With February ending, it is just about time for Florida Spring Break. Between March and April, thousands of tourists flock to Florida for a fun-in-the-sun vacation. However, the many people that live here also want a getaway. With this in mind, I have created some Florida spring break ideas for locals in 2023.
This guide has six different ideas for an easy, Florida getaway that many Floridians may not have considered before. Whether you are a family or group of college students or anywhere in between, I think these Florida spring break ideas offer something fun for everyone. I have been to all of these areas and checked out both hidden gems and mainstream attractions to see for myself what makes each destination special. If you are looking for a unique experience, here are my recommendations for a Florida spring break in 2023.
For an East Coast Beach Spring Break: Jupiter
My favorite Florida spring break spot is Jupiter, Florida. I spent many spring breaks growing up visiting this town and always had a blast. One perk is that I have never had an issue finding parking at the beach or dealing with crowds during past spring breaks. There is an excellent selection of hotels and Airbnbs to choose from here too.
What really makes it ideal is how nearly everything is outdoors. You can enjoy a variety of dining, shopping, and activities in this beautiful weather. There are so many restaurants to choose from, including my favorite food hall, Grandview Public Market. Many are located in town centers that have attractions for all ages to enjoy.
This time of year is especially great for seeing a Spring Training game in West Palm or Jupiter, exploring the Jupiter Lighthouse, or taking a ferry to Peanut Island. No matter what you experience on a spring break in Jupiter, there is so much fun to be had going to the beach, on boats, scuba diving, shopping, golfing, and much more.
For a Florida Spring Break in Nature: Gainesville and Alachua
When I got offered a tiny home stay just outside of Gainesville last fall, I was a little skeptical of there being enough to do here. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find a fun downtown of vibrant restaurants and a variety of cool nature experiences that you can’t find anywhere else!
This is out of the box, but I think a Gainesville and Alachua trip is the best place to spend a Florida spring break this year. You can stay in a one-of-a-kind tiny house and be a short drive away from nature trails, breweries, and a couple of adorable downtowns.
Even better, if you want to go for a swim, many of the best Florida springs are nearby. If you don’t like the cold water, kayaking or paddleboarding through the springs makes for an enjoyable water activity as well. This is one way to experience the real Florida and also avoid the crowds at the beach.
For an Affordable Florida Spring Break: The Space Coast
Though many beach towns like Fort Lauderdale or Panama City are known as spring break destinations, I think Melbourne, Florida is one of the best places for a beach vacation. The Space Coast is more of a residential town than a tourist destination and because of this, the spring break surge is significantly less than in other areas. In addition, there are lots of outdoor things to do here and affordable stay options.
For an AirBnB, I always recommend Uncle Scotty’s properties. These are all located near the Eau Gallie Arts District and are a short drive from the beach. However, if you want to visit the Kennedy Space Center or vast open beaches at the Canaveral National Seashore, you can also find some AirBnB’s in Cocoa Beach or Titusville. Make sure to check out the nature trails near there, such as the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and the Viera Wetlands.
For hotels, my local favorite is the Hotel Melby, right in the heart of Downtown Melbourne. The beaches are just a quick drive over the causeway and then you can spend the evenings drinking and dining at favorites like Crush XI and Ember & Oak. Though I could spend a whole week just at the beach, there is so much to do here, including the Brevard Zoo, boat tours, and golf as well.
For a Gulf Coast Beach Spring Break: Dunedin
I love the Atlantic beaches for floating in the waves, but if you like calmer waters and a plethora of shells, the gulf coast may be for you. Though St. Pete and Sarasota are my favorite spots, they can be so crowded during spring break. Because of this, I think you are better off heading to Dunedin.
This coastal town has everything you need for a relaxing vacay. I recommend staying at The Fenway Hotel or an Airbnb in Downtown Dunedin. From here, you can walk or bike to tons of restaurants and cafes. It is also just a short drive away from the pristine Honeymoon Island State Park, where you can enjoy the beach and nature trails!
Staying in Dunedin puts you about fifteen minutes from Tampa, Tarpon Springs, and Clearwater if you want to check out aquariums, museums, and other tourist attractions. You can also see the Blue Jays Spring Training games right in town! Young and old will love this charming locale.
For a Florida Keys Spring Break: Key Biscayne
With Key West being a crazy party destination for spring break, most want to steer clear of that region during March. However, you can still experience the beauty of the Keys without driving all the way to the bottom of Florida. I recommend spending some time at Key Biscayne near Miami for a more low keys Keys break.
While there are not a ton of hotels on Key Biscayne, Coral Gables and Coconut Grove both have options that are a short drive away. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables and loved the luxurious pool area! From here, you can drive to the beach and enjoy swimming, paddling, snorkeling, and climbing up the lighthouse.
There are plenty of other spring break activities to enjoy here from visiting the Biscayne National Park to exploring the Vizcaya Gardens and Zoo Miami. All of these areas should be less crowded than Key West and South Beach, but still offer the opportunity to enjoy the turquoise blue waters of South Florida.
For a Camping Spring Break: The Everglades
Nature enthusiasts have plenty of camping options for a Florida spring break, but none as unique as the Everglades. It has one of the most diverse ecosystems in Florida and thousands of miles of it to explore.
One trip I have been wanting to take is to the Flamingo Campground at the southern tip of the Everglades. Here you can camp in a tent or reserve offer Eco-Tents with a bed and electricity. This way you still have lots of creature comforts and a place to escape the mosquitos but are still immersed in nature.
Once in the Everglades, you can enjoy paddling, biking, fishing, nature trails, and more. You especially want to look out for wildlife sightings, as there are over 15 different endangered species in the park, including crocodiles! The facilities have mixed reviews, which is why I wanted to experience it myself. However, if you want to camp in the Everglades, this is known to be the best option!
Know Before You Go: Florida Spring Break Ideas for 2023
Whether you are looking for a relaxing or exhilarating Florida spring break this year, I think these options can provide both. I have chosen these places as many locals have not experienced them for themselves and they are easy for avoiding out of state visitors. I think the above destinations make for fun and outdoor-focused Florida spring break destinations. Here are my tips to keep in mind for Spring Break 2023:
- Spring Break vacations vary by county here, but most schools have off for a week during the month of March.
- February through April is when most of the state is experiencing the best weather. Though the ocean may not be super warm for swimming yet, you do not have to worry about burning your feet on the sand or extreme thunderstorms.
- I recommend booking AirBnB’s as soon as possible as the good ones often fill up. For hotels, you can find last-minute deals if you are flexible through Hotels Tonight, but I prefer to book those early too.
- If you are looking to save money when booking your spring break, check out my tips for how we save for travel by earning credit card points.
Where is your favorite Florida spring break destination? If it didn’t make the list, let me know! For more tips for taking a Florida vacation, check out my Florida Packing Guide!
And if you are taking a family spring break to Florida, be sure to get my printable Florida activity kit to keep your kids entertained during your travels!