Most teenagers aren't ready for the full-on collegiate party experience, especially considering how alcohol-centered the shenanigans can get at locations such as Daytona Beach, Florida. Nonetheless, spring break offers teens the opportunity to take a lengthy destination vacation, possibly for the first time. The best spring break spots will have something to do other than go clubbing all night.
Hitting the beach has always been the classic spring break activity. Your teen might want to skip the traditional getaways to Florida and Mexico, however -- too many bodies, too much alcohol. Instead, try a vacation to the surfing meccas of Santa Cruz and Santa Monica in California. In the Midwest, a trip to a cabin along the shores of Lake Michigan is another possibility. In fact, because it's the off-season, you might find a springtime deal. And on the East Coast, you can find warm weather at Myrtle Beach in South Carolina or Virginia Beach in Virginia.
Many annual music festivals take place in spring and attending one can make for the perfect teen spring break. In March, your teen can attend the legendary SXSW (that's South by Southwest) in Austin, Texas. It's become a cross between a music fest and a tech conference, making it perfect for the geeky-cool kid. Another option is for the indie-music fan is Coachella, which takes place in a small valley in Southern California. The New Orleans Jazz Festival brings an eclectic set of contemporary pop stars together with jazz legends, plus it's held in one of the finest vacation cities in the country.
If either you or your teen is uncomfortable with an unchaperoned spring adventure, amusement parks are a spring break destination for the whole family. Disneyland and Disney World are classic choices, but don't ignore smaller amusement parks -- you might not need to leave the state to find a roller-coaster resort destination.
Another solid spring break option for teens is to visit a major metropolis and have a week-long urban adventure. Use the vacation time to visit New York City, Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco or Los Angeles. Spend some time in San Diego and visit the zoo. Head to Chicago for a dose of culture. For the historically inclined, your teen can visit the museums and monuments of Washington, D.C. Or visit our neighbor to the north and see the major cities of Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal.