Top Spring Break Destinations 2012

We researched the top spring break destinations for 2012, combing through a number of articles on sites including Student Travel, Orbitz, Student City, Global Traveler International, Student Travel Services, US News and Spring Break World to determine the top spring break destinations for this year. Destinations which appeared more than one article typically made the list. Here they are, unranked:

Panama City Beach (Florida)

The 27 miles of white sandy beaches have been rated some of the most beautiful in the world by The Travel Channel, National Geographic and Conde Nast. The natural beauty, affordable prices and presence of two of the world's largest beach clubs (La Vela and Spinnakar) make it hugely popular with students (over 500,000 of them flock to the destination every year). (4)

Click here to Find Places to Stay (starting at $39/night) in Panama City and people to meet

Cancun (Mexico)

On Mexico's Caribbean coast, Cancun features 14 miles of beautiful beaches. Beaches on the North side, facing Isla Mujeres have calm water that is perfect for snorkeling, jet skiing and sailing. Beaches on the East side, the second of the two highly developed zones, have larger waves and higher winds which tend to make swimming more difficult. (4) For a break from the party scene, day trips can be readily taken to Xel-Ha for amazing snorkeling, Cozumel and Playa del Carmen for slower-paced beach paradises and Tulum for a chance to marvel at the ruins of the ancient Maya civilization. (8)

Click here to Find Places to Stay (starting at $22 a night) in Cancun, Mexico and people to meet

Dominican Republic: the D.R., with 800 miles of azure Caribbean water is beginning to emerge as a spring break hot spot and offers travelers a variety of options. (1) Punta Cana was traditionally known for its golf scene but is fast-becoming known for its nightlife and beach parties. (2) The seaside town of Cabarete offers travelers a laid-back atmosphere with world-class kite surfing and wind surfing. Sosúa, located a short drive westward, is the perfect spot for snorkeling and diving. (1)

Click here to Find Places to Stay (starting at $70) in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and people to meet

London: a top destination for those spending their spring break vacations in Europe, London is an excellent choice for all travelers, but especially for those who love the arts. Many museums have free access and the Great British Heritage Pass will allow entry to national landmarks at a reasonable price. (6)

Click here to Find Places to Stay (starting at £15/night) in London and People to Meet

Bahamas: a few short hours from the coast of Florida, the miles of white sands and blue waters of the Bahamas beckon spring break travelers by the thousands. Visitors can enjoy a wide range of activities including parasailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and other traditional watersports, as well as beach parties and live entertainment. (4)

Click here to Find Places to Stay (starting at $57/night) in Nassau, Bahamas and people to meet

Jamaica: with its diverse landscape and miles of powdery sand beaches, Jamaica is a popular spring break destination. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy everything from horseback riding to hiking, snorkeling, cliff diving and ziplining as well as cultural activities and nightlife. Montego Bay is a popular spring break destination. (6)

Click here to Find Places to Stay (starting at $35/night) in Montego Bay, Jamaica and people to meet

Puerto Vallarta (Mexico): one of Mexico's most popular destinations, Puerto Vallarta with its beautiful beaches and nearby mountains provides travelers with a variety of activities ranging from sailing to mountain biking, canopy tours, kayaking and horseback riding. For entertainment in the evenings there are a number of dance clubs, as well as beach parties. (4)

Click here to Find Places to Stay (starting at $25/night) in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and people to meet

Las Vegas: Las Vegas, Nevada is a popular spring break destination this year, with thousands of students flocking there for sun and the lively after-hours entertainment. It is home to MTV's Spring Break 2012. (2)

Click here to Find Places to Stay (starting at $27/night) in Las Vegas and people to meet

Paris: the city of lights attracts its fair share of spring break travelers. The city boasts beautiful landmarks, endless cultural spots and of course the famed French cuisine. Art lovers, foodies and fashion fiends will find the spring time in Paris to be their perfect holiday. (9)

Click here to Find Places to Stay (for €25/night) in Paris and people to meet

Amsterdam: a city with a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere, Amsterdam offers travelers numerous museums, canal cruises and strikingly beautiful buildings. Famed for its tulips, Amsterdam is a lovely city to enjoy on a spring day and offers a lively nightlife. (6)

Click here to Find Places to Stay (for €30/night) in Amsterdam and People to Meet

Miami Beach and South Beach (Florida): long an epicenter of spring break festivities in the U.S., Florida is a top spring break destination. Among its most famous beaches is Miami Beach, one of the best-known spring break hot spots. Its clear waters and long stretches of sand make it popular with sun-loving travelers. (7) The nearby South Beach is known for its exciting nightlife. (8)

Click here to Find Places to Stay (starting at $30/night) in Miami Beach, Florida and people to meet

North American ski resorts: a number of ski resorts are popular spring break destinations. These include Aspen, Colorado; Whistler Blackcomb, BC Canada; Jackson Hole, WY; Crested Butte, Winter Park, and Breckenridge Colorado; Salt Lake City, Utah, which has 7 ski resorts within an hour's drive, including Park City Mountain and Deer Valley. (8)

That wraps up our top spring break destinations 2012 list. Happy Travels everyone!


1. Orbitz: Spring Break 2012

2. Global Travel International: Top Spring Break Destinations

3. Spring Break World: Top 7 Spring Break Destinations

4. Student Travel Services: Spring Break Best Beaches

5. Student City: Spring Break 2012

6. USA Travel Guide: Top 10 Spring Break Destinations for 2012

7. U.S. News: Best Spring Break Destinations

8. Student Travel: Top 10 Spring Break Hot Spots for 2012

9. Best Spring Break Spots in Europe

Photo credits:

1. Panama City Beach : photo by dreamcious via Flickr (direct link)

2. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic: photo by tedmurphy via Flickr (direct link)

3. Bahamas: photo by derekskey via Flickr (direct link)

4. Eiffel Tower: photo by via Flickr (direct link)

*Not on our list but an extremely popular destination for spring breakers is South Padre Island in Florida.

(#) refers to the sources. For example, a sentence with (1) after it means that the info was pulled from Orbitz's Spring Break 2012 article and a sentence with an (8) after it was pulled from Student Travel's Top 10 Spring Break Hot Spots for 2012 article.

Here's a link to an article we wrote when the issue of the safety of travel in Mexico was the subject of widespread debate.