Does Spring Break Make PCB a Less Attractive Destination?

by July 10, 2009 • 37 comments

The answer to the title question is a categorical YES, demonstrated in almost “Duh!” fashion by a Y Partnership study. The study, presented at Tuesday’s TDC meeting by Y Partnership representative Peter Yesawich, showed that 3 times as many respondents, in a study that included 1,025 adults, believed Spring Break makes Panama City Beach a less attractive destination. While this conclusion, and other conclusions in the study, did not come as a surprise to me or those in the meeting attendance, what became apparent was that the debates were more than just Spring Break banter, but a commentary on Panama City Beach’s identity.

Dan Rowe during the meeting made a poignant statement, “We’re at a critical juncture approaching Spring Break 2010. Exactly 60 days from the opening of the new airport.” The question no doubt on everyone’s mind was how we present ourselves to this new markets. Do we condemn our relationship with College Spring Break and bid for a new clientele or do we hit the new markets hard with Spring Break advertising to maximize the season? Obviously, the question does not inspire a simple answer, but at the core of it we have to really ask ourselves who we are and what is the identity we are trying to assume? Are we the party town of old, are we Destin 2.0 or are we something different entirely?

In some way, and maybe I’m the only one, I’ve always likened Destin and Panama City Beach to siblings; Destin being the older, more civilized sister and Panama City Beach the crazy, fun-loving little brother. For years, this analogy fit quite well. But with recent developments Panama City Beach has changed; it grew up, as little brothers must eventually do, and is turning out to be quite a winner.

The reality is although Panama City Beach has indeed “grown up” enough to even make its older sister jealous, PCB differs from every other destination because at its heart it’s still the fun-loving life of the party. This is a sentiment even acknowledged by Andy Phillips, who said “We have a party reputation, folks, that’s just who we are. People come here because we are fun. They can come here and put lawn chairs in the back of Cadillac Escalades and cruise the strip.”

Any conversation about Spring Break, concurrently, is a conversation about Panama City Beach’s identity. To ask, “do we market to the College Students or the Family Spring Breakers during Spring Season” is merely the small scope of a much broader issue: who and what are we?

Take Orlando for example. They are an amusement destination and have completely embraced it: even guest service agents are trained to smile big, laugh and be able to tell you at least one Mickey Mouse story. Now, if Orlando suddenly wanted to become a stodgier business-traveler destination, they’d be in trouble. Which may be the very reason why destinations like Panama City Beach have such a hard time shaking the party-town stigma. Maybe, on some level, that’s just what they are.

All that being said, the solution to Panama City Beach’s Spring Break/Identity conundrum does not have an easy answer. Panama City Beach, frankly, is somewhere in between party and civility; like a frat boy, turned charming businessman. At some point a balance can be found and I believe Mr. Marty McDaniel, TDC chairman, hit on the key idea. “We are going to have to learn to evolve.”

Evolution is the key word. How do we evolve and what are we evolving into? The evolution of Panama City Beach may not yet be visible, but by defining and accepting our current identity, I think, we have the opportunity to gingerly guide it in the direction we want.

The truth is, after all the talk, what will probably happen is no more funds will be allocated to Spring Break and instead moved into beach conservation efforts and perhaps a little into Family Spring Break marketing. And, frankly, that’s where the money should go. We need to keep our best asset as clean as possible and Family Spring Break may be the next big thing. Spring Breakers of the college type will always come to Panama City Beach whether you market to them or not. You may hate them or love them, but at least at the moment, they seem to know us a little better than we know ourselves.

The mixture of Family and College Spring Break will work. I’ve seen it and you’ve seen it. Every year in February and early March there is a mixture of Spring Breakers and Snowbirds. The Snowbirds take just enough rooms to keep the beach from being overrun by students, which in turn lessens the amount of incidents and overall beach filth. Somehow, both groups are able to seamlessly coexist. The college breakers are at the  clubs with no worries, the Snowbirds are entertained by the crazy antics and perhaps even a little nostalgia and everyone’s happy; a little bit of responsibility and a little bit of fun. I suppose that is the inevitable destination of our evolution, question is how to get there unscathed.

On Aug. 19 the TDC will gather again to hold a community forum for PCB residents to express their opinion on the matter before any final decisions are made.

