Slather on the sunscreen and prepare for bliss at one of our favorite spring vacation destinations.
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Lake Lure, NC
Made famous by the ‘80s movie Dirty Dancing, this 720-acre lake in western North Carolina provides the perfect setting to relax outdoors. Whether you pack a picnic or fish from a dock, plan to spend most days outside. Family favorites include horseback rides across mountain creeks (check out Cedar Creek Stables) and the climb to the top of nearby Chimney Rock, but the real highlight is the crisp water. Lake Lure Adventure Company rents boats and kayaks, guides fishing tours, and provides water-skiing lessons. Or, grab an inner tube and just float the days away.
There is no shortage of waterfront rentals or snug mountain cabins. Nestled on the northern shores of the lake, Rumbling Bald Resort rents vacation homes for any size family. For smaller families or couples looking for a romantic hideaway, the Gaestehaus Salzburg Bed & Breakfast rents affordable lodge rooms and charmingly rustic cabins.
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The boutique Townhouse Hotel boasts minimalist, ultra-modern guestrooms just steps from the Atlantic Ocean at a great value. Worthy of a splurge, Loews Miami Beach packs plush suites and glittering skyline views.
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Siesta Key, FL
High season on Siesta Key continues through April, but relatively inexpensive accommodations are available at Turtle Beach Resort, located on the quietest of the three beaches, and Siesta Beach Resort & Suites, a good place if you’re interested in saving money and don’t plan on spending a lot of time indoors.
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Bay St. Louis, MS
The Trust Bed & Breakfast, located within walking distance of the beach, rents rooms that are reminiscent of the comforts of home. The house itself is worth a look for the many antiques that furnish the rooms. Find a little more glitz and glamour at the Hollywood Casino, where you can place bets, play a round of golf, or sleep in―all in a day’s work at this 600-acre resort overlooking the marina.
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St. Simons Island, GA
The beaches and golf courses of this Atlantic escape vie for king of the island. About 80 miles north of Jacksonville and 85 miles south of Savannah, St. Simons has multiple golf courses, pristine coastlines, and plenty of outdoor activities to fill those sun-drenched Spring Break days. If you’re bit by the shopping bug, venture to the island’s southern tip to Pier Village to pick up an extra pair of sandals or an easy beach read. Local restaurants specialize in seafood dishes, and The Coastal Kitchen offers a raw shrimp and oyster bar.
Lay your head in luxury at the beachfront King and Prince Resort, where Southern hospitality and deluxe amenities are at their best. Hodnett Cooper Vacation Rentals* offers condos and villas for couples or families on any budget, including daily and weekly rentals.
*Book March 1-15 for $100 off stays of 5+ nights. Valid for stays in March and April, 2012. Cannot be combined with any other specials or discounts and does not apply to existing reservations. Some properties excluded. Other restrictions may apply. Use online coupon code SLESCAPE or call 855-452-1847 to speak to a Hodnett Cooper vacation specialist today.
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Deep Creek Lake, MD
While the mountains of western Maryland don’t usually evoke images of Spring Break vacations, the shimmering waters of Deep Creek Lake do. Quiet coves line the shores of the 3,900-acre lake nestled between two mountain towns, McHenry and Oakland. Swimming, fishing, and boating are typically the order of the day (try Aquatic Center for boat and Sea Doo rentals). At night, kick back at the Mountain State Brewing Co., which serves their handcrafted ales and signature flatbread pizzas.
Peak season hits during winter, which means lower rates during the spring. The Wisp Resort provides easy access to scenic chairlift rides and mountain biking trails. Bed and breakfasts and cozy lodges provide authentic mountain getaways. The Savage River Lodge rents 18 cabins and delivers fresh muffins to your doorstep every morning.
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Kiawah Island, SC
Kiawah Island Golf Resort rests on the beach and comes with the usual trappings of a luxury resort, like lavish spa treatments and on-site dining, but ResortQuest manages rental properties, including beachfront houses, for every wallet size.
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Gulf Shores, AL
The beach is the star of Gulf Shores, so aim to stay only a few steps away from the warm sand. Plenty of vacation rental companies serve the area, and companies like Flip Flop Vacations and Young’s Suncoast provide a variety of sizes and types of condos, villas, and houses.
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Douglas Lake, TN
Find fully furnished one- to five-bedroom cabins or cottages through Smoky Mountain Lake Rentals, which offers some rentals where you can go from lake to hot tub in mere minutes.
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Corpus Christi, TX
Flip flops and board shorts are the uniform of choice for this coastal Texas getaway. Plant a beach umbrella in the warm sand and take a snooze under the afternoon sun. There’s no better time than Spring Break to brave the waves by taking a surfing lesson, offered daily by South Coast Kiteboarding. For low-key water action, head to the Texas State Aquarium, where more than 300 species are housed and a hands-on stingray exhibit awaits.
To be close to the city action, stay downtown at the bayfront Omni Corpus Christi, which is near the must-see USS Lexington Museum and is walking distance from restaurants and nightlife. To get maximum Gulf Coast views, opt for a condo on the beach. El Constante has two-bedroom rentals and considers April 1 to be the start of the off-season, which means lower rates.