The Top Spring Break Road Trip Destinations in the USA

by on November 19, 2011

Miami BeachThe Top Spring Break Destinations in the United States – Travel By Car!

This Spring Break, head out onto the open highway to some of the best road trip destinations within the United States! Big party hot spots like Panama City Beach, Daytona Beach, Miami, and South Padre Island all await as you leave the text books, studying, and lectures behind in favor of warm weather, partying, and a road trip adventure you’ll never forget.

This page offers some of the best places to visit this Spring Break, including destinations within Florida and Texas. Take a drive to Key West and sit at their famous bars, or find where the best night clubs are in Miami. Your Spring Break road trip is just minutes away from being planned for you!

Adventure Road Trips

If you don’t mind the cooler weather, some of the areas of America’s southwest offer some exciting adventure road trips. Here, you can get out and experience the rugged terrain, sandstone buttes, and outdoor scenery through rock climbing, mountain biking, camping, sightseeing, and skiing. This is the ideal trip for anyone looking for an alternative to the traditional spring break destinations, and might be a lot more memorable!

  • Utah – Destinations like Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Arches National Park, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and the town of Moab make it the perfect state for an adventure road trip. Fly into Salt Lake City and head south, or fly into Phoenix and drive north to the Grand Canyon and up to Utah.
  • Arizona – With daily highs in the 70’s and 80’s throughout March and April, Arizona’s biggest city, Phoenix, offers a great starting point for your driving trip. Head north to the unique red rocks of Sedona, the awesomeness of the Grand Canyon, or combine a trip to Utah. You can also head south to the Ghost Towns, or far north to Lake Mead Recreational Center for some boating.
  • Grand Circle – If you’re looking for the ultimate southwestern road trip, the Grand Circle is where you’ll want to look first. This trip may take about two weeks, but it’s an unforgettable journey across some of America’s best natural scenery and parks.


No other city in Florida knows how to party quite like Miami does. It’s still the city with the most bars, great beaches with sexy bodies, and there’s always something to do. This Spring Break, heading to Miami is a great choice.

South Beach

South Beach is one of the city’s major attractions, with beautiful soft white sands and a lot of great people watching. Nearby to Miami, you’ll find the Florida Everglades, about an hour west of the city towards Naples. This is the perfect spot for airboat rides and nature sightseeing (alligators, pelicans, and manatee can all be seen from airboat).

Miami Nightlife

The nightlife of Miami is what really gets people to the city. Tobacco Road, Crobar, Wet Willies, Clevelander, and Mango’s Tropical Cafe are amongst the best bars and nightclubs in Miami Beach. You’ll want to make sure you’re dressed for the occasion, and ready to spend money as well (keep cash on hand here – and plenty of it!).

To get to Miami, take I-95 south through Florida from all northern destinations.

Smathers Beach Key WestKey West

Key West isn’t just a place to go during Spring Break, it’s the best destination year round in Florida for drinking, relaxing, and enjoying the tropical scenery. Down in Key West, it’s warm, and you can tell that you’re further from the US mainland due to its Cuban and Caribbean influences.

Historic Bars in Key West

As for Spring Break, there are plenty of things to do, nightclubs to visit, and historic bars to slosh down tequila at. First, you’ll want to take a swig from Sloppy Joe’s. Located right on Duval Street, this watering hole has been open since 1933, and is open 365 days a year.

Next, you’ll want to take a trip to the other bars on and off Duval Street. These include Irish Kevin’s, The Green Parrot, Kelly’s Caribbean Bar, Hog’s Breath Saloon, and Finnegan’s Wake Irish Pub. There are plenty of places outside of the center that have great drinks, food, and entertainment, so be adventurous. If you’re looking for some action that’s a little more risque, The Garden of Eden Bar is another famous hangout where people are allowed to wear nothing at all if they prefer. Cowboy Bill’s Honky Tonk Saloon offers mechanical bull riding Tue-Sat, so saddle up!

Mallory Square

Nightly at Mallory Square, there’s a sunset celebration right on the water with street performers and fire dancers. Get there before sunset to ensure a good standing spot, gaze out onto the open water during the sunset, and enjoy the lively dancing, regular performers, and weirdness this place has to offer.

Sightseeing – Route 1 Overseas Highway

To get to Key West, you’ll take Route 1 south from Miami to the Overseas Highway. This beautiful drive will take you over bridges that span islands, waterways, and inlets. On the way, you’ll pass through Key Largo, Marathon, the Seven Mile Bridge, Big Pine Key, and finally, Key West. Get your reservations in early to ensure a great place to stay!

Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach is one of the northernmost Florida Spring Break destinations besides Panama City Beach. With 23 miles of beaches, you’ll definitely have a place to spread out your towel. The reason Daytona is so memorable, in part, is because of its drivable sands. On parts of the beach, you are allowed to take your car – yes, any car, even without four wheel drive. The sand here is so naturally hard packed that it can support the weight of your car (you’ve probably seen it on TV). To say that your car was at Daytona is just a small memento of this trip you’ll want to take advantage of!

Since this beach is further north, expect slightly cooler ocean and air temperatures, especially at night where it can get into the 50’s. Still, compare that to the frigidity of the northeast and throughout the Midwest, and you won’t be complaining!

Panama City Beach

Long live Panama City Beach! Forever touted as the place to go for Spring Break, the party really never stops here in the months of March and April. The Spring Break Capital of the World, as it’s sometimes called, brings in half a million people every year during this time of year. The city hosts party events, nightly parties, DJ’s, contests, and live TV shows taped on site like MTV.

Panama City Beach is also an affordable destination compared to other international cities, and also a lot safer. Driving here can also be part of the fun. Located on the Florida panhandle, you can get here via I-10 to I-98. Be sure to take a drive along I-98 to get the full picture of the town, and to spot other great beaches, clubs, bars, nightlife, and things to do.

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South Padre Island

With highs in the 70s to low 80s throughout March and April, South Padre Island is one of the top US spring break destinations. Coca-Cola Beach is one of the best known party spots in town, with 15,000 people coming to the beach daily. This beach has been named “the biggest beach party in the world” by The Travel Channel.

South Padre Island boasts some great weather, but also crystal clear Gulf coast waters and sandy white beaches to enjoy. If you’re looking for a great place to relax, party, or have a memorable Spring Break, South Padre Island should definitely be a consideration for you.

How to Get There

Don’t know where it is, or how to get there? It’s only about 5 miles from the Mexico border, so you’ll be traveling far south to get here. Brownsville South Padre International Airport is only 40 minutes west of the island, where you can catch a flight from major airports throughout the country (probably with connecting flights to other Gulf Coast cities). To drive here, take Interstate 37 South from San Antonio to U.S. Hwy. 77 south, then east on Texas Hwy. 100 approximately 28 miles.

Things to do Near South Padre Island

If it’s a road trip experience you’re also looking for, Texas has some great things to see along the route to the island. North of the city are Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston. Though these cities are hundreds of miles from South Padre Island, if you stay on the coastal route, you’ll have plenty of things to see and do while you make the trek north/south.

You can also find more ideas for driving trips in the USA here:


Traditionally, Orlando is more aimed at a family style getaway than destinations like South Padre Island, Panama City Beach, or Miami. The city experiences a tremendous surge in visitors during school vacation weeks in February and April, but also for college students in March. The best bet here is to book your flight early and to get to the busiest rides early in the day to minimize wait time. You may also want to plan to fly one or two days earlier, and come home earlier or later to avoid some of the major vacation week travel surges.

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