Places To Go For Spring Break in the South (and What To Do)

By Compass + Twine,

March is around the corner and it’s time to start looking into the best spring break destinations to plan a trip before it’s too late. Following a cold winter, the slightest tick up in the mercury means people start planning for some fun in the sun.

Spring break is a time to head for warmer weather, relax with family, party with friends, and embark on an outdoor adventure. To narrow down all the options, we’ve put together a list of the 10 best spring break destinations in the South for every kind of traveler.

Places To Go For Spring Break in the South

Cheap Travel: Myrtle Beach, SC

Woman in Myrtle Beach South Carolina

MacKenzi Martin, Unsplash

The sandy shores of Myrtle Beach are some of the prettiest in the South. Spending the day at the beach, relaxing in the sun, or diving in for a swim are low-cost activities that can be enjoyed by everyone in the group. If you’re looking to skip the sand, Myrtle Beach has plenty of things to do. You can hop aboard a Rover Tour to see birds in their natural environment, and you might even see dolphins and alligators, too. Visit Wild Water & Wheels for thrilling water park rides and games like bumper cars, go-carts, and mini golf. Tanger Outlet Center offers plenty of discount shopping options if you’re in the market for new clothes and accessories.

From March 15th-17th, don’t miss the Run to the Sun Car Show in Myrtle Beach where you can admire some of the coolest American classic cars and trucks in one place. For a fun dinner event, snag tickets to the Pirate’s Voyage & Show. Dolly Parton’s dinner theater is a choreographed show featuring swashbuckling pirates, dancing, and singing. The twist on Pirates of the Caribbean is the most entertaining dining experience in town.

trivago Hotel Tip: Ocean Reef Resort

Ocean Reef Resort Myrtle Beach

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Places To Fish: The Florida Keys

The Florida Keys

The sun shines in the Florida Keys year-round, but spring is when the water currents start to warm and the islands begin to buzz with visitors. While the Keys are part of Florida, the 113 sandbar and mangrove islands couldn’t feel more different than the mainland. The laid-back destination has long attracted an eclectic community of proud misfits and they welcome everyone with open arms.

To enjoy the laid-back Caribbean vibe and some world-class fishing, head to the Keys in late March when the tarpon migration begins and sailfish turn up in droves offshore. This prime fishing time is sure to offer a fun getaway for friends and family looking to engage in a bounty of ocean adventures and soak up the sunshine. The fresh catch is pretty excellent to feast upon, as well. There are numerous waterfront eateries on the islands, like Louie’s Backyard on Key West, to enjoy fish caught that very day.

trivago Hotel Tip: Oceans Edge Resort Key West Hotel & Marina

Oceans Edge Resort Key West Hotel & Marina

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Best Party City: New Orleans, LA

New Orleans Jazz

Rebecca Ratliff, New Orleans Tourism Marketing

The Big Easy is the place to go if you’re looking for a good time. The party seems to never end in this Cajun town, and the food is out-of-this-world satisfying.

Use the daytime hours to get a lay of the land. First, head to the Arts/Warehouse District to check out some of the funky and eclectic art galleries. Then, meander over to Marigny neighborhood to admire the colorful Creole houses and catch some live street music. The Garden District is where you’ll want to head if you dig boutique shopping and ohh-ing and ahh-ing over impeccably restored mansions.

Once the sun starts to set, the French Quarter is where you’ll want to be. Lay a good foundation with dinner at Irene’s Cuisine or Brennan’s then get the good times rolling at Pat O’Briens on Bourbon Street. From there, take your pick from the dozens of bars beckoning you in with loud music, happy party-goers, and cold beer and hand grenades (a strong, specialty cocktail served at five different bars).

Open 24 hours, the famed Café Du Monde is the ideal place to go for a late night sweet treat once you’ve had your fill of those grenades. If you’re still in the mood to celebrate, head to Frenchmen Street where the party continues with the smooth sounds of live jazz.

trivago Hotel Tip: Ace New Orleans

Ace New Orleans Pool

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Family Vacation Spot: Savannah, GA

Mercer Williams House Visit Savannah

Courtesy of Visit Savannah

From a delicious biscuits and gravy breakfast in the morning to a spooky ghost tour at night, the Southern city of Savannah offers day after day of family fun. Get your bearings and start the day with a trolley tour around the city with Old Savannah Tours. Choose the Historic On/Off tour, so you can jump on and off the trolley to see the sites as you please. When you’re ready to explore the city by foot, meander down the cobblestone streets of the historic district, stroll along the riverfront, or wander through Forsyth Park, where Southern mansions line the perimeter and weeping willows are draped in Spanish moss.

