The Top Spring Break Destinations of 2016

key west

Every year, millions of people enjoy spring break by jet-setting off to an escape somewhere (and usually, it has a beach). This year, Thrillist decided to see where everyone was going, then rank the destinations from best to worst. Here’s what they found:

Key West

“…during March and April, the bars on that legendary drinking boulevard (Duval Street) are wall to wall with Florida’s best and brightest college students, who opt for the short drive to Key West over long flights to Mexico. Though the beach here leaves something to be desired, what Key West lacks in sand it makes up for in nightlife.”

The Bahamas

“First, every Spring Break cruise on the planet stops in Nassau, where Señor Frogs has caused more than a few people to miss their boats home. A short car ride from the cruise port is Atlantis, which is like going to Vegas, but with an actual beach nearby. Then there’s Freeport, where the bar-lined town square is an un-walkable mass of Spring Break debauchery. Finally there’s Bimini, where students can be in less than three hours (from Miami) thanks to the Resorts World’s SuperFast cruise ship, and big name DJs play the resort nightly.”

Las Vegas

“Once you turn 21, Vegas is the absolute go-to for Spring Break. Aside from the joy of showing your ID to casino security and telling them to leave you to your nickel slots, if your school’s break is timed right, you can watch March Madness at the sports books and bet 20-team parlays ALL weekend. Past gambling, you’ve got America’s best pool parties, an endless array of strip clubs, and mega-clubs like XS, Hakkasan, and Marquee…”

South Padre Island

“Unlike its reluctant Spring Break counterparts in Florida, South Padre has embraced the party and been one of the best domestic SB destinations for decades… this barrier island has no shortage of ways to party with ten Texas-sized nightclubs welcoming college students all month. Check out CHAOS, which features a tattoo parlor for those looking to make lifelong bad decisions, or Laguna Bay, which hosted a Maxim party last year.”


“The draw of a Spring Break ski mission has always made places like Vail and Aspen big time March destinations. But add legalized marijuana to the mix, and all of a sudden you’ve got college kids who can’t tell a snowboard from an ironing board coming to Colorado. Sure, you can hit the nation’s biggest ski resort by acreage in Vail, or the world-class slopes in Aspen, Breckenridge, Steamboat Springs, or any of Colorado’s other powdery resort towns.”

Puerto Vallarta

“While the rest of the year, Puerto Vallarta can be one of the more sophisticated locales in Mexico with short trips to Riviera Nayarit and an abundance of 4-and-5 Diamond resorts, Spring Break is the complete opposite. PV might have the best strip of bars along the Malecon — the beachfront street that runs through downtown — of any spot on this list. Perhaps the most famous event is Collage’s weekly foam party, a Tuesday shindig that’s been featured on every Spring Break TV special in history.”

Punta Cana

“The Dominican Republic has become the world’s hottest new tropical Spring Break destination… the slew of all-inclusive resorts like Barcelo Bavaro and Occidental Grand make it so you don’t really need to leave your hotel to get the full experience. And if you do choose to leave, the outdoor activities are some of the best in the Caribbean.”


“No, it’s not the world capital of Spring Break that it once was, but what the city has lost in US college kids, it’s picked up in students from South America, Europe, and Canada. In Cancun, you can party with people from all over the world without crossing an ocean, and the international draw means A-list DJs perform at the bigger clubs during March.”


“Orlando’s glut of theme parks isn’t just for families looking to ride the Tea Cups — some of the best roller coasters in the world are at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. And where else could you spend your week drinking with Homer Simpson? Of course, your theme-park boozing doesn’t have to limit itself to Springfield, or even the USA. With a little help from us, you can drink in 11 countries in one day at EPCOT.”


At first glance, Miami might seem like the ultimate stateside Spring Break destination.Crazy nightclubs, raging pool parties, and strip clubs that stay open 24 hours. That all said, the city can get expensive, and if your Spring Break coincides with Ultra, the price of hotels might necessitate stuffing six people in a room. Drinks can get costly too, so don’t forget to pack your wallet.

Los Angeles

“For upperclassmen on the west coast who want grown-up nightlife and beaches that aren’t connected to a hotel pool, LA has become a big Spring Break destination. Truth. A quick, cheap flight from most western states, here you can lounge by day in South Bay, one of America’s sexiest neighborhoods, and then hit the Santa Monica bars or clubs in Hollywood at night. Or go hiking. Or surfing.”

Panama City Beach

“While PCB has worked hard to shed its Spring Break image, it’s still the biggest party destination in the Redneck Riviera, and students from all over the SEC flock there in early March. While the city is home to Club La Vela — the biggest nightclub in the world and ground zero for all Spring Break activity — it has recently banned drinking on the beach. Consequently, this year is expected to be much tamer.”