Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions are my own.
| |

14 Best Spring Break Destinations in the South [2024]

Spring is a great time to visit the South. With new blooms and spring festivals, the season of rebirth is a great time to experience the Southern states. If you’re planning a spring break getaway in the South, check out these top destinations.

Whether you’re looking for a beach getaway, a blooming botanical garden, or the perfect hiking weather, these Southern destinations have you covered! Festivals and new blooms abound during spring in the South. There are so many reasons to get outside and enjoy what the new season has to offer.

There’s no doubt about it: the South is perfect for a spring break getaway!

Post Contents

Best Places to Experience Spring in the South

1. Gulf Shores, Alabama

Sunset over the beach from The Lodge at Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores, Alabama

The coastal Alabama city of Gulf Shores is never boring, especially during Spring Break. Gorgeous white sand beaches beckon you to Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

Must-Do Spring Activities in Gulf Shores

A beach day is a must when visiting Gulf Shores — you did come visit the coast, after all. Sit back and relax on West Beach, Gulf Shores’ less crowded 6 mile stretch of sand that runs from Gulf Shores Parkway to the end of Dolphin Drive. If you just want to spend a day at the pool, you can book a day pass at an ocean-front hotel or resort with pool access using ResortPass.

Once you’re nice and relaxed, get amped up for some outdoor adventure. You can try ziplining at the Gulf Adventure Center, rent a kayak or paddle board on the ocean, or try out parasailing.

Become one with nature with a dolphin cruise that allows you to see some wildlife and enjoy the sunset in a relaxing atmosphere. Hike or bike the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail, which spreads across more than 25 miles winding through distinct ecosystems.

Where to Stay in Gulf Shores

You have your pick of hotels, condos, beach houses, resorts, bed & breakfasts, and campgrounds in Gulf Shores. The Lodge at Gulf State Park or the Staybridge Suites Gulf Shore are top-rated choices.

For a beach-front vacation rental, check out VRBO for unique stays like this centrally-located beachfront home or this dog-friendly escape with a private pool.

Top Pick: I highly recommend staying at The Lodge at Gulf State Park. Read my review here.

2. Hot Springs, Arkansas

Fordyce Bathhouse, Hot Springs, Arkansas

Hot Springs is made for relaxation and outdoor exploration. Known for its healing bathhouses, luxury spas, and great museums, this Arkansas city is the perfect spring getaway.

Must-Do Spring Activities in Hot Springs

Hot Springs National Park is the top thing to do in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Explore the park’s historic Bathhouse Row, gardens, and hiking trails. Be sure to book a relaxing spa treatment or soak in the thermal waters at one of the historic bathhouses still offering services.

For outdoor adventure, head to the Ouachita National Forest for activities like hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, and canoeing. Take a hike on the popular Horsethief Springs Trail, an 11-mile loop that will let you see the best of the forest. Or go for a thrilling zipline tour through an old-growth forest.

Hot Springs even has some fun museums. Everyone will enjoy a trip to the Gangster Museum of America to learn about the town’s bootlegging and gambling criminals. The Galaxy Connection shows off one man’s personal collection of Star Wars props, tows, and life-sized characters.

Where to Stay in Hot Springs

Hot Springs has plenty of great hotels, many with their own spa services. The Waters Hot Springs, Lookout Point Lakeside Inn, and Best Western Winners Circle are just a few top hotels.

If you want a stay that’s more in touch with nature, check out vacation rentals on VRBO like this Rustic Pine Cabin with great views of Lake Hamilton or this loft near Bathhouse Row.

3. Miami, Florida

Miami, Florida

Miami is one of the hottest Spring Break destinations in the South. The weather is great, there’s a lot going on, and the city is the perfect beach getaway.

Must-Do Spring Activities in Miami

If you need a reason to celebrate, Miami has you covered. In the springtime, the city is chock-full of festivals and events. Miami Music Week, the Florida Derby, Friday Night Soundwaves, the World Polo League Beach World Cup, and the Miami Open are some of the hottest spring events.

