You Tell Us: Spring Break, To Be or Not To Be?

by April 5, 2012 • 60 comments

Let me preface this post by saying spring break isn’t just some event that can be shut off or closed down. It is a period of time in which students are on break from school, and they crave the leisure and activity of a tourist destination.  Regardless, college age kids on spring break will want to come to the beach.  We are a destination, and we’re attractive to those wanting to get away from their norm.

Now that I got that out of the way. . .

The activity on the beach the last few weeks has spurred a variety of appearances of our little beach town in national news outlets, all referencing spring break.  Local Mayoral candidates are using it to strengthen their position in the race, and locals all around seem to be furious about trashed beaches, too much traffic and a damaged perception of what they desire Panama City Beach to be.

Just two of the articles Panama City Beach has shown up on USA Today’s Travel section read, “Florida spring break mecca conflicted over its wild image“, and “The 10 trashiest spring break destinations“.  Of course, the later, when read, defines “trashiest” as a positive term, which for many, is equally as troubling.

Now, I’ve heard all the arguments from the businesses that seemingly do exceptionally well during this period, the businesses that heavily cater to this type of crowd.  And I’ve heard the arguments from others who claim Spring Break is 35% of the annual revenue here.  And while that may be the case for some, it’s certainly not the case for our rental properties.  If I did rent to the college kids (which I don’t, with the exception of a very few), it would still only account for about 1/6th of our total annual revenue and still wouldn’t be worth the headaches.

You’re the pundit – tell us your opinion on Spring Break

It seemed like a couple years ago we were trying to move away from the image we seem to be entrapped in again.

So I’d like to open this up to you.  You’ve been down here, you’ve read the articles, what do you think about the spring break activity we’ve had in Panama City Beach?

What do you think this activity will do to our image?

Do you think this will have a lasting impact on how our summer tourists look at our area?

Do you think we are making some summer tourist sacrifice to have a “good spring break?”

Bonus – Pictures from Spring Break Past
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1 David Van Trump April 5, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Let me start by saying that I own a home in PCB. My wife and I live there about 25% of the year. We do not rent our property, although we do allow members of our family to use the house. Over the last couple of years, including this year, we have been in PCB for the first couple of weeks of spring break.

First, the perception of the PCB in the area I live 75% of the time is that; “My kids go there on Spring Break, but I’d never go there on a real vacation, too trashy, too loud, too much of a party atmosphere, not very family orientated. I’d rather go to Destin, FWB, or Mexico beach.’ This is a paraphrasing the words of my co-workers and neighbors. In my opinion, this type of perception, costs the PCB revenue during the course of the eleven non-spring break months. It would seem good business sense to determine if the revenue generated by spring break, is off-set by the families that do not consider PCB when planning a vacation, thus lost revenue.

Second, it appears to me (thus my opinion), that only a few residents (and non residents) of PCB are making a profit off Spring Break, while the vast majority of residents would like to see Spring Break reigned-in or completely eliminated. (See Daytona Beach and Ft. Lauderdale.) If this is true, how is it, that the minority controls the majority on this issue? Politics = $$$$$?

I realize that Spring Break and alcohol go hand-in-hand. But the alcohol is the source of so many problems and always a few deaths. Isn’t there someway to restrict the sale and consumption alcohol? How about increasing the drinking age to 25 during Spring Break, or only selling to Florida (Bay County) residents at package stores, or no alcohol consumption in public (not including bars and restaurants)?

PCB does have the worlds’ most beautiful beaches and maybe has the best fishing in all of Florida, but in my opinion the reputation of PCB is tarnished and soiled by the Spring Break image. Daytona Beach and Ft. Lauderdale have reduced or eliminated Spring Break and they appear to be doing well. Destin and FWB have a reduced Spring Break and also appear to be doing very well. If the residents (I am not a resident) of PCB want the area to move it a different direction, why isn’t it happening?

Thanks
David

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2 Gregg April 6, 2012 at 9:10 am

David you can add Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach to the resort areas that cleaned up Spring Break and are the better for it. It was getting out of hand and the city passed and ENFORCED an open container law and the problems just disappeared and the “darlings” went elsewhere.

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3 Jamie Warren April 8, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Daytona beach is not doing well. Fort Lauderdale is but Lauderdale is awesome no matter what they do.

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4 Liane Matthews April 10, 2012 at 12:41 pm

I totally agree with David. I own a home In PCB and live there more than half the year. I love this area but feel like we need to follow in the same steps as Destin and Fort Walton. I myself went to Destin for over 20 years because of the reputation that PCB had and I didn’t want my children to be in that environment. When I finally listened to my friends and went to PCB for a visit, I fell in love with the area and the locals. We need to focus more on families coming to the area to visit and quit promoting PCB as the place for college students to go for Spring Break.

