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20 Spring Break Ideas to Explore the South

20 Spring Break Ideas to Explore the South

With winter fading and spring starting to blossom, college students and families alike are looking for safe and COVID-minded spring break destinations after being cooped inside last year.

And with our Spring inspired bikini collection, now is a perfect time to get outside and explore as the world opens back up.

With so many hot spot destinations to choose from, favorites like Salt Lake City or San Diego are always included in lists like these. However, being a Florida-based company, we tackled this a bit differently.

We decided to stick almost exclusively to the southern United States and a few destinations further southward. We attempted to balance this list by including some absolute must-see locales as well as tucked away hidden gems.

Whether you decide to go to a resort, get your tan on beachside, shop the local delights, or explore the outdoors, the southern United States will delight you (and your family) this spring break. Just don’t forget to pack the essentials!


Cocoa Beach, Florida

This quiet, little city is in what is called Florida’s Space Coast. The name refers to the region around the Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

While NASA and space exploration may not attract everyone, Cocoa Beach is full of nifty little places to check out.

With the beach itself and the Cocoa Beach Pier offering plenty of ways to explore the coastline. Parasailing and surfing are especially popular around this area. So much so that the first Ron Jon’s Surf Shop started here and is home to the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame.

So if you’re big into the sport and would like to catch some waves while remaining stylish, TeenyB’s surf shorties and sporty halter bikini top options are the way to go.

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Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Further north, we find ourselves in North Carolina’s oldest natural attraction. Its name deriving from a legend involving an almost Romeo & Juliet-like tale of two warring Native American tribes.

Since 1933, the town, which takes its name from the natural landmark, has offered quaint down-home charm with stunning natural views that offer the best of both.

The natural rock formation offers stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains which make this spot a must-see for nature lovers, hikers, and outdoors enthusiasts of all stripes.

On the other hand, if you are looking for “weirder” fare, be sure to check out Mystery Hill which boasts a natural gravitational anomaly.

If weird is not something you’re into, Blowing Rock also has ongoing events, like “Art in the Park” and the “Melt Down Games” of which we highly recommend. You can find more events through the town calendar, which can be found here.

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Cancun, Mexico

A stunning jewel of Mexico, Cancun often tops destination lists, and it is easy to see. Blessed with the second-longest coral reef in the country, fantastically preserved Mayan sites, and inclusive resorts, it’s a no-brainer really!

The beaches and coral reefs beg to be visited, but the many Mayan ruins that lay just outside the city proper are worthy to check out as well.

The first Maya ruin to visit lays within what is called the Hotel Zone and inside the city itself, called Las Ruinas del Rey. Meanwhile, the site of El Meco can be found in the North near Punta Sam. Other sites such as Muyil and Kohunlich also can be found on the mainland.

Whether you are a beach bum or a history buff, Cancun is a perfect blend of free-wheeling beach nightlife and quiet Mayan structures, making a Cancun vacation a surreal blend of the modern and the ancient.

We’d be remiss to advise that travelling via land into Mexico is currently prohibited to “essential travel”, meaning if you would like to visit Cancun (or Mexico in general) you will have to fly into the country. Ideally, you should get tested and get fully vaccinated prior to travelling and to return to the US, you will need a proof of a negative COVID test upon entry back into the States.

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Panama City, Florida

This city is an absolute paradise for water lovers; kayaking, sailing, paddle boarding, kiteboarding, fishing, scuba diving, and snorkeling are all on the table in Panama City. Just don’t forget your sunscreen if you plan on staying out all day!

With world-class beaches just minutes away, Panama City is perfect for those looking specifically for a beach-themed spring break in a city that gets passed over the larger cities of Pensacola or Tallahassee.

Don’t fret though, Panama City also has a ton of great food and shopping locales which can make for a great reprieve from the beach.

However, we would be remiss to not mention the two nearby state parks if you are more into an eco-adventure than kayaking. Another hidden gem in the undeveloped Shell Island that is only accessible by boat.

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Nashville, Tennessee

If you are a fan of country music, Nashville is a city already close to your heart. Aptly nicknamed “Music City” Nashville prides itself with its long and storied history in shaping modern American country music with sites like the Grand Ol’ Opry, its famed Music Row District, and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Unsurprisingly, there are plenty of honky-tonks and live music venues to get your fill.

