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Fewer People Are Going to the Beach for Spring Break — This Is What They’re Doing Instead

Two people snorkelling in blue water near tropical fish.

There’s a new trend in spring break travel, and it’s a far cry from the usual week-long trip down south, sunscreen and beach read in tow.

This spring, college students, families, and baby boomers will still be migrating to perennial favorites Cancún and Panama City for plenty of sunshine and lazy days at the beach; however, a significant number of travelers are planning to escape the dreary winter weather and crowds by venturing to more unique destinations in Europe and Asia, according to a new report by the Associated Press.

Rather than any one country or city rising in popularity, the American Society of Travel Agents says travelers are seeking a particular type of spring break experience. Spring breakers, they have noticed, are ditching the traditional “fly-and-flop” vacations in favor of international trips that promise cultural immersion, activity, and adventure.

From escaping to Japan to see the cherry blossoms, trekking to Peru to hike Machu Picchu, or chasing hidden gems in the outskirts of Paris or Florence, travelers want to engage with the local culture and partake in authentic experiences they cannot have anywhere else.

This uptick in global excursions parallels another trend in spring break travel: Tiffany Harrison, the U.S. marketing manager at STA Travel, shares that, in addition to growing interest in Europe – particularly London, Madrid, and Dublin – STA is also seeing more demand for “adventure-focused, off-the-beaten path destinations,” where travelers can go mountain climbing, sailing, or island-hopping

For those who want to join this adventure travel movement but cannot imagine spring break without ocean views, a blend of relaxation and exploration can be found in tropical locales like Belize and Costa Rica. Such destinations are gaining attraction as they give travelers “culturally enriching experiences” along with “the opportunity to scuba dive/snorkel, take yoga classes and spa treatments,” says TravelStore’s Dana Storr. “Disconnecting is of utmost importance.”

So wherever you go this March and April, whether it’s abroad or to your favorite Florida beach, remember to turn off your phone for a few hours and relish in the sunshine and fresh air.