12 Colleges Already Located in Spring Break Destinations

Ever considered extending your spring break trip indefinitely? Here are 12 colleges in ideal spots that you can attend for year-round vacation vibes.
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  • Florida's Miami Beach, Daytona Beach, and Panama City Beach are home to several colleges.
  • If you like Las Vegas, consider enrolling at UNLV or Nevada State College.
  • Honolulu-based UH Manoa and Hawaii Pacific University are steps from the beach.

Why spend just a week in a beautiful spring break destination when you can live there full time while earning your degree?

Think about it: You'd take the most idyllic study breaks ever at these primo vacation spots. You could spend every day studying on the beach, exploring natural wonders, soaking up the sunny weather, and chowing down on great food.

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Ready to Start Your Journey?

Here are our picks for the best U.S. colleges located in six famous spring break destinations.

Miami Beach, Florida

With its sunny weather, sandy beaches, tasty food, historical districts, and lively downtown scene, Miami Beach remains one of the most popular places to spend college spring break. You can take a boat tour or rent a yacht, visit the art district, gorge yourself on Cuban food, and enjoy the bustling nightlife.

Miami Beach is also just an hour away from the Everglades National Park if you're interested in taking an adventurous day trip.

1. University of Miami — Coral Gables, FL

Nearby University of Miami is a private institution known for its diverse student body, successful sports teams, and affordability.

You can choose from over 180 majors and academic programs, the most popular of which are science and business-related majors. Nearly 3 in 4 incoming students receive financial aid, according to UM. What's more, UM met 100% of first-year students' financial need in fall 2021.

2. Miami Dade College — Miami, FL

Located in the heart of Miami and spanning eight campuses, Miami Dade College is one of Florida's largest schools. The four-year college primarily awards associate degrees, with some of its most popular two-year programs being liberal arts, general studies, and nursing.

MDC offers many flexible ways to complete your schooling with options such as night courses, online classes, and hybrid programs.

Daytona Beach, Florida

Daytona Beach is an oceanside playground, with a boardwalk filled with restaurants, carnival rides, an arcade, and free concerts. The beach alone radiates a unique beauty, with hard-packed sand you can even drive on in permitted areas.

If you want a break from the beach, you can opt for one of the many hiking and biking trails in the area's tropical reserves. The city is also home to the Daytona International Speedway.

3. Daytona State College — Daytona Beach, FL

Nestled downtown just 2 miles from the beach, Daytona State College was recognized as one of the lowest-cost U.S. colleges in 2020. The school offers technical certificates as well as a variety of associate degrees and bachelor's degrees.

Daytona State's most popular majors include business administration, information technology, engineering, and nursing.

4. University of Central Florida — Orlando, FL

The University of Central Florida is located about an hour's drive from Daytona Beach in Orlando, which itself is home to many spring break destinations, including Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando.

A public research university with a large campus, UCF offers specializations in fields like engineering, computer science, business, healthcare, education, hospitality management, and video game design.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

A South Carolina coastal gem, Myrtle Beach boasts 60 miles of idyllic sandy beaches, a boardwalk full of quaint dining options and other activities, and one of the tallest ferris wheels in the country.

Myrtle Beach is also the miniature golf capital of the world, with over 50 courses, including championship courses. You'll also find more than 100 regular golf courses in the area, some designed by celebrities.

5. Coastal Carolina University — Conway, SC

Bordered by a national wildlife refuge, Coastal Carolina University in Conway sits just 10 miles from the beach. Its sprawling, green campus contains over 115 buildings in a walkable area.

The university houses a variety of NCAA Division I sports teams, making for exciting community events. Popular academic programs include business, sports management, marine biology, oceanography, and exercise science.

6. University of North Carolina Wilmington — Wilmington, NC

The University of North Carolina Wilmington lies about an hour and a half from Myrtle Beach. The institution is also close to plenty of smaller beaches along the coast, including Wrightsville Beach, which students can travel to in just 10 minutes.

UNCW contains all the resources of a big state school packed in an intimate campus setting. Popular programs include nursing, psychology, biology, business, and communication.

