My Night of Spring Break

by March 8, 2009 • 18 comments

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As the first night of spring break for many has rolled in, many are here enjoying our beaches.  I would think it safe to say that most are here to remain completely inebriated for the duration of their stay, but I have to remember that they pump tons of money into our area.  But it doesn’t mean that I have to like how they do it.

The streets weren’t as packed as I had expected, but perhaps everyone was in the “club.”  There were a good number of kids walking up and down the “strip”, yelling cat-calls at the ladies and profanities at the guys.  I was flicked off at least twice in my travels down the main thoroughfares for doing nothing other than driving by – lovely representation for the college crowd.  It would seem that a few bad apples sure can leave a nasty and lasting taste.

The night scene isn’t really my thing.

Starting tomorrow, the beach will be alive and crawling with college-age kids doing anything from playing beach tennis to doing whatever they have going on down at The Boardwalk Beach Resort.  This week, there will be over 1.8 million kids out on spring break, making it the second largest spring break of the season.  Next week there will be over 2.1 million out on spring break.

I’ll be out from time to time next week capturing all the activity, look forward to the updates.

Courtesy of Tripsmarter.com, below is a list of schools out on spring break this week (be warned, it’s like a million rows long):

March 9-13, 2009 (Mon-Fri)

College / University

Enrollment

Alabama A&M University

6,047

Albion College

1,970

Albright College

1,650

Alcorn State University

3,668

American University

9,749

Appalachian State University

15,117

Arizona State University

64,394

Army, West Point

4,000

Aurora University

6,000

Austin Peay State University

9,192

Baldwin-Wallace College

4,260

Ball State University

20,113

Baylor University

13,886

Belmont University

4,765

Bentley College

5,557

Bowling Green State University

22,882

Brock University, Canada

12,889

Bryn Mawr College

1,799

Bucknell University

3,555

Butler University

8,367

Campbell University

10,471

Carroll College

3,292

Claflin University

1,800

College of Mount St. Joseph

2,300

College of William and Mary

7,709

College of Wooster

1,827

Colorado State University-Pueblo

3,951

Columbus State University

7,593

Concordia University, Saint Paul

2,069

Connecticut College

1,910

Covenant College

1,007

Creighton University

6,992

Dalton State College

4,532

Daytona Beach Community College

32,088

Duke University

12,991

East Carolina University

25,990

East Tennessee State University

13,389

Eastern Kentucky University

15,839

Emerson College

3,800

Emory & Henry College

981

Ferris State University

13,000

Florida Memorial University

1,867

Florida State University

41,575

George Mason University

30,332

Georgetown University

14,148

Gonzaga University

6,503

Hampton University

5,117

Hastings College of the Law

1,300

Hendrix College

1,095

IUPU, Fort Wayne

4,927

Illinois State University

20,757

Indiana State University

10,568

James Madison University

17,918

Kennesaw State University

20,603

Lamar State College

2,000

Lamar State College at Port Arthur

3,000

Lewis and Clark Community College

20,252

Liberty University

14,438

Longwood University

4,479

Loyola Marymount University

8,972

Macon State College

6,464

Malone College

2,385

Marquette University

11,548

Miami University (OH)

20,126

Michigan State University

46,045

Minnesota State University

13,841

Monmouth College

1,360

Morehouse College

2,933

Northeastern University

20,605

Northern Illinois University

25,313

Northern VA Community College

60,000

Notre Dame de Namur University

1,600

Occidental College

1,839

Old Dominion University

21,625

Pellissippi State Technical Community College

7,001

Penn State University

83,721

Purdue University North Central

3,724

Queens University

13,500

Quinnipiac University

7,400

Radford University

9,552

Saint John’s University

20,346

Saint Joseph’s University

7,542

Sam Houston State University

16,416

Simmons College

4,700

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

20,983

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

13,449

Southern Methodist University

10,901

St. Louis University

11,823

St. Mary’s College

1,871

Stephen F. Austin State University

10,822

Syracuse University

19,082

Temple University

34,218

Tennessee State University

8,748

Thomas More College

1,416

Texas State University

28,132

Université de Montréal

55,791

University Laval

28,902

University of Central Florida

48,497

University of Detroit Mercy

5,600

University of Florida

49,693

University of Georgia

33,831

University of Memphis

20,000

University of North Carolina

28,136

University of North Carolina at Wilmington

11,840

University of Notre Dame

11,603

University of Pittsburgh

27,020

University of South Carolina

27,390

University of South Dakota

11,582

University of Southern Indiana

10,040

University of Tampa

5,600

University of Tennessee at Martin

6,504

University of Toledo

19,706

University of West Florida

10,358

Utah State University

17,027

Valencia Community College

51,551

Virginia Tech

29,898

Weber State University

18,300

Western Kentucky University

19,215

Wilmington College

11,500

Yale University

11,398

Youngstown State University

11,803

TOTAL

1,834,258

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18 Comments

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1 jobeibi March 8, 2009 at 8:01 am

Tripsmarter forgot Troy University.

