Spring break brings us together. Whether you’re a beach bum or a ski bum, for one week in March you get to go AWOL from the wintery real world and savor booze, bikinis, booze and booze. The following six spring break destinations will please everyone from the pot head to the Parrothead, and by the end of the week, we promise you’ll have forgotten everything that was on your midterms.
PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL
Best for: Spring Break Traditionalists
During spring break, Panama City Beach turns into a 10-mile-wide Señor Frog’s. Book a room at the popular Holiday Inn, where you can watch all of the beach and pool revelry right from your balcony. Country person Luke Bryan has put on a free spring break concert in Panama City Beach for almost a decade, and this year will be his last. Be there for Bryan’s massive “Checkin’ Out” series at Spinnaker Beach Club, March 11 and 12.
Best for: Music Lovers
Every year, pop culture groupies descend on Austin for the South By Southwest music and film festival. This year the jubilee takes place March 13 to 22. Listen to Spoon play SXSW’s outdoor amphitheater, watch Scott Aukerman film his Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast, and screen the world premier of BRAND: A Second Coming, a documentary that follows comedian Russell Brand’s transition into political activist. No SXSW tickets? No problem. Stumble around with the best of ‘em on Austin’s notorious 6th Street, a row of bars and music venues that is closed to traffic at night.
Best for: Globetrotters
With new relaxed travel regulations from the U.S. to Cuba, this could be your last chance to experience Havana in all its frozen-in-time glory. Book a charter flight to the Caribbean nation from Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa or Los Angeles. But don’t expect to spend an entire week smoking cigars, drinking rum and cruising around in vintage cars: You have to prove (with receipts) that you participated in some kind of cultural exchange. Baseball games count.
KEY WEST, FL
Best for: The Gays
Key West throws a Gay Spring Break party that lasts for two months. Aside from the drag shows you would expect, there are also all-male snorkeling and kayaking excursions, amateur strip contests and nude sailing trips to secluded reefs. If you’d rather keep your swim trunks on, you can tour Ernest Hemingway’s house, which is still populated with dozens of six-toed cats, and then join the masses on Duval Street for family-friendly public intoxication.
Best for: Stoner Ski Bums
Whether you’re looking to hang out with x-treme athletes or ski bunnies, chances are you’ll run into both in Aspen. Book a bunk in a cheap hostel such as the St. Moritz Lodge and then get in your last runs of the season. On March 13 to 29, Bud Light throws its annual Spring Jam, bringing ski competitions, late-night parties, and free concerts from jam bands such as Umphrey’s McGee to downtown. Oh and did we mention that Aspen has a half-dozen legal, recreational pot dispensaries?
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO
Best for: Trustfunders
Sure, you can get sloppy in Cabo for cheap, but to really experience it, you need to throw around celebrity cash. Splurge on luxury resorts such as the One&Only Palmilla or the adults-only Esperanza for private beaches, personal concierges, golf courses and spas. You can even charter a yacht for the day for your own private Baja Peninsula party or learn how to drive an off-road race car in the desert outback. And when you’re ready to join in on the gen pop debauchery, downtown Cabo is only a short limo ride away.
Alyson Sheppard is the resident hangover specialist at Playboy.com. Follow her on Twitter: @amshep