The Best Spring Break Destinations in Florida
If what you seek for your Spring Break is sun, sand, and crystal-clear seas, there's no better place in the country to find it. Or so say travelers on TripAdvisor, who recently ranked Clearwater Beach the best shoreline in the U.S. The beach earned high marks for its powder-soft sand and shallow Gulf waters, as well as the town's variety of activities offered away from the sand (think laid-back beach grills and tiki bars). What more could a Spring Breaker want?
You couldn't talk about Spring Break in Florida without mentioning the unofficial birthplace of Spring Break debauchery. Following the release of the famous flick Where the Boys Are, which follows four college women on a spring escape to the South Florida city, Fort Lauderdale blew up among college kids nationwide, attracting some 370,000 students at its peak in the '80s and prompting then-Mayor Robert Dressler to publicly announce that students were no longer welcome. But the Fort Lauderdale of the Girls Gone Wild era has since simmered down. Now, America's yacht capital is as much a destination for foodies and art enthusiasts as it once was for rowdy students.
Located between Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, Florida's "Village by the Sea" tends to fly a little more under-the-radar for the college crowd. But spring is prime time to visit this scenic stretch of sand, when back-to-back weekend festivals—from the foodie-centric Savor the Avenue (March 25) to the Delray Affair (April 12-14), the largest arts festival in the Southeastern United States—attract visitors from near and far. After strolling Atlantic Ave, grab frozen drinks at the Sandbar, an oceanfront tiki joint where the Spring Break vibes will most definitely be flowing.
The Beaches of 30A
When doing Spring Break on the Florida panhandle, travelers looking for a quiet getaway with sugar-white sands and turquoise water aim for the beautiful beaches of 30A. Spring Break here tends to be family-friendly, and with several different beach communities to choose from—from bustling Seaside to mellower Watercolor—vacationers can make their escape as quiet or as jam-packed as they want.
The Florida Keys
Grab your sweetie and set off on one of America's ultimate road trips down the famous Overseas Highway. From Miami, head just an hour and a half down the road to Key Largo, where the Bungalows resort—the Keys' first adults-only all-inclusive (pictured)—offers the quintessential setting for some warm-weather R&R. Once well rested, join the revelry in Key West, where Duval Street attracts both a mix of college and grown-up fun seekers during Spring Break.
Founded in 1545, our nation's oldest city offers a laid-back alternative to Florida's more rowdy Spring Break escapes. On land, explore the city's many historical sights, from the Fountain of Youth to the Colonial Quarter. If the beach is what you're looking for, St. Augustine offers miles of pristine shorelines, and—unlike more popular Spring Break destinations—you won't have trouble finding a quiet spot to set down your beach towel here.