Check out Miami’s most Instagrammable spots bursting with spring color. The Vizcaya Museum & Gardens is a meticulously landscaped Renaissance-style villa with a collection of European antiques. Then there’s the Wynwood Walls, an outdoor museum of legitimized street art and murals.

The beach is obviously a must. Just keep in mind how crowded the beaches get during Spring Break. If you need an alternative to the beach, you can try swimming in the Venetian Pool or kayaking at Matheson Hammock Park. You can even book a day pass at some of Miami’s hottest hotel pools and spas using ResortPass.

Where to Stay in Miami

Miami has no shortage of great hotels and places to stay. The Novotel Miami Brickell, Hyatt Regency Miami, and Life House Little Havana are top choices.

You can also rent a beach condo or vacation home on VRBO, like this 2-Story Beach House with ocean views or this Private Oasis Home with a private pool.

4. Jekyll Island, Georgia

Jekyll Island, Georgia

Jekyll Island is the perfect spot for a spring break getaway with coastal breezes and the warm spring sunshine. This southernmost Golden Isle is one of the most popular islands in coastal Georgia.

Must-Do Spring Activities in Jekyll Island

There’s plenty of wildlife and nature on Jekyll Island to explore during the spring. Go horseback riding on the beach, explore the island by bike, walk along the iconic Driftwood Beach, take a dolphin boat tour, and visit the Georgia Sea Turtle Center.

Spring is full of fun events on Jekyll Island as well. Take part in the Turtle Crawl, a set of races benefiting the Georgia Turtle Center; celebrate the local arts scene with the Jekyll Island Arts Association Arts Festival; and more!

Learn about the history of the island in the Jekyll Island Historic District, known as the “Millionaires’ Village” full of beautiful old mansions. Then check out the interactive exhibits at MOSAIC and visit the Horton House, one of the oldest surviving tabby buildings in the state.

Where to Stay in Jekyll Island

The Jekyll Island Club Resort is the island’s top accommodation and has been since 1888. It was the choice retreat of the American elite like the Vanderbilts, Pulitzers, and Rockefellers. Other top hotels include the Hampton Inn & Suites Jekyll Island, The Beachview Club, and Home2 Suites Jekyll Island.

Find a nice beach house or cottage to stay at on VRBO, like this Ocean Cottage with serene beach views or this Beachside Townhome close to shops and restaurants.

5. Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville is a big city with fewer crowds and tons of fun attractions and experiences. Visit in the spring time for an unforgettable vacation.

Must-Do Spring Activities in Louisville

No visit to Louisville is complete without hitting up some Bourbon distilleries. Downtown distilleries like Angel’s Envy, Old Forester, Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, Michter’s Fort Nelson, and Peerless Distilling Co. are all within a few blocks of each other. Then you have tours and tastings of Rabbit Hole, Copper & Kings, Brough Brothers, Stitzel-Weller, and Prohibition Craft Spirits as well.

The Kentucky Derby is a nearly month-long celebration in the spring time. There are events and activities like Thunder Over Louisville, the MiniMarathon, the Pegasus Parade, and the Great Steamboat Race. A visit to the Kentucky Derby Museum is a must, too. And if that’s not enough, Louisville has other spring festivals to keep you busy, like the  Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Forecastle Festival and Abbey Road on the River, and NuLu Bock Fest.

Louisville’s gardens and outdoor spaces thrive in the spring. Check out the Victorian-era Cave Hill Cemetery and find the graves of Colonel Sanders and Muhammad Ali; then head to the Bernheim Arboretum and Forest to see the impressive Forest Giants sculptures; finally, visit the Waterfront Botanical Gardens, a redeveloped ecological haven that has transformed the city’s old dump.

Where to Stay in Louisville

Louisville has a great selection of boutique hotels and fun stays. Top picks include The Grady Hotel, which was once a medicinal bourbon apothecary; the 21C Museum Hotel, the original contemporary art museum hotel; and The Inn at St. James Court, a charming B&B on the famous fountain court.

