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Why is Fort Lauderdale, Florida A Popular Spring Break Destination

All spring breakers listen up.

Spring Break Party

Across social media, college students and others have shared their experiences in Ft. Lauderdale Florida. Over the last couple decades this has been a top spring break vacation spot. Why is that?

An article published by Forbes referred to the city as the Venice of America, due to the canal system in the city. It is a major yachting area due to its multiple marine basins. However, its appeal to college students is still in question. Florida all year long is a popular destination due to its warm climate and beaches.

There has been expressed concern with the buzz that social media has created surrounding the city. In fact, quite a few arrests took place over the month of March, a majority of them being tourists or “Spring Breakers.” In an article from Florida Voice, a total of two spring breakers were arrested for disorderly conduct.

The huge influx of college students has made this area a party central. Supposedly the increase in visitors to Lauderdale was due to Miami’s increased safety precautions. Miami is another city in South Florida known for having quite a major party atmosphere. But this year they were not planning on maintaining that title.

A photo of Florida's nightlife in the city by the water
Credit: Unsplash/Jose Garcia

The nightlife in the city is always up and going, many of the resorts and hotels are pretty extravagant and catered to young people. There is an entire strip of bars and clubs right on the coastline. It makes a great place to enjoy the sunny days on the beaches during the day and then make a quick trek to the local bars.

However, with the amount of spring breakers on those beaches it isn’t too easy to enjoy oneself.

Bocean Resort in Fort Lauderdale states that the city has been a popular spot for the break since the 1950s, the article also claims a trip to Lauderdale is not complete without a visit to the iconic Elbo Room. The iconic beachfront bar has been around since 1938.

Ft Lauderdale Beach Vacation
Aerial view of East Fort Lauderdale Beach. Credit: Lance Asper

Spring Breakers Bad Behavior

Despite the consistent popularity of the city and the behavior of spring breakers, it has led to Florida having to crack down on restrictions. Miami Beach began a curfew ending at midnight in order to keep their streets safer. This restriction pushed people north to Lauderdale.

Beach goers in Miami are prohibited from smoking, drinking, playing loud music, putting up tents, and having large coolers on the beach. Miami beach has broken up with spring break, according to CBS news.

Fort Lauderdale mayor Dean Trantalis wasn’t worried at all. He believes the reason Lauderdale has become popular was simply because the crowd was seeking a different environment. Trantalis, enforces the no alcohol on the beach rule but encourages local bars to stay open as long as they are allowed to with the right liquor licenses. Due to Miami deciding to “break up” with spring break, Fort Lauderdale welcomes the college spring breakers to enjoy themselves. The crackdown in Miami has also affected local business due the early curfew of 12 a.m.

“Miami Beach has always been an exciting place for many people, but over the years it’s been a little too edgy for the Fort Lauderdale crowd.”

Mayor Dean Trantalis via Local10.com

Florida in its entirety has been popular with spring breakers and its overall vacation destination for decades. However, the presence of social media has allowed for more content sharing of the experience.

Safety issues

Some people have expressed the experience as being overwhelming, exhausting, as well as scary. The environment at the beaches and throughout the city is not for everyone. But this kind of environment still attracts college spring breakers every year.

Fort Lauderdale Beach

The beach itself is actually quite beautiful year round, palm trees and luxury resorts line the coast. Making it a popular place to live as well. Las Olas Boulevard is one of the major shopping destinations, it features dining and historic districts as well. With a population of 182k, 19.3% are persons over 65. On top of Florida being a party destination it is also a common place for retirement. The warm climate is attractive to those over 65. The population of ages 25-34 is also quite high as the beaches and nightlife are attractive to all ages.

TikTok creator @googletheworld shares an aerial view of how crowded the beach got throughout the day.

Lauderdale also has consistent annual events. Las Olas Art Festival, Fort Lauderdale A1A Marathon, Florida Renaissance Festival, and Family Fun Week. Due to the many canals and waterways they also have an annual boat show.

However, according to CrimeGrade.org the crime rate is pretty high in the more central areas. Further from the coast you can find lower percentages of overall crime. However, for years mayors of the city had been working to replace raucous spring break destinations with more resorts, according to South Florida Business & Wealth Mag. The goal is to reduce the crime rates in the city and welcome more tourism.

What to Explore

To get a full taste for the city it’s always good to explore everything it has to offer. Trill Mag writer Catherine Furby gives a travel guide on how to explore a city in a day. Getting engaged in local events is a great way to explore. Lauderdale offers a tour via the Water Taxi, a boat that goes throughout downtown on New River, and along the Intercoastal waterway. History of Fort Lauderdale also offers a guided walking tour through a replica of an 1899 schoolhouse. TripAdvisor gives a rundown of just everything you can do in the city.

In conclusion

The attractiveness of the city is ultimately the beautiful beaches and a vast selection of beach front bars. College students have visited the city for decades as their destination for their spring breaks. The entire month of March is a busy time for bartenders, lifeguards, police officers, and locals. However, the buzz surrounding the city in the last couple years has come from the pushback from Miami beach.

Florida as a whole is popular to visit but some cities are just not for college “spring breakers”. Fort Lauderdale also welcomes young people as it brings in a lot of business. The city has a lot of amenities for everyone as well. The warm weather and beaches are just something everyone can enjoy.

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