Where's the action for spring break 2012
? Our list of hottest spring break 2012 destinations is below! Cancun still dominates despite (false) reports of popularity decline, but budget travel staying key means Florida beaches keep climbing the spring break hot spots list; volunteer travel's still growing, too. Europe: expect way
more American students than usual. Rosarito Beach will see last minute traffic, Puerto Vallarta jumps up another rank, and the hospitality-challenged Bahamas drops three points.
Keep reading for the 2012 spring break hot spots list, or hop to:
, you're still the one. This little piece of Mexico is pure craziness during March and April: margarita madness and a massive influx of students doing the spring thing on drop-dead gorgeous beaches and in late-late-late night clubs. Hop the ferry to Cozumel or the bus to Playa del Carmen
for slower-paced sandy paradises. Xel-Ha is fun for snorkeling, and Tulum
is worth a visit (90 miles south; go early a.m.) -- great beach and unba ruins, but don't expect nightlife (the quiet nights - generator-powered lights out by 10 - are part of the charm). Don't forget to get a passport
for this perennially popular paradise on Mexico's Caribbean!
Panama City and Panama City Beach (PCB) have Florida's spring break top dog billing yet again in 2012, though Miami, especially South Beach, will once more offer some serious competition. mtvU was all about Panama City in 2009 (this year's mtv blowout is in Las Vegas: what is up with that? We're guessing mtv got an offer they couldn't refuse), showing the planet that Panama City's a sure bet for the kind of fantastic fun that makes a break memorable for the rest of your life. Take some time, too, to see Panama City's 27 miles of sugary sweet sand on the Gulf of Mexico (west coast of Florida, where it can be blessedly cool at night).
Getty Images / Alexander Tamargo
Welcome to prime time, South Beach and Miami Beach
! Just east of Miami, South Beach
is bordered by Biscayne Bay on one side and the Atlantic on the other (which is where you'll find the beaches you'll like). South Beach is a tres cool club scene (is your attitude really ready?). Just up the sand is Miami Beach -- bit cheaper and less of dress-with-the-best thing. Get the skinny:
As for Fort Lauderdale (which doesn't want you and hopes you don't come
), forget it. And Daytona Beach
... you'll enjoy yourself anywhere if you're going with friends, of course: just don't expect it to be fast paced fun in this part of Florida.
© Kathleen Crislip
Exchange rates ain't bad, and thus Europe (yep, the whole thing) moves up four places on the list of spring break hot spots for 2012 -- Amsterdam, London and Paris will be the cities in which you'll see the most American students, followed by Rome, Florence, Madrid, and Berlin. All chilly cities this time of year, so the social scene will be indoors (your hostel's always the best bet for finding the party place), but sights will be free of summer's mobs: great time to be in Europe, and way more US students will be there this year than last. Learn more:
© Stephen Manente
Puerto Vallarta's a beach-meets-Mexican-mountains city that will again have a lot of what you want for 2012 -- friendly folks, awesome nightlife
, beautiful beaches
, great all-inclusive hotel deals
-- and all the action's not just at the beach, either: parasail
or mountain bike
, for instance. Hasta pronto!
© Kathleen Crislip
© Bahamas Tourism
Both of these beautiful Caribbean countries will see plenty of people in 2012: the blue, blue water and white, white sand of extremely accessible Nassau, Bahamas will bring boatloads of breakers to its balmy beaches in 2012 (even though Nassau's sometimes not so friendly). Rent a scooter or hit the Straw Market; gambling's on nearby Paradise Island. Bahamas spring break packages
are uber cheap, and you can choose a cruise.
Meanwhile, the forecast for spring break 2012 in jammin' Jamaica is sunny and the outlook is partly party, party with scattered water sport fun in happening Montego Bay
and quieter Negril
. If you go, remember that parts of the island can
be a walk on the wild side: don't fear to adventure -- just be safe.
South Padre Island, where vacations are biiiig Texas style, is more popular than ever this year as an easy (easy to get to, not too expensive) and easygoing US beach town ...and with recent hurricane damage to South Padre, neighboring Corpus Christi will see its share of folks looking for the action, too. If you go, know that the sandy spit near Corpus Christi is windblown but sunny, and Padre Island proper has hundreds of miles of beach. The gang's all at South Padre, though, where you can find fresh shellfish and every conceivable kind of water sport, along with events galore. Surf's sometimes a little rough. Scooters are a great way to get around the whole island.
9. All Tied and All Good - Baja (Rosarito Beach, Cabo), DR, Puerto Rico
© Kathleen Crislip
© Whistler Blackcomb
Unlike current economic conditions, snow conditions are awesome and ski resorts are still on the list of cool spring break hot spots for 2012. Though there will be smaller numbers of 'em this year than last (just tooo spendy), you'll find plenty of fellow partiers boarding the days away and doing the apres-thing at North America's best ski resorts for spring break 2012
, though. These
are the slopes welcoming you
in Colorado, Jackson Hole, Heavenly, Canada's wild Whistler, a few quieter spots, and some places you may want to give a pass. I live in Rocky Mountain high country now, and have done all but one of these top ten ski resorts -- and I promise it's all good. Get the whole skinny on how to get there, and where to stay and party.
Got a volunteer spring break planned? Want to learn more? Share tips or get some inspiration for alternative spring break ideas.