Visit these 5 low-cost spring break vacation destinations

Peel off your scratchy wool sweater and slip into your sundress. Step out of your furry boots and into frilly sandals. Swap your mug of hot cocoa for a frosty margarita.

Spring break is on its way.

For U.S. colleges and universities, spring break can fall anywhere between late February and mid-April. If you're planning on traveling during spring break season, it's important to book as soon as possible since accommodations can fill up and rates may rise quickly. Start planning now, and you can design a warm-weather trip that is not only unforgettable, but affordable.

To help inspire your picture-perfect and not-too-pricey vacation, we've created a guide to affordable spring break destinations. We looked at Expedia and Airbnb rates for popular cities during the month of March and compared factors such as the availability of public transportation and wallet-friendly activities. You can see our list of the most budget-friendly spring break destinations for 2017 below.

[See: 12 Frugal Ways to Save on Vacation.]

1. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Delicious seafood abounds and affordable cerveza flows freely in Puerto Vallarta, a colorful resort town along the Pacific coast of Mexico. The city is home to sandy beaches, diverse restaurants and a lively nightlife. You can land a double room at a hotel for around $30 per night or a private room at an Airbnb for even less. In Puerto Vallarta, taxis are plentiful, as are affordable snorkeling, food and whale-watching tours.

2. Sanibel, Florida. You'll find fewer crowds but plenty of seashells at Sanibel Island, which keeps quieter during spring break than its fellow Florida cities. The Gulf Coast barrier island has more than 15 miles of pristine, white-sand beaches and one of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystems in the U.S. Hotels are in high demand and book up months beforehand, but you can still find private rooms on Airbnb for less than $100 per night. Crossed by miles of bike trails, Sanibel Island is best (and most cheaply) explored by bicycle, and many businesses and hotels offer bikes for rent. When you're not sprawled out on a beach towel, you can comb the sand for seashells, explore Old Town or try out stand-up paddleboarding on calm Atlantic waters.

[See: 10 Creative Ways to Cut Costs This Winter.]

3. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. If it's parties and nightlife you're after, scurry down to Myrtle Beach, a favorite among spring breaking college students. But there's more to this town than bikinis and giant frozen drinks. Myrtle Beach also features family-friendly fun parks, a sprawling state park and a boardwalk with restaurants, arcades and the iconic Myrtle Beach SkyWheel. Book your Myrtle Beach vacation now, and you can land a double room at a hotel for less than $50 per night, or an entire home on Airbnb for less than $80 per night.

4. Bocas del Toro Town, Panama. Bocas del Toro Town, often referred to as just "Bocas," is a laid-back town on the southern tip of Colon Island in Panama's Bocas del Toro archipelago. With vibrant Caribbean architecture and friendly, affordable hostels, Bocas serves as a base for island hopping, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing and surfing. You can get a bed at a hostel or private Airbnb room for less than $20, and with another $30, you can upgrade to a mid-range hotel or private Airbnb rental. A short walk will take you from one end of the tiny town to the other, and water taxis can shuttle you to neighboring islands for a few dollars.

[See: 12 Habits of Phenomenally Frugal Families.]

5. Las Vegas, Nevada. To do Vegas on the cheap, it's best to give gambling a pass. Instead, check out the city's many free attractions, such as the World's Largest Permanent Circus or the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat. Go for a swim in one of the city's water parks and hotel pools, or take a hike through the nearby Calico Basin or Goldstrike Canyon. Vegas is known for its rock-bottom hotel prices, though the cheapest rooms are likely to be snatched up quickly by penny-pinching coeds. Book your room by late February, however, and you may be able to score a double occupancy hotel room for less than $65 per night, or an Airbnb private bedroom for two for less than $35.

Get more 2017 vacation ideas in the slideshow below!

Vacations to take in 2017
See Gallery
Vacations to take in 2017
Eleuthera, Bahamas

Get to know Eleuthera, one of the beautiful islands of the Bahamas, by water! Take a surf lesson or grab snorkel gear and take advantage of the crystal blue seas. 

Book now!

Big Sur, California, USA

Head over to the west coast to see California's Big Sur! Enjoy a walk to the gorgeous McWay Falls or take a tour to the famous Bixby Bridge

Book now!

Monaco, Europe

Walk around the Monte Carlo Harbor and take in the picturesque views of the Mediterranean coastline! After you see the harbor, don't miss the shopping and sight seeing in Casino Square.

Book now!

Portland, Maine, USA

Take the scenic route to Maine's Portland Head Lighthouse! Walk along the coast and get to know all of the stories and history that surrounds this charming town.

Book now!

To Sua Trench, Upolu, Samoa

After you spend an adventurous day swimming and diving in the To Sua Trench, head back to the Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa to relax by the pool or bar.

Book now!

Zermatt, Switzerland

Head to the lovely town of Zermatt and visit the unbelievably beautiful Matterhorn! With tickets for all age and experience levels, this mountain is a must-see sight for all visitors. 

Book now!

The Treasury, Petra, Jordan

Walk to the Treasury and be awe-struck by this historic monument! You can also opt to see the legendary Monastery or even tour Petra at night. 

Book now!

Marble Cathedral, General Carrera Lake, Chile

If you are ever in Chile, you have to see the Catedral de Marmol (Marble Cathedral)! While you will need a boat to get there, the experience will be well worth it.

Book now!

Avenue of the Baobabs, Morondava, Madagascar

Madagascar is home to a ton of beautiful plants and animals, and the Avenue of the Baobabs is one of the most majestic. Walk under these massive trees and later visit the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park.

Book now!

Cartagena, Colombia

Tour the walled city of Cartagena and enjoy the colorful culture of Colombia! And make sure you don't miss out on the city's incredible seafood!

Book now!

Blue Lagoon, Grindavik, Iceland

After a long day of exploring the gorgeous city of Grindavik, take a dip in the heated Blue Lagoon. This geothermal lagoon's water is rich with minerals and the perfect addition to any chilly vacation.

Book now!

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, USA

Visit one of the USA's glorious national parks by air and on foot! Book this flight and ground tour for a comprehensive look at the incredible landscape that is Bryce Canyon.

Book now!

Lion's Head, Cape Town, South Africa

By hopping on a sea kayak and bike tour of Cape Town you'll be able to interact with wild life and take in the amazing views of both Lion's Head and Table Mountain!

Book now!

Bagan, Myanmar

Feel like you have gone back in time by visiting the stunning temples in Bagan, Myanmar! Go for a full or a half day and tour these ornate pagodas and temples. 

Book now!

Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos is full of memory making opportunities. Try out a cooking class, walking tour or a museum visit to see all the facets of this amazing Grecian city. 

Book now!

Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA

Travel around Joshua Tree National Park and take in the incredible landscapes! This educational tour will show you around this national park and offers two different hikes for visitors.

Book now!

Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Canada

Banff National Park is truly Instagram heaven. With opportunities for photography adventures in the Canadian Rockies and day trips to the Mountain Lakes and Waterfalls, every turn will take you to another picturesque scene.

Book now!


Copyright 2017 U.S. News & World Report

Read Full Story

Sign up for Deal of the Day by AOL and be the first to know about the best sales and products from your favorite stores.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.