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5 Christine April 6, 2012 at 8:12 am

PCB needs to “TRASH” Spring Break.
Don’t need it, don’t want it.
Bring in more high class events such as the Seabreeze Jazz Fest

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6 Ron Crumpler April 6, 2012 at 8:28 am

I’ve watched the ebb and flow of this argument for the last 10 or so years and it really is about the economy. When ever things are going good, and the money’s flowing, and the tax base is up, and yearly rentals are up and well, you get the picture, then there’s the growing pressure to eliminate spring break. However when things get tight and cash flow is down, be it government or individual, then all seem to revert to spring break as the much needed cash cow. I don’t know if its good or bad and have no opinion one way or the other. I always limited my movements during the period, shopped early or late and stayed off Front Beach Road at the peak times and had very few problems. It is what it is.

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7 Gregg April 6, 2012 at 8:29 am

“It seemed like a couple years ago we were trying to move away from the image we seem to be entrapped in again.”
See my comments below about the TDC and its current leadership. Even a few years ago they were giving lip service to the movement.

“So I’d like to open this up to you. You’ve been down here, you’ve read the articles, what do you think about the spring break activity we’ve had in Panama City Beach?”
It’s a real issue! We are permanently damaging our reputation and I really don’t know if there is even a road back.

“What do you think this activity will do to our image?”
Our image is already shot by this Spring Break fiasco; it’s going to be a long road back if our “leaders” ever decide to clean it up.

“Do you think this will have a lasting impact on how our summer tourists look at our area?”
Yes I do the cream of the tourists already head to Destin, Gulf Shores, etc. Look at some of the message boards, PCB has a “just plain trashy” reputation.

Do you think we are making some summer tourist sacrifice to have a “good spring break?”
Yes no question. Because our rental rates are lower than say Destin, Gulf Shores because our destination is not viewed as desirable to many, it is these lower prices that keep us full in the peak weeks but effects the bottom line not only of the condo owners, motels, but the city/county who have to provide addition security and clean the mess up.

Now with that being said, we have zero income from Spring Break as we do not rent during that period because of the risk however being on the Board of our HOA I know 1st hand of the cost these 4 weeks gives (I should say take away) from our owners. We have to provide around the clock security, extra house keeping and in spite of this our facility experiences some damage from these clowns. The owners that are struggling to scrape together every buck they can end up costing themselves more in “fix up” costs than they gain.
When one looks at the guiding hand of the TDC, who do we see……….Well two restaurant owners that experience all the positives of Spring Break and do not have to deal with the negatives as trashed property. Jack Bishop recently wrote a letter to the editor claiming the whole Spring Break problem could be laid back to the 1% thugs that Spring Break draws not mommy and daddy’s darling little boys and girls. We have two management companies who have the only interest of putting a “head in a bed” and rent to anyone with a credit card. It’s not the thugs that kill our reputation (although they do not help it as seen in last years BK Brawler) but the college kids that trash our beaches, condos, show no respect for anything or anybody. As long as our leadership is in the hands of people currently on the TDC nothing will change.

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8 Concerned parent April 6, 2012 at 8:49 am

I love these ideas! I have written every public administrator I can find an address for and ask them to help change our perception. This is the first time, I’ve seen viable ideas that could help make a difference. As on owner on Vrbo, I respond to the kids and tell them, you don’t want to come to PCB during spring break. I let them know that they are too good for this trashy environment. The temptations and decisions made while in this lifestyle can haunt them for a lifetime. The “partying” is in other towns as well, but is considerably more difficult to stand against here in this town.

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9 Chris April 6, 2012 at 10:25 am

If PCB does not clean up on its image (i.e. the Black Eye Spring Breakers give it every year), it will forever lose out on an opportunity to cater to a group of people who have far more money than the College Spring Break crowd.. This group is the wave of Baby Boomers who are retired and approaching retirement. This group is available to travel to PCB any month they choose and the money they have at their disposal dwarfs what the Spring Break crowd has. The Mid-April – May and Mid-September – November months are the most beautiful months of the year in PCB. If PCB’s TDC and other groups who are responsible for marketing PCB would put more effort in marketing to this group, the Spring Break crowd would simply become a footnote in the history of PCB.

Until this group is in the cross hairs of the PBC marketing campaign, this debate will go on and on…

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10 Andrea April 10, 2012 at 7:42 am

Don’t get me wrong, I love my snow birds, but I get more income in 6 days of spring breakers than I do renting to a snow bird for 1 month. Beacsuse I don’t use a rental company and rent directly to the students, I have little to no damages during spring break. Back when I was with a rental company, it was a nightmare.

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11 Carolyn April 6, 2012 at 10:38 am

We own a second home in PCB and are considering selling because we cannot enjoy the area except for “off-season”. Not only do the spring breakers trash the beach and property, but it’s un-sightly to have half clothed, drunk and disorderly people all over the streets. Where the heck are the parents? Why are the rental companies encouraging this?

