CLEARWATER, Fla. (FOX 13) - Over the next six weeks, expect Bay Area beaches, sidewalks, and hotels to be packed with spring break visitors.
"I'm on spring break right now back at University of Michigan, and my friend here lives in one of these condos. We just came down here for spring break," said Mohamad Naserdean, a University of Michigan student.
Tampa International Airport said it expects a record 3.6 million passengers to pass through, nearly a nine percent jump from this time last year. Many people are heading south to escape bad weather.
"It's not in the 80s here, but compared to Michigan, it's a lot better," said Naserdean. "It just snowed yesterday there, so it's about 20 degrees."
These women came here to dodge their own hometown’s spring break rush.
"I personally don't like large crowds, so that's why I'm here during the week first of all," said May Milton, a visitor from Houston. "And (a friend) mentioned that spring break was next week, so I was like great, we're going to miss that whole thing."
Local businesses are ready for the beaches to fill up quickly.
"We're seeing an influx of people. The hotels are filling up quicker, and they're staying maintained at 90 to 100 percent in the area," said Jeff Clay, the restaurant manager at CK's Eats and Drinks on Clearwater Beach. "You look at Christmas week, and there [were] over 150,000 people here. And we're anticipating that, plus more."
Clay said his restaurant is staffing up, expecting a busy kitchen.
"You gotta quadruple your staff kitchen-wise, server wise. Because you're going from offseason four or five servers to nine, 10 per shift," said Clay.
And they expect record-setting numbers.
"It becomes a really hopping atmosphere. The whole area does," said Clay.
As people visit the Bay Area over the next few weeks, some airlines like Southwest added flights to handle the crowds, planning 127 departures on Saturdays which is more than its usual 90 10 95 departures, an airport spokesperson said.
If you're heading to the airport during the spring break season, be ready to get there two hours early and make sure you check your carry-on luggage for any items that are not TSA-approved.