However, even if you do not listen or like country music, Nashville still is a great place to spend your spring break at.

With a variety of regional cuisines such as hot chicken sandwiches, its regional variant on barbeque, and the hot fish sandwich, Nashville is a little-known foodie’s paradise. Luckily, due to its plethora of colleges, great restaurants and shops are in abundance all over the city.

Unlike other locations on our list, Nashville offers a different type of spring break. One that is less about the beach and more about the nightlife, the music, and cuisine of a truly American city.

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Titusville, Florida

Titusville is one of Space Coast’s crown jewels. The city offers a down-to-earth place to explore outer space via the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex that lays just west of where the Space Center is located.

Other additional outer space attractions abound in the city, such as the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame and the US Space Walk of Fame and Museum. Unsurprisingly, the city’s closeness to NASA and space exploration has earned Titusville the nickname “Space City USA”.

However, venture just outside Titusville and you’ll stumble upon gorgeous wildlife areas like the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and the Canaveral National Seashore, making Titusville another priceless spot to either explore the stars or Earth’s riches.

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Florida Keys, Florida

The Florida Keys are another common destination for spring breakers, and it is easy to understand why.

This string of islands feels more Caribbean than part of the United States with its gorgeous palm trees and dazzling white-sand beaches. The islands are popular for fishing, boating, and snorkeling and many of our customers rock our more sporty swimwear options while spending the day out on the water.

With over 1,700 islands making up the Keys, only 30 are inhabited. The most popular being Key Largo, Marathon, Key West, Big Pine Island, and Islamorada. Key West often being the highlight with a history that includes former US presidents, Ernest Hemingway, and a close-knit relationship with Cuban culture.

Whichever island you decide to visit, the Florida Keys are a magical place that is simply unlike anywhere else in the world. Its unique geography, lifestyle, and overall vibe are unparalleled.

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Amelia Island, Florida

The southmost island of the Sea Islands, Amelia Island has a unique and vibrant history involving the Spanish, the British, and the US. The Sea Islands are a group of islands that span from South Carolina to northern Florida.

With its pristine beaches, countless luxury resorts, and golf courses, Amelia Island has a bit of everything for everyone, golf for Dad, luxury spa pampering at the resort for Mom, and kid-friendly beaches.

Amelia Island lays just 40 mins north of Jacksonville, making a quick day visit to the island easily accomplishable. Or vice versa depending on your preference. Either way, the charm of Amelia Island is that it flies under the radar when compared to other spring break vacations, making it a quiet place to recharge and relax for your spring break.

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Charleston, South Carolina

Having personally been to Charleston a little over two years ago, we can tell you this city is amazing. But just don’t take our word for it.

With a storied history involving religious tolerance (having the second oldest synagogue in the United States), the creation of the Gullah community, and a mélange of English, West African, French, and Southern US cultures, Charleston almost feels more like New Orleans in attitude and outlook than other Southern cities.

From historic landmarks like Fort Sumter, the City Market, and the Battery and various Civil War-era day and night tours, bumping up against more modern structures like the impressive Arthur Ravenal Jr. Bridge that dominates the skyline and the Patriot’s Point, Charleston is a city that fully embraces its past while looking to the future.

It’s delicious seafood cuisine, historical buildings along Rainbow Row, and the city’s cultivation of its local music scene and venues all create an experience that rivals NOLA while offering something a bit different at the same time.

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New Orleans, Louisiana

Like Charleston before it, New Orleans is a city like no other. A mix of French, Spanish, African, and US influences that make the city an intoxicating brew of cultures, cuisines, styles which birthed one of the greatest cultural influences America has given to the world, jazz.

Many know the city for its loose drinking laws, holidays like Mardi Gras, and anything-goes party atmosphere, which all make this city a haven for spring breakers, but peel back those obvious things and you’ll find a city full of quaint charm, hearty food, and friendly people.

Food is another staple of this city. From gumbo, etouffee, crawfish boil, po’boys, jambalaya, the muffuletta, and the beignet are all absolute must-haves for any food fanatic and be found all over the city. However, our favorite spots to check out are 1,000 Figs, Bacchanal, and Cochon which show a bit more variety to traditional New Orleans cuisine.

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Atlanta, Georgia

The largest city in all of Georgia, Atlanta sprawls outward in every direction and feels more like a “Northern city” than others on the list. Like New York City before it, Atlanta has welcomed waves of immigrants as the city become a transportation and commercial hub after the city was razed to the ground during the Civil War.

