Banks to enjoy cheap beach house rentals, and there’s no shortage of water sports to keep you busy. Just off the cape is a cluster of sunken ships known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” a playground for recreational scuba divers. There’s plenty of surf and fishing spots, and a short drive to the calmer waters of Pamlico Sound affords you pristine windsurfing and kite boarding conditions—two of the most popular activities in the area. Camp out at Frisco Woods Campground, where there’s a pool and hot showers, and you can paddle out on your surfboard with a bucket in tow to search for clams.
Hicksville, Joshua Tree, California
Need some serious R&R? Go way off the grid at Hicksville Trailer Palace near Joshua Tree State Park, a comical and hip little hotel made up of eight themed Airstream trailers, train cars, and tiki huts. It’s a private desert retreat with easy access to some world-class climbing in the nearby park. We want to stay in the alien-themed Integratrailor or the circus-themed Sideshow, but we’re not picky—the resort offers amenities like an outdoor shower, an archery and BB gun range, and fire pits. There’s even a place for Fido at Fort Dog.
If you’re more interested in snow bibs than bikinis, take your snowboard for one last hoorah and spend spring break in Breckenridge, Colorado. Think four huge peaks, five terrain parks, eight bowls, and the highest chairlift in North America, plus easy access to nightlife or the more laid-back vibe of the Arts District, where you can take in the mountain air and just, you know, relax on your free week.
Everglades National Park, Florida
When most people think spring break, swampland doesn’t usually come to mind, but give it a chance and you might be surprised by how much fun you have. The Everglades National Park offers great flatlands hiking through Gumbo Limbo, Pa-hay-okee, and Anhinga Trails. If you’re up for a little more adventure, rent a boat and kayak the 9 Mile Pond, a looped water trail that weaves through mangrove tunnels and starts and ends in an alligator-infested lake. For the brave, try SUPing on a hybrid kayak with Everglades Adventure Tours through remote waterways of the big cypress swamp. At the end of the day, quaint lodges offer affordable rooms if you don’t feel like risking a reptile tent visitor.
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