Best Spring Break Vacations in California

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Looking for the best place to spend your spring break? California has endless possibilities, whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach getaway or an action-packed adventure. Springtime in California is a beautiful thing.

The weather is perfect, the flowers are in bloom, and there are endless possibilities for fun activities. So grab your sunscreen and a map, and get ready for some fun in the sun!

San Diego, California

Whatever type of spring break adventure you’re looking for, there’s a way to spend it in San Diego that’s perfect. Whether you want to party your heart out or just relax on the beach, this southern California gem is your one-stop spring break shop.

With average temperatures in the 70s, spring breakers will find plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. Make it a point to check out what’s going on at The Observatory North Park.

Every spring weekend has something different planned from concerts by local artists to dance parties with DJs spinning club music – it’s always a good time!

Nature enthusiasts should check out La Jolla Shores where visitors can enjoy the beach and explore tide pools. If you’re feeling adventurous, take advantage of the beautiful sunny spring conditions and rent a 2 or 4-person kayak or a stand up paddleboard to check out the caves and ocean life along the Pacific coastline.

paddle boarding in redondo beach

The Gaslamp Quarter is another popular spring break destination in San Diego, showing off the city’s thriving nightlife scene with tons of bars, clubs, restaurants, and live music venues.

The best part is, you can find spring break specials almost anywhere you go downtown because it gets packed during this time of year!

Santa Cruz, California

If relaxation is what you’re looking for this spring break, head over to Santa Cruz. This Central California beach town has a laid-back vibe that welcomes spring breakers with open arms.

Go hiking, biking, or surfing along the beautiful coastline, and then take a break by stopping into one of the local cafes or shops along the pier.

Typically, Santa Cruz is a little more laid back than most, but it’s definitely not any less exciting. The mild spring days are just right for outdoor activities and there are plenty to choose from!

natural bridges state beach

If surfing’s your thing, Aptos and Capitola beaches have easy access points for beginners as well as experienced surfers. There are also good surfing spots at Natural Bridges State Beach and nearby Cliffs Beach.

Plus, Santa Cruz is one of California’s premier spots for spring breakers with a license to drive a motorcycle, with plenty of great spots just perfect for an awesome ride.

You can find spring break specials all over the city and spring-time concerts at venues like The Catalyst Club & Music Hall, which is also home to local bands and fantastic live music seven days a week.

San Francisco, California

For spring breakers looking for a springtime adventure of the urban variety, San Francisco is always an intriguing choice. The springtime weather in this unique city is mild and the spring flowers are blooming all over the place, making it an ideal destination to explore.

Whether you’re hitting up some of Northern California’s best restaurants or checking out one of SF’s famous landmarks like Alcatraz Island or Golden Gate Park, spring breakers will find tons to do in this cultural hub.

Golden Gate Park

Ranked by Forbes as one of the most exciting cities in America, travelers to San Francisco will find a variety of world-class museums and galleries to explore.

You can spend the day enjoying activities like cycling along the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, chowing down in Chinatown, shopping at Fisherman’s Wharf, or taking a tour of Alcatraz – once home to some of California’s most hardcore “spring breakers” (haha!).

Once you’re done with sightseeing, there are plenty of bars and nightclubs in San Francisco where you can dance away the night!

Santa Monica, California

If a spring break getaway to the beach is what you’re looking for this spring break, look no further than Santa Monica! Located on Pacific Coast Highway in Los Angeles County, Santa Monica is only about 20 miles away from downtown Los Angeles.

You can stay right on the ocean at Ocean Avenue near popular attractions like The Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade where visitors will find shops, restaurants, bars, and clubs that cater to spring breakers of all kinds.

Santa Monica Pier

There are endless spring events in this city with something always going on, no matter what type of spring activities you’re into. And if you’re not looking for relaxation, there are plenty of destinations nearby offering adrenaline-fueled fun like spring skiing at Mountain High Resort.

Or try a local favorite activity like hiking through Runyon Canyon Park which is perfect for rock climbing lovers or anyone who wants to take an amazing selfie while enjoying stunning views of Los Angeles.

A visit to Los Angeles wouldn’t be complete without a stroll down the Venice Beach boardwalk, window shopping on Rodeo Drive or looking for your favorite actors’ stars on Hollywood Boulevard.

Hollywood may be known as the entertainment capital of the world but it’s not necessarily a spring break destination. In fact, it’s usually more crowded and crazy during the summer months.

Santa Monica Beach, on the other hand, is a welcome spring break destination with all of its laid-back cafes and bars right on the boardwalk.

Palm Springs, California

Although Palm Springs might not immediately come to mind when you think of spring break destinations, it’s a wonderful getaway from the traditional spots. This desert city boasts spring temperatures in the 70s and 80s making it perfect for visitors looking to escape the cold.

The warm weather means you can enjoy soaking up the sun while swimming in resort pools, playing on an award winning golf course, trying your luck at an Indian Casino (or Native American gaming) or taking a hike through one of the nearby palm oasis canyons.

Palm springs California

Palm Springs is also known for its amazing shopping opportunities so you’ll be able to add on some retail therapy in your downtime between pool relaxing at the pool and dancing the night away.

You can also find some great outdoor activities just outside of Palm Springs, too. For example, the Joshua Tree National Park is just a short drive away and full of opportunities for nature lovers like camping, hiking, and stargazing.

Santa Barbara, California

With spring break coming up, you want to make sure you’re choosing a destination that matches your spring vacation mood. If you’re looking for something more laidback and relaxing after the madness of spring finals, Santa Barbara is where you should go!

This town offers more relaxing activities like cycling, wine tasting, and shopping. Outdoor enthusiasts will love the opportunity to indulge in activities like paddleboarding, kayaking, or spending endless hours basking in the sun on the beach.

seashell Beach

Seashell hunters will love Arroyo Burro Beach, which is within walking distance from downtown. By night, spring breakers can dance away their stress at local hotspots like The Velvet Jones or get wild at places like East Beach which hosts huge spring concerts.

This charming coastal city has plenty of boutique shopping with stores along historic State Street selling locally designed goods.

And while you could spend days exploring every nook and cranny of this bustling little city, one must-see spring attraction is the beautiful botanical garden located just outside of downtown Santa Barbara.

Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada

Nestled in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains is Lake Tahoe, spring break central for adrenaline junkies looking to hike, boat, or enjoy some spring skiing and snowboarding before the season ends.

But spring visitors don’t have to be avid skiers or snowboarders to enjoy Lake Tahoe. You can enjoy the scenery on various hiking trails located throughout the lake area or take a dip in one of the spring-fed lakes.

Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe

And if you’re more into relaxing than adventuring, this spring destination still has plenty to offer. Visitors will find an abundance of spa treatments available around Lake Tahoe so you can treat yourself before heading out for a night at one of the many spring bars and clubs after dark.

While there are tons of ways to spend your spring break along Lake Tahoe’s stunning shoreline, another fun activity is visiting some of the area wineries where wine connoisseurs can sample local wine varietals or simply stop by to enjoy the view.

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