Siesta Key Beach getting popular with spring breakers

7:13 PM, Mar 3, 2014   |    comments
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Siesta Key Beach, Florida -- Siesta Key Beach, one of Dr. Beach's #1 beaches in the country, may be turning into a new hot spot for spring breakers.

"If you're looking for a place to chill out and relax, it's nice," says 21-year-old Jimmie Cotter of Michigan State University.

About a dozen Michigan State University students chose Siesta Key for their spring break. They say they still like to have fun, but sometimes find some resistance on the key.

"I feel we are more of a nuisance at times. We do feel some animosity towards us when we're here," says Cotter.

The students share the sand with retirees and families.

Angela Hill is a mom and worries about the spring break scene getting out of hand.

"When we have rowdy, young adults being inappropriate around children it chases families out."

Sarasota tourism officials say most students stay with family or off the key but their business stays on the key. Jennifer Willsey and Vivian Padilla, college students from Orlando, say they like the area so much, they extended their first weekend vacation to Siesta Key Beach.

"It's wonderful. The weather is perfect, it's close to home, the beach is perfect, and the people are nice -- it doesn't get much better."

"Daytona used to be the destination, but it's not that anymore because it blew up got out of control. Siesta Key has that calm atmosphere," says Vivian Padilla.

"They're from everywhere Michigan, Ohio, Iowa from everywhere," says Tim Wong, general manager for The Cottage, The Hub and The Beach Club a nightclub popular with college students.

"I think a lot of the usual spring break destinations have become so regulated, they're ready for them. Here college students feel they have more freedom," says Wong.

Even so, Wong says with more college students there is more security too on and off the beach. Restaurant staff monitor student alcohol consumption and there's extra staff on hand says Wong.

"The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office is in full force with mounted patrols ready for anything get a few incidents everyone comes out has fun," says Wong.

Spring breakers and families agree what attracts them to Siesta Key Beach is what both want to preserve.

"It's beautiful. It's a better beach than Daytona or Clearwater. I can sit in this all week it's awesome. The sand rocks, the place rocks, the scenery rocks," says Jimmie.

"You can find the parties, but it's also homey. It has that hometown feel," says Jennifer.

Angela says it's "one of the best beaches I've been to in my life."

The spring break crowd is expected to intensify between now and mid-April.

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