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2 Lori Duncan March 8, 2009 at 10:54 pm

Jason, you just reminded me of why we’re so glad we bought chose to buy property where we did! It’s funny. We were there last year, exactly 1 year ago today! And you’d never know it was spring break where our place is. Plus we strictly use Back Beach to get quickly from West to East. We use Front Beach Road only when the kids are “sleeping it off”! It’s all good. In fact, anytime in PCB is great! Love the photos, now I’m really homesick. Except for the drunks! 😉

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3 Bryan Durta March 9, 2009 at 12:08 am

Yes, we “have to remember that they pump tons of money into our area.” However, we also have to remember that the windfall profits from college spring break primarily go to very few businesses. Only a few of our accomodations can get away with ripping off the college students by charging them the highest rates of the year during this shoulder month.

Also, we have to remember that we need to make PCB a great place to live too. Will a potential resident overlook the type of behavior that Jason experienced OR will they just decide to live somewhere else where they don’t have to put up with this? I wonder how many people who moved to the beach based on the promised, but never delivered, “change” are looking to find a new hometown where they can feel more comfortable.

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4 mary March 10, 2009 at 6:37 am

Panama City Beach would do itself a big favor if they completely stopped marketing to the spring break “kids” and focused completely on marketing to the folks who enjoy the nice lifestyle and vacation year round. Reading about inebriated kids is not going to help us attract tourists and visitors to PCB.

That would be a big boost to the PCB economy

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5 Larry Couch March 10, 2009 at 11:43 am

Hey Lori, I live at the West End too. Do you know that there’s condo developments slated for “the quiet end of the beach” too? Even down here we have to witness the obligatory pile of beer cans and garbage left on the beach by spring breakers. Put some condos up, and it will get worse (besides the eyesore). The West Beaches Neighborhood Defense Fund needs all the help we can get.

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6 Cara March 10, 2009 at 1:44 pm

I too live in an area tucked away, near the navy base. I havent been here long enough to have learned to stay away from Wal Mart pretty much at all times, but have found that out, and will go to the one in Chipley if I must!

I agree with the post about changing to a more year-round type of atmosphere, more family friendly. I havent always been 40 years old, and can remember actually enjoying “cruising the strip” up in Ocean City, MD but the level of disrespect in young people today is astonishing. I can only keep my own kids far away from the beach for the next 5 weeks, at least they have the pool!

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7 Cheryl March 10, 2009 at 9:31 pm

We are Snow Birds at the west end of the beach and we usually dread Spring Break. This year is different. We have seen more respectful and polite Spring Breakers than we ever knew existed. We’ve encounted nice kids even at Wal-Mart. I think sometimes the kids get a bad rap because a few make it bad for the good kids. Remember folks…a couple of bad apples don’t spoil the whole bushel.

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8 Cara March 10, 2009 at 9:39 pm

Cheryl,

Its only the first week, give it time!

Nah, im kidding…im glad you have run into respectful kids, it is increasingly not the norm, not when the alcohol is flowing, typically later in the evening/night time.

Enjoy this gorgeous weather! We sure are!

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9 Lori Duncan March 10, 2009 at 9:51 pm

Where are the new condos supposed to go up? I hadn’t heard that. Goodness, with all the repos and foreclosures around one would think it’s a horrid time to build a new one. I know it won’t be right next to us because we have beach homes already right there, and nothing but state park on the other. Phew!

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10 Larry Couch March 11, 2009 at 7:40 am

Go to this link and it will list the condos that have been approved for development. http://westbeaches.com/resort_condos.htm
We challenged, and won, the development order for the Mayan in February of ’08. Quoting then Judge Hess, “Only in Wonderland could it be said that this development complies with even the nebulous wording of the Comprehensive Plan”. We are again having to defend that decision with an oral argument this month. It sounds like you are at Pinnacle Port. Yes? I worked there back in ’02. Even that place was in danger of having another condo built just to it’s north. Pinnacle Port sells it’s rentals partly by the virtue of having a lake view AND Gulf view along with it’s remoteness. That would all be lost with another condo in the vicinity. Even with the rapid slowing of the market, developers still have a lot riding on these speculated properties. You can count on the law getting bent into funny shapes to see their visions become reality.

