Let the party begin – spring break in Florida is all about letting loose under tropical skies. As the palm trees bow down to meet a sky-blue Mexican Gulf or the frothing surf of the Atlantic Ocean crashes in, there's loads for the young and energetic crowd to get up to in these parts. But there are also places where chilled vacations take center stage and you can escape the packed-out resorts…
The best beaches for spring break – let's get sandy
Soaking up the rays, cracking cold beers with the sunset, partying in bumping beach bars, and heading back to the college halls nice and brown are all part and parcel to the Florida Spring break package. It's even possible to bag a vacation rental that's right by the beach – you know, so you can be the first on the sunbed come morning.
Pompano Beach is a fine alternative to Fort Lauderdale
With over 10,000 extra bodies cramming onto the sands around Fort Lauderdale when spring break kicks off, there's plenty to be said for swapping the hurly burly of the city for the nearby resort stretches of Pompano Beach. There's long, ivory-tinted powder up there, along with some more thoughtful and active pursuits – think hikes to 1900s lighthouses and dive expeditions to old shipwrecks in the coral reefs.
Sanibel Island – something a little more tame
For families who're keen on dodging the crowds of revelers, Sanibel Island might just be perfect. This glimmering barrier isle that sits just off the south-west edge of the Sunshine State is encompassed by the J. N. Darling National Wildlife Refuge, which keeps its sands pristine and its waters uber-fresh. There are boardwalk trails and seashell scavenger hunts to keep the little ones busy, along with some luxurious vacation homes with views of the Gulf of Mexico.
Exotic escapes to the Florida Keys
Ah, the Florida Keys – never forget the lush palm groves, the cold coconut drinks, and the glimmering coral gardens of this paradise down south. It's so far south, in fact, that it's got the Southernmost Point in the United States, which you'll find poking just out of Key West. Talking of Key West, a mix of Carib-styled cottages and villas converge on sloshing rum bars there, with rambunctious Duval Street the place to head for a shindig.
Rollicking spring break beach towns and cities
Some of the very best beaches for spring break emerge from cities or towns. That lets them fuse palm-topped boulevards, boutique shopping quarters, sports grills, and mojito-touting bars with a location that's right by the waves. It's the sort of setting that makes some of Florida's resorts nothing short of legendary when March swings around…
Daytona Beach – the original Florida Spring break blowout
Daytona Beach is often credited with starting the Florida spring break craze. Back in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, this one's 23 miles of Atlantic coast went into high-octane overdrive, with parties that could rival even the adrenaline-pumping NASCAR showdowns that took place nearby. It's still a hub for open-air DJ dances and neon-painted raves come March, with 1000s seeking their condo right on the beachfront boulevard itself.
Miami – calling spring break A-listers
They don't call it the Magic City for nothing. As Miami spills into the Atlantic Ocean, it's ringed by a halo of islands that have long lengths of glinting white beaches and turquoise seas. That whole area, from South Beach to Surfside is a hubbub during the spring break period. You can come and live the high life on yacht charters, get a slick villa with you and your party pals, or choose somewhere on Ocean Drive to wake to visions of the glowing sands.
Panama City Beach, where it's all going down
The fun never stops in PCB – as this happening Gulf Coast escape is known to its loyal following of… well, 1000s of spring breakers. You should find it easy to grab a condo with a pool down along Front Beach Road, which runs east-west along a shoreline that's gilded with cotton-white sands. Activity wise, there's something for all ages, whether you're a family group wanting dolphin watching or a young'un pumped for rowdy pub crawls.
Fort Lauderdale for classic spring break fun
The numbers of spring breakers heading Fort Lauderdale way has significantly reduced since its partying heyday in the 80s, lending this tried-and-tested city on the Atlantic shore an air of refinement and style. You might want to focus your accommodation search on areas like Las Olas Blvd, where chic shopping outlets mingle with creative surf-turf grills. Or, of course, there's Central Beach, which has resorts with swim-up cocktail stations and infinity pools.