Spring Break For Grown Ups: Top 5 Destinations

By Randy Yagi

It’s that time of year again when thousands of college students venture out on their spring break vacations with their besties. But just because it’s an annual rite of spring for the college aged crowd, it doesn’t mean that grownups can’t also have a good time when winter is left behind and radiant flowers start appearing across the nation’s landscape. While most of the ultimate spring break destinations may seem fairly obvious for young people, such as Daytona Beach, Panama Beach, South Padre Island and Cancun, grownups actually have a far larger selection of places to visit. The following are just five of the best spring break destinations that are perfectly suited for grownups.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Hilton Head Island

With summerlike conditions by early April and a wealth of outdoor activities, Hilton Head is an excellent choice for spring break, especially for golf and tennis lovers and families with children. Located along the Atlantic Coast in South Carolina’s Low Country region, Hilton Head is a barrier island that’s distinctly shaped like a running shoe or perhaps more appropriately like a tennis shoe, since this resort town is home to more than 350 tennis courts in addition to 24 championship caliber golf courses.

The vast majority of accommodations on Hilton Head are beachfront rentals and upscale golf and tennis resorts, many of which have access to private beaches, such as Montage Palmetto Bluff, Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort, Sea Pines Resort and Palmetto Dunes. While golf is clearly a top draw, with nationally ranked golf courses like Harbour Town Golf Links, May River at Palmetto Bluff and the Robert Trent Jones Course as well as its associated world class tennis centers, Hilton Head is also a popular destination for biking, kayaking, whale watching and even surfing.

In addition to spacious vacation rentals with full size kitchens and dining rooms, there are plenty of excellent restaurants all over the island, many of which specialize in fabulous Lowcountry dishes like She-crab soup, gumbo, shrimp and grits and crab cakes. Among the more than 200 restaurants on the island, some of the best are Ela’s Blu Water Grille, Live Oak, Skull Creek Boathouse and A Lowcountry Backyard.

Related: Best U.S. Honeymoon Destinations

Las Vegas

With several hotel swimming pools reopening in early March, Las Vegas is one of the most popular spring break destinations for college students. But in spite of the presence of hordes of twenty-somethings and overcrowded resort pools, Vegas is also a top springtime draw for other generations. What’s more, with an abundance of world-class hotels, exceptional dining and world-class entertainment, grownups will have no trouble enjoying a quick spring getaway in the Nevada desert.

While many Vegas hotels are widely known as spring break hotspots for the college-aged crowd, such as the Hard Rock, and Mandalay Bay, others like Mandarin Oriental and Bellagio are better suited for grownups who don’t need to pile 10 people into a room. Along with the world’s largest selection of hotel rooms, Vegas also has an amazing collection of acclaimed restaurants, such as Joel Robuchon, Restaurant Guy Savoy, Michael Mina and the new Zuma Las Vegas.

As the Entertainment Capital of the World, college students will be hitting the premier nightclubs into the wee hours on the Las Vegas Strip. However, grownups might prefer trying their luck at the casinos, hitting the golf links or enjoying a Las Vegas show, with upcoming headliners like Rod Stewart, Elton John, Steely Dan, Vince Gill and Céline Dion, all with multiple performances this spring.

Phoenix

As many college students leave for the beaches and warmer weather in Florida or elsewhere, others will be enjoying a spring getaway in the Sunshine State and in Arizona for a completely different reason. Throughout March and into early April, thousands of baseball fans will descend upon several coastal cities in Florida, as well as the Phoenix metropolitan area for spring training, when Major League Baseball begins its early preparations for the 2017 season.

While any spring destination will be an excellent choice for grownups, the greatest concentration of ballparks can be found in the Greater Phoenix area, particularly in the suburban cities of Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, Glendale and Peoria. But it’s not just baseball that attracts people to the Arizona desert; it’s the splendidly warm temperatures, several outstanding attractions and other outdoor activities like hiking, climbing, tennis and particularly golf. With nearly 200 golf courses, including acclaimed spots like We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, SunRidge Canyon and Troon North, the Phoenix area is unquestionably one of the world’s best golf destinations and with approximately 330 days of sunshine annually.

After a full day of baseball, golf or some other activity, grownups will want to enjoy a meal and relax at one of the many extraordinary luxury resorts in the area, including the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain, the Canyon Suites at the Phoenician and the Royal Palms Resort and Spa.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


San Francisco

Like other great American cities, San Francisco offers a little bit of everything in the springtime, from cultural attractions to iconic landmarks. However, it more than often takes a grown-up’s salary to be able to enjoy the city’s leading hotels, with the average price of a room reportedly close to $400 a night and with more restaurants routinely offering a chef’s menu of over $200 per person.

Nevertheless, there is a multitude of reasons why San Francisco continues to surge in tourism and leading hotels like the Intercontinental Hotel, Loews Regency, St. Regis Hotel and Fairmont Heritage Place, Ghirardelli Square always seem to be in perpetual demand as well as more moderately priced hotels like Hotel Zephyr, Axiom Hotel and the Inn at Union Square. Moreover, as one of the world’s best destinations for food, San Francisco’s culinary scene is scorching red hot with several phenomenal places to dine all over the city.

While no list of outstanding restaurants can ever truly be complete, among the top recommendations are Michelin-starred places like Benu, Luce, Kin Khao, Quince, Saison, and Mosu, to more affordable yet equally stellar dining experiences at EPIC Steak, Fang Restaurant, Roka Akor, Tratto and Waterbar, as well as the fabulous new food emporium China Live SF.

If some of the world’s best food isn’t enough to convince grownups to visit this spring, they shouldn’t forget the prospects of visiting such world renowned attractions as the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island in addition to illustrious museums like the de Young, SFMOMA and the Legion of Honor or perhaps reward themselves with a soothing spa treatment inside a luxury hotel such as the St. Regis’ Remède Spa or acclaimed boutiques like Spa Radiance. As an added incentive to visit the City by the Bay, the world famous wineries in the Napa and Sonoma counties are just an hour’s drive away.

Santa Fe

With recent awards placing it among the best cities and best vacation spots in America, Santa Fe is an easy choice for grownups seeking an exceptional spring getaway. Also known as the City Different, Santa Fe also is rapidly gaining broader distinction for its phenomenal culinary scene and its striking collection of Spanish/Pueblo-style architecture is like no other destination on the planet and with more reasonable rooms rates than many other leading American cities. For instance, acclaimed hotels like the Inn of the Governors, Hotel Santa Fe and Inn and Spa at Loretto may all be booked for under $150 and even luxury resorts like Four Seasons Ranch Encantado offer rates far less than San Francisco’s lofty daily average. As one of America’s top food cities, Santa Fe has no shortage of exceptional restaurants, particularly those specializing in delectable Southwestern cuisine, such as La Choza, El Nido, Cowgirl and Tomasita’s, as well as vegan friendly spots like Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen.

While the ski season might be nearing an end at the award-winning Ski Santa Fe, the City Different offers a variety of springtime activities such as biking trails, river rafting on the legendary Rio Grande and championship caliber golf, as well as premier attractions like the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Loretto Chapel, San Miguel Mission, gourmet chocolate tasting at Kakawa Chocolate House, Santa Fe School of Cooking and the immersive art experiences at Meow Wolf, which in less than a year has become one of the most popular attractions in Santa Fe.

Related: 7 Most Photogenic Cities In The U.S.

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