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1 Kirk Lancaster July 10, 2009 at 9:55 am

Cebo, the “frat boy” evolving into the “charming businessman” is a really good analogy. Charming businessmen still like to get away and act like frat boys from time to time, but they party with a little more maturity, responsibility and respect when they do so.

The survey was very good(I meant to ask Mr. Yesawich if he felt it was a large enough sample to really hang our hats on…). It did have some “obvious” results. But there were a couple critical surprises:

a) PCB is not the only destination regarded as “spring break”. Our drive markets (the only markets until a low-cost carrier actually lands in Bay County), have visited Destin for spring break almost as much as PCB (46% vs. 57%).

b) These people who have visited PCB and/or Destin for spring break favor Destin by a huge margin: 82% vs. 57%. That’s like a “B-” for Destin and an “F+” for PCB.

Therefore, Spring Break in and of itself does NOT affect the image of our beach; it’s the year-round quality of the environment and activities in PCB that creates our image (see focus group results).

What does affect our image is the trash on the beaches, the filthy blue trash cans, the dirty and littered beach entrances/boardwalks/pavilions, (see July 4 photos at It’s the hootin’ and hollerin’ all night and tossed cigarette butts on Front Beach Road. It’s the lack of local presence on the beach and streets to teach people our rules and enforce them. This place can still be a party without throwing all your trash in the sand.

In order to “learn to evolve” as Mr. McDaniel suggests, it’s a simple solution: “Learn to make people behave when they get here (enforce laws) and respect the other vacationers, locals and our environment.” Of course the locals have to abide by the same rules.

A few other bullets from this meeting:

– I do applaud the TDC for upping the effort on beach cleanliness. But it needs to be done right. Remember, as we add more cans, the cleaning contract includes keeping those cans and several feet of sand around each can clean. They are not doing that now.

– the locals and tourists who helped keep the beach clean over the holiday, as Mr. Rowe described, are to be commended. But I bet they weren’t so happy to do it. I am sure the word “idiots!” was being thrown around as often as bottle rocket sticks were being picked up.

– we heard of success of the summer ad campaign. We would love to see the details.

– for your “fly market” dreamers, here’s a biggie: Note that the survey shows our fly markets as having a lower favorable opinion of Destin than PCB. As Mr. Yesawich pointed out, the lower opinions from the fly market indicated that they just don’t know about us at all. SO, if Chicago doesn’t know Destin from PCB now, and we do get that miraculous tax-dollar purchased low-cost carrier flying in daily, then do you think their opinion of PCB is going to be more favorable than Destin? Of course not! Do you think they can get online and figure out the different existing opinions of Destin and PCB before they even book? Of course they can! And do you think they’ll be coming down 79 and taking a right or taking a left? Unless we clean up this place, and I mean clean it up, they’ll be taking a right!


2 Cebo Campbell July 10, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Thanks for the comment. I agree, I feel very strongly about the need to keep the beach clean. When the airport is completed, the competition between the two cities will be even more combative than it is now.

I believe it was Mr. Bishop who said, “we have to do a better job of cleaning, policing and meeting and greeting” before we can ever hope to maximize the opportunities the new airport presents.

At the core of all the talk is the need, if not the duty, to keep this beach and roads spotless. On some level, that means signage too. Can’t have a spotless roadside while all the signs say controversial things.


3 Kirk Lancaster July 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm

I totally agree with the need for major sign restrictions. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: what you do inside your business is your business, but what you put out in public view must be regulated by the government. It affects all the other properties around you and the image of our town.


4 Bill Harris July 11, 2009 at 8:31 am

Both Spring Break and the twice yealy motorcycle weekends are only of benefit to those who actually make money from them. To the rest of the community they are an annoyance.


5 Pam July 14, 2009 at 7:02 am

From a condo owner’s perspective, I would like to see Spring Break advertising done in the larger cities to families that want to vacation when the kids are out for Spring recess. (How about Indianapolis, St. Paul, Columbus, Dallas?) I have lost many family Spring Break Customers because the officials have let things get too WILD on Panama City Beach. Ft. Lauderdale and Daytona got out of the Spring Break college market. Now is the time for PC Beach to get out too, as we evolve with our new image. We can still be the party town, but the trash, craziness and the deaths we have every Spring Break needs to END now!


