After months of long, cold winter days, we all need a break…spring break! Whether you’re in school yourself, a parent to a school-age child, or just want to escape the daily grind for a few days, hopping on a plane (or jumping in your car) and arriving at a vacation wonderland is a time-honored tradition this time of year.

If you love eating fish — along with swimming in crystal-clear ocean waters, skiing, or just a bit of shopping, relaxing, and taking in the local sights — then find a destination with a rich and exciting food scene filled with local specialties, incredible restaurants, and world-class ingredients. Let’s plan that trip with these spring break ideas!

Why staycations rule

As much fun as it is to travel, even a beautifully organized spring break can have some not-so-great qualities. Trips can be expensive, destinations can get crowded, and even though we adore our kids, spouse, or friends, sometimes we just wish we were traveling solo.

But here’s the good news: Whether you have to work through spring break, are just taking a pass on traveling for a bit, or are saving up for a summer blowout, you can still get away. There’s no reason not to indulge and give yourself that culinary spring break you so richly deserve — even if you never set foot outside your home. In other words, bring spring break to you!

Here are five of our favorite fish-loving hotspots to serve as further inspiration for your at-home spring break ideas.

5 best spring break ideas

New Orleans

With top rankings on several 2024 travel tip sheets — it’s the top “foodie” destination in America according to TripAdvisor and a top budget-friendly spring break option per U.S. News & World Report — this Mississippi River city is an all-around vacation favorite. It’s the birthplace of jazz, home of Mardi Gras, and, perhaps best of all, the epicenter of Creole seasonings and Cajun cuisine.

MORE: Best Foods to Eat in New Orleans

Any trip to the Big Easy — in person or virtual — must include a sampling of andouille sausage, homemade gumbo, chargrilled oysters, jambalaya loaded with succulent shrimp or prawns, crawfish étouffée, and those iconic beignets. Sample a bit of it all, and plan your staycation menu with diverse flair. You can mix the best of French, African, Spanish, and Caribbean favorites — everything from po’ boys and muffulettas to savory bisquesseafood boils, and decadent pralines.

Spring break ideas with a cast-iron skillet full of jambalaya.

RECIPE: Jambalaya

With each scrumptious bite, you’ll be speaking like the locals: “Laissez les bons temps rouler.” Let the good times roll!

Key West

Even if your spring break starts with a South Beach-style celebration, when visiting Florida, you should always take the time to enjoy that scenic 150-mile coastal drive south to the Keys, and Key West in particular.

With its laid-back atmosphere, beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and eclectic culinary scene, this island in the Florida Strait is rich with inspiration for an incredible escape — even one where you never leave home.

Center your meal around seafood: crab legs or perfectly cooked white fish, such as Chilean sea bass, halibut, or cod. If you can, prepare your fish on the grill outside or, if weather’s an issue, pan-sear those fillets on the stove to golden perfection. Then, round out your meal with some fresh kiwi and mango, a lush garden salad topped with tangy dressing and chunk crab meat, and a decadent slice of Key lime pie. Classic cocktails (like margaritas, mojitos, and piña coladas) are optional but highly encouraged!

Fish tacos with mango salsa

San Diego

From its immaculate beaches to its mild Mediterranean-style weather, San Diego offers all the best aspects of any trip to the Golden State, all in one convenient and beautiful central location.

Start your “visit” by enjoying a true Cali experience of a moist and succulent shrimp burger, made from shrimp right out of the Pacific Ocean. Fish tacos got their start in California’s rich culinary scene, so a delicate protein like lingcod plus a variety of salsas and a few soft, tender tortillas are all you need to whip up a batch of your own. Pair them with some salty chips, a gourmet charcuterie board or selection of cheeses, and your favorite California cabernet sauvignon — and you may just have the perfect meal. All that’s missing is a bite of sea salt-infused chocolate as dessert.

California is also renowned for its produce, so make sure you stock up on fresh citrus (like Mandarins and Cara Cara oranges, and plenty of limes) plus tons of avocados…you can use multiple fruits on any San Diego-inspired plate.


spring break ideas salmon roe

Whether you hop a flight or take a scenic and incredibly relaxing cruise up north with a travel great like Holland America, our 49th state is a breathtaking destination everyone should visit at least once. But until you make it there in person, it’s also fabulous inspiration for a one-of-a-kind staycation extravaganza!

Alaska wouldn’t be Alaska without a taste of that world-renowned fish. The list of savory, tender, flaky options goes on and on: salmon, halibut, sablefish, each more mouthwatering than the last.

Round out your Alaskan “stay” with another specialty unique to this beautiful state, such as a smoked chowder, exquisite local scallops, cold-smoked lox (perfect for bagels!) or decadent umami flavored salmon roe, beloved for their signature “pop.” Your adventure awaits…  

New England

Maybe you’re the type that enjoys a road trip more than a prolonged stay in one location. If that’s the case, think of this last option as a beautiful journey along the New England coast, capturing all the spectacular sights — and marvelous flavors — the region is known for.

Start your staycation with a tasty touchdown in Connecticut, where you can appreciate the state’s intense, bright blueberry crop. Devour these emerald jewels in muffins or cookies, baked into a moist coffee cake, or in tangy preserves.

Next, head east to Rhode Island, where you can unwind in classic comfort-food style with a hearty bowl of clam chowder — go for added “smoke” if you want a real treat.

MORE: What the Heck Is Rhode Island Clam Chowder?

Then, when you’re ready for the main course, reach for a show-stopping lobster roll — a selection of melt-in-your-mouth claw meat and tender lobster tail, doused in mayo or butter (depending on just which way you prefer to roll). It wouldn’t be a trip to New England without one!

For dessert, make a quick final stop in Vermont for some world-class maple syrup. Sure, it’s great on pancakes, but it’s also insanely wonderful drizzled over cheesecake, glazed over toasted scones, or even tossed with your favorite pre-made popcorn. That’s a helluva trip!

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Brian Good is a writer, editor, and project manager with more than 20 years experience in publishing. He's written for some of the country’s biggest magazine brands including Men’s Journal, Men’s Fitness, Shape, Men's Health, Muscle & Fitness, US Weekly, AARP: The Magazine, and websites including Mashed, Health Digest, DiversityInc and others. Good specializes on topics including lifestyle, travel, pop culture, health, food and nutrition, spirits, products, politics, and activism.

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