When I found myself looking at spring break destinations, my roommate Janna looked at me and said, “Why don’t we all just go to Florida again?” Me, looking all puzzled at her, proceeded to say “I’ve never been to Florida.” That’s when I remembered her spring break trip from last year with our sorority sister. Rachel’s family is from Fort Lauderdale and her family graciously allowed her and Janna to stay at a relative’s place. A free place to stay and a new state I’ve never been to? My bag was already packed.

We chose to drive to almost the very end of the Sunshine State just because gas is cheaper than a flight (also Janna is afraid of heights). We left the first weekend of the break after I got out of work and then proceeded to drive 10.5 hours to get to our destination. Every three or four hours we rotated drivers until we parked our car in front of the house at 2:30 a.m. We then proceeded to fall asleep for almost 12 hours and decided that the first thing to do on the agenda was to head to the beach. Let me tell you, I haven’t ever been to the famous Clearwater Beach destinations (i.e. Bahamas, Punta Cana, etc.), but Fort Lauderdale Beach is probably one of the prettiest beaches I’ve ever seen. The water was much clearer than Dirty Myrtle’s and there are palm trees on the actual beach (like I said, I’ve never in my life seen that).

One of the things I recommend for Florida beaches if you’ve never been is that the Florida sun is a lot different that the rest of the country’s. If you wear the right type of sunscreen (anything over SPF 30 is a farce) and reapply every hour or two, you should be good to get that perfect crispy shade of brown we all love. However…being burnt in large areas is probably the worst sunburn I’ve ever had. It’s the kind of sunburn that is so ticklish/sensitive to the touch and nothing can make it feel better. And mine being right in my knee-pit (a.k.a. the back of the knee joint) just made my leg swollen and stiff, so WEAR SUNSCREEN.

We started our week with a few days of just hanging out at the beach until the spring breakers got there at noon. By then we went home, showered and relaxed.

On Tuesday, we decided to take a trip to Miami to explore since none of us had been. After the 45-minute drive and 20 minutes of traffic, we finally got to the city and planned our day out, beginning at a little seaside market. We pigged out on food and beverages from the Hard Rock Cafe and made new friends who also happened to be from North Carolina. For the rest of the day, we did a lot of driving/sightseeing, shopping and hunting for a good but cheap sushi restaurant. When we found one, we stuffed our faces with happy hour spicy tuna and crunchy monster rolls until we decided to make the trek back to the cheapest parking lot in all of downtown Miami.

Wednesday and Thursday included us tanning on the beach/back porch of the house, as well as food and libations. After meeting one of Rachel’s relatives for dinner on Thursday, we decided that the next and final full day would be spent letting our poor lobster skin breathe and explore more of downtown Fort Lauderdale. There we found the best sushi of the trip (that was the cheapest) and indulged on gelato until I couldn’t move from being so full.

Leaving Florida was hard; I wanted to stay for one more week to explore the state I had only spent a week in. The trip home was especially hard because of the cold and rainy weather in Charlotte. It’s true: the sunshine does make you feel a lot better, and I wouldn’t change my last spring break of college to have been anywhere else.

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Hailey Turpin is a Senior Communication Studies Major with a Public Relations Track and an English Minor. Hailey has worked for the paper for her entire secondary education career. She enjoys coffee, everything lifestyle related and sleeping. Hailey is also a member if Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity.

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