6 Bruce July 14, 2009 at 7:19 am


I am a family man, I have a wife and son that love coming down to PCB. I have been coming to PCB since I was a child, my parents had a beach house and we came down almost every weekend from Spring to Fall. My best memories were Mircle Strip Amusement Park and Petticoat Junction. Me and my family still come to PCB during the summer and we come down to the bike rallies. Yes, I ride and so does my wife. We spend money renting a place to stay, buying from the people that own businesses at PCB, we eat at the restaurants in PCB. This means that people that work for house cleaning companies have work, waitresses get paid, bartenders get paid, ice delivery companies make money and their delivery people get paid. Maintenance employees get paid to maintain the places that people stay at, motels are able to pay their employees, etc… The only ones that don’t make money are those that are retired.

I am not arguing that PCB should not change, but you should not say that the bikers only buy from the vendors that come in for the rallies. We (bikers) put money into the economy for PCB. We also buy groceries, we buy at Winn Dixie and Wal Mart which help pay saleries at those places as well.

Bikers cause very little damage, I will not say any damage, because there will always be some in any group that does not know how to behave and those should be dealt with severely to show that it will not be tolerated.

The residents of PCB should be able to get out and enjoy themselves like the rest of us that come down for these rallies that behave. They should not feel threatened and should be able to enjoy their community anytime of the year.

I don’t know just how bad Spring Break has become, when we came in the early 80’s, we cruised the Strip, and if we drank, we went back to where we were staying, but we never destroyed the place, because we were grateful to be able to get the opportunity to come down without our parents and had we got in trouble it would have been the end of our freedom to go down without mom and dad.

I have heard from residents and business owners of how much trouble and destruction that kids these day cause and for that I am sorry. My friends and I have talked in length about Spring Break since our children are getting to the age that they are going to want to come down for it. We decided that we as parents, will accompany our kids and supervise their actions. Please don’t get me wrong, our children are all upstanding and well manored raised from old school values, but peer pressure and trouble makers do make their way to PCB and the best way to prevent problems is to cut it off at the head.

My last paragraph is a question and if anyone knows I would appreciate hearing.

Like I said earlier in my writing that some of my best memories as a child growing up was coming down to PCB and spending the nights at the Amusement Parks. Sadly, the parks are no more. I told my son how much fun it was and he has asked if PCB would ever have amusement parks again. Does anyone in PCB know if there is anything in the works or discussions to bring any back?
PCB has plenty of things to do during the day, but not much in the evening but the bars/clubs. Remembering the old PCB (from the 70’s) can also help with the new. Bring back the amusement parks, include boardwalk style vendors/games, etc… bring back old school beach with 21st century vision.



7 Steve July 14, 2009 at 7:48 am

You only get one chance to make a 1st impression and here is what I see when I get to PCB:
1) stand still traffic from the bridge – “They aren’t prepared for this!”
2) Adult novelty shops – “Why would I bring my kids here?”
3) Out of business restaurants/bars – “Nothing can make it here”
4) Tattoo covered disrespectful partiers – “Never again will I come here”


8 Isaac Eiland-Hall July 14, 2009 at 8:10 am

“Both Spring Break and the twice yealy motorcycle weekends are only of benefit to those who actually make money from them. To the rest of the community they are an annoyance.”

Well… speaking as someone who sees no direct benefit from either, I disagree. There are two main ways that both of these groups, as well as anyone who vacations here, benefit us:

1. Taxes
2. Business

I’m not going to bother debating taxes… if someone doesn’t believe that’s a net benefit to us; well, I’m too lazy to get the facts together… 🙂

But an easier one to understand is the impact on our local economy, on several levels.

One level: Pier Park would not exist without tourists. Simple. There are so many great places we have that we wouldn’t have otherwise. Look at cities down the beach that aren’t destinations like we are — going eastward. They’re nice communities, but they don’t have the stuff we have.

Another level: In addition to the tourists, there’s the industry. More people working here means, again, more shops and stores.

Hey, I’m annoyed by the traffic and problems, too; I’m just saying that I disagree strongly with your premise. I think there’s a net benefit; and at the very least, there’s a lot of good to offset at least quite a bit of the bad. 🙂

We’ve got three things in Bay County: agriculture, military, and tourism. We need all three; but the benefits of having the latter make the quality of life so much better than it would otherwise be.