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11 Debby March 12, 2009 at 3:04 pm

We are also snowbirds and spend alot of money in PCB. We come towards the end of December and stay only till the end of February. We were offered a good price on our condo to stay in March and would have except we remember last year how bad it got so we left in the middle of March. I know what I and alot of other people spend in the winter months when we are their. I can only see a few businesses making any revenue when the breakers are their. They pay for the condos and about 10-12 pile in and destroy them. They buy a little food and buy alot of alcohol and a few t-shirts. The authorities turn a blind eye towards the under aged kids walking around with an open drink. I know alot of these kids are still in high school and not of age to be drinking but lets think of the revenue it brings in. Alot of the snowbirds would stay in March and spend alot more money if they did not have to put up with the blatant disrespect and obnoxious behavior some of these kids show. It’s not all of the kids but the bad ones spoil it for the rest.

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12 Jellen March 13, 2009 at 10:21 pm

I would love to see a marketing campaign themed around the romantic pastel sunsets of PCB. Virginia isn’t the only place for lovers! It seems to me that adults without children would be the group with the highest disposable income. Why is the conversation usually spring break versus families? Why not grown ups on vacation? They come in all ages, not just Snowbirds, and they may or may not have children at home. Typically they do no damage and they spend a lot of money.

I see weddings on the beach at sunset all summer long. That obviously speaks to the romance people want. Where are pictures of those weddings in the marketing brochures?

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13 Bryan Durta March 14, 2009 at 12:27 am

Jellen,
Good point. I believe a lot of us speak about college students versus families because our destination’s infatuation with college spring break creates an atmosphere that is not appropriate for families. Even though adults do not need to be sheltered from inappropriate behavior, I believe that the excessive number of college students also leads to reduced number of other tourist groups such as couples and winter residents. Your comment is very pertinent when considering Destin and South Walton. They appear to do just fine in March without any major influx of college students. Even though most children are in school this March, there are many other tourist groups that are visiting our competitors. And there are plenty of families visiting our competitors on the weekends.

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14 Samantha March 20, 2009 at 6:53 pm

If u are easily offended and already think u know everything just skip this post.

I’m not out to offend anyone but these comments are so biased and one sided that I feel the need to put my 2 cents in.

I understand that the beach is beautiful and everyone wants to live in a fantasy style paradise but you should have known where u were moving and been comfortable with what PCB is. I get it, I promise I do. I am in the prime age group for spring breakers and I still hate how they come and take over our town and trash the place too, but u don’t move to Vegas and then expect them to close down all the casinos. Spring break feeds our economy and gets a lot of people like me through. When ur young and trying to get through college and don’t have a degree who hires u in town but restaurants and little shops that treat u like ur disposable anyway. Many of us get laid off in the off season and struggle till its spring break again. Some of u don’t get this because ur older and have actual careers and ur kids aren’t old enough for this to affect ur loved ones yet but this affects u too. Some people seem to think spring break only helps the cheap restaurants, liquor stores, t-shirt shops, etc, but u need to look at the bigger picture. The owners of such businesses make money off the spring breakers and then feed ur lively hood with it. They buy advertising, they pay accountants, they pay taxes, some of which are used to keep up roads and pump sand back on the beach so that u have a beach to go to. The money they spend pays local peoples salaries and they spend it which pays someone elses salary. Eventually this affects u no matter what u do.
I know some are saying well if we had year around family tourism it would be better. Great idea! Our town is obviously working on it. They knocked down tons of cheap hotels and filled the beach with condos so it cost more to come here. This was supposed to stop college kids and bring in families but all it really did was make it so we have less tourist because people can’t afford to come here. Y’all are mad about the condos anyway even though they are supposed to make it a nicer, more family oriented place like u want. They built pier park where they expect me to buy a sun dress for $100. I won’t pay that and most of u won’t either. Even if it all works out and u get the family environment ur looking for, what is supposed to feed our economy in the mean time?
I know ur saying “okay, the local economic perspective does make some kind of sense but I still don’t want my children exposed to this kind of behavior and environment”. I understand, but once again u chose to move here. Sorry. Plus if u raise ur kids right, even if they are exposed to all this it won’t ruin them. I was raised in PCB and I don’t flash for beads even though I was exposed to it. I don’t sleep around just because they spring breakers do it. I don’t flip off cars and shout obscenities at random strangers. Ur teaching ur kids to know better and they will turn out great even if ur drive down front beach with them in the car.
Also spring breakers don’t act like this cause they drink here. They drink at home too and don’t act like that because they live there and have some kind of respect for their town. Drinking doesn’t change who they are either, I hate to tell u. A man doesn’t get drunk, turn into a different person, and beat his wife. He has thought about it many times, his inhibitions are down, and thoughts finally turned into actions. Sorry, but its true. Alcohol is not the reason for their behavior.
I know u guys just want PCB to be a nice place but there are people who think YOU wrecked the place. I know people who have lived here for 20 or 40 years and talk about how much better it was when it was this little tiny beach town. Before back beach road was even there, before Walmart, before so many people lived here. They wish u weren’t here. Are they right? Heck no, I’m glad ur all here even if I disagree with ur thoughts on the place. But r y’all right to hate on all the spring breakers because some of them cause trouble? I personally don’t think so. Ur judging everyone who comes during spring break based on the worst spring breakers.