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12 Gregg April 6, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Carolyn it’s not really the rental companies, look to the owners where they are giving the direction on who to rent to (or maybe lack of direction), these owners if either individuals or banks are the ones pushing for ANY head in a bed. In addition blame some of the HOA’s of these complexes for not maintaining order, blame some of the restaurants and certainly the clubs for working to attract these types of clients, the TDC whose leadership directly benefits from these types, and finally our cities leaders that allow all this to go on

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13 shelley spencer April 6, 2012 at 12:49 pm

spring break comment – PCB will never achieve its full potential until the spring break era is over. I completely understand local businesses desire for short term income but the question they should be asking is ” whats my upside revenue if I were able to bring in more families/ a higher demo?

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14 Sharon Ernst April 6, 2012 at 2:10 pm

I am absolutely astounded every year during spring break at the capable way your small town handles the hoards of young adults that descend on your beaches. I know they are annoying, loud, and obnoxious to some residents,and I personally won’t rent to them either, but for the businesses who chose to rent to them, the bad ones seem to be more the exception than the rule, and those businesses know what they are setting themselves up for. They just need to continue to be diligent so as few young ones get hurt as possible. And how many of us savor those memories from our spring breaks in Panama City Beach when we were young?

I think spring breaks should continue, and with continued changes and modifications in local security, local businesses and your local residences it should continue to be a win win for everyone.

As far as the trash on the beaches….that really angers me. But I have to say I’ve seen many adults choose to leave their cigarette butts, beer bottles and soft drink cans behind when heading back from the beaches. You can’t blame all of that on spring breakers. People just don’t seem to get the fact that cigarette butts make the beautiful white beaches looks like ashtrays. Take a little bag with you the next time you visit the beach, and maybe together we can all pick up a little trash each day to help make a difference.

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15 John Harper April 6, 2012 at 7:52 pm

hey Sharon… thanks for idea… it never occured to me (I’m a little thick headed some times) to take a ziploc bag with me for my cigarette butts… I have always been careful to put them in my tacklebox when I go fishing on the beach though and throw them away when I get home. I just never thought of taking a bag with me for them…

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16 Deanie Johnsen April 6, 2012 at 3:01 pm

The kids I met were all nice and polite. I saw the picture of all the beer cans on the beach. There were a lot of kids there. Did they clean it up before they left or did they leave it like that? Knowing that will make a lot of difference in how I feel.

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17 Andrea April 10, 2012 at 7:46 am

I was there last week. The amount of trash left on the beach was amazing! PCB has trash cans every 20 feet, but that didn’t matter. I did notice most of the trash and stray flip flops, clothing etc…. tend to be located near the public beach access areas.

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18 carol and cliff April 6, 2012 at 3:42 pm

We are snowbirds ( Canadian) that have been coming to PCB for the last seven years. We love the beautiful beaches, the sunsets and surrounding area. My husband and I golf on a regular basis and cannot say enough about the great and affordable courses in the area. The locals are both friendly and helpful. We have become so disappointed in the condition of the beaches, roadways and constant honking of horns and blasting of music during springbreak that we are relooking another winter destination with regret. The number of under age kids that are so drunk that some cant even walk, the bottles, beer cans and garbage on the beaches and floating into the ocean is a disgrace. There doesnt seem to be much control over thses kids once they arrive. The roadways are littered, kids wandering all over the roads with little regard to traffic. Some of the condos have been totalled. Our units bathroom was flooded because some springbreaker turned on a tap and left it running two floors above us and three units in total were damaged. Screaming from the balconies and the list goes on. What would happen if there was no drinking allowed on the beaches, if bars stopped offering free beer for 3 hours at a time. It is so upsetting to see such a beautiful place turn into an eye sore.

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19 Cathy April 6, 2012 at 3:55 pm

I believe this same photo circulated several weeks ago…. it made me sick then & it makes me just as nauseous seeing it today. For many many years I & my family have been vacationing in PCB, as far back as when I was just a toddler. We have been to the beach in April, May, June, July, August, September and October…. you are showing me something I have never seen & it disgusts me! It looks like nothing but cheap beer & boxes to me. All of you know as well as I do the beach has trash cans but even these could not possible stop such massive littering as what we are seeing here. It would take several 30 yard dumpsters located 500 feet apart to handle this…. what an eyesore!
My questions are: Where are the local beach patrols? Why isn’t the litter law enforced? If the owners of these beautiful condos are renting to this crowd I don’t understand how the condos look as good as they do when I rent from them. You know I read lots of vacation condo information on VRBO and all of them say they will not rent to younger people during Spring Break….if they are not, then who is? If the owners are looking at anything like what we are seeing in this small photo it should make them change the way they do business & to whom they rent too. All for the love of money!
It also saddens me….. it shows me what the majority of our youth are being raised like (insensitive slobs) with no morals at all. Someone asked where their parents are? Well, most likely they are home drinking or haven’t the slightest idea how their sons or daughters are really acting like or doing on their Spring Break.
I say bring in lots more law enforcement and pour it too them! If dear old Father & Mother can afford to send their teens to PCB to trash it let them pay out their kisters to clean it up after they leave! 🙂
Panama City Beach Florida is a beautiful place to me… it is not by any way trashy, loud or “party” oriented, it is a great place for family’s. If you look hard enough at any beach around the country you will find teens, drinking & trash……what you need to do is “Get A Hold” of what may indeed lead to a bad situation if not changed soon.
Get more patrol, walking the beach & issue steep tickets….. make them do service & pick up trash.. it can be done & should be!
Thank you,
Cathy/Tennessee

