Spring break is an awesome time for escaping the monotony and hardships of school and spending time with your best of friends. Whether you're in high school or college, looking to travel far from home or near, this variety of unusual, nontraditional spring break trip destinations might just inspire your student group into a unique and memorable spring break 2016!
East Coast Southern Belles - We love the American South for its charming cities, historic sites and landmarks, famed hospitality, and best of all, the price. Many of the top cities of the South are considered budget cities, including Savannah, Georgia. The Southern cities along the East Coast are particularly beautiful and have a plethora of historic significance from Richmond which stood as the capital of the Confederacy to Charlottesville, Virginia, near which Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe made their homes. For sports lovers and thrill seekers, Charlotte, North Carolina, is home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame as well as Carowinds theme park and in the same state you'll find Asheville, opulent city home to the Vanderbilt's mega mansion, Biltmore. No matter which city you choose, or if you tour them all, you're sure to find intrigue, good food, a welcoming hand, and plenty to see and do.
EcoTours & VolunTourism - Sustainable travel is an up and coming sector of tourism and this includes both Ecotourism and Voluntourism. The former, by definition, involves tourism based on supporting conservation efforts and touring natural environments that are often endangered. Ecotourists leave no "footprint" behind and often take part in activities like hiking, biking, kayaking or canoeing, and even zip-lining. Some of the best places in the United States to take part in ecotourism is the Pacific Northwest at Olympic National Park or the San Juan Islands off the coast of Seattle, Alaska's wild frontier, California's Channel Islands, and the islands of Hawaii.
Similarly, voluntourism is based on giving back during your time off, meaning you volunteer during your vacation. Some destinations support voluntourists by offering room and board for a certain amount of volunteering time and the rest may be spent being a regular tourist. Hawaii has a large voluntourism following though you can always find someplace to volunteer wherever you go. Large corporations like Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity are always looking for help and it's a great way to help someone (or something, animal shelters and reserves need help too) in need.
Small Gulf Islands - In the warm, sultry waters of the Gulf of Mexico are dozens of small islands that practically no one pays attention to. Which means...during spring break there will be fewer crowds and it'll be cheaper, usually (there are some islands off Texas which get kinda crowded). From the west coast of Florida to the coast of Texas, these islands offer quaint accommodation and plenty of beaches to lounge around. Florida's Anna Maria Island is one such tropical treasure, a secret kept from popular attention, and without the high rise resorts and franchise restaurants. Sanibel Island, too, is a lovely destination with beaches literally covered in tiny seashells and plenty of dog-friendly accommodations. Fort Myers is another stunning example of a well kept Caribbean-esque secret, though it was the winter home of both Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. If you have the money and the means, and don't mind crowds, perhaps the Florida Keys would interest you as well. Move still further west and you'll find the lovely South Padre Island off Texas' wide coast. Galveston Island, San Jose Island, Mustang, Pelican, and North Padre Island are all accessible as well, with varying levels of amenities and accommodations.
Coastal California -
We recently had a blog on the dream towns on California's coastline and it's worth mentioning again. All along the golden coast which is so beautiful it seems to be cut straight from the movies, you'll encounter dozens of little towns all with the dreamy quality of being too good to be true. In the north you'll find Bodega Bay, used as the setting for Hitchcock's The Birds, and Carmel-by-the-sea, a historic little village where Clint Eastwood was once mayor and home to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, one of the most coveted and beautiful natural destinations in the world. In Southern California you come into Spanish territory and Los Angeles' wide sweeping influence in towns like Capitola, an old fishing village still maintaining its pastel colored houses, and San Clemente, which sits conveniently halfway between San Diego and L.A. with a charming Spanish flair and a reputation for its palm trees. The small towns, unlike the large cities, are also generally considered to be more affordable for vacationers (except the beach regions of L.A. like Pacific Palisades).
Educational Adventures - You may not like this suggestion, seeing as that you're trying to get away from school during break, but here us out. Education is a never ending thing and it doesn't matter where you go or how long you stay, education will seep through the cracks and you will learn, like it or not. For those of you who would rather give in to the pull of education, there are plenty of destinations for you, both budget friendly and otherwise. The historic towns of New England are, of course, always up at the top of the list for people who love to learn - and are generally recommended for any human being, let alone Americans, to visit at least once. Philadelphia and Boston are number one on this list, along with New York City (the first capital of the U.S. and the continuing cultural capital), Washington, D.C., and moving more inland, Chicago, St. Louis, and more. Chances are, you live near a significant city like this. They make for excellent adventures, exploring sites you've never seen and experiencing the city from a whole new perspective. Depending on the type of "education" you desire (science, history, art, etc.) you'll definitely be able to find it near you. Plus, we're sure your parents and teachers would approve!