March is just around the corner, which means college students across the United States are gearing up for spring break. Whether you’re celebrating a week off from class or shaking off winter’s cabin fever, there are lots of reasons to indulge in the rowdy holiday tradition. With only a few weeks left to plan your getaway, we’ve broken down the nine best spring break party destinations for a fun-filled spring break. Read on, party on.
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Known for its palm-fringed white-sand beaches, abundance of booze-soaked all-inclusive resorts and late-night revelry, Punta Cana continues to reign as the Caribbean’s leading local for spring breakers. Spanning the Dominican Republic’s easternmost tip, Punta Cana’s shoreline is lined with a slew of sprawling resorts catering to all types of travelers and budgets. All-inclusive drink packages, swim-up bars and turquoise seas ensure the party gets started not long after sunrise. Come nightfall, tear yourself away from the resort bar for a night out at one of Punta Cana’s epic nightclubs. Housed in a series of caves, Imagines’ one-of-a-kind setting sees wild evenings filled with hip-hop beats and flowing drinks from the open bar. Part club, part acrobatic extravaganza, Coco Bongo is a must for its over-the-top shows and lively atmosphere.
Cancun has long been a mainstay on spring break itineraries, and this Mexican beach town continues to live up to the hype. The Hotel Zone, which spans miles of pristine beaches and high-rise megaresorts, serves as the hub for party-minded travelers. After sunrise, the party atmosphere quickly warms up at swim-up bars. There’s also plenty of water sports, such as Jet Skis and stand-up paddleboards for day-time fun. Later in the evening, spring breakers flock to the compact Party Zone, which houses many of Cancun’s best bars and clubs. City offers a massive dance floor and live DJs, while Coco Bongo, like its Punta Cana sister, is famous for circus-style performances and foam cannons. The Indian-themed club, Mandala, is a more intimate choice if dancing alongside thousands of partygoers sounds a bit intense. Señor Frogs is a fixture of Cancun nightlife, and merits a stop for its famous yardlong drinks and upbeat vibe.
With its extravagant nightlife, hip sidewalk cafes, stunning beaches and exceptionally attractive people, Miami checks all the boxes for a perfect spring break destination. The Ultra Music Festival transforms the typically serene Bayfront Park into a huge dance party, with world-famous electronic music acts like David Guetta and Major Lazer taking the stage. March is stacked with other shows and events affiliated with Miami Music Week, as well as pool parties and booze cruises. The Miami Music Pool Parties at the Surfcomber present a much cheaper, but still thrilling, option to enjoy live music and drink poolside in style. Other Miami Beach venues, such as the Shore Club host pool parties with upbeat atmosphere and music.
South Padre Island, Texas
This quintessential Texas spring break island escape draws droves of Southern college students and 20-somethings seeking a dose of hedonism and fun in the sun. Located at the Isla Grand Beach Resort, Rockstar Beach (formerly known as Coca Cola Beach), puts on huge daytime parties on its sandy shoreline, which have been headlined by the likes of Cardi B and Steve Aoki in past years. To the north, Clayton’s Beach Stage hosts free concerts, contests and games throughout most of March. Set just off Texas’s southern tip, South Padre Island is sufficiently hot by March, though the temperate gulf waters make it easy to cool off and relax between parties.
Koh Samui, Thailand
While springtime is usually unbearably hot and hazy in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, islands in the southern reaches of the Gulf of Thailand continue to enjoy idyllic conditions through April. The largest of these islands, Koh Samui, promises over-the-top parties and gorgeous scenery, making it worth the extra travel time. Thai New Year (known as Songkran) falls in April, presenting a memorable celebration for visitors. Across Thailand, revelers take to the streets armed with water guns and buckets to splash passersby. On Koh Samui, Songkran is preceded by the extravagance of Samui Songran Pride, which features a flamboyant lineup of drag shows, pool parties, and late-night dancing. Koh Samui’s beach bars and clubs always serve up cheap drinks, fire dancers and pulsing beats until sunrise.
Sin City has decades of credentials as an all-out party destination, between its colossal casinos, trendy nightclubs, live shows and seedier establishments. Although lacking sand and surf, Las Vegas compensates with an extensive schedule of pool parties ranging from low-key house music to alcohol-fueled bashes. The Mandalay Bay’s Daylight parties draw thousands for dance parties and DJs. If you’re keen to swim in just your birthday suit, the clothing-optional Bare Pool Lounge at The Mirage and Naked Pool at the Artisan Hotel can oblige. Come nightfall, the partying shifts to Las Vegas’s night clubs. Hakkasan is known for its multilevel, high-energy dance floor, while Foxtail has a lavish interior lounge with cage dancers and outdoor poolside bar.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Perched on the shimmering, azure waters of the Bahía de Banderas along Mexico’s Pacific coast, Puerto Vallarta’s natural beauty and charming city center are also home to a dynamic nightlife scene. Amidst the white-washed historic buildings and cobbled streets, you’ll find vibrant local music clubs like Club Roxy and La Ingrata. A more upscale, but still raucous venue is La Vaquita. Dancers glide overhead hundreds of dancers on swings in this beachfront establishment. Puerto Vallarta is Mexico’s leading LGBTQ beach retreat, as demonstrated by a dozen or so bars and clubs in the Zona Romántica neighborhood. Mr. Flamingo, Apaches and Frida are perfect spots for a cocktail or two on the patio before heading to the lewder atmosphere at Anthropology. Overall, you should expect a more international and diverse mix of visitors compared to Cancun and the domestic destinations on this list.
Closed for six months in 2018 for infrastructure repairs, the beachside bars and clubs on the tiny island of Boracay are again teeming with partygoers. At just 4.3 miles long, you can feasibly bar crawl down the entire island, especially the bustling west coast between Station 1 and Station 3 beaches. Start off with cocktails on the beachside patio at Paraw Beach Club before taking on the livelier clubs, like Summer Place and Exit Bar. Keep an eye on the lunar schedule, as Area 51 hosts legendary full moon parties on a secluded section of Bulabog Beach. Beyond the nightlife, springtime visitors can expect daily highs in the mid-80s and sunny skies before the onset of summer rainy season. Most travelers arrive to Boracay by one-hour flight from Manila, where direct flights arrive daily from New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco via Philippine Airlines.
Although the Big Easy’s legendary Mardi Gras festivities can happen in late February, there is still plenty of partying in store for visitors during March and April. The epicenter of New Orleans’ nightlife, Bourbon Street, is home to numerous lively bars and music venues. Thanks to more liberal open container laws (you can drink on the street), the party seamlessly flows between the street and bars. For a rowdier evening, stop by Tropical Isle for their infamously strong hand grenade cocktails, the Cat’s Meow for its karaoke bar, and The Swamp — whose wraparound balcony grants a birds-eye view over Bourbon Street. Other options include Maison Bourbon for its excellent jazz performances and potent cocktails, as well as the more laidback music venues along Frenchmen Street.
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