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BY KAITLIN HARRIS
7 Alternative Spots For Spring Break Travel
If you’re looking to discover a new destination this spring break — one that’s less crowded and offers plenty of outdoor attractions — check out these seven spots that you may not have thought of but are sure to love.
1. Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
The mountains are calling! The snow has melted — except on the mountain peaks — and the wildflowers are in full bloom. Hike one of the Smokies’ many trails to discover cascading rivers, panoramic vistas, waterfalls, and old-growth forests. For a different view of the mountains, cut through the range on the Pigeon River during a guided whitewater rafting tour.
With glowing red-rock formations, vortexes crackling with energy, vast blue skies, and wilderness areas aplenty, it’s easy to stay socially distanced in this Arizona town that was built for serenity-seekers. Embark on a hike on the Cathedral Rock trail to see some of the most notable red-rock formations — like Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock — on the horizon.
If it’s aquatic pursuits you’re after, there are no shortage of ways to get your fix in this laidback lake destination in Missouri — whether navigating the lake by boat, fishing for freshwater species, or staking a claim to your piece of 1,100 miles of shoreline. Rent your preferred vessel from a marina and spend your spring break tubing, water skiing, and tossing in the anchor to relax and take in the scenic surroundings.
If you’ve set your sights on skiing this spring break, Steamboat is a great alternative to some of the more heavily populated slopes. Affectionately referred to as Ski Town, U.S.A., this welcoming and authentic mountain town offers 169 trails to choose from and trademarked Champagne Powder® snow. Après ski, soak in one of the hot springs at Strawberry Park, a therapeutic natural treasure that soothes aching muscles.
Home of the piña colada, you’ll find there’s plenty of ways to sink into island life here. Beach hop from the on-site beach to secluded coves, then hit the links. Zip line through the canopy of the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest system, El Yunque. Then paddle through the glowing waters of one of three of the world’s five bioluminescent bays. Top it all off with delicious food, and your spring break is set.
If you’re seeking crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches, and hidden coves — whether for sunbathing, swimming, or snorkeling — make St. Thomas your home base for island hopping around the Virgin Islands. It’s paradise (no passport required), and an ideal alternative to international island destinations. Charter a boat and cruise around Pacquereau Bay, or head to Coki Beach to snorkel among tropical fish. In Charlotte Amalie, the capital, you’ll find charming streets, high-end and duty-free shopping, and Blackbeard’s Castle.
Spring in Portland means the cherry blossoms are in bloom and the air is cool, so you can soak up the area’s outdoor attractions — like hiking trails and impressive gardens — without breaking a sweat. Take a quick drive out to the Columbia River Gorge, a National Scenic Area that is home to breathtaking vistas, plentiful hiking trails, and more than 90 waterfalls. Fuel up for your afternoon of exploration with lunch at Sugarpine, an exceptionally tasty drive-in on the banks of the Sandy River.