9 Bob Baker July 14, 2009 at 8:10 am

I came to PCB for spring break when I was in college. The 99 cent PBR six packs wre more than a decent meal and crushing the cans was a “big deal”. We had a thing called respect for others taught by our parents that is a relic of the past. PCB can not expect respect for the city unless we teach visitors to respect us!
PS: Isn’t there a law banning glass containers from the beach?


10 Jack Bishop July 14, 2009 at 8:29 am

Well said both of the above! Me agree with Kirk? Now the job is to make our resort more destination friendly. Better service, better enforcement, and better hospitality! GUEST RELATIONS SHOULD BE JOB #1!


11 Chuck Kramer July 14, 2009 at 8:51 am

>/< Attractive? My 2cns - Folks when vacationing generally seek out "FUN,ENTERTAINMENT,LIESURE" destinations! What NOW? we can't be FOR ALL? We have to be an "Exclusive" destination. Give Me a Break - Let's try an be a "FUN,ENTERTAINMENT,LIESURE" destination for KIDS,TEENS,COLLEGE,PROFESSIONAL,SNOOTY,UPPIES and SENIORS. So called Planners - GET OVER YOURSELVES!


12 Janis July 14, 2009 at 11:03 am

I am in agreeance with all of the above but you’ve overlooked what I felt (feel) was the worst blight we could have had last spring, the injury’s and the deaths.
It seemed like last year was the worst in a long time. Almost every time I turned on the televison there was a shooting, or a hit and run. Or a child dying or being hospitalized from alcohol poisoning. I think we have blinders on if we think that that sort of media attention doesn’t filter it’s way through the southeastern major markets.


13 Michael Wolfe July 14, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Kirk Lancaster’s post said almost everything. The only thing he didn’t mention is that as CEO of Oaseas Resorts
Mr. McDaniel’s business is concentrated on putting heads in beds. He cares little about who is placed in an owners unit or the thousands of dollars of damage done to units every year by Spring Breakers. He doesn’t care that Spring Breakers smear elevators buttons with feces nor does he care that vomit and urine odors fill the walkways, sidewalks and beach.

The best interpretation of what Mr. McDaniel is saying
is ” As long as I don’t have to clean up after them or pay to fix the damage done to condo units I like the status quo because my company makes money. Additionally instead of making Spring Breakers grow up and take
responsibility for they actions we’ve been successful in making condo complexes responsible for the trash they leave behind or be fined. For management companies like mine it’s a sweet deal all the way round. ”

Mr. McDaniel I don’t know where you got the idea that Snowbirds and Spring Breakers seamlessly coexist. The fact of the matter is that Spring Breakers stomp all over
Snowbirds. Come out of your office and talk to the them. Snowbirds takes responsibility for their actions and cause no problems Spring Breakers think Panama City Beach is their trash can. They have no respect for themselves, our beaches, the city, its residents or
other visitors.

Mr. McDaniel it’s time for you and the board to face the reality of Spring Break in Panama City Beach. It’s time to stop taking in what other cities in Florida have throw out. Allow Panama City Beach to grow up and take its place along side some of the nicest cities in Florida. Let it become known as a clean, safe and fun environment for family vacations

Strive to make the following comment from a family that stayed in my condo the exception instead of the norm.

” College kids (about 30 or so) from Auburn showed up in front of our beach chairs. They were loud, using profanity, participating in drinking games and they were talking about wild things they do with members of the opposite sex. This went on until we left. My husband refused to let the kids come to the beach that day and they stayed up at the pool. We just don’t condone that type of behavior and I was really shocked at what I was seeing. It’s sad almost. Just no respect for other folks – especially with really young kids. They took over several areas and the families would just end up moving their things or going back to their condo. Although your condo was beautiful it couldn’t off set my disappointed in Panama City Beach and disgust resulting from the actions of these College Student. I’ll be looking for another spot to vacation next year.”
Marilyn —-


14 Bill Harris July 14, 2009 at 4:43 pm

I read the last weeks worth of posts above and my comments that the only ones who are in favor of Spring Break and Biker Rallys remain unchanged.

I predate some on having visited during Spring Break, I was here on the beach in 1965. I enjoyed my long weekend then went back to Chipola. Perhaps we had manners in those days and did not raise Hell like today.