If you have a couple days in town, take the family out to Tybee Island for the afternoon. It’s only a 30-minute drive from downtown to a relaxing swim in the Atlantic and your toes in the white Tybee sand. For those lucky enough to visit Savannah over St. Patrick’s Day, join in on the three-day celebration March 16-18 when all the city’s famous fountains are dyed green. Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is the second largest in the U.S., behind New York City.

No trip to Savannah is complete without a few good Southern meals. For brunch, B. Matthews Eatery has the most savory and satisfying Biscuits and Gravy in town. For dinner, the family will love Elizabeth’s on the 37th. Housed in an enchanting Antebellum home, you can feast on fresh seafood and Southern coastal cuisine. After a delicious dinner, don’t put the kids to bed quite yet. The city is famous for its ghost tours and Ghost City Tours has the best guides to take you around to all the haunted historic sites.

trivago Hotel Tip: The Kimpton Brice Hotel

The Kimpton Brice Hotel Savannah

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Luxury Travel: Palm Beach, FL

Palm Beach Florida

This stretch of South Florida is a playground for big-spending vacationers, so if you’re looking for a splurge getaway, look no further. The gorgeous white sands of Palm Beach are almost as blinding as the diamonds draped on all the ladies along Worth Avenue. This upscale shopping district is speckled with stores like Chanel, Jimmy Choo, and Louis Vuitton.

Don’t pass up the chance to live the life of luxury for a day and pick up a pricey souvenir. Bike rentals are aplenty here so grab one for the afternoon and enjoy a ride past all the opulent mansions. The impressive homes of Palm Beach will leave you speechless, especially the one at 1220 South Ocean Blvd. Coming in at a whopping $74 million, it is by far the most expensive estate in the area.

From March 22-25 you can ogle at grandiose yachts at the Palm Beach International Boat Show. With over $1.2 billion dollars worth of boats, yachts, and accessories in attendance, you’re sure to get inspired for your Christmas list early. After a busy day in town or a relaxing day on the beach, enjoy a gourmet meal at Cafe L’Europe and order a delicious bottle of wine from their extensive selection. Savor an ounce of Russian Amur River Beluga Caviar, which will run you $180. Next, enjoy the $55 Fresh Holland Dover Sole Meunière, and a glass of the finest bubbles for the perfect end to a splurge-worthy day.

trivago Hotel Tip: The Breakers

The Breakers Palm Beach

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Best Girlfriends Getaway: Charleston, SC

High Battery Seawall Charleston South Carolina

Courtesy of Doug Hickok and the Charleston Area CVB, ExploreCharleston.com

The charm and beauty of the cobblestoned streets and Antebellum homes of Charleston create an ideal setting for a girls getaway. Spend your mornings strolling through Waterfront Park or roaming the quaint streets, picking out your favorite pastel facades as you go. Enjoy a true Southern brunch at The Macintosh, where ordering the Biscuit & Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage Gravy is a must. Afterwards, walk off your meal along King Street where you’ll find plenty of boutiques, bookstores, and beauty bars if you’re in need of a blowout. The Annual Charleston Antique Show falls over the dates of March 16-18. It’s great opportunity for history buffs and art collectors to snag special pieces with a story.

You can’t have a girls weekend without a little pampering and the spa at Belmond Charleston Place is top notch. For a real ultra-luxe experience, book the Tata Harper Nothing But Nature Facial or the Top to Toe Massage. Slip into O’Hara & Flynn Wine Bar for a sip of vino afterward, then grab your girls and cap off the day with, as they call it, supper, at Husk. The Chicken Potato Dumplin’s are next level and are perfectly complemented by the Ultimate Coconut Cake at the Peninsula Grill.

trivago Hotel Tip: Francis Marion

Francis Marion Charleston South Carolina

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Best Beach: Rosemary Beach, FL

Rosemary Beach Florida

You’d be hard-pressed to find more postcard-worthy beaches in the continental U.S. than the ones along Florida’s panhandle. Because of this, there are plenty of over-commercialized towns along this coast, but luckily, there are still a few quiet spots to soak in all the beauty.

