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The Best Places to Take Your Grown-Up Spring Break

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Once upon a time, spring break was a warm escape that you eagerly awaited during a cold, stressful semester as a college student.

You probably still want to get away (and carry on the tradition of kicking off spring in the sun), but now as a working professional, the idea of heading to a traditional spring break spot filled with college crowds sounds less appealing. Instead of simply veering toward the beach, with its droves of college kids, why not take a spring break to really get away from it all—in a less common locale like these?

1. Charleston, SC

Steeped in history, Charleston boasts beautiful architecture and southern charm. Soak it all in during a stroll along The Battery or a carriage ride through the city. The downtown area also provides a great opportunity for shopping, as well as a vibrant nightlife scene. Enjoy happy hour at the Gin Joint or The Rooftop Bar at the Vendue, followed by dinner at Husk, Fleet Landing, or Blossom. If you’re missing the beach, take a short drive to one of the nearby options like Kiawah Island or Folly Beach.

2. Paso Robles, CA

A quick road trip from many major West Coast cities, Paso Robles is the perfect place to unwind. Home to hundreds of wineries, Paso Robles is becoming known as one of the world’s hottest wine regions. The area is also a growing hub for olive oil production. Take a tour and taste a variety of olive oils at Pasolivo, Alta Cresta Olive Orchard, or Kiler Ridge. You might also visit the nearby Hearst Castle for a glimpse into the lifestyles of the rich and famous of the 1900s.

3. Washington, D.C.

With spring temperatures typically in the 60s or 70s, you’ll love wandering around the nation’s capital this time of year. Explore the monuments and free fare to the Smithsonian Museums. You can also enjoy live music and events during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival, as more than 3,000 Cherry Blossom trees welcome spring with new blooms.

4. Nashville, TN

Perfect for all you music lovers, Nashville is bustling with venues and events to catch a show come early spring. Hitch a ride on the Music City Trolley Hop On/Hop Off Tour and explore sites like the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and Ryman Auditorium. Spend some time shopping at Nashville’s well-known record stores and eating at hip restaurants like The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden or The Silly Goose. At night, hit the famous “Honky-Tonk Row” on Broadway.

5. Saint Lucia

Well known for its beautiful beaches and volcanic plugs (known as The Pitons), you’ll be sure to enjoy all the activities you can take part in on this Caribbean island. Hike Petit Piton or Gros Piton to see the island from a unique perspective. Or get adventurous on the water, as many of the resorts on the island have kayaks, paddleboats, snorkeling equipment, and windsurfing or waterskiing lessons. You can also experience a bit of local flavor at the Friday night “jump in”, a street party with DJs and dancing in the village of Gros Islet. Nearby Reduit Beach is well-loved by visitors for its gorgeous sunsets and close proximity to plenty of restaurant options in Rodney Bay.

6. New Orleans, LA

If you’re still looking for a spring break party, you’ll certainly find one along Bourbon Street. Beyond that, you’ll also uncover delicious Creole cuisine and great sightseeing in the French Quarter and Garden District. For a truly unique New Orleans experience, catch a live jazz show along Frenchmen Street or tour one of the city’s many ornate cemeteries.

7. Yosemite National Park

And for a break that’s a bit quieter—and certainly more remote—visit a national park like Yosemite. As warmer weather begins to melt the snow, spring is the perfect time to witness Yosemite’s astounding waterfalls. You can access Yosemite Valley and Wawona year-round, but may keep in mind that remaining snow could keep other roads in the park closed. Get a deal during National Parks Week every April when Yosemite and over 100 other national parks waive the entry fee.

Unlike your college or university, your office most likely won’t provide a free week’s vacation this spring. But it’s important to take time to recharge and disconnect from work, even if only for an extended weekend. These places are just a few of the many incredible places around the nation to spend your grown-up spring break.

This was originally written by Katherine Nobles for Career Contessa.
Photo: Thinkstock

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