The Best and Worst Major US Cities for Spring Break

Aerial view of St. Petersburg, Florida at Tampa Bay (photo via SeanPavonePhoto/iStock/Getty Images Plus) (SeanPavonePhoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Patrick Clarke
by Patrick Clarke
Last updated: 3:00 AM ET, Wed March 16, 2022

2022 Spring Break Destinations

Spring break travelers have lots of choices when it comes to ideal destinations in the United States but some are better than others when it comes to travel expenses, nightlife offerings, weather and walkability. Grand Canyon University's partner, Grand Canyon Education recently analyzed 27 major U.S. cities and ranked them based on seven key factors for a fun and affordable spring break vacation, including average hotel cost, drink cost and weather to determine the best and worst for travelers this year. Researchers looked at the average weekly cost of a hotel room, the cost of a cocktail, the cost of a beer, the average temperature and precipitation, the number of bars per capita, walkability and the cost of inbound flights. Here's a look at each end of the spectrum, from best to worst.

1. St Petersburg, Florida

Earning a final city score of 36 out of 50, St. Petersburg is the nation's best city for a spring break getaway in 2022. The sun-kissed Gulf Coast destination has beaches in bundles as well as the fourth most bars per capita, the fifth cheapest beer and the fifth cheapest cocktails out of the 27 cities that Grand Canyon Education analyzed.

2. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is a city lauded for its nightlife and with more than 219 bars per capita, visitors certainly won't have a hard time getting a drink. What's more, the Big Easy boasts an average temperature of 81 degrees, posts a walkability score of 59 and matches St. Petersburg for average accommodation cost at around $1,910 for a one-week stay.

T3. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Lauderdale edges out nearby Miami by a sizable margin, offering spring break travelers to South Florida a cheaper alternative. After all, visitors will still have miles and miles of gorgeous beaches to enjoy as well as plenty of electric nightlife and seaside charm to choose from.

T3. Tampa, Florida

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Tampa is one of three Florida cities in the top four this year. Tying Fort Lauderdale with a city score of 33.7 out of 50, Tampa promises cheaper accommodations and flights but the same stellar weather conditions, beach access, bustling nightlife and family-friendly attractions.

5. Savannah, Georgia

One of many coastal destinations in the Southeast to make the top five for 2022, Savannah's great weather, robust nightlife offerings and relatively affordable accommodations make it a popular place to spend spring break close to the beach.

23. Chicago, Illinois

The Windy City ranks as the fifth-worst city to spend spring break this year in part due to its lackluster weather compared to some of the country's warmer and drier cities. Chicago's 67.07 bars per capita is also among the lowest thanks to the city's massive population.

24. Los Angeles, California

Unlike Chicago, Los Angeles offers springtime visitors plenty of warmth and sunshine but pricey drinks and large crowds prevent it from ranking toward the top of Grand Canyon Education's 2022 list.

25. Austin, Texas

The Live Music Capital of the World is similarly held back by its expensive price tag, with the average weekly cost of a hotel room coming in at a whopping $4,547.40. The figure is more than twice that of L.A. and by far the highest of any city analyzed.

26. New York, New York

On the East Coast, New York City's walkability and affordable inbound flights are unfortunately unable to help it overcome its expensive price tag in other areas and its large population, which brings its bars per capita down to just 34.07.

27. Boston, Massachusetts

With a final city score of just 18.6 out of 50, Boston was determined to be the worst major U.S. city for a spring break vacation in 2022. Despite its walkability, many bars and restaurants and cheap flight options, Beantown is held back by its pricey hotel stays and cool temperatures this time of year.

A new study reveals which major US cities are the best and worst for spring break travel in 2022.

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Helping leisure selling travel agents successfully manage their at-home business.

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Agent Specialization: Group Travel

Laurence Pinckney

Laurence Pinckney

CEO of Zenbiz Travel, LLC

About Me