It’s March and the great migration has begun. Thousands will flock to beaches that were abandoned during the long winter, swooping down on the sand and filling miles of shoreline — giddy, preening college students anxious to soak up sun, participate in wacky contests, listen to concerts, and play games.
Whether you are a college student, a single adult, or you have a family, Florida has something for everyone – and perhaps that is why so many Florida cities top the lists for spring break destinations. From college students looking for music and fun to families looking for child-friendly adventures, Florida is wrapped with beaches that range from wild and rowdy to quiet, hidden coves. Here are some great destinations in the Sunshine State:
Miami – Miami’s beaches, especially South Beach, are ideal this time of year. Temperatures are balmy, averaging about 80 degrees, and the beaches are spectacular. Clear, blue water, sugary white sand framed by gently-swaying palm trees … nothing says hello to spring like a week on a beach in Miami. But although this is the latest spring break hotspot, Miami is also family friendly. The 1.5-million-acre Everglades National Park is an ideal location with guided tours and hikes, camping, boating, fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. Biscayne National Park features stunning coral reefs, perfect for snorkeling. Family Fun Fest is held every Sunday until April and features fun hands-on activity centers. In addition to swimming, diving, boating, and soaking up the sun, Biscayne has a fascinating history that involves pirates and shipwrecks.
Daytona Beach – About halfway down the east coast, Daytona Beach has long been synonymous with spring break. Famous for drive-on beaches, bike week, and the Daytona 500, there’s always something happening along Daytona’s 23 miles of gorgeous beaches. Boat tours, trolley tours, and the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse offer plenty of family-friendly fun. This city offers all types of entertainment off the beach, including mini golf, science centers and museums, helicopter rides, and airboat tours. And making Daytona the ultimate family-friendly beach – it is only an hour from the theme parks in Orlando.
Pensacola – When you think “spring break” you may not think “Pensacola,” but this west coast gem contains some gorgeous beaches. Perdido Key ranks as one of the best beaches in the US, and it contains some amazing parks, such as Big Lagoon State Park. If you’ve never camped near the beach, it is a great experience. The park also features a boat ramp, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, nature trails, picnic areas, and boardwalks. Pensacola Beach is also a great destination for all types of water activities. The Pensacola Beach Pier, the Gulf’s longest pier, contains shops, restaurants, and open-air bars. Special events include the Blue Angels who practice around 8:30 am from March 21 to May 16, the Perdido Key Wine and Arts Festival on March 24, and Perdido Springfest – five days of carnival rides, amusements, concessions, vendors, and live entertainment beginning March 20.
Panama City Beach – This spring break hot spot caters to college students in a big way – daily beach parties, live DJs, pool parties, live music, games, contests, prizes, tiki bars – this is where the excitement is. Thousands of college students will descend on Panama City Beach this month to enjoy temperatures in the 70s and a week-long, never-ending party. But even if you aren’t joining the college crowd, don’t pass over this dynamic beach town. Marinas, shopping, chartered fishing excursions, golfing, shelling, and more make Panama City Beach a great destination for everyone – even your dog. This is a pet-friendly location like no other with plenty of pet-friendly accommodations, dog parks, several pet-friendly trails and greenways, pet-friendly outdoor dining, and a Doggie Beach.
It doesn’t matter if you want a quiet hideaway or a party that lasts until dawn – you can find what you are looking for in Florida.