Whether your ideal spring break involves joining the throngs of college students at the beach or squeezing in a spur-of-the-moment family getaway, chances are, you're ready for a recess. After all, it's been a mind-numbingly cold winter. And with plenty of outdoor festivals and reasonably priced lodging options in vibrant locales, there's hardly a reason not to take a trip this spring.
With some guidance from Clem Bason, CEO of goSeek, U.S. News pinpointed the top spring break spots for a wide range of budgets, styles and age groups. Whether you're looking to save or splurge and explore somewhere near or far, there's a place for you on this list. We factored in hotel data from goSeek to come up with a mix of cost-conscious and high-end lodging options for weeklong trips in March and April. Here are eight spots where your wallet can match your wayfaring this spring.
See: Best Spring Break Destinations
Note: All prices were correct as of Feb. 24 and are based on double occupancy.
If you're looking to spend less than $100 a night...
Explore the great outdoors in Vancouver, British Columbia
While Vancouver is a magnet for outdoorsy types year-round, spring offers visitors the chance to kayak in English Bay, mountain bike through Stanley Park and whale watch in nearby Victoria, among other adventurous pursuits. And if you're traveling with younger ones in tow, you'll find dozens of free family-friendly to-dos, like sunning and swimming at the popular Kitsilano "Kits" Beach and perusing the market at Granville Island. Best of all, there are some unbeatable deals for March and April: goSeek lists The Westin Bayshore, Vancouver at $94 per night from March 7 to 14.
Enjoy a stress-free family vacation in Orlando, Florida
If you'd rather bond with your clan closer to home than across the border, consider a trip to Orlando. The mix of attractions for the young -- and the young at heart -- is perfect for those seeking quality time with their brood without breaking the bank. While toddlers mingle with their favorite Disney characters and teens ride roller coasters at Universal Orlando Resort, grown-ups can tee off at the Grand Cypress Golf Club and explore the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. And thanks to a variety of low-cost lodging options, you don't have to worry about bursting your budget: goSeek.com lists Allure Resort Orlando, a three-star hotel, at $65 a night from March 7 to 14.
If you're looking to spend less than $200 a night...
Hit the beach (and the links) in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
With its honey-tinted sands and flowing fairways, Myrtle Beach has long been a top spring getaway pick among sun-seekers and avid golfers. During your stay, you can spend your mornings snorkeling and your afternoons perfecting your putt at one of more than 100 golf courses. And when you're ready to step out of the sun, there are plenty of other attractions, including games and roller coasters at the Family Kingdom Amusement Park and live music at the Carolina Opry. Plus, there are an abundance of budget-friendly accommodation options and all-inclusive packages here. goSeek lists the nightly rate for Mar Vista Grande, a three-star hotel, starting around $114 per night from March 21 to 28. And SeaSide Myrtle Beach is offering the "Romantic Rendezvous" package that includes extras like complimentary breakfast and a free fruit basket. Prices for a stay in an oceanfront bedroom from March 28 to April 4 start around $165 a night.
Sail, stroll and soak up history in Annapolis, Maryland
If you've already visited the nation's capital to experience the National Cherry Blossom Festival, and you'd like to mix history lessons with seaside strolls, consider visiting Annapolis. With a wealth of free historic sites, including St. Anne's Church and the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis is a scenic and affordable alternative to D.C. As you meander through Historic Annapolis, you'll find charming boutiques, lively restaurants and elegant yachts docked at Ego Alley. If you're yearning to get out on the water, pick up a kayak or paddleboard (kayak rentals start at around $20 per hour). Places like the Loews Annapolis Hotel make a cost-effective getaway easy, with rooms that start at $135 per night from March 21 to 28.
If you're looking to spend less than $300 a night...
Seek out serenity and sunshine in Miami
Consistent sunshine draws swarms of college kids come mid-March. But beyond the beach, Miami also boasts diverse and eclectic neighborhoods, world-class restaurants and family-friendly attractions. While art lovers admire the art deco architecture and bright neon lights of South Beach, culture hounds can head to Little Havana to sample authentic Cuban eats and take in the vibrant Calle Ocho festival in mid-March. Meanwhile, families can venture to the zoo, which houses more than 2,000 animals. While you're here, indulge in everything from Peruvian to Japanese to Cuban to Caribbean at one of the city's eclectic dining spots. And with four-star hotels, like the Sanctuary South Beach offering rooms for $250 per night from March 28 to April 4, you can enjoy standout meals (and if you're a night owl, a raucous nightlife) completely guilt-free.
Steal away to Puerto Vallarta
For a low-key coastal getaway that's as pleasing to the eye as it is to the pocketbook, look no further than Puerto Vallarta. The picturesque Malecón, a boardwalk lined with stylish galleries and elaborate sand sculptures, is one highlight here. But the palm-fringed Banderas Bay is the real stunner. Sprawl out along the beach, delve into a good book or look out for stingrays as you swim and snorkel before capping off your day with a memorable meal at Café des Artistes, an art-centric eatery known for its French menu. Places like the Grand Miramar, a four-star hotel located near many of PV's top attractions, are offering rooms for $212 per night from March 7 to 14.
If you're looking to spend less than $400 a night...
Plan a quintessential Hawaiian getaway
Unlike other Hawaiian islands, Kauai's wow factor is its rustic boutique hotels rather than opulent resorts. Active types can trek along Na Pali's cliffside coastline before hiking Waimea Canyon. After working up a sweat in the morning, you can kick back along Po'ipu's or Kalapaki's unspoiled beaches or take a romantic sunset stroll to the Kilauau Lighthouse to catch incredible views. Though you'll likely have to shell out a pretty penny for airfare, reasonable lodging options abound. Plan a trip between March 21 and 28, and you can take your pick between the award-winning Koa Kea Hotel & Resort and the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, where rates are listed at $350 and $387 a night on goSeek.
Delight in urban and natural wonders in San Diego
Not only does America's Finest City offer a handful of family-friendly attractions, including the 1,200-acre Balboa Park, it also features a myriad of spring festivities. Take advantage of half-priced admission fees at 40 museums across the city throughout the month of March or explore Little Italy during the annual ArtWalk from April 25 to 26. And if you're looking to catch up on R&R, claim a spot along Mission Beach's 2-mile-long shoreline or head to Coronado for calmer waves and fewer sunbathers. Luxury five-star accommodations like the Grand Del Mar are listed at $368 per night from March 28 through April 4 on goSeek.
See: Best Alternative Spring Break Destinations
About the author: Liz Weiss is an editor for the Travel section at U.S. News. You can follow her on Twitter, connect with her on LinkedIn, circle her on Google+ or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.