Florida is the destination for this year’s spring break

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While many families are staying home for this year’s spring break, others are venturing out to a common state that Michiganders tend to relish: Florida.

The trip is about a twenty-four-hour drive, depending on the starting distance, and about a two-hour flight from Grand Rapids. Florida is a well-known area, and going somewhere familiar while being safe in uncertain times can be comforting. 

Whether these students are visiting family and friends or simply taking a break from reality, Florida seems to have it all, and for sophomore Katya Berjawi, Florida is like a second home.

“My family and I usually go to Florida for spring break,” Katya said. “It’s warm and somewhat nearby, [but] we don’t have any family [there]. It has a lot to offer; [Florida] has a lot of beaches, and the weather is nice.”

Even though Florida’s climate is ideal, the weather it brings isn’t the only reason why Katya and her family choose to go there often.

“There [are] a lot of parks like Disney [World] and Universal,” Katya said. “I would recommend [going to the] beaches and amusement parks. I have been to Disney before, but my sister hasn’t; that’s the reason we’re going. It isn’t [a] traditional vacation because we like to switch [it] up, but we do try to go every few years.” 

While Katya is familiar with her surroundings in the sunshine state, she is filled with enjoyment every time she visits. She knows that this break may look different but still holds hope and excitement.  

“I’m excited to go this year,” Katya said. “We were supposed to go last year, but that got cancelled. It will be very different compared to other years because of COVID-19 precautions, but I’m still happy we have the opportunity to go.”

Even though there may be obstacles faced during vacations this year, with some restaurants not being open or places that are often visited being closed, these Florida spring-breakers continue to see the best in what is to come. Sophomore Ava Redmond is excited to take flight, even in the face of adversity. Although Ava may not visit Florida as often as Katya, she is still considered to be a frequent flyer to this state. 

When it comes to vacations for Ava, family time is the main focus, seeing as she has many relatives. Ava has been to Florida many times before and every time finds something new to explore but also likes to revisit places she would normally go to. 

“Most of the time, we go to Florida,” Ava said. “I have a pretty big extended family, [and we] usually will rent houses in the same neighborhood, and I can share [a] house with my cousins—it’s super fun. I don’t have family that lives there, but they come with us a lot. Usually, we stay anywhere from a week to nine days; it depends on how long spring break usually is.”

Ava cherishes every moment she gets to spend with her loved ones during break; she soaks in every minute of relaxation she is offered. Ava knows that Florida is a well-known area and is a popular vacation spot.

“Florida is a basic destination for spring break,” Ava said. “Depending on where you go, there [are] a lot of different activities you can do. Depending on where you’re at, there’s a lot of variety on what you can do.”

Even though Ava loves the amusement parks and always has a fun time riding the coasters, the beach and boutiques there are equally as enjoyable. 

Depending on where you go, there [are] a lot of different activities you can do. Depending on where you’re at, there’s a lot of variety on what you can do.”

— Ava Redmond

“One of my favorite [activities] we do when we go [to Florida] is Clearwater,” Ava said, “It’s the place where they filmed Dolphin Tale and Dolphin Tale 2, [so] it was cool for me to see. I love it there, and I think that was probably my favorite [activity] we’ve ever done in Florida.”

With Clearwater being one of Ava’s favorite places to visit every time, she loves that it has more than just the beach to give.

“My other favorite [activity] we’ve done [involves] Clearwater and everything that comes with it,” Ava said. “I love the beach shops, and I think it’s such a cool city, and I love walking around it.”

Even though Katya and Ava do not have any family members that live in Florida, junior Ryan Fitzgerald finds his spring break vacations taking place at his aunt and uncle’s house in Palm Island located on the west side of Florida. However, this year, his plans look different. 

“This year, I am going to my other side of the family’s place,” Ryan said. “We’re going on their boat for a few days. We go [to Florida] mostly because it’s warmer than here, and [there’s] nicer weather. We do get to see our family because some of our family has a place there.”

Ryan has many family members that live in Florida and enjoys the fun times that come with every visit. He likes the environment and peacefulness it has, making it a perfect area to spend time with family.  

“Palm Island is a small place where you can spend a lot of time with family,” Ryan said. “It’s a smaller community, and there’s not as much to do there, but it’s still just good to spend time with family and hangout. Miami is a bigger city, so it’s easier to go and do [more activities]. 

As it is made clear by these students, Florida is the best place to vacation if you want to stay in the country and be entertained. Aside from the destination, students take advantage of every minute they get to spend in the warm weather. Spring break helps many kids mentally recharge, and come back with a refreshed attitude. 

“I like the break I get from school,” Ryan said. “I don’t have to worry about doing any homework, and I can just get away from school and be in warmer weather. When it’s cold, many people are not as happy because they stay inside and when you’re in Florida you can be outside all day.”