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Miami Beach is "breaking up with spring break." Here are the rules they're imposing and why.

Miami Beach enacting new spring break restrictions
Miami Beach enacting new restrictions to address spring break violence 01:45

Vacation hotspot Miami has "broken up" with spring break, imposing new rules for visitors in hopes of preventing chaos. Still, travelers across the U.S. are expected to come out in droves for the annual spring fling, with travel volume ahead of spring break up 6% compared to the same time period in 2023, according to the TSA. 

Here are Miami's new rules – and other travel tips for spring breakers.

Miami spring break commercial

While the South Florida hotspot is usually a mecca for spring breakers in mid-March, the city released a video breaking up with the annual event. The video pulls up old headlines about violence and arrests during past spring break weeks. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis stopped by Miami Beach this week with a message to visitors: "If you're coming here to enjoy Florida, and to have a good time, fine. If you're coming for these other reasons, if you're committing crime, causing havoc, you're going to pay the price."

He is also sending support to law enforcement agencies in places that attract spring breakers. 

Despite the changes and warnings, CBS Miami found people having a good time in the city. "It's vibrant, it's alive, it's so good," said Cassandra Ropert.

"The vibe has been amazing! I mean the people are friendly, the food is really good and obviously as you can see behind me, the party never stops," said Louis Waller.

"It actually has been kind of calm, cause I've been to Miami Beach during spring break and that was in college so I know what the crowds look like then," said Waller. 

Miami is imposing spring break rules for visitors — but some don't apply to residents

The city of Miami Beach is instating curfews and DUI checkpoints. The city is also closing parking lots and will be doing bag checks at beach entrances. And police will be making arrests for drug possession and violence. 

Each Thursday-Sunday in March, beach entrances will be limited to 5th, 10th and 12th Streets, which will close at 6 p.m. Items like coolers, inflatable devices, tents, tables and similar objects are not allowed and the entrances will include bag checks. Playing loud music without a permit will be restricted. Alcohol and cigarettes are always prohibited on Miami beaches, according to the city's website. 

Parking fees in busy garages and lots will be increased to a flat rate of $30 for visitors, except for March 7-10 and March 14-17, when they will be closed. For Miami residents, or employees and permit holders who need to park in these lots during busy spring break weekends, (March 21-24 and March 28-31) the flat fee does not apply. And some lots will only be open to local residents, according to the city's website.

Visitors will also face towing rates that are double the normal cost. They will pay $516 if their car is towed on South Beach and a $30 administrative fee.

The Miami Beach Police Department has also created a new traffic plan that will start at 6 p.m. each Thursday through Sunday in March. The restrictions mainly affect major roads, but local access to some city streets will be restricted to try and prevent traffic. 

People who are running illegal short-term rentals like Airbnbs and VBROs may be fined $1,000 to $5,000 a day, according to the city's website.

The street side cafes along Ocean Drive will also be shuttered during the second and third weekends of March, according to CBS Miami. 

Where else to travel 

Orlando is expected to be the top destination for spring break, according to AAA, which analyzed travel booking data. 

Miami and Fort Lauderdale are expected to be popular for people getting on cruises. Booking for cruises is up 28% in March and April 2024, compared to last year. Cruises departing from Florida increased 60% during this time. 

But Florida isn't the only hotspot. International flight bookings are up 20% and hotels are up 37% in March and April 2024 compared to last year, according to AAA. London, Paris, Rome, Dublin, and Amsterdam are the most popular destinations. 

Spring breaks usually kick off at the end of February and last into April. But another major event may be contributing to travel in April: The solar eclipse on April 8.

Expedia found that travel to Dallas is up 95% for eclipse viewing between April 1 to 8, which is historically a busy time for spring break travel. Travel to Austin is up 90% during this week. 

Most spring breakers are heading to traditional vacation spots. Travel to Orlando is up 60%, Punta Cana is up 60%, Mexico City is up 55% and Cancun is up 30%, according to Expedia. 

However, the U.S. is warning against traveling to Mexico during this time. "Crime, including violent crime, can occur anywhere in Mexico, including in popular tourist destinations," the U.S. Mission to Mexico said in a news release last week. 

The advisory warned travelers to leave potentially dangerous situations and be particularly careful in the downtown areas in locations like Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum. 

They said to be especially careful after dark and warned against using synthetic drugs, unregulated alcohol and counterfeit medication, which have been linked to the deaths of U.S. citizens in Mexico. 

Spring break travel tips

TSA Administrator David Pekoske said the agency is working to maintain its usual wait times of 30 minutes in standard lanes and 10 minutes or less in TSA precheck lanes. 

Tranportation Security Administration officials advised spring break travelers in a release to account for extra time in "traffic, parking, rental car returns, airline check-in, security screening and making any airport purchases before boarding a flight." 

TSA officials say to be patient – and those who are unruly at the airport or on their flight "may face substantial penalties and possible prosecution on criminal charges."

As always, they recommend travelers follow the rules when packing liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in carry-on luggage and remember to check alcohol and unloaded firearms. To get through checkpoints smoothly, officials recommend having your ID and boarding pass ready and to talk to a TSA officer if you don't want your photo taken by the facial recognition cameras used to detect fake IDs in 30 airports.

Other options to speed up your time with TSA: Passengers 18 or older can enroll in TSA precheck, which helps you skip long lines in the standard lanes. You can also call ahead for additional support like walking assistance and you can message TSA on social media if you have questions. 

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