Amelia Arvesen
by Amelia Arvesen
Posted March 9, 2023

Spring break is often synonymous with parties, but you don’t have to go where everyone else is going to indulge. Use your time off to get away from the commotion and get deeper into nature. If you’re looking for a different kind of wild experience, we have a few suggestions that are less obvious spring break destinations across the U.S. Here are 5 inspiring alternatives—from Florida to California—to the typical spring break party spots.

Spring Break Ready RVs For Rent Near You

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1. Instead of Panama City Beach, Florida: Three Rivers State Park

Where Florida, Georgia, and Alabama meet at the state line, three rivers also converge: the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers form a lake that flows over a dam into the Apalachicola River. Even though it’s only an hour and a half from the coast, Three Rivers State Park is more woods than beach. Pine and hardwood forests provide shade for visitors enjoying all kinds of activities.

Where to stay

Open year-round, Three Rivers Campground has 30 RV-friendly sites with lake views and water/electric hookups for rigs up to 50 feet. Reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance. If the campground is full, off-site campgrounds are nearby.

Things to do

Canoers and kayakers can launch from a boat ramp to paddle the lake and rivers. Fishing is also allowed, and anglers come from across the state to catch the big one. Open to walkers, runners, and bikers, seven miles of fairly smooth scenic trails wind through the park.

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Saguaro National Park

2. Instead of Lake Havasu, Arizona: Saguaro National Park

Before it gets too hot in southern Arizona, pay a visit to the colossal cacti at Saguaro National Park. Separated by the city of Tucson, this park has two geographical districts: the Rincon Mountain District (RMD) or Saguaro East, and the Tucson Mountain District (TMD) or Saguaro West. The park is also home to Native American petroglyphs that are protected across the landscape and accessible at different viewing sites.

Where to stay

Saguaro National Park has six backcountry campgrounds with 21 sites available by permit, but they’re inaccessible to vehicles and RVs. For RV camping, head to private campgrounds or state parks like Gilbert Ray Campground in Tucson. 

Things to do

Spring at the park is the best time to stroll through the Cactus Gardens in both districts, where rangers offer educational talks and walkers can follow the interpretive signs. Saguaros begin flowering the last two weeks of April and continue blooming through the first week of June. Look to the saguaros’ spiky tops for their white and yellow flower crowns.

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Mustang Island State Park

3. Instead of South Padre Island, Texas: Mustang Island State Park

Situated on the Gulf of Mexico, Mustang Island State Park combines stunning scenery with abundant adventure. Wild horses once roamed this barrier island, but today’s wildlife is much smaller. You’ll be sharing the sand with small mammals, birds, fish and other aquatic creatures. The climate is mild year round, so bookmark this park for spring break and beyond.

Where to stay

Mustang Island State Park Campground is steps from the beach. Guests can choose from 48 RV- and trailer-friendly sites with electric/water hookups. Reservations open 12 months in advance. Already booked? Try the South Padre Island KOA or the primitive tent campsites along the shore.

Things to do

Aside from beach lounging, this park’s main highlight is the Mustang Island State Park Paddling Trail. Three segments of trails add up to about 20 miles along the western shoreline of the island in Corpus Christi Bay. This area is considered one of the best in the state for birdwatching and shallow-water fishing. Bring your binoculars and your fishing rod. 

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Alabama Hills National Scenic Recreation Area

4. Instead of Acapulco, Mexico: Alabama Hills National Scenic Recreation Area (California)

Between the sharp peaks of the Sierra Nevada and Inyo Mountains lies a cluster of rounded rocks and eroded hills known as the Alabama Hills National Scenic Recreation Area. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, this desert backdrop is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts as well as movie producers who appreciate the area’s stark beauty. More than 400 films have been shot there, including Django Unchained, Iron Man, and Tremors.

Where to stay

Lone Pine Campground is at the edge of Inyo National Forest. During peak season from April to October, reservations are recommended through During the off-season, sites are first come, first served. There are 28 campsites for RVs up to 35 feet.

Then there’s also the Tuttle Creek Campground five miles outside Lone Pine, which has 83 primitive dispersed sites spread across the boulder-spotted land. Every site conveniently has a picnic table, grill, and fire ring.

What to do

Stop by the visitor center to see Mt. Whitney in the distance, or boost your film trivia knowledge at the Museum of Western Film History. Then take a hike past the unique rock formations and natural arches on the Shark Fin Trail or the Mobus Arch Trail. Look for the wildflowers that pop off in spring. Rock climbing is also a popular attraction to the area, as is fishing in Tuttle Creek.

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5. Instead of Las Vegas, Nevada: Great Basin National Park

Out in the boonies at the border of Nevada and Utah, Great Basin National Park is one of the least-visited sites in the entire national park system. You know what that means? Less people and more room to spread out. Shaped millennia ago by glaciers and volcanoes, the fragile landscape includes ancient bristlecone pines, meadows full of sage, and lowland wildlife.

Where to stay

Public campgrounds include Baker Creek Campground, Wheeler Peak Campground, Lower and Upper Lehman Creek Campgrounds, Strawberry Creek Campground, and Snake Creek Campground. Private campgrounds include Wendover KOA and Ely KOA.

What to do

As an International Dark Sky Park that has very little light pollution, Great Basin offers unobstructed views of the solar system. The park offers a number of astronomy-related events for educational opportunities to view the Milky Way, planets, meteors, and more.

During the day, visitors can stop by the Pictograph Caves and Baker Archeological Sites to learn more about the first people of the area. A number of trails, like the 3-mile Alpine Lakes Loop Trail and the less than a mile long Sky Islands Forest Trail, are worth the sweat. Both Mather Overlook and Wheeler Park Overlook are two spots to catch sunrise or sunset.

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Away from the crowds and among nature, you can host your own atypical-but-memorable spring break at the campground. Trade the loudspeakers for a book and the bar for a fully-stocked cooler. It can still be a party.

Amelia Arvesen


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