Here's the running joke: 60 degrees in fall is when you break out your sweaters, and 60 degrees in spring is when you head for the beach. But if the idea of swapping your sweatshirt for your bathing suit and sitting on a postage-stamp-size square of sand surrounded by hoards of chilly spring breakers is unappealing, there are other great destinations for a spring break getaway -- and with these destinations, those stubborn wintery temperatures won't matter.
Here are some top spring break destinations you probably never thought of:
1. The New Bedford Whaling Museum - New Bedford, MA
2. The Bristol Caverns - Bristol, TN
3. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival - Mount Vernon, WA
4. The Queen Mary - Long Beach, CA
5. Treehouse Paradise - Cave Junction, OR
6. Meteor Crater - Winslow, AZ
7. Wormsloe State Historic Site - Savannah, GA
8. Congaree National Park - Hopkins, SC
9. Big Bend National Park - Texas
10. Wind Cave National Park - Rapid City, SD
The New Bedford Whaling Museum makes the list for its fun-filled Spring Vacation Week, April 16-20. Kids can climb inside an inflatable Humpback or Right Whale, see an ocean-themed magic show, and make whale origami. Best of all, the event is free for New Bedford residents. With ocean fun like this, who needs a beach?
While it may not be what you're typically used to spring-break wise, you'll get some fantastic, Instagram-worthy photos at Bristol Caverns. One of northern Tennessee's oldest and most beautiful attractions, this cave system features an underground river, stalactites and stalagmites, and cascades of tumbling stone. Spend some time exploring Bristol while you're at it -- it's the "Birthplace of Country Music" and home to the Bristol Motor Speedway.
If you find spring flowers inspiring, head to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival! Held from April 1-30, the sea of tulips in a riot of colors will make you glad you skipped the actual sea this year. In addition to thousands of tulips, the festival includes events ranging from concerts to art shows. If you happen to be in Mount Vernon April 20-22, stop by the Downtown Mount Vernon Street Fair, which hosts hundreds of artists, great food, and live entertainment.
The Queen Mary makes this list for one reason: starting April 13, you can rent the ship's most haunted room for the first time in 30 years. Stateroom B340 will deliver a spring break experience you won't forget. The room includes ghost hunting equipment, a crystal ball, tarot cards, and even a Ouija board.
Get a literal bird's-eye view at Treehouse Paradise. Located in Cave Junction, Oregon, this "elevated" experience will make this spring break a memorable one. Breakfast is included, and visitors can participate in a variety of outdoor adventures like zip-lining, river rafting, and horseback riding.
For a spring break that's out of this world, head to Northern Arizona to experience Meteor Crater. Located about 42 miles southeast of Flagstaff in Winslow, Meteor Crater Natural Landmark is a 550-foot-deep crater left by a meteor that hit the earth roughly 50,000 years ago. The park includes a visitor center with an interactive display and a gift shop with jewelry, fossils, and other memorabilia.
Savannah is a terrific destination any time of year, but spring in this historic city is amazing. Wormsloe Historic Site will transport you back in time, down a dirt road beneath a canopy of ancient oak trees draped with moss. Visit the ruins of a colonial estate built around 1733, the oldest-standing structure in the city.
Spring is the best time to go camping, and Congaree National Park in South Carolina provides the perfect destination. With its diverse landscape of forest and river, visitors can go hiking, fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. The park has more than 25 miles of hiking trails, a marked canoe trail, and a 2.4-mile boardwalk.
If you prefer limestone canyons, sheer cliffs, and cactus blooms, then plan your spring break camping trip to Big Bend National Park. This park is located near the border with Mexico roughly four hours southeast of El Paso. If you don't like the idea of camping, the Chisos Mountains Lodge provides rooms and cottages, along with a gift shop and a dining room.
Located about 10 miles north of Hot Springs, South Dakota, Wind Cave is one of the nation's oldest national parks -- it is also one of the most fascinating. This park is home to one of the longest caves in the world. Wind Cave formations include boxwork, frostwork, and popcorn. In addition to the cave, visitors enjoy viewing wildlife such as prairie dogs, bison, and elk.
Spring break doesn't have to involve a beach! Discover a little-known destination in your area and the memories you make may be among your most treasured.