The Best and Worst U.S. Cities for Spring Break

By Kalina Mackay

For students across the nation, spring break is one of the best weeks of the year. However, traveling to the luxurious tropical island of your dreams may easily be out of budget. Luckily, there are countless destinations within the United States that can make for a great vacation. 

With that in mind, our team at House Method decided to find the U.S. cities that make the best spring break destinations. We analyzed data for the 100 largest cities and ranked them according to six factors including the number of bars, cost of an Airbnb, average March temperature, and more. Read on to see what we found.

Main Findings

According to our research, the best city for spring break in the U.S. is New Orleans, Louisiana. With the highest number of bars per capita in the nation and a plethora of Airbnb options to stay in, you’re sure to have the time of your life in New Orleans. 

A notable second place belongs to Orlando – one of five Florida cities that make up the top 15 US spring break destinations. The warm temperatures, buzzing nightlife, and moderate costs of a drink and rideshare services make the Sunshine State a popular go-to during this time of year.

The 15 Best U.S. Cities for Spring Break

  1. New Orleans, LA
  2. Orlando, FL
  3. Honolulu, HI
  4. St. Petersburg, FL
  5. Atlanta, GA
  6. Miami, FL
  7. Tampa, FL
  8. Tucson, AZ
  9. Las Vegas, NV
  10. Cincinnati, OH
  11. Greensboro, NC
  12. Winston–Salem, NC
  13. Laredo, TX
  14. Jacksonville, FL
  15. Portland, OR

While California may have the climate for spring break, its staggering costs of going out drops many of the west coast destinations to the bottom of the rankings, along with some of the coldest cities in the nation. The five cities considered least ideal for spring are New York (100), Anchorage (99), Fremont (98), San Jose (97), and San Francisco (96). 

The 15 Worst U.S. Cities for Spring Break

  1. New York, NY
  2. Anchorage, AK
  3. Fremont, CA
  4. San Jose, CA
  5. San Francisco, CA
  6. Boston, MA
  7. Oakland, CA
  8. Virginia Beach, VA
  9. North Las Vegas, NV
  10. Chicago, IL
  11. Henderson, NV
  12. Chula Vista, CA
  13. Aurora, CO
  14. Anaheim, CA
  15. Bakersfield, CA

As long as spring break is a week spent relaxing free from the stress of school, it’s a spring break well spent!

The Best Cities for Spring Break
in the U.S.

RankingCityStateOverall City Score
(Higher Means Better)"
1New OrleansLouisiana43.5
2OrlandoFlorida42.8
3HonoluluHawaii40.7
4St. PetersburgFlorida40.5
5AtlantaGeorgia39.9
6MiamiFlorida37.1
7TampaFlorida35.8
8TucsonArizona34.7
9Las VegasNevada34.4
10CincinnatiOhio34.3
11GreensboroNorth Carolina33.9
12Winston–SalemNorth Carolina33.8
13LaredoTexas33.6
14JacksonvilleFlorida33.3
15PortlandOregon33.3
16ScottsdaleArizona33.0
17HoustonTexas32.9
18El PasoTexas32.8
19Long BeachCalifornia32.8
20DurhamNorth Carolina32.7
21Jersey CityNew Jersey32.5
22TulsaOklahoma32.4
23LubbockTexas32.3
24FresnoCalifornia32.0
25ChandlerArizona31.7
26StocktonCalifornia31.7
27AustinTexas31.5
28RenoNevada31.5
29BoiseIdaho31.5
30MemphisTennessee31.4
31LincolnNebraska31.4
32DenverColorado31.2
33SacramentoCalifornia31.2
34Oklahoma CityOklahoma31.1
35WichitaKansas31.1
36RichmondVirginia31.0
37MesaArizona30.9
38RaleighNorth Carolina30.8
39ArlingtonTexas30.8
40DallasTexas30.4
41Fort WorthTexas30.4
42RiversideCalifornia30.3
43Baton RougeLouisiana30.0
44GilbertArizona29.9
45MinneapolisMinnesota29.8
46SpokaneWashington29.8
47HialeahFlorida29.8
48WashingtonDistrict of Columbia29.7
49LexingtonKentucky29.7
50AlbuquerqueNew Mexico29.7
51San AntonioTexas29.6
52CharlotteNorth Carolina29.5
53Kansas CityMissouri29.5
54NewarkNew Jersey29.4
55PittsburghPennsylvania29.4
56IrvingTexas29.4
57BaltimoreMaryland29.2
58Corpus ChristiTexas29.1
59NorfolkVirginia29.0
60SeattleWashington28.9
61PlanoTexas28.9
62ToledoOhio28.9
63ClevelandOhio28.8
64PhoenixArizona28.7
65GlendaleArizona28.7
66NashvilleTennessee28.3
67Fort WayneIndiana28.2
68Santa AnaCalifornia28.1
69BuffaloNew York28.0
70LouisvilleKentucky27.9
71Colorado SpringsColorado27.7
72GarlandTexas27.6
73IrvineCalifornia27.4
74Los AngelesCalifornia27.4
75IndianapolisIndiana27.3
76ChesapeakeVirginia27.2
77MilwaukeeWisconsin27.1
78MadisonWisconsin26.8
79St. LouisMissouri26.6
80Saint PaulMinnesota26.0
81OmahaNebraska26.0
82DetroitMichigan25.8
83San DiegoCalifornia25.5
84PhiladelphiaPennsylvania25.5
85ColumbusOhio25.3
86BakersfieldCalifornia25.3
87AnaheimCalifornia23.9
88AuroraColorado23.7
89Chula VistaCalifornia23.7
90HendersonNevada23.5
91ChicagoIllinois23.4
92North Las VegasNevada22.0
93Virginia BeachVirginia20.6
94OaklandCalifornia20.5
95BostonMassachusetts20.3
96San FranciscoCalifornia18.7
97San JoseCalifornia18.5
98FremontCalifornia17.7
99AnchorageAlaska16.1
100New YorkNew York15.5

Methodology 

To find the best and worst cities for spring break, we analyzed data for the 100 largest cities in the United States. We ranked the cities using six factors each at an equal weight. Each city was graded on a 60-point scale, with a score of 60 representing the ideal spring break destination. 

We then calculated each city’s average across all factors to determine its overall score and used the results to rank-order our sample. 

  • Number of bars per 100,000 people 
  • Number of Airbnbs per 100,000 people 
  • Average cost of an Airbnb 
  • Average cost of a cocktail at a bar 
  • Average cost of a Lyft ride 
  • Average March temperature 

Sources  

  • Yelp 
  • AirDNA
  • Expatisan
  • Estimate Fares
  • US Climate Data

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