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20 Gregg April 6, 2012 at 5:15 pm

“My questions are: Where are the local beach patrols? Why isn’t the litter law enforced?”
Good question Cathy, maybe the local powers don’t want to upset the “little darlings” and the TDC?

“You know I read lots of vacation condo information on VRBO and all of them say they will not rent to younger people during Spring Break….if they are not, then who is?”
I can give you a list of management companies that are as well as several complexes, especially in Party Central that will rent to anyone that has a credit card. Just because it is listed on VRBO does not mean that the owner is renting it, probably a good 30%-40% are management company listings.

“If the owners are looking at anything like what we are seeing in this small photo it should make them change the way they do business & to whom they rent too. All for the love of money!”
Believe it or not some owners have never actually seen the condo they own, more owners than not might visit once a year, they turn it over to a management company and forget it. Some owners of complexes are the banks, they will rent to anyone just to get a head in a bed and turn some cash.

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21 Cathy April 8, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Gregg, I realize there are some management companys that really do not give a tinkers damn who they rent from, they are just collecting money & keeping the beds full. (name of the game) But, I “read” and I deal personally with owners of nicer condos. We all know or should know (You get what you pay for) and while there are good & bad younger people who will totally tear up beautiful condos there are just as many that will act respectible and do no harm. It is amazing what tales one hears not only about younger crowds tearing up places but, tales of older people doing the same. It’s like this, we work hard and want to enjoy a wonderful vacation, we want to stay in a “nice” condo… we do not want it beat to pieces when we arrive….. we want the floors clean, beds clean and furniture not broken, we want tv’s working, internet & fully stocked kitchens……. it’s what I expect for my money. Like I said, I’ve never been down during Spring Break & I never intend to be. I will keep renting from owners I can speak too that will give me thte assurance of a wonderful vacation. 🙂

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22 Andrea April 10, 2012 at 7:57 am

I get a lot of calls from kids that have no idea who they rented from or where they check in. Because I have the domain name to the condo we own a unit in, it isn’t unusual for kids googling to find my home phone number. MASSES of kids coming down this year renting thru Hotels.com and Bookit.com had no clue that where they were staying wasn’t a hotel where they could just wonder up to the front desk. It’s not just the rental agencies these days but another layer has been added. The rental agencies use the above mentioned booking companies. I always take time to explain to all the lost kids that they shouldn’t take out their anger on the condo unit they end up in. It is the rental company that mislead them, not the owner of the condo unit. Believe me, it isn’t the condo owner that’s making the money. It’s the rental company. I even had, on more than one occasion, an employee of Expedia call me to ask about check in procedures! They (Expedia)don’t even know who they are booking thru!

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23 Ahmed January 13, 2014 at 12:24 am

hey ppl i got 80 in pcb in kcet should i leave the hope of gnttieg seat in any medical college ??i even hav got an application for BSc. remaining is i hav to pay the fees anyone here plz guide me..

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24 John Harper April 6, 2012 at 7:09 pm

OK… I hate to dispute anyone but I believe you did a very similar story last year with another “inflamatory” picture on that story too. Let me say what I mean by the inflammatory picture here before anyone get’s their underware in a wad. I have lived in PCB for about 5 years now and my parents have lived here far longer. We all know what spring break brings. Traffic, Kids out to blow off some steam, and a general ruckus. OK… I personnally have no problem with it. Last year, the story went along with what a major issue cleaning the trash up from the beach and had a picture similar to the one at the top of this article. I was on the beach the day the picture was supposedly took last year. I walked several hundred yards up and down it that day. I saw very little trash. I’m not saying there wasn’t any but I am saying there was a lot less than some people are screaming about or a lot less than some inflammatory picture of a single spot shows. I have seen a family group get up and leave the beach leaving a crap load of trash their kids threw about. There was just as much trash from that family as a group of average spring break students of the same number. Not saying that is the norm… just telling you folks what I have witnessed over the years.

