5 Under-the-radar spring break destinations

If going on a spring break getaway conjures images of beaches overrun with girls gone wild or an expensive theme park vacation with the kids, think again. Here a few under-the-radar travel options for you to consider.

Up North

The Black Sheep Inn -- The Finger LakesWhere to go:  About a four-and-a-half hour drive from New York City, the Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York is the perfect setting for a romantic spring break escape or girlfriend getaway. With more than 110 wineries and 9,000-plus acres of vineyards, the Finger Lakes region is the second-largest wine-producing region in the United States. The area is also known for its rugged hiking trails, antique shops and intimate galleries and artist studios.

Where to stay: The Black Sheep Inn is a stately, restored historical house that offers exceptional packages. Co-owner and chef Debbie Meritsky is a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, and she will customize organic meals, wine tastings and hot air balloon packages for guests and their travel companions.

Down South

The Outer BanksWhere to go: Known as the Crystal Coast, North Carolina’s southern Outer Banks is an ideal place for a low-key spring break. While vacationing in this pristine Atlantic beach destination, guests can dine on seafood fresh from the boats and stroll the historical streets of a quaint maritime village.

Where to stay: From seaside cottages to beachfront mansions, the Crystal Coast offers a variety of accommodations to suit every lifestyle and budget. Area hotels include the Inlet Inn in Beaufort and the Atlantis Lodge. For more lodging options, click here.

Out West — California

San DiegoWhere to go: As an alternative to the glitz and glam of Los Angeles, sunny San Diego is a cool alternative. Couples, singles and families alike will enjoy excursions to the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld San Diego.

Where to stay: The Rancho Bernardo Inn is a tranquil oasis about 25 miles north of San Diego, so it’s accessible to the city’s shopping, beaches and downtown nightlife. The property is offering a spring spa escape called the “Tech Detox” ($599 for two people; deal available March – May). Upon check-in, guests can trade their cell phones for a detox amenity. The package also includes a one-night stay for two, valet parking, a detox spa treatment for two (choice of an 80-minute customized body scrub, body wrap or massage) and a healthy lunch for two made with ingredients from the resort’s garden.

Out West — Arizona

ArizonaWhere to go: Outdoorsy types and spa enthusiasts will love Sedona, Arizona, named a top 10 U.S. travel destination by Tripadvisor.com and one of America’s 10 most beautiful places by Good Morning America. Hike or bike one of Sedona’s many trails. Take a horseback ride into a red rock canyon or share a picnic next to the gurgling creek in Oak Creek Canyon. Sedona is also known as spiritual energy centers (vortexes). Plus, the Grand Canyon is only two hours away.

Where to stay: The “Spring Break Rocks” deal is good for four days and three nights in a studio suite at Bell Rock Inn (only $265; offer expires May 1, 2012). Bell Rock Inn features heated pools (including a kiddie pool), a hot tub, outdoor grill areas, spa services and spectacular views of Sedona’s famous Bell Rock. Studio suites come with a fully equipped kitchenette and fireplace and sleeps four comfortably. To book this deal and activities, call (877) 444-8044 (code ZSKWE). If you mention “Spring Break Rocks,” get $20 off any 60-minute spa treatment at Sedona Spa.


CarribeanWhere to go: Instead of your usual Caribbean getaway, explore Dominica. This nature-lover’s paradise just a few miles south of Martinique and north of Guadeloupe is known for its volcanic peaks, boiling waters and underwater champagne springs.

Where to stay: Rosalie Bay is an eco-luxury and wellness retreat that offers spacious, elegant accommodations, organic cuisine, daily yoga and Pilates, and nature-inspired spa treatments such as seaweed and lava mud body wraps and organic body scrubs. In the spring, three species of sea turtles nest on the resort’s black sand beach. Guests can take part in turtle education programs and watch the turtles nest. The resort offers a five-night wellness package (from $1,380 for two people including taxes, room and daily breakfast), which includes spa treatments, a hiking trip, cooking class, personal training and more.

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