Florida's beaches and world-famous attractions (like Disney World and Universal Studios) bring thousands of visitors to the state each spring. At the same time, the state's own universities take their leave. The result: jammed packed beaches, party scenes galore, and theme park lines that make any New Jersey traffic jam pale in comparison. Still, those traveling to Florida on vacation can have a memorable and enjoyable time. Simply research the local spring break schedule before you plan your trip and seek out destinations where the spring breakers are not.
Florida College Spring Break Schedule
In Florida, universities and colleges plan their spring breaks thoughtfully. In fact, the majority of Florida colleges schedule spring break for late February and early March, long before their nationwide counterparts. Not only does this give Floridian students the chance to experience fewer crowds at the beaches and theme parks, but it also frees up those same destinations at the time when out-of-state college students visit. As a general rule, most public universities in Florida will be done with their breaks early to mid-March, leaving the remainder of March open to other spring breakers and families traveling with school-aged children.
Other College Spring Break Schedules
Colleges and universities release the academic calendar at the start of their school year. And for most nationwide universities, spring break lands somewhere in March, usually around the last few weeks. A few colleges, however, and especially Catholic schools, plan their leave around Easter, which changes each year and varies with spring moon cycles. For these colleges, spring break can land the last week in March during certain years and mid to late April in others. Keep these dates in mind as times to avoid, should you be planning a family trip. The busiest times in Florida will certainly be early March and the weeks surrounding Easter.
Things to Do for Spring Breakers
Alongside California, Hawaii, and New York, Florida is one of the most popular party states for spring breakers. And there's no shortage of state-wide events, attractions, and activities. The weather is almost always pleasant, even in late February and early March.
Theme parks, like Disney's Animal Kingdom, Epcot Center, and Universal Orlando, offer special spring break deals for both Florida and out-of-state students. Specials usually include discounted entry tickets and gate prices. You can also find package deals that contain a hotel room, breakfast, and entry into the park(s).
And while Orlando can be a party scene, for sure, there's nothing like the crazy vibe in Fort Lauderdale over spring break. Complete with miles of beaches, a rocking nightlife scene, and open-air venues that host shows and concerts, this town is crawling with fun. Book your stay at a spring break "headquarters" hotel to receive special deals and package prices.
If you're a Florida student wanting to get the heck out of Dodge, plenty of domestic destinations await you. Among the most popular are ski vacations out West to Colorado. Or, book a city stay and see a show in New York. Budget travelers should have no problem going cheap, either. Just hop in the car and take a road trip to one of the nation's favorite spring break destinations.
Avoiding the Crowds
While both March and April will be busy months in Florida, avoiding the key times—like early March when both Florida universities and other state colleges take their break—will help you bypass major crowds. Even still, popular destinations and public beaches may be crowded. Generally speaking, however, college kids tend to sleep in during spring break. So, if you have a family of early risers, head out in the morning to the beach or theme park. This way, you can avoid the party scene and then retire to your hotel's pool, once things fill in.
Another great way to avoid spring breakers is to visit cities, like Tampa and Miami. Stay away from the beaches in these areas, however, and instead revel in the culture of the metro locale. Take in a show. Visit an art museum. And, eat great food. Since most college students are on a budget, they shy away for inner-city prices and stick to the outskirts where things are cheaper or free.