Florida students are spoiled with year-round sunny weather and 80-degree temperatures, but that doesn’t mean they’ll enjoy them any less when it’s time for Spring Break. While some spring breakers may opt to head north and ski in Aspen, others prefer to stay true to their Sunshine State roots and hit the beach. Whether you’re from Tampa or Topeka, here are five options to consider for Spring Break in the Southeast:
1. New Orleans/Mardi Gras: Nothing says “party” like Fat Tuesday in NOLA. If you want to do it big in the Big Easy, grab a mask and join travelers from around the world to check off another bucket list item with one of the most festive celebrations there is. After you’ve frolicked down Bourbon Street with the masses of rowdy parade-goers, get your standard Tropical Isle hand grenade and stuff your face with fluffy beignets from Café Du Monde. And if you want to deck yourself out in something other than green, purple, and gold, the floor is littered with metallic beads. Or, if you want to earn them yourself, no one has to know how you got them. What happens in NOLA stays in NOLA – at least until your friends post pictures on Facebook and send snaps to everyone you know.
2. Panama City Beach: Panama City may be the capital of a country in South America, but here in the United States, it’s known as the capital of partying. In regards to tourism, this city’s 320 days of sunshine attracts visitors to its white-sand shores throughout the year, but it reaches its peak in March when a different crowd rolls into town. Bikini-clad ladies and thirsty dudes flood this coastal Spring Break mecca to participate in endless debauchery for days – music, dancing, sun, and fun. Ask almost anyone about the PCB experience, and they’ll tell you it was the best time of their life. Just don’t ask for details; they’d really love to tell you all about it but probably can’t remember.
3. South Beach: This place gets attention all 365 days of the year, so you can imagine how wild things get when it’s Spring Break in Miami’s premier destination. Here’s a hint: the temperature isn’t the only thing that’s heating up on Ocean Drive. As LMFAO put it, you’ll “drink all day, play all night” at world-renowned clubs and bars with the hottest DJs and celebrity guests who frequent them. Get it poppin’ because you’re in Miami, trick.
4. The Florida Keys: If you want to get wasted away in Margaritaville, you need to make the journey down Overseas Highway to the Florida Keys. On your first stop, snorkel the famous John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo to see vibrant sea creatures and impressive reefs. Toss a fishing line into the waters of Islamorada. At the final destination – Key West – drink in Jimmy Buffet style on Duval Street with a cool key lime pie. It may be “five o’clock somewhere,” but it’s always five o’clock in the Keys.
5. A Cruise: For the ultimate beach bum who wants all of the stressful planning taken care of, a “booze cruise” is the only option. Sail away to the pristine waters of the Bahamas, Jamaica, or Mexico with hundreds of other college students eager to eat, sleep, rave, and repeat. But take caution: There isn’t much sleep on cruises. So it’s more like eat, rave, and repeat. A popular cruise line for spring breakers with Caribbean fever is Carnival. They don’t call it “The Fun Ship” for nothing.
Plan Ahead: Spring Break may seem far away, but don’t wait until the last minute to book a trip. To guarantee your spot and snag the best price before it goes up, arrange your accommodation months in advance, especially when expecting events like Mardi Gras. Try to plan in the Fall, but even if you don’t, know there are other options besides a hotel. You can find hostels in all of these cities, as well as locals willing to temporarily house you (try www.airbnb.com, which is like a safer, paid version of CouchSurfing).