The city has plenty of great vacation rental options as well. Check out VRBO for stays like this Historic Old Louisville Apartment in a Victorian home, this historic apartment by the NuLu Marketplace, or this River’s Edge Oasis home overlooking the Ohio River.

6. New Orleans, Louisiana

Jackson Square, New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is a popular spring destination thanks to their annual Mardi Gras festival. Even when Mardi Gras is over, there are other fun outdoor festivals, and springtime fun that you can enjoy.

Must-Do Spring Activities in New Orleans

Mardi Gras jumpstarts the spring festival season in New Orleans. After a weekend of parades, costumes, live music, and revelry, the fun doesn’t stop. Jazz Fest, the French Quarter Festival, Hogs for the Cause, the New Orleans Book Festival, and Bayou Boogaloo are just a few of the city’s fun spring events.

Enjoy the parks in bloom during the springtime. Pack a picnic or just go for a walk at Audubon Park and visit Audubon Zoo, explore City Park and the New Orleans Botanical Gardens, enjoy the Garden District in full bloom, or take a miniature train ride at Carousel Gardens.

Spring means crawfish season in New Orleans. Sure, you can get crawfish year-round, but the best time for a crawfish boil is spring, when Louisiana’s swamps and bayous get plenty of rain. Parks around the city actually let you host your own crawfish boil, like The Fly, Bayou St. John, and City Park. Or you can hit up a crawfish festival, like the Crawfish Mambo or NOLA Crawfish Fest. You’ll have no problem finding a crawfish dish in top restaurants around town, as well.

Where to Stay in New Orleans

Whether you want to stay in the French Quarter, on Bourbon Street, or in Mid-City, there are plenty of options for stays. Top hotels include the Hotel Monteleone, NOPSI Hotel New Orleans, Bourbon Orleans Hotel, and the Hotel Le Marais.

If you want to stay like a local, look for a house or condo vacation rental on VRBO, like this Historic Uptown Cottage, this apartment on Frenchman Street, or this really unique Engine 24 French Quarter Firehouse.

7. Chesapeake City, Maryland

Chesapeake City, Maryland
WhisperToMe, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Chesapeake City has all the small-town charm with easy access to big cities like Baltimore and Wilmington, making it an ideal spring vacation destination.

Must-Do Spring Activities in Chesapeake City

For some time exploring the great outdoors, bike along the Ben Cardin C&D Canal Recreational Trail. Take a day trip to Elk Neck State Park for hiking along the Chesapeake Bay and access the historic Turkey Point Lighthouse.

Learn about the history of the area at the C&D Canal Museum and by walking the South Chesapeake City Historic District. Enjoy an insightful cruise with Chesapeake City Water Tour or M/V Bay Breeze of Chesapeake City.

For those into craft beer, Bayheads Brewing Company is the city’s first brewery. If wine is more your speed, Chateau Bu-De Vineyard & Winery, Bohemia Manor Farm offers fine wines on a historic farm overlooking the Bohemia River.

Where to Stay in Chesapeake City

If you’re looking to stay in town, a cute bed & breakfast is your best choice. The Inn at the Canal, Blue Max Inn Bed and Breakfast, and Ship Watch Inn offer romantic settings with the small-town charm.

For a more traditional hotel, it’s just a short drive out of the city. Check out the Hampton Inn Elkton or the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Elkton.

8. Biloxi, Mississippi

White House Hotel, Biloxi, Mississippi

Mississippi’s Gulf Coast is a hot location for beach parties, outdoor concerts, festivals, and more fun in the sun. Enjoy your time exploring all the spring fun that Biloxi has to offer.

Must-Do Spring Activities in Biloxi

From fishing at the Bernard Bayou to a kayaking or canoeing excursion, there’s plenty of active fun in Biloxi. Relax on the 26 miles of white sand on Biloxi Beach, walk or bike the Biloxi Bay Bridge, or take the kiddos to The Salvation Army Kroc Center indoor water park.

