Daytona Beach sees ‘calm’ spring break as New Smyrna Beach deals with rowdy crowds

Volusia County beach patrol said busy season is just beginning

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Lifeguards in Volusia County have been busy with spring breakers. On Friday, the county’s Beach Safety patrol said they made 29 rescues and they’re gearing up for a busy weekend ahead.

Some families and students will just be starting their break on the beach while others are packing up to head home. Many visiting Daytona Beach said it wasn’t as crowded as it had been in years past.

“The restaurants have been kind of calm the beaches have been calm,” said Matthew, visiting from Tennessee.

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Residents in Daytona Beach said much of the same.

“I don’t think it’s been as crazy as normal,” said Theresa who lives beachside.

Volusia County Beach Safety said that’s been the case in Daytona Beach with much of the crowd made up of families or college students.

“New Smyrna has been a little bit busier than anticipated. We’ve had extra staffing sent down that way trying to address those larger than usual crowds,” Captain Laura Warner said.

Crowds at New Smyrna Beach (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

Warner said most of New Smyrna Beach’s spring breakers have been Central Florida high schoolers.

It was a big issue also for police this year who said most of the teens didn’t have adults with them and were causing trouble or destruction to Flagler Avenue businesses. City leaders ended up putting an 11 p.m. curfew in place for anyone under 18.

“I’m completely amazed that a parent would allow a 15-year-old or a 16-year-old to go away for a week,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said.

It’s a situation Chitwood is monitoring for the future. He said hotels, Airbnbs and law enforcement will need to crack down on the adults, too.

“Underage drinking — lock them up. You go into 7-11 as groupies and think it’s OK to steal the store blind — lock them up. That’s what it has to be,” he said. “We’ll tell you your kids been locked up. If you tell us you’re not coming to get your kid then we will get a warrant and charge you with endangering the welfare of a child.”

Though most Central Florida districts head back to school next week, beach patrol said their busy season is just getting started.

“We’re still anticipating large crowds going in probably the next few weeks,” Warner said. “We’ll still have the large college and university spring breaks coming up.”

About the Author:

Molly joined News 6 at the start of 2021, returning home to Central Florida.