Whether u think I’m right or wrong, I hope ur not offended but more than that, I hope u think about what I’ve said and rethink ur comments.

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15 Christina Durta March 20, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Samantha,

Whether you are a minimum wage employee or someone who has invested millions of dollars in PCB, we all just want PCB to be the best place it can be to live and work. I really think many of us newcomers would prefer PCB if it was the way it was 50 years ago too. In a way, I think that’s what most people on this thread are trying to accomplish.

Not to be snide, but were there so many “tobacco” pipe and adult superstores lined along Front Beach back then? Were there advertisments for XXX movies spattered all over town? Were there clubs that had wet-T, foam, sweetest ass in the world, and S&M costume parties? Did they put provacative advertisments in prominent tourist areas? Did businesses regulary encourage overconsumption of alcohol?

Did any of this happen back in the good old days? Is it us new folks who are peddling the smut for personal profit? No. It’s the people who have been here forever. Maybe us newcomers would be better custodians of the town you all profess to love so much. Actions speak louder than words.

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16 Cara March 21, 2009 at 12:43 am

I dont know about any one else, but I am quite comfortable living here. I like being off the beaten path; the breakers really dont effect me/mine. Like I said, I have learned to just stay away from the beaches this time of year. The only thing that REALLY gets under my skin is, WHY do vacationers, breakers, snow birds, what have you, have to be out during the full’timers rush hour? lol, sleep in a little longer, keep the roads clear! I would be, if I didnt HAVE to be out that early! 😀 (said in good fun, i only get mildly aggravated)
Anyway, back to the spring breakers…im not sure im getting what you are saying, Samantha. Drinking most certainly DOES change a young persons behavior. And I guarantee you, they do NOT drink like that “at home”. As a parent of three age ranges, I know a bit about what I speak.
Anyway, you sound like you have a good head on your shoulders, good for you! You make valid points although I dont know if you are actually saying that I should allow my kids to be in the midst of it, even if i teach them different values. Not gonna happen. I will keep them far removed from it…no big deal. have a great weekend all!

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17 Jellen March 21, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Samatha,

I understand your point and, like you, I don’t feel I already know everything. Like me, I’m sure you will consider all points of view. Unlike you, I am older than the “prime age group for spring breakers” and, BTW, so are my kids now. But that should not discount my opinions. I knew PCB before the decision was made to begin marketing to college spring breakers — which happened because Ft. Lauderdale made a very public announcement to stop marketing to them due to the trashing of Ft. Lauderdale every spring break. It was a conscious decision on the part of PCB to become the spring break mecca. It worked very well (they began by paying for buses to pick up northern college kids on campus in order to get them familiar with PCB). The change also worked very well for Ft. Lauderdale — which still attracts tourist money. I’m saying that now is the time for PCB to take another cue from Ft. Lauderdale and get out of the trashy spring break business. Tourism will grow and not stop if we do that.

I’m tired of having to stay away from Front Beach Road and the beaches all apring due to people who think their personal time in the sun is more important than the joy other people lose. Inconsiderate behavior is not a good thing. Neither is illegal behavior or destructive behavior. You may not have seen the results of tourism other than a college spring break overkill, but it does exist and it does bring money to the areas where it is encouraged. That’s what I want to see here, for the benefit of all demographic groups and all special interest businesses (with the exception of a few night clubs which may have to book different events).

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18 Carly March 22, 2009 at 7:58 pm

Samantha,

For someone that sounds like they have a general idea of life, and the situations around you…. You don’t sound very smart when you say that alcohol doesn’t affect the way that people act. I am in PRIME spring break age, and I am also smart enough to know that alcohol DEFINATLY changes the way that you act. Alcohol puts people, especially in mass amounts like the college spring breakers take in, in compromising positions and makes them do things that otherwise they would not have done. I am not trying to be rude, but i think that was a pretty ignorant statement coming from what seems like a smart person.

Also i think college kids are old enough to act the way that they want to act, regardless of how they were brought up. Ever heard of the stereotypical “preachers daughter”. I know many people that were brought up very well by their parents and still choose to live the life that they want to live. College kids and spring breakers alike act pretty much like disrespectful drunk idiots.

Maybe people chose to move to PCB, maybe it brought them jobs or opportunities and i don’t think anywhere you live that you should have to be subject to fearing for peoples lives for 6 weeks out of the year. It is insane. Adults spend way more money than drunk college kids. So why wouldn’t anyone want to make the environment safer, not only for the residents of PCB, but for the tourists and visitors that spend their money. To have fun, and not die in the process.

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