Rosemary Beach, only a 40-minute drive from chaotic Panama City, is an oasis of charming beach rentals, quiet streets, and quaint storefronts; the master planned community looks like it was ripped from the script of Pleasantville. Named one of CNN’s most romantic small towns in America, everyone seems to know everyone and the whole town exudes charm.

Spend your days lying on the gorgeous white sands of Rosemary Beach. When you’re ready for a break from the sun, Summer Kitchen Café is a perfect place to pop in for lunch. In the evening, The Pearl’s Havana Beach Bar & Grill serves delicious seafood dinner options like Lobster Rotini and Roasted Gulf Shrimp. While Spring Break timing won’t yield the warmest weather, the temps will still be high enough to enjoy the sunshine and a cold drink, while you listen to the waves kiss the shore.

trivago Hotel Tip: Watercolor Inn and Resort

Watercolor Inn and Resort

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Bourbon Trail with the Boys: Louisville, KY

Kentucky Bourbon Louisville

Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau

For a killer guys trip, Louisville will serve as the ultimate home base. The real adventure is on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. While federal law states that bourbon can be made anywhere in the US, Kentucky is the true home of the caramel-colored spirit and one of the largest producing areas.

The Kentucky Bourbon Trail consists of 11 well-known distilleries, like Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark. Make sure you sign up for a guided tour if nobody wants to play DD (see options here).

Before heading out for some day drinking, have a hearty breakfast in Louisville at Wild Eggs. While you’re coherent, make a dinner reservation at Jack Fry’s for that same night. Veal Tenderloin and Lamb Chop’s will cure whatever ails you after a long day on the trail. You can’t visit Louisville without stepping inside the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, where America’ pastime is celebrated.

trivago Hotel Tip: Galt House Hotel

Galt House Louisville

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Best Rural Retreat: Chattanooga, TN

Chattanooga Tennessee

Pixabay

Chattanooga is right in the heart the Tennessee Valley. Surrounded by majestic mountains, with the Tennessee River snaking through the valley, it’s not nicknamed the ‘Scenic City’ for nothing. Years ago, it was one of the most polluted cities in the country but the Chattanooga of today has grown up and cleaned up. Twice, Outdoor Magazine has named the city ‘The Best Town Ever.” The ample amount of outdoor activities is one of the main reasons young people are flocking to Chattanooga.

A new climbing wall was recently installed downtown, though the more adventurous can choose to hang-glide off Lookout Mountain. In March, you can get a look deep inside Lookout Mountain by joining the Ruby Falls Lantern Tour. Tickets are $30 and you’ll take a 260-foot elevator ride into the mountain while admiring remarkable natural sights in the soft glow of an electric lantern.

For a leisurely afternoon, pack a picnic and walk across the Walnut Street Bridge. Originally built in 1890, it has been a pedestrian bridge for 100 years and recently underwent a facelift. Enjoy your basket of goodies at Coolidge Park then soak in the art scene around the Bluff View Arts District. In the evening, Track 29 is a new, trendy spot for live music.

trivago Hotel Tip: The Chattanoogan

The Chattanoogan

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Best Live Music: Nashville, TN

Woman in Downtown Nashville

Brooke Cagle, Unsplash

Nashville is one of the hottest cities in the United State right now and with good reason. A whole host of cool, new boutique hotels, restaurants and businesses have been flocking to the vibrant Tennessee capital in the last few years. From the honky-tonks along Broadway to bars along Demonbreun Street, it’s a city to entertain and be entertained.

Almost every bar you walk into seems to have a talented, captivating musician who is just on the verge of making it big, playing on the stage. Can’t-miss venues include The Stage, Tin Roof, and the wildly beloved Blue Bird Café, where famous musicians and singer-songwriters perform to the crowd in an iconic, intimate setting.

trivago Hotel Tip: Thompson Nashville

Thompson Nashville

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Where’s your favorite spring break destination in the South and why? Leave a comment and let us know!

*Feature image courtesy of Joey Thompson, Unsplash. All other photos from trivago unless otherwise noted.