FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Spring break is underway in South Florida, and officials across South Florida said they’re ready to handle the large crowds that are descending on popular destinations like South Beach and Fort Lauderdale Beach.

7News cameras captured revelers strolling down Ocean Drive on Friday night.

Mekia and Larry Hopkins came down from Indiana.

“I’m actually coming back, too, in about two weeks. I’m bringing my other two girls down,” said Mekia.

“It can get real rough and rowdy here, by all the clubs playing music, people playing big speakers walking past,” said Larry. “It’s a whole party in the street.”

A stepped-up police presence was also noticeable on the first official night of spring break 2023. Officers on bicycles, buggies and marked SUVs were seen patrolling the area.

“We’re probably going to have the most police we’ve ever had in spring break, this spring break,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. “We have a bigger police department than we did, we are borrowing police officers from other jurisdictions in the county.”

Hours earlier, cameras showed a large crowd taking in the sun, sand and waves on Fort Lauderdale Beach.

Local officials said contingency plans are already in place for Fort Lauderdale and Miami-Dade County.

Fort Lauderdale Police and Fire Rescue held a news conference Friday to discuss the influx of people.

“We’re very excited for the 2023 spring break season,” said Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Chief Stephen Gollan. “I’m looking forward to all of our visitors coming and enjoying our beautiful beaches and our magnificent downtown.”

Officials went over rules and regulations, and also shared safety tips for those planning to visit.

“We want you to be safe while you’re here,” said Gollan. “The goal is to return you back home the same way you came here.”

Locals can expect heavy traffic and multiple road closures as thousands make their way to the beach, clubs and bars.

Police will be beefing up patrols on Fort Lauderdale Beach and Miami Beach.

“We’re going to really let people know that if they’re coming here, we want them to behave,” said Gelber, “and we’re going to have police to make sure that everybody is safe, our residents and our visitors.”

Tents, loud music and alcohol are not allowed on the beaches, and police said they will be cracking down on fake IDs.

“The possessing or providing of alcohol to people 21 and under is obviously strictly prohibited. It will be enforced by uniform and undercover, FLPD officers as well as the state [Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco] agents,” said FLPD Maj. Bill Schultz. “Possessing any fraudulent ID or presenting it to an establishment, having open containers of alcohol anywhere outside of an establishment, is prohibited on Fort Lauderdale Beach, both on the sand and on the sidewalks.”

Fort Lauderdale officials also advise people to be aware of their surroundings and their beverages. Police are passing around cards that will determine if their drink has been tainted.

“We will distribute these drink koozies, but inside the koozie is a card that you can put down a drop or two of your drink on, and it will test your drink for anything that may be in there that should not be in there,” said Schultz. “We’ll be distributing those to the bars and to individuals throughout the week.”

City managers in multiple municipalities have said they are prepared to enforce a curfew if things get out of hand.

“We don’t want the unrest. We don’t want the disorder,” said Gelber. “If you’re coming here to act in a way that you wouldn’t act in your hometown, then just don’t come here.”

Revelers on Ocean Drive who spoke with 7News Friday night echoed the mayor’s sentiment.

“Keeping it down. Like, so long as there ain’t no chaos and you can enjoy yourself and make it back to the kids, that’s what it’s about,” said Keonte Araron, who is also visiting from Indiana.

Closing time in Miami-Dade is 5:00 a.m. despite a 2 a.m. last-call ordinance in the South of Fifth neighborhood that has passed.

Closing time in Fort Lauderdale is at 2:00 a.m.

Officials warned locals about pickpockets and asked people to be aware of their surroundings.

Spring break will run through early April and is expected to hit its speak during St. Patrick’s Day weekend in mid-March.

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