Looking to get away without the hassle of spring break crowds? These alternative destinations are still easy to get to and beautiful but offer the charm and serenity that you won't find at the conventional retreats. Whether you are looking to get away for 48 hours or 4-8 days, here are our recommendations for 5 Alternative Spring Break Getaways.
Cancún is one of the world's most famous spring break destinations, luring more than 100,000 spring breakers from the United States alone each year. 80 miles south of Cancún, on the southern edge of the Riviera Maya, lies a strip of beach and jungle that has become a hot spot for yoga enthusiasts and eco-travelers. Over the past decade, Tulum has attracted all sorts of stylish expats who have helped turn a once desolate area into a chic beach destination. Tulum is surrounded by ancient Mayan ruins, magnificent stretches of coastline, and cenotes -- sinkholes that create caves and underground rivers -- which were used by the Maya for religious ceremonies. With an abounding wealth of ancient history and natural beauty, these historic lands will enrich your spirit and relax both body and mind.
Where to Stay: Casa Violeta
The charming one-square-mile village of Carmel-by-the-Sea is picture perfect. It has no street lights, parking meters, or even numbered addresses, but don't let the low-key appearance fool you: there is a lot going on in this vibrant destination. Carmel boasts over 100 art galleries, a seemingly endless array of great restaurants, and a delightful variety of local artisan shops. Carmel has a European feel, but the Pacific coastline, with its rugged cliffs and majestic cypress trees, is quintessential California. While in the area, take the legendary Seventeen Mile Drive, which winds along the coast and through the redwood forest, past historic mansions and the world-famous Pebble Beach golf course. The drive offers a number of scenic turn-off points -- don't miss the iconic Lone Cypress, which has been perched on a granite hillside overlooking the Pacific for more than 250 years.
Where to Stay: Tradewinds Carmel (www.bnbfinder.com/tradewindscarmel)
Where else can you see Elton John perform, work on a cattle ranch, and investigate UFOs all in one weekend? Only in Nevada. When it's time to decompress after the pool parties and craps tables of Sin City, head 90 miles north to the ranching town of Alamo. Bountiful fishing lakes, natural hot springs, and Native American artifacts make Alamo a true embodiment of the American West. Alamo is also home to the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge, which features over 5,000 acres of open wetlands and lush grasslands, and a diverse range of plant and animal life. Just 12 miles north of Alamo is the secretive Area 51 -- explore the Extraterrestrial Highway, chow down on an Alien Burger, and meet the UFO enthusiasts who visit this site from all over the world.
Where to Stay: A Cowboy's Dream Bed & Breakfast (www.bnbfinder.com/acowboysdream)
80 miles west of Austin is an area known as Texas Hill Country. The rolling hills, winding creeks, and limestone cliffs are not only beautiful, but also fertile ground for winemaking. Texas Hill Country boats more than 30 wineries, and is the second-most visited wine region in the U.S. behind California's Napa Valley. Take a self-guided tour on the Wine and Wildflower Trail where you can sample the wares of 38 participating vineyards. 18 miles north of Fredericksburg is the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, where you can enjoy impressive trails and spectacular vistas. The centerpiece is the Enchanted Rock itself, a dome-shaped pink granite formation that rises 425 feet above Central Texas.
Where to Stay: Carriage House Fredericksburg (www.bnbfinder.com/carriagehousefredricksburg)
Amelia Island, Florida
Located off the northeastern coast of the Sunshine State is the tranquil beauty of Amelia Island. Ranked by Condé Nast Traveler as one of "North America's Top 10 Islands," this 13-mile long haven has pristine waters and immaculate beaches. Amelia Island offers plenty in the way of aquatic activities, from surfing, to kayaking, to jet skiing. If traveling by air is more your speed, you can enjoy aerial tours of the island by trike flying or skydiving. Once you are back on land, the island offers 117 holes of golf, as well as shopping in the Victorian-era Center Street, a sprawling 50-block area of homes and buildings that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Where to Stay: Hoyt House Bed & Breakfast Inn (www.bnbfinder.com/hoythouse)
-- Mary White, Founder of BnBFinder.com