Panama City Beach, Florida

Along the Emerald Coast you'll find a famous spring beach destination in Panama City Beach. Here, visitors can enjoy white-sand beaches, kitschy souvenir shops, amusement park rides, and oceanside dining. Dolphin-watching is another popular excursion for fans of wildlife.

Panama City is home to hiking trails through marshlands and a variety of fishing opportunities. You can also take a road trip up the coast for more beach spots like Rosemary Beach and Destin.

7. Gulf Coast State College — Panama City, FL

Just 10 minutes from Panama City Beach, Gulf Coast State College is considered a military-friendly institution due to its array of on-campus military and veteran services. The college offers flexible class schedules across several campuses and online course options.

Students can choose from a variety of educational paths at GCSC, including associate degrees, technical career certificates, bachelor's degrees, and professional development training.

8. University of West Florida on the Emerald Coast — Fort Walton Beach, FL

A partnership between the University of West Florida and Northwest Florida State College, UWF on the Emerald Coast lies about one and a half hours from Panama City Beach in Fort Walton Beach.

Here, students can choose from among 11 on-campus undergraduate programs and 70 online programs. UWF on the Emerald Coast is also part of Florida's 2+2 Program, in which students who earn an associate degree at a state college are guaranteed admission to a state university.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas is a much-beloved spring break destination. Not only is it fairly affordable, but it also boasts year-round warm weather, plenty of entertainment, endless shopping, and world-renowned food.

In addition, the city is host to exciting experiences and exhibitions like the Neon Museum, Exotics Racing, Dig This, and Omega Mart.

Students can browse the many hotels and shops along the Las Vegas Strip, catch a Cirque du Soleil show, or escape the city for a dose of Nevada nature at local spots like Red Rock Canyon and the Hoover Dam.

9. University of Nevada, Las Vegas — Las Vegas, NV

Based in Las Vegas, the University of Nevada sits on a 332-acre campus just a mile and a half from the Strip. The school's Rebels mascot is a symbol for a "community that dares to be different."

UNLV is one of Nevada's larger state schools, with over 30,000 students enrolled. As a research university, the institution emphasizes its STEM, law, and business programs. Its proximity to the heart of Las Vegas also makes the school an ideal place to study hospitality and entertainment management.

10. Nevada State College — Henderson, NV

Nevada State College lies about 25 minutes from Las Vegas in a town called Henderson. It's a bit of an oasis away from the 24-hour metropolis that is Vegas, with mountain views, hiking spots, a reservoir, and more relaxed options for dining, shopping, and entertainment.

Popular programs include nursing, psychology, business, biology, and education. The four-year college offers over 30 bachelor's degree programs. NSC also reports that 68% of its students receive financial assistance.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Blissful beaches, tropical landscapes, and laidback vibes make Hawaii a top spot for college spring breakers. The islands offer delicious seafood, tons of shopping, and historical spots like Iolani Palace and Pearl Harbor.

On Oahu, many choose to visit the Polynesian Cultural Center or Kualoa Ranch for a variety of Hawaiian educational opportunities and activities. Students can explore natural sites as well, such as Manoa Falls, Diamond Head, Shark's Cove, and Halona Blowhole.

11. University of Hawaii at Manoa — Honolulu, HI

Just a 10-minute drive from Waikiki Beach, UH Manoa specializes in niche subjects like tropical agriculture, volcanology, and tropical medicine. The university also offers programs in comparative religion and electrical engineering.

The oldest and largest UH campus, UH Manoa is known for its premier research in oceanography, astronomy, Pacific Islands and Asian studies, linguistics, and cancer.

12. Hawaii Pacific University — Honolulu, HI

A private university in downtown Honolulu, Hawaii Pacific University prides itself on being an international learning community, with a diverse student body representing nearly 65 countries. 

The downtown campus offers student housing in the Aloha Tower Marketplace alongside other facilities like a cafe, a fitness center, an esports arena, restaurants, classrooms, and businesses.

Popular majors at HPU include biological and biomedical sciences, business, journalism, computer science, military studies, and education.

Feature Image: Pola Damonte via Getty Images / Moment / Getty Images

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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