Seems such a natural combination: most school-age kids get a nice break in March or April, and Florida's beaches make lovely getaways from colder climes.
But of course, spring break at Florida beaches is notorious for wild partying by college spring-breakers.
What's a family to do? Is it possible to find beaches that aren't Party Central?
About's Guide for Florida Travel advises:
"The teen-scene is certainly a consideration during spring break any where you go. While many spring break destinations try to lessen the impact on their communities by offering specials to families (like Daytona's Family Beach Break), the bottom line is you very well may have to end up sharing the roadway, your hotel, the beach and restaurants with spring breakers no matter what beach you choose."
Fortunately, not all colleges have spring break during the same week; the "season" stretches from February to late April. This handy page of spring break dates lists for each week the volume of students, at different colleges and universities, who might potentially be heading for Florida's beach scene.
Keep in mind, though, that spring break isn't just for college kids; many local high school teens hit the beaches during their school breaks.
Bottom line seems to be that during spring break, in most Florida beach towns, families should be prepared to share the beach with teens (and we don't mean teens spending quality time with Mom and Dad.)
Still, there are a couple of strategies...
Pick a "Private" Beach
One possible tactic, for families determined to hit the beach in Florida during spring break, is to choose a more secluded "destination resort" for your getaway. A number of resorts have a private type of setting and/or are surrounded by large acreage.
- Sandestin Resort, in Northwest Florida, has 2400 acres, miles of beach
- Amelia Island Plantation, on Amelia Island, has 1350 acres
- not on the beach per se, but Club Med Sandpiper, on the St. Lucie River, does have a beach area, and best of all is a Caribbean-style all-inclusive, with outstanding kids programs, Baby Club Med, watersports, and a focus on golf. Two hours from Miami or Orlando airports.
- The Colony Beach & Tennis Resort is on Longboat Key just off the coast of Sarasota
- Cheeca Lodge & Spa is in the Florida Keys
Take the Sand-Pails to Orlando
Orlando has positioned itself as the "family spring break" destination, and guess what? You'll find a surprising number of sandy beaches in this town that's nowhere near any actual sea-shore.
- "Beach pools" are a trend: for example, at all the Universal Orlando resorts.
- at Disney World: the Caribbean Beach Resort has a large artificial beach area (no swimming, but boat rentals, and a little island); the luxury Beach Club Resort has a white-sand beach; and Typhoon Lagoon waterpark has beach-y areas too.
- Discovery Cove theme park is a giant replication of a Caribbean beach.
*photo of beach at Sandestin Resort, © Teresa Plowright