Your early 20s aren’t the only time to get psyched for spring break destinations. A well-earned vacation is a luxury at any age.
Loud, crowded beaches and midnight drink specials may be in your past, but you can still take one glorious spring week to explore and restore. Travel with friends to keep the spring break vibe—but this time, skip the sketchy motels and hangovers.
“The most common trend we have seen is people in their 30s and 40s traveling in groups,” says Jeremy Mendelsohn, managing partner at TravelZeeky in Los Angeles. Affordable vacation deals are important at any age. “These travelers are looking for the best value. They want to get the most of out of their dollar.”
Here are a few fun spring break options to consider, no matter how old you and your travel companions are:
Skip the all-inclusive resorts, all-you-can-drink offers, and “exclusive” beach parties. Instead, tap into spring break destinations that showcase authentic Caribbean culture. Hike arid mountains in Curaçao, or head to South America to marvel at Inquisition-era churches and street markets in Cartagena, Colombia.
“Cartagena is perfect,” says Marco Cardona, who manages a popular AirBnb apartment there. “You’re in a historic center, near the city walls and the sea, plus you can enjoy a diverse nighttime atmosphere.”
Everywhere in the Caribbean is chill, yet stylish. Pack yourself some couture-inspired athleisure or swimwear, like the Off-the-Shoulder Swim Top by Splendid, and fresh kicks in a hot color that seamlessly go from hiking to happy hour, like the Minimus 10v4 Trail by New Balance.
Camping is an easy escape when you’re short on cash. Once you’re established, the outdoors are no less amazing; it’s just that you want your rustic rejuvenation upgraded.
Find an outfitted lodge in the middle of almost-nowhere. That way, your group can get affordable vacation deals, but if you come down with Saturday-night cabin fever, you can head into town for a fancy meal or performance by a local band.
Mendelsohn suggests Big Sur, where mountains rear up from California’s central Pacific Coast. Bring one of the season’s new long, unisex hoodies, like the Palo Hoodie by PUBLISH, to go from town to country and a killer Zoom Lens set by Nikon for magical nature shots.
Don’t fall for that discounted $199 cruise to the Bahamas. It might be fun on the shoulder seasons—but right now, you’re looking at buffet food and canned music on an upper-deck nightclub.
Instead, round up a few other couples or friends, and charter a sailboat instead. A captain can navigate you through (or make that “slightly away from”) spring break destinations like the Bahamas. Out on the West Coast, you can find peace amid Washington’s San Juan Islands.
You don’t need much when you charter. Just make sure you have sturdy boat shoes in bright aquatics for him, like the Braided Bow Water-Resistant Loafers by Swims, or a surprising deck-to-dock white, like the stylish Spiked Sneaker by Christian Louboutin, red sole included.
Spring is about sports. From basketball tournaments in March to major golf tournaments or auto races and soccer championships, pick your favorite, pack your jersey, and head off to where the action is. It’ll likely be rowdy enough to keep you feeling young. A good set of binoculars, like the Compact Waterproof Binoculars by Barska, are great at sporting events and other landmarks when you need some quieter culture—so don’t forget to bring them!
There are so many places in the world that can benefit from how good your life is. You can build an orphanage in Honduras, conserve the Amazon, or start a farm in Ghana. They’re not your typical spring break destinations, but helping others can be just as rewarding.
Prepare to pay your own way and bring simple, useful gifts, like Short Sleeve Crew Pocket T-shirts in bright colors, for new friends or hosts who can’t get things as easily as you can. Stay at the pioneering edge of travel with a trip to Cuba. American travel to the country increased in 2016 due to eased restrictions, so there are still plenty of opportunities to help your neighbors and connect with culture there.