Put your textbooks aside. Spring break is a time for college students to find surf, sand, and sunshine. More than half of the United States’ 20.9 million college students are expected to travel for spring break this year, so for the barrel-seeking segment of that population, here is a destination guide to all things salty and fun.
SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, TEXAS
Known as the epicenter of the Texas surf scene, South Padre Island is 34 miles of white sand and pumps with some of the best waves in the Gulf. Spring brings strong south winds for the return of consistent swells in mesmerizing turquoise water.
Hit up Clayton’s, the biggest beach bar in Texas, and get wave crunk.
PANAMA CITY, FLORIDA
Panama City Beach’s slogan is “The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches.” The Florida Panhandle, also located on the Gulf coast, is an exposed beach break with crystal clear waters. Keep in mind the surf on the Gulf can be erratic, but if lucky, you’ll find yourself scoring some pristine waves.
And if all else fails it’s good to know you’ll be partying on the location of MTV’s reality show Floribama Shore.
DAYTON BEACH, FLORIDA
Nicknamed the world’s most famous beach, this Sunshine State destination is located on Florida’s Atlantic side. The Daytona Beach Pier, aka “the Ghetto Pier,” is the center of all the wave action. Plus, if a pier break or crowds aren’t your things, head less than five miles away to the Ponce Inlet.
Have a lay day, pimp your ride, and cruise the wide stretches of beach with hard packed sand that make Daytona one of the few places in the country which allows driving and parking on the beach.
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
Warning: a casual spring break surf trip to San Diego may result in a permanently moving to the West Coast. A small dose of Southern California waves, sunshine, vibes, and you’re never going to be the same. With 17 miles of coastline, San Diego was built for surfing and it’s obvious from the Ocean Beach to Oceanside. Surf culture runs deep in this Pacific Coast oasis.
After surfing your face off, head to Pacific Beach, a hub for college students and recent graduates. This epic beach town is loaded with bars, clubs, and beautiful people.
Feeling adventurous? A short drive from San Diego will deliver the fully authentic Mexican experience with top-quality surf spots. Baja delivers a variety of exposed beaches, reefs, and rivermouth breaks with dependable surf. Conditions vary according to the tide and weather, from “fun, punchy and rippable” to “fast, hollow and barreling.”
Whatever the wave type, all you need to do is be ready to party. Rosarito is home to one of the most famous beach clubs on the West Coast, Papas, and Beer!
Head to Cancun on the Caribbean Sea, home to the famous beaches of the Yucatán Peninsula. Waves tend to be more gentle and slow rolling than the Pacific ocean version, making it the perfect place to learn to surf or to handboard. Rumor has it Delfines Beach or Playa Defines, just 30 minutes outside of downtown Cancun, is the best place to shred.
If you’re balling on a budget, most of the clubs in Cancun have a $10-20 entry fee where all your drinks are included. Be prepared for your nights to get messy.
Want to avoid the rowdiness of spring break and tap into chill aloha vibes? Hawaii is the place to go. The birthplace of surfing and the hula, it’s also home to Sandy Beach Park. This south shore shorebreak is a must for bodysurfers who love a good drop. It’s also nicked named Break-Neck Beach, so don’t underestimate the raw power of this wave.
There’s probably nowhere in the world where a tropical drink is more appropriate than in Hawaii. Be sure to sip on exotic colored and flavored drinks, like the Mai Tai, blue Hawaiian, and Lava Flow, inspired by the palette of colors in the Hawaiian sky and landscape.
Note: Get more spring break inspiration on Instagram from @Slydehandboards