Now that we have all that out of the way, let’s look at something else. let’s look at exactly what I believe is the root of PCB’s problem with Spring Break.

A few years ago, PCB actually tried to chase the Spring Breakers out. They tried to turn PCB in to a “Good little vacation spot”. How nice and quiet for everyone. I went from seeing Walmart Packed with lines at least 8 deep at their checkout counters with every register open to Walmart having two checkout counters open and a line one person deep in each in the middle of Spring Break. That is not an exageration… I actually witnessed this with my daughters a couple of years ago. That’s when the screaming began from the business owners… OMG ! ! ! my profits are down… OMG ! ! ! where is everyone… OMG ! ! ! why isn’t anyone coming down to PCB ? ? ? (Before anyone says it … this was before the oil spill !)

I hate to tell ya’ll all this… You cannot have it both ways… Either you want the business and you pay for a few extra police and clean up services to patrol during that time of the year… Or you watch PCB waste away with very little money coming in. In today’s economy… I know which one I would choose.

Comparing us to other Floridian Vacation spots or other state’s vacation spots just does not fly with me. Believe it or not, many of those spots are still having issues with spring breakers and they will continue to far in to the future. You can paint a leopard green but it still aint no frog. The Beach is the Beach and College Students are going to head there when they have a break in the spring right after their exams or such. As to half naked kids running around… I really have to seriously Laugh at that one… I mean no offense but have you seen some of the adults on the beach… I think they hit mid-life crisis with some of the stuff they’re wearing… Grandma in a Two Piece???? or Grandpa in a Speedo???? There is not enough clorox…

John Harper
Deployed in support of our troops

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25 John Harper April 6, 2012 at 7:31 pm

The actual previous article I mentioned was published in 2009 (not last year) and titled Breakers get Drunk, Trash Our Beaches. I don’t know which “5 mile section” Mr. Phillips was on that Tuesday taking the photos but I tried to respond to the article back then but had technical issues. I did not see hardly any trash on the stretch of beach that I was on.

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26 Cathy April 8, 2012 at 10:31 pm

John, I had to laugh at your comment about Grandma in a two-piece or Grandpa in a Speedo…….. I am here to tell you I have seen both on the beach, and it isn’t a pretty sight either! You know the young ones are going to wear as less as possible but, I am totally sick of seeing older mid-life crisis people dressing like fools just because of being on vacation. Vacation should not mean one has lost their minds! I’m also tired of seeing older people with large hinkies on their necks or HUGE boob jobs trying to make themselves look young! I believe in keeping ones self attractive but give me a break…….. you cannot change your age so these half naked older people need to look in the mirror before going out on the beach.

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27 Christy April 7, 2012 at 7:54 am

My fiance’s parents have been coming to PCB every year, without fail for 38 years. My fiance’ has came with his parents since he was newborn for 29 years. I have joined them for 5 years with the exception that me and my fiance’ come by ourselves without the parents 2 to 3 times per year. The reason for me stating those facts is that it shows that we will continue to come to PCB and always will no matter how tarnised PCB’s name is because of spring breakers. We are faithful to PCB, nonetheless.

Now, with all that said; we will NEVER come to PCB during spring break because we do not want to be amongst the young crowds with their obnoxiousness and drunkness. Not all of the spring breakers share the same attitude but, I have heard too many horror stories and have seen pictures of the destruction these spring breakers do.

I mean, look what they do to the beaches. It’s disgusting and absoultely disrespectful to the animals and sealife that depend on us, the human race, to keep their atmosphere and living areas clean. God forbid (and sadly I’m sure this has happen) an animal dies because of the trash left behind from these reckless kids. And it seems nothing is done about it. So sad and so disappointing.

The money that flows into PCB during spring break is great but, is it really worth PCB’s very name? I think not but, I believe the residents of PCB and PC opinons reign more so then mine as I do not live in PCB. I know one day I will call PCB home but, until that happens, I remain a valued, faithful tourist.

I’m telling you, that trashed beach photo really angers me and, I think the photo speaks for itself. Those beautiful birds that live on the beach has to look down and see that mess. The residents have to look at the mess and God only knows what they’re thinking.

I don’t have to deal with spring breakers but the ones who do like residents, snowbirds and animals alike, I hope their voices are heard loud and clear.

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28 Richard April 7, 2012 at 8:56 am

Ugh hit publish too early, that’s what I get for trying to type a long essay on a cellphone.

Anyways, long term benefits. In the short run business that rely on spring Break business will hurt, and they will hurt for at least 5 years. The smart ones will adapt, the dumb ones will close. It’s a fact of life when you change the reputation of an area.

But make these changes and create a 10 year marketing and advertising plan that markets us to the nation as a family destination where you are more open and free to have fun then certain other Florida tourist destinations that herd you like cattle, and people will come.