I lived in Ft Lauderdale 69-72 when Spring Break was a real real big deal there and A1A was bumper to bumper from Commercial on south. I was back living there again 94-99 after the locals had put their foot down on all the Spring Break nonsense and it was quite a lot better.

The majority of citizens in PCB are reaching the point when they are going to say “Enough is Enough – Go Away, we want or community back”. If you are NOT making $ from Spring Break and the Cycle Rallys then you are going to be against them. If you are making $ then you will be for them.

Clearly I am NOT in favor of either.


15 Janis July 14, 2009 at 5:06 pm

As the Broker for Oaseas Resorts I can tell you that Mr McDaniel only wants what’s best for Panama City Beach.
Trust me when I say he is on the ground talking to owners and renters alike.
If his owners are displeased he hears about it, and if they aren’t happy and are spending too much money to take care of problems caused by spring breakers then they come off the rental program and his company loses money and that makes the owners of Oaseas Resorts unhappy. (Who by the way are residents here) It can potentially cause job loss and in todays economy that doesn’t do anyone a bit of good.
He only makes money when the unit owners are happy and are making money. I believe thats what all resort and business owners are in this for. It’s called free enterprise and tourism is what helps drive our econmic engine. Sometghing we all need whether we want to admit it or not.
If there is a way for all to co-exist Mr McDaniel will try and find a way to make it long as he has support to do so.
That way everyone profits…everyone wins…we all keep our beachy way of life. Is it perfect…no but what is? I think each of us need to be at the next TDC meeting without an ego and in an adult manner try to help Mr. McDaniel and the board find and answer that is palatable for all concerned. I have expressed my concerns to him and I know he hears..


16 Isaac Eiland-Hall July 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm

“If you are NOT making $ from Spring Break and the Cycle Rallys then you are going to be against them. If you are making $ then you will be for them.”

Your statement is false. I’m a computer programmer, working for a federal agency based in Seattle, Washington. I make absolutely no money from anything local, and yet, I’m for them.

Perhaps even a *majority* might end up feeling the way you describe, but as written, it is simply incorrect.

Now, I’m done. You want a final word, go for it. I’ll let you have it and won’t reply.


17 Ron July 14, 2009 at 5:29 pm

PCB has fundamentally changed in the past 3 years. It is a wonderful destination for families with beautiful condos and a magnificent beach. PCB should get out of the College Spring break business. Its an appalling lawless several weeks of vomit and vandalism.


18 Pam July 14, 2009 at 8:56 pm

I am surprised at what folks are saying about the bike rally. Are you talking about Thunder Beach? I was there in May and stayed at Calypso (where we own) and I did not see these problems. When we were out in traffic, I saw a lot of courtesy from the bikers. A big percentage of those Harley owners are Professonals during the week. How did I miss the problems tht you folks are referring to?


19 Carolyn King July 15, 2009 at 9:06 am

It’s nice to remember the past but the past is gone.
What Panama City used to be like is gone and so are the
Spring Breakers of generations past.

The Spring Breakers coming to Panana City Beach now
have no respect for anything or anyone not even themselves.

They say they come here for fun. What’s fun about alcohol poisoning, fighting, trashing condo units, throwing furniture off balconies, peeing
on walkways, plugging sinks with vomit, defecating on the beach, and falling off balconies?

Just because this is someone’s definition of fun it doesn’t need to be accepted here.

Last year’s Spring Break was the worst ever. The
media never shows the kids in the ER put there by their own stupid actions, the trash left behind for others to clean up, the damage done to property, nor does it calculate the cost of repairs to condo owners. All the public gets to see are pictures of smiling faced kids on the beach.

If allowed to continue on the same course Spring Break
will continue on the path that has been established and accepted here. If we want to see change and at the very least respect for personal property and our beaches then it’s up to us to change the rules of their game.

Remember folks we are dealing with KIDS. If they don’t like the rule changes they are free to go elsewhere.


20 David July 15, 2009 at 10:31 am

I would like to clarfy something. I am a resident, biker and a Network Engineer. I wish people would stop confusing Spring Break with Bike Week and Thunder Beach. If you go around during Spring Break you see all of the problems we are trying to avoid and I believe most business owners would agree that the profit margin just doesn’t justifySpring Break. The Bike events however are a different story. The bikers bring alot of income to PCB and in general the largest problem is the noise. The bike events are only for a few weeks out of the year and the noise problem can be addressed by the Police Department.

