March is the month of spring break.
It is also ushers in Daylight Saving Time on March 13 and spring on March 20 and celebrates St. Patrick’s Day on March 17.
But for youth in elementary school to university and for their families, March is heavily focused on spring break and a week away from tests, papers and textbooks.
With that in mind, we present this look at spring break.
WHEN IS IT?
Spring break for School District 51 is March 21–25.
Colorado Mesa University’s Midterm Break, aka spring break, also is that week.
Dates can vary by college or university, but spring break generally takes place during a designated week between the end of February and mid-April.
BY THE NUMBERS
Vacasa, a vacation rental management company, published a spring travel trends survey in February. Here is some of what it found related to spring break.
n 56% of Americans are planning to travel this spring and 37% of them will travel during their spring break.
Of Americans traveling:
n 75% of travelers will stay in the U.S.
n 23% are planning a staycation.
n 18% are going abroad.
n Most (43%) planned to visit a place they haven’t been to before. Many others (38%) will return to a previous vacation spot.
n About 30% were booking vacation rentals because they wanted access to a full kitchen, privacy and thought it was a better value for their hard-earned dollars.
The beach is where many U.S. college students will go for spring break, according to College Consensus, which put together a list of the “Best Spring Break Destinations For Students on a Budget.”
Here is its list of the best spots for college students seeking sun, ocean and parties:
n Panama City Beach, Florida
n South Padre Island, Texas
n Daytona Beach, Florida
n Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
n Ocho Rios, Jamaica
n New Orleans, Louisiana
n Nassau, Bahamas
n Key West, Florida
n Cancún, Mexico
n Savannah, Georgia
n Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
n Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
n Clearwater, Florida
n Miami, Florida
n San Juan, Puerto Rico
NOT TO BE A KILLJOY, BUT…
Fun in the sun at the beach is fabulous, but when it comes to spring break, not all is rosy and exclusiveness can have consequences.
n 44% of college women and 75% of college men get drunk daily while on spring break, according to the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
n Half of students will drink to the point of passing out at least once while on spring break (NIAAA).
n The average male on spring break drinks 18 alcoholic drinks a day and the average female drinks 10 alcoholic drinks per day, according to the American College of Health.
SAND AND SUN
The spring break destination most search for online in Colorado is — drum roll, please! — Cancún, Mexico.
And Coloradans aren’t alone in longing for this resort location on the Yucatan Peninsula.
Residents in Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Wyoming also had the destination in mind, according to a study by the travel company Upgraded Points, upgradedpoints.com.
Not all youth on spring break will be at the beach. There will be some students on school or club educational trips, youth groups on missions trips and some youth will spend the week volunteering.
Years ago, Habitat for Humanity became a leader in encouraging high school and college students to participate in alternative spring breaks that didn’t involve the beach. More than 10,000 students now participate in Habitat’s spring break programs, according to habitat.org.
If you’re planning to have fun in the sun, be that at a beach, on a camping adventure or on the slopes while spring skiing, don’t forget the sunscreen.
Here are some skin cancer prevention tips from the American Academy of Dermatology Association:
• Seek shade. The sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
• Wear sun-protective clothing. This could include lightweight, long-sleeved shirt, pants, a hat, sunglasses with UV protection. Look for clothing labeled for sun protection.
• Use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen that has a 30 SPF or higher. Even on cloudy days.
• Reapply sunscreen every two hour or after swimming or sweating.
• Remember that water, snow and sand reflect the sun’s rays and increase your chance of sunburn.
• Don’t use tanning beds. If you want to look tan, consider a self-tanning product.
• Keep an eye on your skin through regular skin self-exams. See a dermatologist for new or suspicious spots and places that change, itch or bleed.
EYE ON THE WEATHER
If you think 80-plus-degree weather can only be found this time of year at the locations on the aforementioned spring break destination list, think again.
The record high temperature for Grand Junction in March is 81 degrees Fahrenheit. That temperature has been hit three times in recorded history: In March of 1907, 1971 and 2004.
However, the normal high for the month is 58.3 degrees in Grand Junction.
National Parks are popular locations to visit in March in part due to spring break.
Here are the top 15 most visited National Parks for March of 2021:
n Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee had 931,060 visitors in March of 2021. This was also the most visited national park in March of 2020 despite the pandemic. Great Smoky had more than 14 million total visits for all of 2021.
n Zion National Park, Utah, 429,455.
n Joshua Tree National Park, California, 375,049.
n Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, 317,054.
n Saguaro National Park, Arizona, 201,010.
n Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio, 182,618.
n Death Valley National Park, California and Nevada, 171,617.
n Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana, 171,050.
n Yosemite National Parks, California, 159,906.
n Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 155,819.
n Arches National Park, Utah, 151, 077.
n Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas, 128,516.
n Olympic National Park, Washington, 116,649.
n Capitol Reef National Park, Utah, 115,728.
n New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, West Virginia, 103,151.
Also of note, the National Park Service area that had the most visitors — there were more than 1 million of them — in March of 2021 was the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in California. It was seconded by the Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada and Arizona.
The national monument with the most March 2021 visitors was Cabrillo National Monument in California with more than 53,878 visitors. For comparison, Colorado National Monument had 38,577 visitors that month.
The Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina was the most-visited National Park Service site for all of 2021 with more than 15.9 million visitors.
CLOSER TO HOME
If your March plans are of the staycation variety or if spring break is something from another season of your life, here are a few local events set for spring break week to keep in mind:
n Sunday Brunch with the Sunday Morning All-Stars — This 11 a.m. Sunday, March 20, brunch features a five-piece jazz band at Charlie Dwellington’s, 103 First St., and it often sells out. Tickets: $22 in advance, $25 at the door. Info: facebook.com/SundayMorningAllStars.
n “Swan Lake” — Presented by the Russian Ballet, this Tchaikovsky classic will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 23, at Avalon Theatre, 645 Main St. Tickets: $39–$69. Info: avalontheatregj.com, ticketsmaster.com.
n Sarah Jarosz — This Grammy Award-winning folk, country musician will be in concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 24, at Avalon Theatre, 645 Main St. Tickets: $27.50–$47.50. Info: avalontheatregj.com, ticketsmaster.com.
n Michael Ray — See this country artist at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 26, at Warehosue 25Sixty-Five, 2565 American Way. Tickets: $30–$58. Info: warehouse 2565.com.