Look at Gatlinburg, TN. They have a lot of the same things we do. Wonderworks, Ripleys, lots of smaller attractions, tons of great restaurants, and a state park with a beautiful mountain range. They are super popular and successful YEAR ROUND. What’s to say we can’t take that sentence and replace “mountain range” with “beach” and be just as successful?

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29 Cathy April 8, 2012 at 10:52 pm

I would love to see the Spring Breakers drive through Gatlinburg Tn. up into the Smokey’s throwing out beer cans & boxes…… leaving a trail of trash as I saw on the above beach photo. I would also hate to see the ticket issued & have to pay for it. Or, they may be given “Community Service” details.
Hey……. that’s a thought: PCB Community Service for littering the beautiful beach! 🙂

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30 James D. April 9, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Cathy,
What you just described (community service “detail”) as a penalty for underage drinking and/or littering — is exactly what was deployed during the years when the always colorful Lee Sullivan was mayor of PCB — or at least when he was chief of police.

Anyway, this “tough love — with forgiveness” approach worked remarkably well and was touted in news stories about Spring Break by numerous media outlets. Those cited by police had to show-up at 6am the next morning and were given a talk, then had to put on a “safety orange” vest and walk the beach in small groups picking-up trash for several hours. When their “service” was complete, their offense was supposedly expunged from any public record. This was a win-win for all involved. It not only taught the culpable students a lesson, but sent a message to others and was great PR for the city of PCB!

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31 Jellen April 10, 2012 at 11:11 am

I remember that, James D! They also would pick up trash on the side of Front Beach Road while the other breakers drove by. Not only did it give the ones who were caught a second thought about littering or public drunkenness, but it also gave the other breakers something to think about. Many an underage spring breaker had tears in his eyes as he poured out his beer supply on the side of the road while a PCB police officer stood over him.

PCB will never have the clientele with money to spend and the international reputation its beaches deserve until rowdy spring break is well in the past. The few with a financial stake in the messy break control the area and therefore, keep all of our property values lower than they should be.

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32 Cathy April 11, 2012 at 9:13 am

Thank you both for your agreeing with my comment…….. I may not live in PCB but, my heart is there throughout the year & I want it to remain a clean and beautiful area.
The county I live in uses this “Community Service” tactic to help curb our youth to the right direction when they do wrong…. and from what I hear it helps wonders.
It’s just like this, if the trash they mindlessly leave on the beach had to stay there until the next Spring Break (next year) Would they like to return to PCB & enjoy the beach littered with beer can, bottles & all sorts of trash? I DO NOT THINK SO, then why not turn on a new leaf: If you choose to litter then you are choosing to do Community Service Work and pick up trash left on the beach by YOU & your so called friends.
Bring in the horseback police riders on the beach……..
Bring in the 30 yard dumpsters, pass out the black trash bags and put the offenders to work! In this case there is no need for a court appearance or to “wait” to carry out this sentence……
For the beach to look as this photo above….. action must be immediate! It is ridiculous to let this type of behavior go on…. it is an open door of acceptance to do wrong!
Thank you,
Cathy/Tennessee

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33 Jeff April 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm

I lived in South Florida when Ft. Lauderdale officially snubbed spring break. The area has prospered since and the quality of the beach area has become world-class. Dumping spring break is a no-brainer.

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34 Mac April 8, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Goodbye PCB, after realizing that the leaders will not improve the city by getting rid of drunk/Drugfest aka Spring Break….bought in Rosemary & selling my condo. Pier Park is terrific!!! However, promises of family vacations are only if you want your kid to get drunk & get various body piercings. Dear Chamber of Commerce & Mayor you cannot be a flea market and Nordstrom at the same time. Lots of potential but poor leadership as old businesses can expand and still have loose shell parking lot.

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35 Ron April 8, 2012 at 9:23 pm

I own on Front Beach for several years. We love PCB, much prefer to other parts of the coast. We dont rent our unit. We survive spring break ok, but don’t like it much. And as our kids are starting to get older, we will start to go elsewhere for spring break. In my opinion, spring break pushes high spending adult tourists away, not just for Spring break, but all year round because of the low-class reputation of the place. The area should make a slow and steady move to clean up/end spring starting with e.g. no open cans and bottles on the beach.

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36 Hector April 8, 2012 at 11:19 pm

We own three condos in PCB. I have witnessed many things during the peak of spring break. All in all, most students do all right. Unfortunately, the one percent people talk about is more like ten to fifteen percent. I was very upset a few weeks ago when I had to pick up broken glass in three spots from Sunrise to Aqua. I have 25 years in Law Enforcement and the problem in a nutshell is lack of enforcement of existing rules. I have never seen a law enforcement patrol on the beach, enforcing litering rules and glass bottle rules. The mere presence would straighten out most of the behaviors. Additionaly, if HOA’s forbid renting to under 25, then they need to be enforced. If PCB wants these kids here for spring break, then they need to spend the money on enforcement and enforce the rules. I only rent to families and have not had an open week in the last two years. Families are willing to come, but I can forsee things getting out of hand if the rules are not being enforced and there is a lack of presence on the beach, not just the street. If they want to come and have a good time that is fine, but they can be respectful and follow the rules!

