Photo: ThinkstockBy Leigh Newman
The Southern Coast of Puerto Rico
With a bunch of flights from the U.S. (and no need for a passport), Puerto Rico has to be one of the easiest places on earth for an American to escape to-an observation that has not gone unnoticed by the ready-to-rage 20-somethings who throng the beaches and big casino hotels surrounding the capital of San Juan. Kelly Regan, editorial director of Frommer's Travel Guides, suggests you instead check out the southern coast of the island-home to what she says are "the most beautiful and least crowded beaches, like Cana Gorda, where Puerto Ricans vacation in the summertime." Regan also recommends Ponce, a well-preserved 18th-century city that gives you the colonial flavor of San Juan without all the crowds.
Photo: ThinkstockAmelia Island, Florida
Still considered one of Florida's secret beaches, Amelia has managed, thankfully, to hang on to its old-fashioned vibe. (Think: carriage rides, quiet barefoot beach, buckets of steamed stone crabs, Victorian inns.) Just off the state's northeast coast, it's one of the most relaxing places in Florida-no theme parks, no traffic-but it has also remained much more affordable than similarly genteel places like Palm Beach and Singer Island. Which means you get to be really mature-and maybe even call in sick to stay for a few extra vacation days.
Photo: ThinkstockThe Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
Spring (read: January through April) is the perfecto time to visit Costa Rica. First, it's the hot, dry season (as opposed to the rainy, mud-slide season). Second, the just-completed expansion of the country's northernmost airport, Liberia, on the Pacific coast (and newly added flights by JetBlue), has made getting to the Nicoya Peninsula that much easier. Despite all the rumors of mongo hotel complexes, the Nicoya is still somewhat underdeveloped, home to deserted beaches, jungle preserves and world-famous surfing in Tamarindo and Mal País. Expect: wild parrots, wild monkeys and a free hammock waiting outside the door to your room.
Photo: ThinkstockTulum, Mexico
Sure, Tulum gets more and more popular each year, but that doesn't mean it's not still a Mexican paradise, down to the iced-fruit-popsicle stands, dreamy blue waters and ancient Mayan history. Fly in to Cancún, then immediately leave its land of mega resorts and nightclubs and head straight south along the sea, down the Mayan Riviera. When you spot pre-Columbian pyramids and a string of low-rise (as in, not towers!) hotels that includes everything from luxurious all-inclusives to basic bungalows on the beach, stop -the car-and start relaxing.
KEEP READING: More Spring Break Destinations for Adults
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