College students pack Florida’s beaches and Fort Lauderdale expects ‘triple’ the amount of visitors since last year as thousands celebrate the first Spring Break free of COVID restrictions
Inhabitants of popular vacation spots, including Cancun, Miami, Pensacola, Fort Lauderdale and South Padre Island have to deal with observing never-ending crowds of college students having a good time, often blasting loud music and drinking alcohol from the first week of March until April.
Starting on Saturday and until March 20, many public school districts in Florida, including Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando, Manatee and Sarasota counties — as well as the University of Southern Florida and Tampa – will be on vacation.
That means that an estimated 570,00 students will be on holiday at the same time in the Sunshine State, not to mention all the teachers and staff who will also have the week off, according to Tampa Bay Times.
Last year’s spring break saw about 65,000 passengers fly into Tampa Bay International Airport per day during peak weeks. However, in 2020, the number of spring breakers was ‘dismally low’ in March and April, as there were as few 1,500 people flying in per day.
Haley Pfeilstucker, 21, poses as Brielle Beaudette, 21, takes her picture during Spring Break on Fort Lauderdale Beach, on Tuesday, March 8, 2022. Both are seniors at Michigan State University and will avoid the large crowds flying into town over the next month
A Fort Lauderdale Ocean Rescue lifeguard watches over beachgoers during Spring Break as many are expected to pack the city’s beach in the next few weeks
Beachgoers carry a cooler down Poinsettia Street during Spring Break on Fort Lauderdale Beach as they get ready to soak up the sun
Many popular springtime vacation spots are expecting at least double-to-triple amounts of spring breakers flying in this year between March and April, as resorts, nightclubs and other businesses are looking forward to recovering from time lost during the last two years due to the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured: A packed beach in Fort Lauderdale
Many attractive destinations, including Fort Lauderdale, are already seeing a high amount of visitors during the first week of March (pictured). Spring break usually peaks around the last two weeks of the month as most college students across the students will be on vacation
‘We absolutely expect at least double if not triple what we saw last year as far as attendance,’ Fort Lauderdale Police Maj. Bill Schultz said last week. Pictured: Beachgoers in sunny Fort Lauderdale during the first week of March
Three beachgoers playing volleyball on Fort Lauderdale Beach as they enjoy this year’s first week of Spring Break
Even though it’s only the first week of Spring Break, many high schools and college students across America are already packing the beaches as they are looking forward to recover lost time from the last two years due to COVID
Ohio University junior Dan Finizio, 21, of Trumbull, Connecticut, throws a football during Spring Break on a packed Fort Lauderdale Beach
This year, Fort Lauderdale officials are readying themselves by enforcing safety measures into place before the expected arrival of spring breakers from all across the country, starting this week-end.
Police and fire rescue officials in Fort Lauderdale, often dubbed as ‘Spring Break Central,’ told reporters at a news conference on Friday that they expect to reach unprecedented levels since the coronavirus pandemic.
‘We absolutely expect at least double if not triple what we saw last year as far as attendance,’ Fort Lauderdale Police Maj. Bill Schultz told NBC Miami .
Schultz added that the city is already welcoming a good amount of ‘early birds’ and that it is ready to anticipate the arrival of many more partygoers over the next few weeks, starting with this upcoming weekend’s surge.
Fort Lauderdale Police Department has announced that safety is its top priority this year as the area is expecting a large influx of spring breakers in the coming weeks
An increase in police patrolling around the city and its beaches (pictured) is expected so that the rules can be enforced.
Some new rules this year include: no tents, coolers, or any other folding furniture that can go into the sand. Live and amplified music is also not allowed while underage drinking, as well as public intoxication on the beach and sidewalks are prohibited
Many spring breakers will be receiving welcome letters from city officials and police upon checking in hotels in the area, reminding them the rules and regulations.
Some new rules this year include: no tents, coolers, or any other folding furniture that can go into the sand. Live and amplified music is also not allowed while underage drinking, as well as public intoxication on the beach and sidewalks will be prohibited.
Electric or motorized scooters will also be banned from being used until further notice.
‘That will be absolutely and strictly enforced,’ Schultz said, adding that there will be a noticeable increase in police patrolling around the city so that these rules can be enforced.
Fort Lauderdale also has its Bar Watch program in place to check on the safety of spring breakers. The program trains bartenders and other businesses in the area to be on alert for people in distress and to prevent sexual assault.
A new program will also allow volunteers to build up tents on beaches and in popular touristic areas, including downtown, to help heavily-intoxicated people, or adults in need of medical assistance. These volunteers will also be able to assist those who will have lost their friends, are not familiar with the area or no longer have any battery life on their cellphones.
A high amount of traffic congestion is also expected over the next few weeks, and Schultz is advising tourists to get around the area by booking water taxis and rideshares.
Rideshare pickup and drop-off areas will be made available on Cortez Street near the beach and the 200 block of Southwest 4th Avenue in downtown, the area where there is the most entertainment and nightlife.
This year, spring breakers will be receiving a letter from police and city officials welcoming them and reminding them of the rules and regulations on the beach and in highly-popular night-time venues
Beach goers enjoying the water in Fort Lauderdale before the first massive influx of college students arrive this weekend from all over the U.S.