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Each State’s Most Searched for Spring Break Destination [2023 Study]

Alex Miller's image
Alex Miller
Alex Miller's image

Alex Miller

Founder & CEO

Countries Visited: 34U.S. States Visited: 29

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

Countries Visited: 44U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Spring is approaching rapidly, and the highlight of the season for many young college students is a spring break trip! But figuring out where to go for spring break can be a challenge in and of itself. Many stay in the U.S. and go somewhere like Miami or Myrtle Beach, but some take the leap and visit somewhere exotic like Mexico or even Europe. This got us wondering, which popular spring break destinations are people in each state the most curious about? We used data pulled from Google Trends to find out.

The Most Searched for Spring Break Destination in Every U.S. State

A chart depicting every U.S. state’s most searched for spring break destination
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

If you’re from North or South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Nevada, Louisiana, or Utah, the data says there’s a good chance that you stay in-state for spring break. However, the most searched-for spring break destination in every other state was somewhere outside of the U.S. Even states that you might expect to keep things in-house, like Hawaii, looked up international spring break destinations like Cabo San Lucas, Mexico more than any of their own vacation hotspots.

There are a handful of cities that you might be surprised to see missing, like Orlando, Daytona Beach, Hilton Head, Key West, and Myrtle Beach. Believe it or not, none of these popular spring break destinations were the most searched for in any of the states. Other locations that we looked up the data on but didn’t make the list include Dallas, Grand Canyon National Park, Pismo Beach, San Diego, and Yosemite.

The Most Searched for Spring Break Destination in Every U.S. Region

A chart depicting every U.S. region’s most searched for spring break destination
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

The first section likely made this obvious, but international spring break destinations trumped domestic options by a large margin. Regionally, western and midwestern states looked into Mexican cities like Cancún and Puerto Vallarta more than cities located anywhere else, and it’s the same case for both the northeast and south with Caribbean cities like Montego Bay and Punta Cana.

Out of the whopping 16 states that searched for Cancún more than any other spring break destination, 11 were midwestern states, and out of the 7 states that searched for Puerto Vallarta the most, 5 were western states.

Hot Tip: Check out our guides to the best Cancún, Puerto Vallarta, and Punta Cana hotels to book with points and miles! We also have guides to using your points and miles to fly and stay in Mexico, as well as fly and stay in the Caribbean.

The Most Searched for Spring Break Destination Overall

A chart depicting the most searched for U.S. spring break destinations overall
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

As you probably expected, cities that are right on the beach (or at least close to it) dominated the results. In fact, Utah’s Zion National Park is the only location that was the most searched for spring break destination in at least 1 state that isn’t close to a beach. 

No city could match the old spring break stronghold that is Cancún, and even the city that was closest to competing with it is also located in Mexico. Caribbean cities take up the third and fourth place spots, then the list becomes a hodgepodge of various Caribbean, Mexican, and American cities that were the most searched for in 3 states at most. 

All in all, a Mexican city was the most searched for spring break destination in 25 states, while a Caribbean city was the most searched for spring break destination in 14 states. America was the least popular of the 3 regions as one of its cities garnered the most internet attention in just 11 states.

Hot Tip: Curious as to why Cancún is so popular? Check out our guide to the best things to do in and around Cancún, including beaches, Mayan ruins, and nightlife!

Methodology

We began by using reputable travel websites including USA TODAY, PlanetWare, Roaming the USA, U.S. News Travel, and Families Love Travel to craft a list of some of the most popular spring break destinations. The list ended up containing 29 locations in total, which we used as keywords. We ran each keyword against Google Trends data from January 2021 to January 2022 for each state to obtain our results.

Final Thoughts

While there are some people that will probably vacation within their own state’s borders (road trip, anyone?), lots of Americans seem to be interested in many different international cities, particularly the Caribbean and Mexican ones.

Speaking of Mexican cities, Cancún and Puerto Vallarta were the first and second most searched for spring break destinations, respectively. Not bad for our neighbor to the south! One of Mexico’s cities was the most searched for spring break destination in 25 different U.S. states, while the same is true for the Caribbean’s cities in 14 states and America’s cities in 11 states.

Alex Miller's image

About Alex Miller

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business, The New York Times, and more.

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