In closing I agree that Spring Break does nothing constructive for the area and we do need to bring in more Family events like an Amusement park and other things to attract families who spend more money than damage caused. This includes bike events that generate a great deal of income to all of the businesses in our area which in turn decrease the taxes for the residents and allow the residents to access better governement resources and also increase our property values.

Lets not become another Destin lets become the main event for anyone coming to the area!!!



21 Bill Harris July 15, 2009 at 5:43 pm

Isaac Eiland-Hall said: “We’ve got three things in Bay County: agriculture, military, and tourism.”

I agree. However I do NOT consider Spring Break or Thunder Beach to be in any of these categories. They only generate revenue for the food/booze and lodging areas.

RE: Pier Park – Do these visitors buy things at the Pier Park stores that sell other items? Not likely many kids are buying microwaves and computers to take back to college and I doubt the bikers are loading up on shirts and pants to take home.

The sections of the economy that have benefit from either group is very limited. These folks are NOT tourists but they do scare away tourists with their bad behavior and loud activities.

We need tourists and the yearly influx of snow birds.


22 Jason Koertge July 16, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Spring Break and Thunder Beach is definitely tourism. If not considered tourism, then what would you call it?


23 Charles Mason July 16, 2009 at 12:52 am

Can one person here PROVE that family spring break exist!!? I openly invite Peter Yesawich and Y Partnership to respond… but I’m pretty sure they CAN’T! Here are the questions that NEED to be ANSWERED.

Show me media from other cities focusing on family “SPRING BREAK”:

Show me one city that “specializes” in family spring break:

Find 10,000, not 100,000, only 10,000 families that’s willing to stay in Panama City Beach during March that does have a history of 35-45 degree, cloudy, rainy weather:

Provide a list of elementary, middle, and high schools that spring break during march:

Show a survey of COLLEGE STUDENTS that travels with their family during Spring Break:

These are only the BASIC of questions that should be asked and have NOT been answered! Please anyone with FACTS and not opinion answer these… remember, as we mature and age, we change and think, “I was never like that!” but we were just as crazy in our own ways.

As for the “deaths” let me point out this FACT; More people DROWNED during SUMMER in the last two years then students died during spring break! So do we need life guard is a more important question then should we continue spring break, We Need Both! On that note, all we would be doing with spring breakers is sending them to Mexico, is that really any better? If you care about our “kids” then you would want them here versus Mexico!

As for the newly redesigned, we will support what we think is best for our clients… all of our clients!


24 Pam July 16, 2009 at 9:51 am

Mr. Mason – All due respect intended: Are you a board member, business owner, condo owner, etc.? This might help me understand the information in your comment.


25 Bill Harris July 16, 2009 at 5:27 pm

“Spring Break and Thunder Beach is definitely tourism. If not considered tourism, then what would you call it?”


I would call it a real good reason for actual ‘tourists’ or snowbirds, not to return to PCB. Drunken misbehaving kids on the beach and all the noise and traffic with 2 biker weekends. Actual tourists who are here during either of the above will probably not return and will absolutely tell their neighbors what they came across during their stay.

If you were here as an actual tourist not affiliated with either above mentioned group the chances are pretty good that you would be staying on the beach and I think you would pretty quickly decide that you would rather be somewhere else.

I don’t consider them tourists, I say they are a nusance and are disruptive to the normal inhabitants of Bay County and give the area a bad reputation generally for those people who do come here are tourists.

I am reasonably sure that if you brought your wife and children here and had either the ‘college kids’ or the ‘bikers’ staying in adjoining rooms that you would NOT be pleased and would probably leave early and avoid PCB on the next trip.


26 Charles Mason July 17, 2009 at 9:03 am

PAM: Mr. Mason – All due respect intended: Are you a board member, business owner, condo owner, etc.? This might help me understand the information in your comment.

No I am not a board member, they wouldn’t allow that, I not part of the Good’ol Boy Network. Even though I did ask to be invited to a couple of their meeting. Was trying to work with them, but most of them took no interest in hearing me out.