Hop on the Biloxi Tour Train to see all the city’s historic sights. Explore the city’s history through the Biloxi Lighthouse, the Mardi Gras Museum, Beauvoir, the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum, the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, Beauvoir, and the Hurricane Katrina Memorial. If you’re up for a day trip, add in an escape to Ship Island just 12 miles off the coast.

Ready to gamble? Biloxi is known for their resort casinos full of entertainment, great food, shopping, table games, and slot machines. Harrah’s Gulf Coast Hotel & Casino, Golden Nugget Biloxi, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Biloxi, and Beau Rivage Resort & Casino are just a few of your top choices.

Where to Stay in Biloxi

Any of the resort casinos make for a great stay. Whether you’re looking for a luxury getaway or a family-friendly retreat, there’s something for everyone. In addition to those listed above, you also have fantastic resort-style options like Margaritaville Resort Biloxi and Hotel Legends.

For a more traditional hotel experience, I highly recommend the White House Hotel for its history and Southern charm. Other top options include the DoubleTree Biloxi, the Hyatt Place Biloxi, and the Hampton Inn Biloxi.

9. Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte, North Carolina Sunset

Charlotte is a family-friendly destination with top museums, and amusement park, and plenty of outdoor fun.

Must-Do Spring Activities in Charlotte

Carowinds, Charlotte’s big amusement park, opens each year just in time for Spring Break. You’ll find world-class rides, a waterpark, live entertainment, Camp Snoopy, and tons of family-friendly events. Stay at the on-site hotel or campgrounds for a fun getaway.

In Uptown Charlotte, enjoy all that North Carolina’s largest city has to offer. Visit Discovery Place, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, The Green, the Levine Museum of the New South, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and more as you explore Queen City. Learn all about Charlotte’s history on a Segway tour or a golf cart tour.

Get out and enjoy nature at any of the Charlotte-area gardens like the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden or the McGill Rose Garden. Enjoy an unforgettable picnic experience in First Ward Park or a mystery picnic in Plaza Midwood. You can take a ride on rapids at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, home of the largest man-made whitewater river in the world. Or walk along the Charlotte Rail Trail for some exercise while you check out cafes, bars, galleries, and more along the way.

Where to Stay in Charlotte

Charlotte has loads of hotels to stay at. If you want to be in the center of action in Uptown, I recommend staying at the Hilton Garden Inn Uptown Charlotte. Other top options include Le Meridien Charlotte, The Dunhill Hotel, and The Ivey’s Hotel.

For a unique stay, check out VRBO for rentals like this Luxury High Rise Condo or this Uptown Paradise Condo.

10. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach SkyWheel, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

This South Carolina beach city is the perfect spring getaway. Myrtle Beach offers plenty of opportunity for adventure, shopping, entertainment, and dining.

Must-Do Spring Activities in Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach is one of the most popular Spring Break destinations in the United States, and for good reason. It is known for its beachfront location filled with nightlife from foam parties to bikini contests. If you’re visiting during Spring Break, be prepared for rowdy crowds hitting up the dance clubs like Señor Frogs, Ocean Annie’s, and Club Oz.

Not into the party scene? That’s fine, too! Spend some time at Broadway at the Beach, the city’s hub for shopping and entertainment. Walk along Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and Promenade for shops, restaurants, and arcades. Then take a ride on the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel to get incredible views. Myrtle Beach has all kinds of fun from amusement parks to waterparks to beachfront activities, like surf lessons, that are perfect for the whole family. Get a day pass to some of the town’s most popular resort pools with ResortPass.

If you want a little art, culture, and history in between your time lounging on the beach, there’s plenty of that as well. Visit sights like the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum, the Brookgreen Gardens, T.I.G.E.R.S. Preservation Station, the Myrtle Beach Colored School Museum, and Myrtle Beach State Park.

Where to Stay in Myrtle Beach

Beachfront hotels and resorts are the top choice of accommodation in Myrtle Beach. The Homewood Suites by Hilton Myrtle Beach Oceanfront, Hilton Grand Vacations Clube Ocean Enclave, and Marriott’s OceanWatch Villas at Grande Dunes are top beachfront properties. Venture a little ways inland for great options like the Homewood Suites Coastal Grand Mall or the Hampton Inn Myrtle Beach West.

