Slacking on Spring Break planning? These ten spots from the Caribbean to the Colorado Rockies are sure to deliver all the thrills for an unforgettable escape from campus life. Here are the 10Best, and buzziest, party destinations of 2015.
1. Miami, Florida
South Beach is known for its white sand and warm water, as well as its party scene — Photo courtesy of GMCVBA favorite among the college crowd for the South Beach party scene, Miami's more up-and-coming neighborhoods are drawing a younger–and hipper–crowd who not only want white-sand beaches, but also stunning street art and craft brews. After a day soaking up the sun and sand, explore Wynwood Art District's changing street murals and pop into one of the neighborhood's new breweries.
2. San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
San Juan del Sur is a top surf destination in Nicaragua — Photo courtesy of Brian Johnson and Dane KantnerSurfers on a budget love hitting the waves in San Juan del Sur. Just an hour and a half from the colonial city of Granada, this popular beach town on the Pacific Coast is the perfect low-key getaway with all the right ingredients for a no-stress Spring Break: fresh seafood, cheap beach bars, and spectacular sunsets.
3. Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Colorado
Crested Butte Mountain Resort has small-town charm and great ski slopes — Photo courtesy of Nathan BilowSpend Spring Break hitting the slopes in Colorado at a more student-friendly resort than flashier spots in the state like Aspen and Vail. The former mining village still has small-town charm, as well as 1,500 skiable acres and three terrain parks for those working on new tricks. Don't miss out on après-ski Colorado craft brews at the saloons.
4. Panama City Beach, Florida
Panama City Beach has 27 miles of beaches prime for tanning and partying — Photo courtesy of Panama City Beach CVBAn easy roadtrip for college students studying in the South, Panama City Beach is the ideal pick for a Spring Break MTV-style. With 27 miles of white-sand-boasting beach clubs and free concerts, there's no lack of things to keep you busy. Hop on a booze cruise, take a party bus pub crawl, or attend a glow paint party in this destination that helped give Spring Break its party reputation. Even better? There are tons of deals on beachside condos and resorts.
5. Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Playa Tamarindo is a surf lover's paradise — Photo courtesy of Jarle NaustvikWhether you're a first-time surfer or a pro, Tamarindo has waves to satisfy all skill sets. Set in Guanacaste on the Pacific, this laid-back bay offers budget-friendly beach bungalows and hostels, but still has a party scene with beach bars drawing a younger set of travelers who are in search of waves as well as an eco-escape. Explore the nearby natural parks and rain forests by horseback or zip line through forest canopies.
6. Barcelona, Spain
Explore Gaudí's colorful architecture at Park Güell — Photo courtesy of Lane NiesetSince Spring Break isn't high season yet in Europe, snag a last-minute flight to Spain and dance all night in Barcelona's discotheques and clubs. This city is really one that never sleeps, starting with late night tapas and sangria and ending with Tequila shots. During the daylight hours, bask on the beach or admire Gaudí's architecture you've learned so much about in art history class.
7. San Juan, Puerto Rico
Old San Juan is known for its colonial charm and blue cobblestone streets — Photo courtesy of Meet Puerto RicoSan Juan is no longer seen as just a cruise port of call. Twenty-somethings are flocking to the Caribbean island's capital for its natural beauty and colonial charm, and you don’t even need a passport to get here. Those under 21 will also be happy to know the legal drinking age here is 18, so order the island's national drink–piña colada–and relax on the stunning white-sand beaches, also home to top surf spots.
8. Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas throws some of the best hotel pool parties and nightclubs in the world — Photo courtesy of Las Vegas News BureauSin City gets its nickname for a reason, but these days Las Vegas is sprouting more world-class restaurants and shows than strip clubs. Try celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis' new Italian restaurant, GIADA, overlooking the Bellagio fountains, before making your way to the pulsating bars and lounges lining the Strip, like TAO Nightclub or Marquee. And while you may be in the middle of the desert, daytime is all about pool parties, and Vegas has some of the best in the world.
9. Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Swim or snorkel in one of the many cenotes in Playa del Carmen, like this nearby one at Rio Secreto — Photo courtesy of Riviera Maya DMOCancun is a spring break favorite, but just south in Riviera Maya lies its up-and-coming little sister, Playa del Carmen. Flights from most East Coast destinations are relatively cheap, and you can find great boutique or all-inclusive hotels on the beach that are close to downtown's vibrant nightlife scene. Spend your days snorkeling and your nights barhopping along La Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue), stopping into famous nightclub and cabaret Coco Bongo.
10. Austin, Texas
The clubs and bars on Sixth feel like Bourbon Street — Photo courtesy of Austin Convention & Visitors BureauIf live music and a killer food scene are higher on your list than sandy beaches, Austin is the place for you. For Southern style bars and clubs, make your way Downtown to historic East Sixth Street, dubbed "Dirty Sixth" thanks to the mass crowds of college students partying in the streets New Orleans-style. For a more relaxed scene, have a craft cocktail in the historic bungalow homes-turned-bars lining Rainey Street. Still want some sort of water activity to feel like it's Spring Break? Go stand-up paddling through Downtown Austin on Lady Bird Lake.