However, most recently Atlanta has become a cultural mecca for foodies as well as hip hop lovers. From ethnic establishments to traditional Southern cooking, Atlanta has it all. Meanwhile, since the emergence of rap and hip-hop as mainstream music genres in the later 2000s, Atlanta has become ground zero for the hip hop music industry, a title that once belonged to New York and Los Angeles in the 90s.

With something for every taste and interest, Atlanta is a great city to spend your spring break at if want to check out something that is not attached to a beach.

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Savannah, Georgia

Perhaps the most quintessential southern city out of our list, Savannah, Georgia is what we all imagine a city of the South to be. Old cobblestone streets, Spanish moss hanging everywhere, and palatial estates abound in this jewel of the South.

So much charm abounds with its expertly place greenery like Ellis Square, Washington Square, or Forsyth Park, Savannah has an old-world glamour like NOLA or Charleston, while having the personality that makes it perfect for a romantic and intimate couple’s getaway.

Outside of its historical beauty, Savannah has a thriving music and art scene with various jazz clubs and comedy theatres around the city like Savannah’s Community Theatre and the Coastal Jazz Association putting on various shows throughout the year.

However, if you still want to have a beach-centric spring break, Savannah has its little islands that offer oceanside experiences like the famous Tybee Island and Saint Simon Island. Perfect for fishing as well as their respective lighthouses too!

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Galveston, Texas

Originally part of the Spanish Empire, then the Mexican Empire, the capital of the Republic of Texas, and then finally part of the United States, Galveston (and Texas too) has a long and winding history. But this city on an island fuses Texas swagger, Hispanic roots, tropical paradise, and down-home hospitality into one big whole.

Called the “Playground of the South” with the Historic Pleasure Pier and Schlitterbahn Water Park, Galveston is perfect both for the solo spring breaker or as a family trip for spring break that crave the beach as the main attraction.

Outside of its notable beach attractions, Galveston holds a special place in African American history as the origin of Juneteeth, the holiday celebrating emancipation after the Civil War.

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St. Pete Beach, Florida

This picture-perfect locale is one of Florida’s best seaside spring break spots with its notoriously soft, pillowy white sand.

This city lays on a barrier island on the state’s western coastline just a hop, skip, and a jump from St. Petersburg. However, do not let this little island city fool you, as it offers a wealth of sights and activities.

One of the must-see spots is surprisingly an art museum, but not just any museum. But the Dali museum. Recently built in 2011, the museum holds over 2,000 pieces to the master of Surrealism, Salvador Dali. Like the artist’s own unique vision, this museum itself is a work of art. While this may not appeal to everyone, it is still certainly worth checking out for a more relaxed day.

Outside of the museum, St. Pete Beach is unsurprisingly aimed for the beach, with watersports and guided kayaking trips being in abundance while fantastic dining establishments line the boardwalk that allow you to soak up the sights outside. Perfect for the family or couples!

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Greenville, South Carolina

This fast-growing city is located halfway between the sprawling Atlanta and the millennial hotspot of Charlotte, which makes Greenville a little-known gem of the Upcountry when it comes to spring break trips.

Greenville was named one of the “Top 100 Arts Small Towns” and features many local artists operating both studios and galleries. The annual event Greenville Open Studios allows visitors and locals alike to wander and explore the city’s vibrant arts scene in a self-guided tour across the city.

Greenville also has two wonderful art museums. The first being the Greenville County Museum of Art which holds works from modernist masters such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, and Jasper Johns. The second being the Bob Jones University Museum and Gallery which has on display a diverse collection of master European masters.

However, outside of art, Greenville boasts a scenic one-of-a-kind suspension bridge overlooking a waterfall and sits tucked along the Blue Ridge Mountains making Greenville the perfect artsy, outdoors spring break destination for all-comers.

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Blairsville, Georgia

Uncrowded, serene, and breathtakingly beautiful, the great outdoors calls out in Blairsville, Georgia. Natural beauty abounds in both the town and county, with the Chattahoochee National Forest encompassing nearly two-thirds of the entire county, as well as the Appalachian Trail cuts through the National Forest as well.

Another main attracting is the Brasstown Bald, which is the highest peak in all of Georgia. Extending more than 4,000 feet above sea level, this mountain peak has gorgeous vistas of the surrounding and the Blue Ridge Mountains themselves.