There are tons of vacation rentals in Myrtle Beach to choose from as well. Find options like this Beautiful Sea Breeze Beach House or this Immaculate Direct Oceanfront Condo.

11. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga is a great Spring Break destination for families. The city is full of world-class attractions and kid-friendly fun that everyone can enjoy.

Must-Do Spring Activities in Chattanooga

Ruby Falls, Rock City Gardens, and the Tennessee Aquarium are the top things to do in Chattanooga. Rock City Gardens is especially beautiful in the spring with all the new blooms and pop of color. Other fun attractions include the Chattanooga Zoo, the Incline Railway, and the Hunter Museum of American Art.

Take a food tour of downtown Chattanooga to taste the best restaurants the city has to offer. Tours include a taste of Spanish tapas, Italian cuisine, Mexican, and French-inspired restaurants. This is the perfect way to get an introduction to Tennessee’s thriving foodie scene.

Chattanooga is also the perfect place for some outdoor adventure this spring. Go chasing waterfalls on the area’s amazing hikes, like Falling Water falls in the Falling Water Falls State Natural Area, Greeter Falls and Foster Falls in South Cumberland State Park, or Laurel Falls in Laurel Snow State Natural Area. 

Where to Stay in Chattanooga

Chattanooga has tons of unique hotel options. The Chattanooga Choo Choo is a historic former rail station with traditional hotel rooms and rooms in former train cars. The Read House is an elegant 1872 hotel with a lot of history and a resident ghost. The Moxy Chattanooga Downtown has stylish, creative rooms and complimentary cocktails at check-in.

There are also great vacation rentals in the area, like this City Overlook home above Downtown or this Family-Friendly Home in the Heart of St. Elmo near the Incline Railway.

12. South Padre Island, Texas

This beautiful beach retreat along the Gulf of Mexico is the perfect Spring Break getaway. South Padre Island is known for its calm, emerald waters and warm weather.

Must-Do Spring Activities on South Padre Island

Hit up the beach for more than 30 miles of sand and 28 public access points. There are plenty of water sports opportunities here, including stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, jet skiing, fishing, banana boats, SCUBA diving, snorkeling, and more. You can even take sand castle lessons! Afterwards, you can spend a some time at the pool with a day pass to the island’s top beachfront resorts.

Love animals? Then South Padre Island is for you! Go horseback riding on the beach, see sea turtles that are being rehabilitated at Sea Turtle Inc., visit the SPI Birding and Nature Center, or head out on a dolphin-watching tour.

Kid-friendly fun abounds on South Padre Island as well. Take a Pirate Cruise; have a splash day at Beach Park at Isla Blanca Park; catch some thrills at Island Adventure Park or Gravity Park. Add in some learning on your vacation with a trip to the Port Isabel Historical Museum, the Treasures of the Gulf Museum, and the Port Isabel Lighthouse.

Where to Stay on South Padre Island

No matter where you stay on South Padre Island, you’re never to far from the beach! Top hotels include the Hilton Garden Inn Beachfront, the Holiday Inn Beach Resort, and the Best Western Beachside Inn.

For beach houses and condos, check out rentals on VRBO like this beautiful condo with a private balcony overlooking the Gulf or this house with direct beach access.

13. Norfolk, Virginia

USS Wisconsin, Norfolk, Virginia

Looking for a calm and coastal spring vacation destination this year? Norfolk is a great retreat for the entire family.

Must-Do Spring Activities in Norfolk

Dive into Norfolk’s nautical history at the Nauticus maritime science museum and tour the USS Wisconsin. Take a harbor cruise to see the Naval Station Norfolk, the Elizabeth River, and more. Then explore the Waterside District where you’ll find restaurants, events, festivals, and live music along the waterfront.

