7 Best College Budget Spring Breaks

Every year college students look forward to Spring Break and the opportunity to get away from the daily stress. Everyone wants their Instagram, “dream vacation”. However, with the price of tuition and textbooks, college students don’t have a lot of money to put into the perfect trip. Here is a compiled list to help students to have an unforgettable Spring Break, with only $600. 


To start this off there are a few basic factors that should be addressed. The way this budget has been compiled is that each vacation is split between a group of about 6 people, each with $600. Also, these vacations will all stem from Atlanta, GA, considering that it is a hub for transportation, and will branch out from there. As well, there is a provided list of the approximate cost for travel and hotel options. There will be mentions of different restaurants, but it’s recommended to pack lunches in order to stay within the budget and allow more money towards activities.


  1. Hilton Head Island 
Hilton Head Island                                                                               Sep 21, 2012                                                                                       Flickr Photographer: Scott Oves

Our first travel destination is Hilton Head Island, SC. For people looking for a beach getaway, where relaxation and a beautiful ocean are on the mind, then this is the place! Hilton Head is a resort town that is located on one of the Atlantic sea islands. While here people can go on kayaking tours, visit the Harbour Town Lighthouse, or go biking along the beach. To help save money, renting bikes will not only be a great source of exercise, but also cost less than gas prices. Hilton Head Island is known for its wildlife and its initiative to protect the sea turtles. There is also the South Carolina Aquarium, where people can see firsthand how they are working on this initiative. By visiting all these attractions, paying for the hotel, and gas, there will be around $270 left to spend on restaurants and souvenirs. Plus, it would not be a trip to Hilton Head, if there wasn’t a stop at the iconic Salty Dog


Hotel: Approximately $69.33 per person total 

Travel: Approximately $120 for gas depending on the car


2. Downtown Atlanta 

Downtown Atlanta                                                                                      June 12, 2010                                                                                              Flickr Photographer: Matthew Paulson

While going on a road trip or flying on a plane can be exciting, there are tons of exciting things to do right here. Atlanta is the capital city of Georgia, known for its strong ties with the past, as it works towards the future. While in Atlanta people are able to see the Civil Rights movement throughout history, as well as the continuous struggles of human rights today, by visiting The National Center for Civil and Human Rights. People can also go on a tour of the World of Coca-Cola and view its showcasing of its 130-year history, see the city from above at Skyview Atlanta, and can enjoy an interactive murder mystery dinner at Petite Violette Murder Mystery N’ Mayhem. After all these adventures, hotel expenses, and transportation fees, there is about $110 left to spend on restaurants and souvenirs.


Hotel: Approximately $336 per person total 


Travel: MARTA 7-day pass $23.75 per person


3. New Orleans

New Orleans                                                                                                               Sep 2, 2013                                                                                                                Flickr Photographer: Infrogmation of New Orleans

New Orleans is known for its rich creole culture and its haunted history. While here the French Quarter is one stop that has to be made. Here people are able to look through the shops, especially along Royal Street. There are numerous ghost tours that will traverse the evocatively beautiful streets. The streets are often filled by street performers and people are more than welcome to join into the street parties that happen throughout the night. To get from location to location, take the RTA street cars, this saves money on gas and people get to watch the beautiful streets pass by. After all of these activities, there should be about $231 left for restaurants and souvenirs. 


Hotel: Approximately $214 per person total


Travel: RTA streetcar $15 7-day pass and approximately $111 gas for roundtrip from Atlanta to New Orleans


4. Chicago

Chicago                                                                                                                       May 9, 2003                                                                                                          Flickr Photographer: Ken Lund

If someone is looking for a bit more city life, then Chicago would be the perfect place to spend spring break. While visiting Chicago, check out the Magnificent Mile, it is full of many amazing restaurants and shops. There is also the Navy Pier where people can take river boat tours or ride the Ferris Wheel. For a bit of a beach experience, then stop by the Lake Michigan Beaches, however depending on the time of year, it’ll probably be freezing. Tourists often like to take a stroll through Millenium Park. It also wouldn’t be a trip to Chicago without visiting the Wrigley Stadium and watching a Cubs game. Fans of animals should definitely visit Lincoln Park Zoo. After all of this there will be approximately $130 left for restaurants and souvenirs.


Hotel: Approximately $124 per person total


Travel: Approximately $88 per ticket for a plane ticket


5. Nashville

Nashville                                                                                                                     Sep 21, 2016                                                                                                           Flickr Photographer: Domenico Convertini

For country music fans there is no better place to go than Nashville. In Nashville people are able to tour the Country Music Hall of Fame and see all of the greats. Tourists can also take a tour through downtown and listen to live shows. Some of these performances are free, which is perfect for budgeting options. There is also an opportunity to take a backstage tour of the famous Grand Ole Opry. The Gaylord Resort is a beautiful hotel to walk through. While this is an amazing place to stay, it is far above the budget. However, it is free to walk along the gardens and throughout the small village within the hotel. With all of these activities, travel cost, and a hotel, there will be about $56.09 left for food and souvenirs.


Hotel: Approximately $364 per person total


Travel: Approximately $57 for gas depending on the car


6. Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains                                                                                  Oct 22, 2011                                                                                                            Flickr Photographer: Michael R. Hicks

The Smoky Mountains, TN, are a beautiful place to go camping and to get involved with nature. While here you can take beautiful photos, go hiking, and have picnics in the mountains. There are many stunning waterfalls and trails for you to explore. Here you can view the wildlife in their natural habitat. This is the perfect vacation spot to unplug from the hustle and bustle of the city. With all expenses put together, there would be approximately $277 left in the budget.


Hotel: Approximately $280 per person total


Travel: Approximately $43 for gas depending on the car


7. Miami

Miami                                                                                                                        April 20, 2013                                                                                                        Flickr Photographer: Mike McBey

For someone who loves the beach and enjoys nightlife, Miami is the right choice for Spring Break. Here college students can visit a bunch of beautiful beaches, walk the bustling streets, and listen to live music. Miami is a hard place to stay on a budget, however there are many different activities that fall within the budget. Some include art walls such as Wynwood walls. Anyone can visit the Bayside Market Place and find some awesome souvenirs. The Cubaocho Museum and Performing Arts Center, is a great place to combine people’s love of art, dance, music, and more. Between all of these activities, hotel, and travel expenses there should be about $177 left in the budget for food and souvenirs.


Hotel: Approximately $261 per person total


Travel: Approximately $150 for gas depending on the car


These are just a few ideas for Spring Break destinations. These different locations will provide college students with an unforgettable vacation, without having to spend more than needed.