South Padre Island

March is the unofficial month of spring break, which — at least to hundreds of thousands of college students across the nation — means it’s a 30-day stretch of time dedicated to partying, preferably in exotic locales around the world. We’ve already given you the inside scoop on where to spend an awesome alternative spring break, but if you’re looking to get the classic (read: raucous) spring break fix, here are the top ten spring break destinations for partying.

Where to go: Cancun

cancun

Cancun — with its beautiful sandy beaches and turquoise waters – is one of the world’s top beach destinations, and it also one of the most-visited spring break destinations on the planet. The Hotel Zone is where to go if you’re looking for all the college spring break staples; dozens of megaresorts line miles and miles of postcard-perfect beaches where guests lounge in the sun margarita in hand. Hotels here cater to spring breakers, hard partiers, young couples and rowdy groups with night-long parties, loud entertainment, cheap booze and all-inclusive plans.

Where to stay: Hotel Riu Cancun

In the heart of the Hotel Zone, Hotel Riu Cancun sits on a sprawling piece of beachfront that’s close to bars, nightclubs, restaurants, and shops. The all-inclusive 569-room resort offers three swimming pools, a buffet-style restaurant, as well as three themed restaurants, and a range of on-site activities that includes nightly live shows, tennis, windsurfing, and a nightclub. Rooms are a bit outdated, but most consider it a small tradeoff for the affordable prices.

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For many, the dream beach vacation involves snoozing on a quiet stretch of sand in some exotic (read:expensive) locale — and we don’t blame you. But the truth is, there’s no need to break the piggy bank to have a fabulous oceanfront getaway. Picking a budget-friendly hotel that’s not overrun with twentysomethings looking for a crashpad can be tricky, and more serene destinations tend to be more expensive. But we searched high and low, and these six affordable properties are great for those who want to spend some quiet, relaxing days on the beach — without spending all their savings.

Steal #1: Bel Air Collection Resort & Spa, Cancun

The gorgeous infinity pool overlooks a beautiful white-sand beach.

The gorgeous infinity pool overlooks a beautiful white-sand beach.

Overlooking a stunning beach on the southern tip of the Hotel Zone, this adults-only property oozes tranquility. Its serene white and red decor — accented by billowy curtains everywhere — and its somewhat secluded location far from the booming Cancun nightlife, sets this boutique apart from the mega-resorts located just north of it. The Bel Air Collection has 155 chic, minimalist (if low-frills) rooms, trendy common areas, a wonderful spa, and a gorgeous infinity pool with ocean views. It’s a great pick for a relaxed, romantic getaway.

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The Inn at Palmetto Bluff is a romantic spot in Carolina Lowcountry.

Romance is alive and well below the Mason-Dixon line, where Southern charm makes everything seem more bewitching. Couples looking for a romantic getaway will be satisfied no matter their taste, considering that the region boasts both gorgeous antebellum mansions and modern luxury stays. Choosing the most romantic spots, then, is quite a difficult task, but we think we’re up to the challenge. From intimate city boutiques to sprawling Lowcountry estates, here are some of our favorite hotels in the South that are just the trick in the romance department.

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It may not be the Caribbean, but with this view, who on the San Juan Islands could complain about it?

An “island getaway” doesn’t necessarily translate into washing up on the shores of the Caribbean. Plenty of other islands in the U.S. boast the same laid-back, secluded feel that you can find in Barbados or Jamaica, but often come at a fraction of those sky-high all-inclusive rates; you’ll at least save some cash on airfare! For perhaps unconventional, but nonetheless awesome, island stays, check out our top picks for value, sun, and fun!

 

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Texas may be the second largest state in the Union, but all of its residents seem to agree on at least one thing — there’s nothing better than kicking off your boots and enjoying some downtime in the Lonestar State. So we’ve traveled all over the state — and found some spots perfect for rest and relaxation. After all, when in Rome Texas! From Dallas to Corpus Christi, there’s a chill place calling your name. But we couldn’t help but start with Austin in honor of the (dreamy) Matthew McConaughey’s nuptials. After all, he is the *king* of chilling out.

The Lakeside Grounds at the Lake Austin Spa Resort

Grounds at the Lake Austin Spa Resort

Grounds at the Lake Austin Spa Resort

Why we love it: Though it looks like McConaughey had no trouble chilling in a hammock pre-ceremony, we’re thinking his guests could have preferred a stay at the romantic Lake Austin Spa Resort — rather than the tents the film star set up for them in his backyard. This waterside retreat, along the shores of Lake Austin, is more than a spa resort — with kayaking, canyon hikes, yoga and “discovery programs,” Lake Austin Spa Resort is a true wellness destination. But if you’re looking to kick back, there’s no better spot than the lush, lakeside grounds. Pick a grassy spot in the shade or head down to the water’s edge for some peace and quiet.

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