sun staff writer
BRADENTON BEACH Fort Lauderdale was once
the hot spot for students on spring break from college,
and Daytona Beach, Panama City and Clearwater have
all had their turns. Now the cool place for warm
weather is South Beach, according to a group of
kids from the University of Georgia in Athens.
So what are they doing in Bradenton Beach?
"We wanted something low-key after mid-terms,"
says Alex Hendershot. "Some place to clear
Unlike breakers who throng to the shoulder-to-shoulder
crush of traditional spring break beach cities,
Hendershot and eight of his friends specifically
sought a spot without crowds and came up with Bradenton
The spring break bunch: Splitting a hotel room nine
ways makes it easy to afford the average $176-a-night
room rates on Anna Maria Island. These University
students enjoyed the laid-back pace of Bradenton
Beach last week before heading off to Savannah for
St. Patricks Day. From bottom to top are Nadia
Farra, Lauren Cochran, Kathleen Sheridan, Mary Lewis,
Mike French, Daniel Cammardella, Alex Hendershot,
Matt Schultz and
Nadia Farra went online and
found a two-bedroom condominium on the Island Vacation
"We didnt know how else to find it"
other than the Internet, Kathleen Sheridan says.
The Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau does
not advertise directly to college students, nor does
it track how many visit the beaches, CVB Marketing and
Public Relations Assistant Michelle Stewart said.
The students, who met in a dormitory and now live in
the same apartment complex in Athens, think the small
condo is "awesome," even though it means several
of them sleep on the floor.
Compared to dorm life, "This is luxury," Daniel
"As long as its on the beach, thats
what we wanted," Sheridan says. "And not more
than a 10-hour drive."
A photograph on the Internet of the blue water in front
of the condo is what convinced the group to snap it
The photograph, however, was taken before the now-rusted
beach renourishment pipe was installed last year.
"Its a good place to sit," shrugs Cammardella.
Seaweed in the water and a cool Gulf temperature are
likewise no obstacles to the group, most of whom are
from northern states.
Even the traffic jams dont get the students down.
Compared to Athens, near Atlanta, traffic here is nothing,
"It feels so good to go to a place over a bridge,"
he said. "You just drive over it and you feel better.
We got something we didnt expect."