Spring is a great time to enjoy the city’s natural sights, from the beaches to gardens. Head to Ocean View and East Beach for swimming, sailing, and relaxing. Visit the Norfolk Botanical Garden, the largest in Virginia, for beautiful blooms and a butterfly house. The Hermitage Museum and Gardens features beautiful artwork and gardens that include forests and wetlands. The Virginia Zoo offers a natural retreat to learn about their resident bears, lions, and other animals from around the world.

Spend some time exploring your artsy side at the Chrysler Museum of Art, home to a huge collection of glass art, European and American paintings, and sculpture. Then check out the Neon District Murals. And a visit to the free Barry Art Museum is a must to see its glass sculpture collection.

Where to Stay in Norfolk

Norfolk is full of amazing hotels and places to stay. Check out top picks like the Hilton Norfolk The Main, the Glass Light Hotel & Gallery, the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel, or The Inn at Four Eleven York.

If you want a stay close to the beach, check out VRBO for rentals like this Classic Chesapeake Beachside Cottage or this Waterfront Home with a Private Dock.

14. Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Harpers Ferry is the perfect spring vacation for history buffs. There’s also plenty of nature and adventure to keep every type of visitor happy.

Must-Do Spring Activities in Harpers Ferry

A visit to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is a must. You can learn all about the Civil War history of the region and hike trails that lead to Civil War sights and scenic overlooks. History lovers will also want to check out the small Civil War Living History Museum, White Hall Tavern, the ruins of St. John’s Episcopal Church, John Brown’s Fort, and Harper Cemetery.

If you want more adventure beyond the hiking trails of the historical park, then be sure to hike along part of the Appalachian Trail and stop at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Headquarters, the midpoint of the AT. Or you might try braving the rapids on the Shenandoah or Potomac rivers for whitewater rafting or kayaking.

Kids will love a trip to the Harpers Ferry Toy Train Museum full of antique toys and electric trains. True Treats Historic Candy is also a huge hit, allowing you to sample vintage candies that have been carefully recreated.

Where to Stay in Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry offers historic boutique hotels and bed & breakfasts for a relaxing, homey stay. Top picks include the Clarion Inn Harpers Ferry, The Town’s Inn, and The Light Horse Inn.

You can also find historic homes and apartments on VRBO, like this Carriage House in the Historic District or this Charming Historic House in Downtown.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Spring Weather in the South

What’s the weather like in the South during the spring? Spring weather in the South starts to heat up with temperatures ranging from in the 50s to in the 80s, depending on the region.

In the Deep South (Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina, Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas) typically see temperatures averaging in the high 60s. Meanwhile, the more northern states (North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia) as well as the mountain regions typically see temperatures averaging in the high 50s.

You can expect temperatures to warm up quick starting in March. In fact, many Southern states see an 80 degree day as early as February or March. Spring is also the wet season, so keep an eye on the weather for rain when planning your trip.

Spring Break in the South FAQ

What is the best place to visit during spring break?

Some of the best spring break ideas in the South include Gulf Shores, Myrtle Beach, Miami, Jekyll Island, and New Orleans.

Where to go for spring break in Georgia?

For spring break in Georgia, Jekyll Island is a great choice! If you’re looking for more spring break ideas in Georgia, check out this post.

Where do people from Florida go for spring break?

Popular spring break destinations for Florida residents include New Orleans and Miami.

Read More

Ready to take a vacation? Plan your trip with these tips.



The Best Spring Destinations in the South

What are your favorite spring destinations in the South? Let me know in the comments!

Similar Posts


  1. So of course I am very biased and happy that you included my home of New Orleans. It rocks here in the Spring time with all of our festivals for sure.
    I do love how you added a good mix of places too. So whether you like the beaches of the Gulf South, or hiking in the mountains of the Blue Ridge or Ozarks to just some fun city fun, you have a great mix. Love that you included Texas in there, though we dont admit they are the south but they are alright in our book. Will definitely have to consider South Padre Island.

    1. Oh I’m sure there are plenty of Texans who would fight you on that haha I definitely try to get a good mix in there; spring break isn’t just for beaches!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *