For at least two thirds of the year, university students are devoted to virtue; however, there is one week where all inhibitions run amuck. Watching MTV and Girls Gone Wild proves that on Spring Break, many university students, slave
driven by their books and grades, flock southward in search of an escape from the tedious certainty of their existence.
One historically popular destination is Daytona Beach, Florida.
“Daytona Beach is cheap, has a number of clubs and activities and there’s the beach,” says Norman DeMelo of Breakaway Tours.
White powder stretches 23 miles along the Atlantic Coast,
accommodating nearly one hundred hotels catering specifically to students.
Travelers on a tight budget can enjoy the sun and sand, a range of aquatic sports, shopping and great parties.
Daytona Beach, located in central-east Florida between Orlando and Jacksonville, has a mild climate that boasts an average annual air temperature of 21 degrees Celsius. Its population is about 64,112 according to the Census Bureau but its vacationers, coming from
all over the world, reach the eight million mark.
Dating back to the late 1800s, many wealthy northern tycoons saw Daytona Beach as land favourable for investment. The Palmetto House was the first hotel to be built, in 1874, by Mathias Day. He was the founding father of what was then called Daytona and he led the following of other entrepreneurs reveling in their endeavors to construct a city.
At the turn of the twentieth Century, the pastime was car racing along the hard-packed beaches and by 1959, the Daytona International Speedway had opened and motor-sports were gaining new ground.
The Speedway now hosts annual events beginning with the Rolex 24
Hours at Daytona and followed by events leading up to the “Great American Race” – the prestigious Daytona 500 which showcases NASCAR’s most talented drivers.
There are unconventional ways to entertain oneself in this wonderful Floridian paradise. A-typical attractions such as Biketoberfest, drawing about 60,000 motorcycle enthusiasts globally, entertain tourists during the third weekend in October with numerous street festivals, events and concerts.
For some standard sightseeing, visit Adventure Landing Water Park and the newly developed Ocean Walk Village which offers vacationers some shade while they enjoy the 10-cinema complex with all-stadium seating
and the latest in digital sound and projection technology. Day trips are
also available to Orlando’s famous theme parks.
For those who can legally comply to the drinking age of 21, go see the numerous night venues like Razzle’s Nightclub, 600 North and Ocean Deck Beach Club. They offer wild beach parties, contests, big cash prizes, outdoor concerts featuring world renowned DJs and one of the largest pool decks in Daytona Beach. Late January through mid-April are busy months, and therefore the most expensive months, as loads of tourists flock to Daytona Beach for special events. Consequently, hotels can range from $70 to $200 US dollars per night in most areas.
According to www.lodging.com, public transportation is available,
but you’ll need a car. Vehicles can be driven on the beach and at other
marked locations during daylight hours. Uniglobe Voyage Lexus handles both McGill and Concordia University accounts and is well aware that students are on tight budgets.
“We really send few people to Daytona,” says vacation agent Dorothy Yellin. “The U.S. dollar is so high [so] unless you have four or five people in a hotel room, then you really have a good deal.” Yellin
mentions some disadvantages to vacationing in Daytona Beach and with that advises her clients to travel to Cuba or the Dominican Republic.
“You get guaranteed beautiful weather in the Caribbean for the same price minus the expensive fares,” she adds.
Whether one decides to brave the cold back home or head south of the border for spring break, what ultimately counts is using that week off as a break from a routine of academic servitude.
For more information about the Daytona
International Speedway visit www.daytonaintlspeedway.com.
For more information about Biketoberfest visit www.biketoberfest.org.