In need of a quick, sunny getaway to plow through the remaining weeks of winter? The options seem limitless – until you realize that your sandy respite will coincide with spring break.
If you’d prefer not to share your vacation with hard-partying college students and families with toddlers in tow, travel agents say it’s essential to choose a destination that these groups don’t visit, or maybe can’t afford.
“Presumably due to the horrifically cold weather, we’ve been getting more requests for last-minute warm weather destinations than in years past,” said Jay Johnson, the president of Coastline Travel Advisors in Garden Grove, Calif., part of the Virtuoso network of agencies. For those striving to avoid the record-breaking temperatures as well as the spring-break fracas, Johnson and his colleagues suggest the west coast of Costa Rica or the Hawaiian island of Lanai. “Both do not attract boatloads of children during that time of the year,” he said.
Costa Rica, it turns out, is on many agents’ lips. Jeffrey Krudop, manager of Travel Leaders in Fort Wayne, Ind., recommends Guanacaste in northwestern Costa Rica, where visitors can explore volcanoes, hike through a rain forest and go white-water rafting. (March and April tend to be Costa Rica’s drier months, noted Debbie Kirk, the owner of Travel Leaders in Lynnwood, Wash.)
For a last-minute domestic getaway, consider Sanibel Island in Florida. Many of the hotels are sold out for spring break, but Kate Rosevear, the president and owner of Travel Leaders in Plymouth, Mich., said some of the smaller, private hotels still have availability.
“One of the best things about Sanibel and neighboring Captiva, apart from the miles of gorgeous beaches and the relatively calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, is it is just far enough off the beaten path and pricey enough that its appeal is mostly to adults and/or families with young children,” she said in an email while on vacation there. “No ‘out of control’ Spring Breakers here!,” she continued.
Florida is a quintessential spring break destination, but Gabe Saglie, a senior editor with Travelzoo, the travel deals website, said Sanibel Island, along with Pensacola and Fort Myers “still offer awesome beach experiences with less of a party slant.”
In California, another major spring break haven, he suggested forgoing Los Angeles and San Diego for more low-key desert communities such as Rancho Mirage and La Quinta.
In general, you can avoid much of the spring break hubbub by choosing upscale hotel brands such as the Four Seasons, Fairmont and Ritz-Carlton, Saglie said, because they may be tougher for large families or young adults to afford. The same can be said of cruises. More affordable lines such as Carnival will attract families and young adults, he said, so opt for lines such as Oceania, Silversea and Seabourn.