I am a business owner and operate, I do not own a condo here but have plenty of family and friends that do. Some own condos as a personal get-a-way and do not rent, while others own in hopes of making money on their investment. So I hear about both sides of the condo/spring break debate.

As for understanding the information in my comment, my owning a business or condo has ZERO bearing on it… the questions posted should be asked BEFORE action is taken! Any reasonable business person has to look at multiple angles of a question before making ANY decision. What we have here is Family A side versus Family B side… or good’ol Bay County Politics.

People say, replace college spring break with family spring break but can’t or are afraid of the truth to those questions. Why? Personal agendas and HOPES that the grass is greener on the other side or that be getting rid of college spring break we will become the next Destin. At the same time, I find funny is some of the business owners that have commented here, saying we need to improve service and get rid of spring break, yet the last time I was in some of these businesses, they employed mostly foreign workers that didn’t speak great english… talk about hypocrisy at it’s best!

So again, anyone please answer those questions that was posted.



27 Charles Mason July 17, 2009 at 9:05 am

As for Spring Break/Thunder Beach… Jason is 100% correct, these are tourist events just like Indian Summer Seafood Festival.


28 Gregg July 18, 2009 at 7:53 am

The fact is, Panama City Beach and a wild Spring Break seem to go hand in hand any time PCB is brought up in news articles, general or specific forums, and even just plain discussions by folks who live outside the area. By many people PCB and an out of control group of Spring Breakers go hand in hand. This association certainly is not positive.
Mr. Mason’s posts focus not on the original question “Does Spring Break Make PCB a Less Attractive Destination?” but that very probably replacing the spring break revenue would not be possible during that period of time that the Breakers are here. On a narrow basis I tend to agree with him but on the long term with PCB = wild Spring Break it hurts us overall if we are trying to become a family destination. It is sort of like some of our major corporations going after short term gains but sacrificing long term stability in the process. Like it or not, this is currently who we are.
Changing the perception will not be easy. No matter what some of rental folks will have the “head in the bed” mentality trying to generate revenue drawing the under the age of 25 crowd to our beaches.
In looking at other areas that have seemed to shed the image, Fort Lauderdale, Myrtle Beach, and Daytona Beach, it took the city to pass and ENFORCE ordinances that put a controling factor on those visitors that came in with no respect for the area. We lived just South of Myrtle Beach during the transformation. It hurt a few of the local businesses for a year or


29 Gregg July 18, 2009 at 8:00 am

Sorry my comment got posted before it was completed:
Overall there was a positive effect for the area, the news media concentrated their efforts on interviewing those that were effected by the enforcement of some of the new ordinances passed like no open container, how it effected tourism and the bottom line. The city did a good job not bucking under the pressure and the overall long term effect was positive.

Do our PCB leaders have the guts to step up to the plate? I doubt it and this “image discussion” will probably go on for several more years for finally everyone will have had enough.


30 Jeff Morton July 19, 2009 at 11:32 pm

My wife and I purchased a condominium unit at Emerald Beach Resort in March, 2009. In the course of making repairs and refurbishments and getting the unit onto the rental program, we stayed in the unit for one week during Spring Break season. Many Spring Break participants stayed at Emerald Beach. The college kids gave us the impression of being abusive to the rental property and common areas, as well as being noisy, drunk, and obnoxious.

Based on personal observations, we will pull our condominium unit off of the Emerald Beach rental program during Spring Break season. We want to avoid the accelerated wear and tear caused by college kids. This is the only way we can manage this risk.


31 Charles Mason July 20, 2009 at 1:19 am


Is Daytona better during March? Look at their tax revenue from when they were the spring break capital to today! They’ve increased their tax, yet make less money and total revenue is less then before. Do they wish they have that money back, yes. That’s not to say that many are glad spring break is gone.

Look, Panama City Beach for the past, about fifty years has catered to the blue collar workers. Do we RISK tomorrows guaranteed revenue on a hope and preyer on family spring break that NO ONE can prove exists? Remember, we aren’t just putting tax money on the line but about 20+ million dollars of revenue for everyone, not just a few hotels and condos. We are talking about bar/restaurant waiters, pier park workers/businesses, gas stations, etc, etc, etc.