Also these rules need to be enforced all the time. I am also tired of picking up bottles, beer cans, and cigarette butts all year long. Start patroling the beach and handing out some fines. If they don’t respect our beaches they don’t respect us owners and we don’t need them. They can take their dollars and trash elsewhere and our clientel will improve. The beaches are too beautiful to ignore. We will be respected more not less. We plan on retiring to this area in the next two years, hopefully enough people can come together to get city government to listen. Once again, I am not against spring breakeers, but I am for enforcement of laws and rules.

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37 Linda April 9, 2012 at 9:04 am

I think most condos have risen the age to 25, BUT underage do manage to get in. My guess is the owners who are renting to underage, could care less and their units are the one that are never updated. Or you get agencies renting without following the age limit. My neighbor had just updated her unit and wouldn’t you know it Spring Breakers totally trashed and damaged it. I rent on my own and a few years back, parents had rented, but it appears they left and let the kids stay on their own. They left the place a mess, but LUCKILY no structural damage. I ended up keeping the majority of their security deposit to pay for the other cleaning people my cleaner needed to get the place ready for the next arrival. I now stress the departure procedure that needs to be followed for refunds and haven’t had an issue since then.

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38 Andrea April 10, 2012 at 8:52 am

I am always suspicious of someone over 25 that still participates in college spring break. I’m mean really, if they are 25 or over and still in college, how responsible could they be? I don’t think age alone will protect us from the damage. I have found getting to know your renters and also letting them know this is your home and they are a guest, makes the most difference. Most kids think they are renting a hotel room, not someone’s vacation home. Because I make them jump through so many hoops and have many conversations with them prior to their visit, I have minimal problems. The damage is mostly accidental if any. This year a young lady singed my table with a curling iron.

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39 KLR April 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm

We are arriving in PCB in 12 days, I look forward to my 8 days there every year. This is our 7th year of PCB heaven on earth. As a family member with small children, and elderly parents traveling with us, I always look to go AFTER the spring breakers and BEFORE the bikers. I for one LOVE your sandy white beaches free from loud boisterous people who are there to party it up, smoking, drinking and cussing, so that I can have a relaxing time on the beach with the kids. So i can tell you families like mine would love it if you didn’t have the Spring Breakers or Bikers, so that we would have a larger spring window of availability for our travel. Until then, we will continue to schedule around these groups.

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40 Jellen April 10, 2012 at 11:18 am

Amen, KLR!

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41 Nina April 9, 2012 at 5:48 pm

My husband and I have wintered in PCB for 13 years now. We would love to stay longer but usually leave mid-March because of the noise, traffic etc. created by the spring breakers. Our condo complex now hires more security which does help but doesn’t prevent being woken up at 4 am due to false fire alarms etc. We see condo furniture dragged onto the balconies, kids sleeping in armchairs outside, bedding on the beach. The cleaning staff tell us the condos are “nasty” when they go into clean. The maintenance people are kept busy fixing doors, plumbing etc. .. a couch got broken in half .. a glass patio table thrown off the balcony. And, we watch these kids trash the beach and not even bother to use the trash cans provided. The kids do not seem to have any respect for property or the beach and they get away with it. We love the area and the beach and have many friends who also winter here, all of which keeps us coming back but unfortunately we can’t tolerate staying through spring break. Also, there are quite a few condo complexes who chase out the snowbirds early to accommodate the breakers. Despite what is said about snowbirds, we spend lots of money in the area at the restaurants and shops. We don’t encourage our family to visit in March because what goes on is not appropriate for young children to be exposed to. Each year I’m aware of the debates over spring break but nothing seems to change. I’d love to encourage more friends and family to visit but don’t because of the reputation of PCB. The powers to be have to make up their minds whether they want the breakers or the families. We just might move on one of these days, and I get the impression that no one would care anyway because responsible, money spending boomers are not valued in PCB.

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42 Andrea April 10, 2012 at 8:08 am

I love my snowbird, but I always encourage them to leave at the begining of March. The first reason is, spring break. I don’t think they will enjoy it, and I can’t control what’s going on around them. And the second reason. College student will pay more to stay in my condo for 6 days than a snowbird will pay for a month. I wouldn’t be able to absorb the negative cash flow of my snowbird if I didn’t rent to spring breakers in March.

