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Spring break destinations on Long Island or a short flight away 

The downtown skyline on the Hillsborough River in

The downtown skyline on the Hillsborough River in Tampa. Credit: Alamy / Sean Pavone

Need a break from campus life? With spring break just around the corner, there are plenty of affordable and easily accessible options for an exciting vacation away. Here are some destinations you can easily visit by plane, train or car.

For those looking to plan a getaway close to home, consider a ski trip in New York at Hunter Mountain Resort (about three hours away), Whiteface Mountain (about five hours away) or the Pocono Mountains (about two-and-a-half to three hours away). Major cities like Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., are within driving distance, and for something truly cost-effective, try traveling by Greyhound or other bus services from New York City as alternative transportation. If you'd rather relax and recharge right here on Long Island, keep in mind that surfing is a year-round activity in Montauk, and lessons are available at CoreysWave Professional Surf Instruction if you're looking to try something new. On the North Fork, most of the bars and restaurants in Greenport are open, while hotels and BNBs tend to offer rates lower than typical summer prices.

If you're a traveler who can splurge on an out-of-state trip, book a short flight or an Amtrak ride from New York City to these hot spots: 

NASHVILLE

GETTING THERE: Southwest is offering seasonal flights from MacArthur Airport from March 16-31.

THINGS TO DO: Known as “Music City,” country music fans are in for a treat while visiting this notable destination. You’ll hear live music playing at many restaurants and bars in town, especially on Broadway, located in downtown Nashville. Don't miss out on exploring the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (222 5th Ave S.; 615-416-2001, countrymusichalloffame.org) and the iconic Grand Ole Opry (2804 Opryland Dr.; 615-871-6779, opry.com) for rich history and unforgettable musical performances. Delicious food is as easy to find as it would be in any major city, but these days spots hot on the must-try list include the all-day brunch at wine bar lou (1304 McGavock Pike; 615-499-4495, lounashville.com) and the appropriately-named Burger Joint (5511 Centennial Blvd.; 615-964-7820) — or satisfy your sweet tooth at Goo Goo Shop and Dessert Bar (116 3rd Ave S.; 615-490-6685, googoo.com), which serves tons of sweet treats but is famed for its “Goo Goo Cluster." Daytime temperatures average in the mid-60s, so explore the outdoors and head over to Radnor Lake State Park (1160 Otter Creek Rd.; 615-373-3467, tnstateparks.com) or the grounds at Cheekwood Estate (1200 Forrest Park Dr.; 615-356-8000, cheekwood.org).

If you're looking for something fun to do with a group, book a party bike tour at Nashville Pedal Tavern (nashvillepedaltavern.com) where you can take in the cities views while you sip on your beverage of choice and pedal through town. You can't visit Nashville without a night out at Honky Tonk Central (honkytonkcentral.com) and Tootsies Orchid Lounge (tootsies.net), both great downtown spots for those looking to party and enjoy live music and entertainment. 

TAMPA, FLORIDA

GETTING THERE: Frontier is offering round-trip flights between MacArthur Airport and Tampa for rates between $123 and $158 on various dates between March 16-27.

THINGS TO DO: Temperatures are usually around 80 degrees by the end of March, but keep in mind while nearby Clearwater beaches are considered top-notch, it’s a little cooler than Tampa in late March. Check out Ben T. Davis Beach (7740 W Courtney Campbell Cswy.) or head south to Apollo Beach Nature Preserve (6760 Surfside Blvd,, Apollo Beach) to relax and soak up the sun. For a fun night out visit The Kennedy (2408 W. Kennedy Blvd.; 813-259-9669, thekennedysoho.com), the Honey Pot (507 E. 7th Ave.; 813-247-4663) for LGBTQ+ bashes and EDGE Rooftop Cocktail Lounge (1207 S. Howard Ave.; 813-999-8700,) for cocktails and an amazing view from atop the Epicurean Hotel. As for grub, there are lots of options; try contemporary American food at On Swann (1501 W. Swann Ave.; 813-251-0110, onswann.com), or Tampa Datz (2616 S MacDill Ave.; 813-831-7000 datztampa.com) for weekend brunch plus burger dishes and sandwiches all week.

SAVANNAH, GEORGIA

GETTING THERE: Amtrak is offering roundtrips (about 15-17 hours on the train) starting at $114. You can drive there, without traffic and make it in around 12 hours.

THINGS TO DO: With average daytime temps in the 70-degree range, it’s a good place to be outside. It’s considered a beautiful place for wandering, with antebellum homes and Spanish moss flowing through tree limbs — and while sightseeing, take the beverage of your choice along with you because the city has an open container policy (drinks must be held in plastic 16-ounce cups — not mugs or bottles) within the borders of the Historic District. Its St. Patrick’s Day celebration is a major annual draw, so consider visiting March 13-14 for the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival before the parade on the 17th. Savannah’s nightlife is also part of the allure; the Alley Cat Lounge (207 W. Broughton St.; 912-677-0548, alleycatsavannah.com) is an underground legal speak-easy where unique cocktails are poured and weekends bring the crowds. The Jinx (127 W. Congress St.; 912-236-2281, thejinx912.com) draws college crowds to check out indie and local music; Grab a bite and a drink at Molly MacPherson's Scottish Pub and Grill (311 W. Congress St.; 912-239-9600, macphersonspub.com). This spot specializes in Scottish pub fare and claims to feature the largest whiskey collection on the East Coast. Southern cuisine is popular in the Hostess City as well, and the restaurant that gets serious chatter is Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room (107 W. Jones St.; 912-232-5997, mrswilkes.com), a cash-only spot that you’ll likely need to wait on line to enter — but for $25 you’ll get an endless meal of fried and saucy cuisine, all served family-style; it’s considered a Savannah must-try. A Sunday brunch hot spot is Soho South Cafe (12 W. Liberty St.; 912-233-1633, sohosouthcafe.com); Alligator Soul (114 Barnard St.; 912-232-7899, alligatorsoul.com) is a dinner eatery famed for its flavor-packed American food, and is also well-regarded as a romantic rendezvous, should you be spring breaking with a significant other.

MIAMI

GETTING THERE: If you can drop around $250-$350 on a round-trip ticket, there are a fair amount of flights out of MacArthur Airport via American Airlines (via Piedmont Airlines as American Eagle) available throughout the second half of March.

THINGS TO DO: Miami is one of the nation’s premiere cities, but for spring break purposes it’s a great spot to visit because it’s one of the few destinations on the East Coast with direct flights to and from, and has beautiful beach weather, with temps that frequently reach the low 80s (and it’s before the summer humidity strikes). It’s also easy to navigate cheaply, as the free Metromover rail service runs daily (5 a.m.-midnight; miamidade.gov) around downtown and the Brickell area. The Magic City is also very LGBTQ+ friendly and a global stop for the nightlife crowd — and a good place to start would be E11even (29 NE 11th St.; 305-829-2911, 11miami.com), a 24-hour nightclub that never closes and has a regular event calendar featuring a high number of famous rappers and DJs. Time Out Market (1601 Drexel Ave.; 786-753-5388, timeoutmarket.com/miami) is an upscale cafeteria offering small restaurants that each differ in menu offerings. The spot also features cultural events, installations, and world-class DJ sets. Head over to Gramps (176 NW 24th St.; 305-699-2669, gramps.com) for DJ nights, drag-hosted events and karaoke.

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