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3 Spring Break Parties You Can Actually Afford to Join

Updated on February 27, 2017
There are plenty of great destinations that let you feel the warm sand between your toes without breaking the bank.
There are plenty of great destinations that let you feel the warm sand between your toes without breaking the bank.

I know it’s hard to imagine with all the snow, but spring break is quickly approaching. Imagine how great it’ll feel to relax on the beaches of Hawaii, being waited on hand and foot as you sip on tropical drinks and enjoy the warm sun.

Of course, as a student, you probably aren't pulling in Beyoncé and Jay Z money — much less enjoying one of those exotic, all-inclusive getaways. But that doesn’t mean spring break has to be boring. There are plenty of great destinations that let you feel the warm sand between your toes without breaking the bank. Here are my top three picks:

Central Florida (and Daytona Beach, in particular) has been a legendary spring break destination since the early days of MTV.
Central Florida (and Daytona Beach, in particular) has been a legendary spring break destination since the early days of MTV.

1. Daytona Beach, Florida

Central Florida (and Daytona Beach, in particular) has been a legendary spring break destination since the early days of MTV. It hasn’t slowed down for Daytona since, mostly because of the balmy 80-degree temperatures and cheap hotel options. The city even has a free shuttle that loops around the beach so you can get around safely while you're drinking.

If surf and sun aren’t enough, you can always take one of the dozens of shuttle services 70 miles down the interstate to Orlando — home to some of the world’s largest theme parks and resorts, including Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort.

But don’t underestimate the other attractions Daytona offers. The Daytona International Speedway regularly draws tourists from around the globe and hosts several important races like the upcoming DAYTONA 500. During spring break, the track will be filled with a variety of dirt bike and ATV Supercross races, too.

The Museum of Arts & Sciences, an affiliate of the Smithsonian, offers some quieter entertainment. Its state-of-the-art planetarium allows you to sit under the stars and enjoy the serenity of space. Locals refer to the museum as MOAS, and it’s a great place to do something educational (I know, I know — that’s not what spring break is about for everyone, but know it’s there).

And if you’re really looking to save money, spend some time exploring the locale. Lighthouse Point Park has amazing hiking trails that allow you to see local wildlife, stop for a picnic, or even fish off the shoreline. Best of all, it’s free!

Exploring the wildlife and environment at the floor of the Gulf of Mexico is a memory that will last.
Exploring the wildlife and environment at the floor of the Gulf of Mexico is a memory that will last.

2. South Padre Island, Texas

Every spring, South Padre Island on the southeastern coast of Texas renames itself Spring Break Island, and it takes that title seriously. Nestled near the Mexican border, SPI is seemingly an endless beach that’s so picturesque you’ll hardly believe you’re in Texas.

There are multiple hotels available in the $50 to $100 range, and the island is filled with great bars and restaurants that have their own unique vibe. Water and beach sports are king, and you can get lessons in kiteboarding, snorkeling, or any number of oceanic sports. Exploring the wildlife and environment at the floor of the Gulf of Mexico is a memory that will last.

One of the biggest draws is the three-night-long Ultimate Music Experience EDM festival in mid-March. Marshmello, Tiësto, and Zedd are this year's headliners. Now in its seventh year, the festival’s venue has moved to Clayton’s Outdoors from Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark (which is also a great place to visit).

For the best views in the area, travel five miles down the road to the Port Isabel Lighthouse, where you’ll have the most beautiful view of SPI and the Gulf of Mexico. A sunrise or sunset trip is guaranteed to wow whomever you bring, and if you’re not up to the walk, there’s a free shuttle between Port Isabel and South Padre that’ll save you an Uber fare.

Exotic trips can get expensive quickly, but luckily, our neighbors to the south have some great beaches — including Cancun, one of the most legendary spring break destinations on the planet.
Exotic trips can get expensive quickly, but luckily, our neighbors to the south have some great beaches — including Cancun, one of the most legendary spring break destinations on the planet.

3. Cancun, Mexico

Exotic trips can get expensive quickly, but luckily, our neighbors to the south have some great beaches — including Cancun, one of the most legendary spring break destinations on the planet.

Like SPI, Cancun also hosts an EDM music festival throughout spring break. In its fifth year, Inception Music Festival features more than 50 DJs, including DJ Snake, Lil Jon, and Marshmello (who's clearly going for a spring break partying record).

Hotels can range from dirt cheap to big ticket, so you'll have a variety to choose from. And flights hover around $200, so it’s relatively cheap to get out there. Cancun has an international airport, so you can fly right in. Once you’re in Mexico, drinking and eating are fairly affordable, and you’ll be surrounded by a lot of great nature to explore.

Only 13 miles off the coast, you’ll find Isla Mujeres, which has the most beautiful beach environment in North America. A walk along this romantic sandy beach is like living in a postcard, and you won’t even need a picture to remember the view.

Don’t fear heading down to Mexico if you're not fluent in Spanish. Because it’s such a popular spring break (and year-round) destination, English is widely spoken in Cancun. Tourism is an important industry, and the city is widely considered one of the safest parts of Mexico.

These are just three of the many affordable destinations you can visit for spring break, but wherever you go, plan ahead, travel safe, and party like there’s no tomorrow.

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