We all know the most #basic—ahem, sorry, the most notorious college spring break trip destination: Florida. As a Florida resident and veteran Florida spring breaker (I wanted to spend a week eating for free at home, what can I say?), I’ve had enough experience to talk about the mythical Sunshine State.
10. True or False: Florida Consists of Tampa, Miami and Orlando
Geography 101: An entire state doesn’t just consist of three cities. These three are just the ones that stand out most, the Titans of Florida. Tampa is home to a sparkling bay, amazing sunsets and Busch Gardens. Miami is Tampa’s hot, fun sister who makes sure you don’t do anything she wouldn’t do. And Orlando—well Orlando has Disney and Harry Potter World. But there’s also Gainesville, home of UF, several solid college bars and the exotic Ginnie and Blue Spring. There’s also St. Petersburg, which is like Tampa but with bigger beaches and less tourists. And let’s not forget Palm Beach. It has “beach” in its name—need I say more? “My family and I love going to Vero Beach for vacations,” Amber Singh, George Washington University junior, said. “Nobody knows it exists and it’s such a beautiful beach.”
9. True or False: Everyone’s Kickin’ it 24/7
Okay, so maybe not true in the most literal sense because nobody can kick it 24/7. That’s just not how humans work, but there’s definitely a more laid-back vibe in Florida. Maybe it’s the flip-flops, the restaurants that let you eat dinner in your swimsuit or the constant sunshine that makes Seasonal Affective Disorder feel like a myth. No matter the reason, you’re bound to find more smiles and Southern hospitality than you’ve ever seen during your trip. You don’t have to hide the fact that you’re a tourist; honestly, you should probably tell people. They’ll give you maps, directions, restaurant recommendations and, what the hell, why not throw in a biscuit or two? You kids look hungry.
8. True or False: The Beaches Are Hype
GW senior Hannah Burt said that when she pictured Florida all she pictured was the beach. “Somewhere warm and sunny. That’s all I’d do if I went for spring break.” Sand between your toes, sun shining, water sparkling, drink in hand. Doesn’t that sound like the life? So why not go to the state where you can find a beach literally anywhere? Florida’s like the obnoxious car dealership commercial, but for beaches. There are party beaches, crowded beaches, empty beaches, beaches for swimming and beaches for fishing. When you go to Florida this spring break there’s a beach for you, guaranteed. You can go to Tampa or St. Pete and party it up by the Gulf, or head to Jacksonville and hunt for sharks’ teeth by the Atlantic. How metal does that sound?
7. True or False: The Parties Are also Hype
There’s a party for everyone. You can round up other spring breakers, dig a pit in the sand and throw in some driftwood for a beach bonfire on a breezy night. Or go on a bar crawl and taste some of the best damn margaritas you’ve ever had. Whether you dance all night at the clubs, jam out at outdoor concerts or even just spend all day lying in the sand and soaking up the sun, your only limit is your definition of an unforgettable party.
6. True or False: The Parties Are Everywhere
Florida is not actually a state full of party people. “When I went to Miami with friends, we definitely thought there’d be more spontaneous stuff going on and we could just show up and party, but there weren’t really any random parties or clubs. We still had a good time, but it took a lot longer finding our way around,” GW sophomore Alix Black confirmed. Bear in mind that Florida’s party scene is rivaled only by grandparents spending their retirement playing golf and hitting mailboxes with their cars. So be respectful if you’re in a residential area and don’t puke in any flowerbeds, okay? Those are Barbara’s geraniums and she worked really hard on them.
5. True or False: Alligator Attacks Are Real
I’d love to tell you that alligators are thrown into bloodlust at the smell of sunscreen and sight of muscle tanks, but sadly, I’m a professional. Gators, like any animal, won’t hurt you if you don’t hurt them. Also, gators live in freshwater, not the beach. What are you even doing near a gator? Go back to the beach dude, you’re drunk.
4. True or False: Florida’s Expensive
Your budget depends on where you go. Miami clubs’ cover charges and drinks add up. But like I said before, Miami isn’t the only city in Florida. Sleepy beach towns like Bradenton or Fernandina Beach, towns off the beaten path, are great places to avoid tourists and overpriced clubs. There are plenty of ways to save money and still party it up in FL: stay with a friend, hit up Air B&B and don’t forget that pregaming doesn’t only exist while you’re at college.
3. True or False: You’re Too Old for Disney World
You either have a friend who’s obsessed with all things Disney or you are that friend. Either way, Spring Break is a great time to make the trip. During the summer everything’s hot, kids are crying and you can’t help wondering, “Is this what it’s like to walk around the inside of melted ice cream?” GW junior Erika Feinman confessed, “When I went to Disney over the summer, it was so hot and I walked around so much that my feet were too swollen to fit in my shoes. I had to go barefoot to the airport.” During Spring Break, you’ll still get the crowds but you’ll experience Florida’s “winter” and meet more like-minded college students along the way.
2. True or False: Florida’s Gross
Well, come on, what were you expecting? Florida wouldn’t have its own Criminal Minds episode, a “Florida Man” Twitter account and the highest rate of lightning strikes per capita if it wasn’t at least a little bit gross. It’s a sweaty, smelly place to vacation, let alone live. “I always thought Florida was pretty gross, just in my imagination,” GW junior Shannon Turner said. “Yeah it was gross, but I still had an amazing time and I’d go back in a heartbeat.” The first thing that greeted me the moment I crossed the Daytona Beach city limits for spring break was a dude in American flag shorts getting handcuffed by an undercover cop dressed as a biker. Just think of it as part of Florida’s charm; every state is gross in one way or another. The difference is that all of Florida’s grossness is right out in the open.
1. True or False: You Never Know What to Expect in Florida
If you want a predictable vacation, go to Iowa. You can visit the world’s biggest fiberglass strawberry (which is an actual thing that no one asked for that exists in Iowa.) In need of some wild spring break stories? Head to Vegas. Sure, Florida is a spring break cliché at times, but clichés are popular because of their appeal. Florida will give you great parties, a million Instagram-able sunsets and a few surprises along the way. What more can a spring breaker ask for?