Finally, Vogel State Park is another local gem to check out during your stay with beautiful hiking trails throughout and Lake Trahlyta that lays at the center of the park.
Unlike our other picks, Blairsville will appeal to the outdoorsy types exclusively, but if unplugging, staying off social media, and exploring the outdoors sounds like a great spring break, Blairsville cannot be topped.

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Mexico City, Mexico

One of the largest cities in the world with a population rivaling that of New York City, Mexico City is a true world city and offers a variety of experiences.

From its Aztec origins (from which some of our print bikinis take inspiration) to Spanish colonization to the present, Mexico City features all three steps apart. From the hanging gardens of Xochimilco, the historic Spanish buildings like the Metropolitan Cathedral and National Palace, and the iconic Angel of Independence. The city is a blending of three cultures that create a truly unforgettable cityscape.

It’s hard to not get lost in a city that’s nearly double the size of New York City and with a wide variety of museums, national parks, restaurants, shops, and more, it’s harder to not fall in love with this one of kind city.

As we previously wrote, travel into Mexico by land is currently throttled to only essential travel, so you will need to enter the country by commercial airplane. Additionally, the CDC has advised that you should get a COVID test prior to travelling and upon returning into the US, you need to provide proof of a negative COVID test before reentering the country.

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Beech Mountain, North Carolina

Like Blairsville, Beech Mountain is a recreational mecca that tics off all the boxes. From skiing, snowboarding, hiking, camping, and more. Beech Mountain is a favorite destination for both the summer and winter months and spring break is not any different.

The small-town of Beech Mountain balloons from around 300 during the offseason to nearly 5,000 during the peak seasons. Luckily, with summer and winter being the peak seasons, heading here for spring break means less hustle and bustle, allowing you to unwind and decompress in the raw beauty of North Carolina’s High Country.

Because of the off-season, Beech Mountain as a spring break destination is ideal for the outdoors campers and trail hikers. Tucked up high in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Beech Mountain is a perfect staging area to explore the surrounding mountain trails and the panoramic views the dot the landscape.

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Hilton Head, South Carolina

This beautiful Lowcountry resort city offers a wide variety of activities for your spring break that lacks the garish commercial development and the accompanying neon glow that often comes hand in hand with many resort cities.

Full of wildlife like sea turtles, alligators, and dolphins, Hilton Head combines the outdoorsy vibe of Blairsville with the ocean-side scenes of the Florida Keys so if boating, fishing, kayaking, and hiking sound like fun, you are in for a treat during your spring break visit. Do not forget to stop by the iconic Harbour Town Lighthouse.

The nightlife options are also abundant with world-class restaurants like the Jazz Corner or Charlie’s L’Etoile Verte offering the best in both American and French-style seafood fare. After all, this is a coastal city that lays right on the water.

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Puerto Rico

A ferry ride or plane ride from Punta Cana, Puerto Rico is another staple for spring breakers. With its fusion of rum-soaked nights and tranquil resort retreats, Puerto Rico offers sights like old Spanish colonial buildings throughout San Juan, gorgeous beaches like Isla de Vieques, and natural wonders of the El Yunque rainforest.

However, we should note that to visit the island, one must complete an online travel declaration through the Puerto Rican Health Department’s online portal as well as demonstrate a “negative molecular-based” COVID-19 test. You can find more travel information and requirements here.

With such a variety of sights and sounds in Puerto Rico, deciding what kind of spring break you want to have is difficult. Do you prefer spending your days at the beach? Check out, Isla Verde! Do prefer hiking through the woods? Then the Rio Grande waterfall is perfect! How about a bit of retail therapy? Then Plaza las Americas, the largest mall in all the Caribbean is right up your alley.

It can all be found in beautiful Puerto Rico for your spring break!

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Conclusion

Between the beachside resorts, great outdoors, and delicious food, we hope this list of destinations has show just how varied a spring break one can have. Whether they are a beach bum or a serious outdoors enthusiast, each place offers a veritable treasure trove of delights.

With so many to choose from, hopefully you found unknown gem like Blairsville or Blowing Rock that sounds like the perfect spring break trip this year exploring just what the South has to offer.

And what better time to get outside after cooped up indoors for all of 2020; just as the spring time starts to bloom into season!

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