32 Gregg July 20, 2009 at 9:54 am

Charles, personally I don’t think there is such a thing as “Family Spring Break” and I feel PCB would take a hit during the month of March without the Spring Breakers.
With that being said, I firmly believe that much could be done by the city to tone down the excesses that go on during this period. I am not that familiar with all the present ordnances that are in place but open containers, littering, property destruction, etc should be dealt with harshly (fines that tend to get peoples attention), not with one eye closed or just flat being on ignore. For example, the very idea of looking to the property owners for the control of litter is ridiculous.
I further think, in the long term, PCB would benefit if it could shed its image of the “Spring Break Capital”. When PCB is mentioned, Spring Break is automatically brought up and the image of out of control young people tends to shed an unfavorable light on our year around and I think we pay over the long haul.
In addition to Spring Break we have other obstacles too, power lines/poles all along the beach roads in various configurations, many not even straight, abandoned buildings in various stages of disrepair (we have one next to our condo where the roof has partially fallen in, the doors are wide open and trash everywhere. you can look in one of the doors and the ceilings have fallen in with mold everywhere. 1/2 block away there is an old motel with a chain link all around. The grass has not been cut in I don’t know how long and vines are growing up the side of the building. It looks like a long lost city in the middle of a jungle. This is just two examples next to us. I don’t think we have anything to worry about shedding our “shabby image”.


33 Charles Mason July 21, 2009 at 7:54 pm


I complete agree with you… spring break needs some controls. I also agree that over TIME spring break can be replaced BUT not a one year or even three plan, at least a seven/ten year plan to allow the area is further developed into a year round destination.

You also hit the needle on the head with the FACT that we (Panama City Beach AND Bay County) needs to seriously address Front Beach Road, open containers, littering, property destruction, greater number of trash containers, paved roads, etc. I laugh when I hear certain “officials” complain about spring break, yet their own property/business looks like Red Neck trailer trash heaven! While at the same time employing the cheapest foreigners to do American/Destin quality jobs!

Again, I invite ANY TDC officials, Peter, Y Partnership, and ANYONE else against spring break to answer my questions.

There IS a driving force behind this ANTI-spring break campaign that is money driven and it doesn’t want it true origins to be found!

Oh and please do visit Kirk Lancaster site that is all about IMPROVING Panama City Beach:



34 Gregg July 22, 2009 at 8:48 am

What can WE do Charles? We are not from PC but own property on the beach.


35 Bruce July 23, 2009 at 2:45 pm

Bill Harris

I agree. However I do NOT consider Spring Break or Thunder Beach to be in any of these categories. They only generate revenue for the food/booze and lodging areas.

RE: Pier Park – Do these visitors buy things at the Pier Park stores that sell other items? Not likely many kids are buying microwaves and computers to take back to college and I doubt the bikers are loading up on shirts and pants to take home.

The sections of the economy that have benefit from either group is very limited. These folks are NOT tourists but they do scare away tourists with their bad behavior and loud activities.

We need tourists and the yearly influx of snow birds.


You say that the bikers do not buy from the shops, etc… during the bike rally. I challenge you to ask the bikers do they buy food while there their, gas, etc… Again, they buy the same things that the tourist without bikes buy. Quite a few pull their bikes down so that they can buy from shops to bring things back. You say they don’t spend like other tourist. Bikers buy food, gas, buy from gift shops, rent rooms. The same things that the other tourist buy that don’t ride bikes.
The rally is posted and advertised and people know when the rally is, just like we know when Spring Break is. We wait for Spring Break to be over, then we come down so as not be offended by their actions. If adult should be able to search the net and find out what events are going on in PCB any time of the year. If they choose to come down during SB or the Bike Rally, then they already have a idea of what to expect.


36 Bill July 24, 2009 at 12:04 pm

Bruce you somewhat misquoted my post by saying: “You say that the bikers do not buy from the shops, etc…”

A more careful reading of that post would find: “They only generate revenue for the food/booze and lodging areas. . .The sections of the economy that have benefit from either group is very limited.”

Thanks for your reply but I see no reason to change any of the opinions in this or any of the other posts. In a few years I am sure the Bike Rally will have worn out its welcome and decamped and the Spring Break bunch will also be much reduced, just as SB ran its course in Daytona and Ft Lauderdale when their antics annoyed enough people that the PD cracked down and they went on to other cities.