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Spring Break on a Whim

By Samantha Minnehan

Every year getting people together for spring break can be a hassle. Despite the fact that spring break is normally in the middle of March, it sneaks up so quickly, and it can be stressful to plan a trip when you are just getting back into the rhythm of classes. It makes it even harder trying to coordinate with friends who have different budgets or transportation. We all just want to have a fun and relaxing spring break without breaking the bank and without outrageous transportation plans. Florida is already the go-to destination for college students in other states so, why go anywhere else? 

We’ve put together three great spring break spots within driving distance, with great beaches and can be easily put together at the last minute.

  1. Clearwater Beach

Snatch an AirBnb or just take a day trip. Being only 40 minutes away, this hot spot definitely wins the lowest commitment out of the three. It’s beautiful white sand beaches are just a quick drive away and there is plenty to do including a visit to the Clearwater Aquarium, home to the famous Winter the dolphin featured in the movie Dolphin Tale. You can also make a stop at the closest Ron Jon Surf Shop and stock up on bathing suits or souvenirs.

  1. Panama City Beach 

Less than six hours away Panama City Beach is a great destination for a long weekend. They’ve definitely earned their slogan, “The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches.” With most Airbnb’s running under $150 a night, this is a great place to head with a group of friends and can be easily driven with a personal vehicle or ZipCar. There is more than enough to do including nearby escape rooms, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium, and dolphin/fishing tours.

  1. Key West

The farthest of them all, Key West, is a six and a half-hour drive from Downtown Tampa, but is the ideal spot to spend all of spring break at. Key West has something for everyone. There are tons of shops and bars within walking distance and it’s open container law makes it a very popular destination for those 21 and older. The island has a rich history being home to the house of the famous author Ernest Hemmingway and holds the southernmost point of The United States only 90 miles from Cuba. Whether you enjoy watersports, history tours, shopping, bar hopping or beaches Key West has it all. 

Last-minute plans don’t have to be messy and they can even be the most fun. We are lucky enough to live in a state that has the biggest reputation for spring break destinations, we are only a drive away from some of the coolest spots to visit. Take advantage of this opportunity and explore what Florida has to offer. Stay safe and get out there. 

Samantha Minnehan can be reached at samantha.minnehan@spartans.ut.edu

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