No Passport Required: 5 Spring Break Getaways
Box up the bulk and break out the shades, swimsuits and sandals.
Spring has sprung. So get ready for a fun-in-the-sun getaway with your girls, a boo’d-up trip with your bae or a solo trek for self-care. To help you fly away on the fly, we’ve selected five scenic, no-passport-required spring break destinations.
U.S. Virgin Islands
Lively up yourself and soak up the distinct island flavors of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas. St. Croix, the largest of the main islands, boasts popular scuba diving sites and hosts the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience in April. St. Thomas offers nightlife, duty-free shopping and the annual VI Carnival, a festive event with steel pan and soca music and a parade of colorful costumes. And on St. John, the smallest and most tranquil of the islands, visitors frolic on coveted white-sand beaches like Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay, go hiking in Virgin Islands National Park and enjoy breathtaking views of neighboring islands. To help with recovery efforts post-hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, voluntourism-seekers can participate in Purpose in Paradise. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sunny Isles Beach, Florida
Dubbed “Florida’s Riviera,” Sunny Isles Beach is a welcoming resort community with a one-mile stretch of white sand and open ocean surf, luxury beachfront hotels, high-end shops and restaurants with a seaside view. For fun in the sun take a walk on the wild side at the clothing-optional Haulover Park Beach, have a picnic lunch in Heritage Park, and hike, bike and kayak in nearby Oleta River State Park. And Miami hotspots like South Beach, Wynwood and Brickell are just a short drive away.
Long Beach, California
With an average of 345 days of sunshine per year, Long Beach proves Tony! Toni! Toné! was right – it never rains in Southern California. This laid-back, under-the-radar beachfront community is only an hour from Hollywood, but there’s plenty to do and see in town. Try stand-up paddle boarding in Naples; bike, run or skate along a 5½ -mile beachfront bike and pedestrian path; dine in downtown Long Beach; peruse the funky vintage shops along 4th Street and visit the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), the nation’s leading museum of modern and contemporary Latin American art and culture. To see more of SoCal, take a high-speed catamaran to Catalina Island, about an hour away.
Charlotte, North Carolina
North Carolina’s largest city is rich in Black history and culture. During your trip down South, check out the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, designed by Durham architect Philip Freelon and home to works by Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett and Henry Ossawa Tanner. Then take a stroll in Romare Bearden Park, a lush 5.4-acre park in the heart of the city that honors the Charlotte-born artist with a design inspired by his collages and paintings. For finger-lickin’-good low-country grub like fried catfish, red beans and rice and shrimp and grits head to Mert’s Heart and Soul, in bustling Uptown Charlotte and satisfy your sweet tooth at another Black-owned family business, The Sweetest Thing Bake Shop.
Known for its vortexes, purported to be swirling centers of energy conducive to healing, meditation and self-exploration, Sedona is often considered a cathedral without walls. The region’s four most popular vortexes are found at Airport Mesa, Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock and Boynton Canyon, and locals believe each radiates its own particular energy. Soul searchers can also explore the Chapel of the Holy Cross elevated atop the majestic red rocks and hike the surrounding trails; pick up crystals, gemstones and other spiritual gifts at Mystical Bazaar; get a healing massage at Gateway Cottage Wellness Center or A Spa for You Sedona Day Spa; and book an individual or couples retreat to soothe your mind, body and spirit with SpiritQuest or Sedona Soul Adventures.