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43 Cathy April 11, 2012 at 9:43 am

Jason, Here’s how I will answer your questions:

You’ve been down here, you’ve read the articles, what do you think about the spring break activity we’ve had in Panama City Beach? PCB has always been a “host” to “Spring Breakers” and numerous other events throughout the seasons but, with more & more people attending you will have the need for an increase in police patrol for protection of property, citizens, stores/shops and beach. The activity however brings in much needed funds to your city, every dollar spent in rental, drink, food etc. brings more revenue to PCB. But, with that the city will need to “up” protection & hand out punishments for crimes. You cannot allow people to just do whatever they want on the beach or while staying in PCB. If PCB allows this then they are open for all types of problems.

What do you think this activity will do to our image? More & more will come to PCB for Spring Break….. they will think this is a place where we can do as we please and no one will make us do otherwise. They must always be reminded to be respectful of their surroundings (home or vacation) or there will be consequences for misbehavior.

Do you think this will have a lasting impact on how our summer tourists look at our area? You know you can’t change how some people view things. Where I have been coming to PCB since birth my love for this place has not changed. It is a beautiful place to vacation & the people I meet there are genuine. Some will see these photos and read articles & think this is how PCB is all the time….and it is far from this. PCB is a wonderful place for a family to vacation at & it hosts so many beautiful “natural” interests (parks, beaches, piers, lakes).

Do you think we are making some summer tourist sacrifice to have a “good spring break?” No, I do not. I am a late Spring, Summer and Fall vacationer….. I have not had to sacrifice anything to enjoy each of my vacations thoroughly. I still believe PCB can achieve a “Good” Spring Break….. just start getting it under control more. Never be a push over. 🙂

Thank you,
Cathy/Tennessee

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44 Gregg April 11, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Well Cathy I strongly disagree, I believe the reputation damage has already been done. One needs to just do a little research on Panama City to see what the opinions are, you might look at the very popular City Data Forum, look at Florida and look for the Panama City posts. http://www.city-data.com/forum/florida/ One also needs to look at the various Spring Break posts on the various forums and Facebook by the Spring Breakers themselves, after reading many of them just re-enforces my opinion.

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45 Jellen April 11, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Cathy, I also disagree. The damage had been done. It will take awhile of having no spring break (& limited or no motorcycle weeks) to change PCB’s image. I have lived in PCB for over 35 years, splitting my time with a northern city. I work with high net worth individuals and, to a person, if they have heard of PCB, their impression is of a low-brow, trashy beach town. I try to change their opinion but, especially if they’ve been here, it’s not realistic. Spring break and tattoo shops, etc. continue to reinforce that image. PCB made a conscious decision to market to the spring breakers that Ft. Lauderdale publicly told to go away. That was over 30 years ago. PCB could go back but it takes a united decision to do so.

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46 Cathy April 12, 2012 at 10:39 am

Gregg and Jellen, I truly respect each of your opinions but I also do not believe any sort of damage reputation or otherwise is so severe that it cannot be turned around…. please think positive about your city. And Jellen, if your friends really believe PCB is a low try inviting them down in April or Sept. to just relax…. sounds like they need too. Another thing I may point out to you is every town people visit or vacation in has tattoo shops, bars etc. If you don’t believe in them then do not visit them…. regardless if you like them or not they and Spring Breakers & the Motorcycle Rallys do bring in much needed money to PCB… without that you would be hurting.
This has been a long many year debate. The answer is not to stop these & do away with what people like to do but, is as simple as enforcing some much needed different laws into effect. Are you against people who trash an area with beer cans and boxes being given trash sacks and doing 1/2 a day or a whole day pick-up trash detail? I’m not!
Host the Breakers & host the Cycles,,,, but, enforce stronger laws.

🙂 Cathy/Tennessee

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47 Jellen April 12, 2012 at 11:07 am

Cathy, I mentioned high net worth clients, not friends. I don’t invite those clients to my PCB home. Some have been in PCB for the Ironman and didn’t see the area favorably. I didn’t mention bars. Bars are fine as long as they are not topless. Not every town has tattoo shops so boldly prominent. Most importantly, I didn’t say PCB’s image couldn’t be turned around. I said it would take awhile. I am very much in favor of working in that direction. PCB can grow without spring breakers and motorcycles. I’d love to see it become more upscale and pleasant for people who want to enjoy the beach, music, restaurants, art, etc. I’m sure you would still enjoy visiting PCB without breakers and motorcycles. I’m glad you are such a fervent supporter and hope you continue to be a cheerleader for our area. I would like to add more cheerleaders who would visit in all months and have more disposable money to spend than the spring breakers and who wouldn’t send other visitors away like the breakers and motorcycles do now.

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48 Cathy April 12, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Actually you never mentioned “client or friend”, it was worked with…. to be politically correct. Ironman Competition comes each year favorable or not as Spring Break and the Cycle Rally.
This is getting way off the subject but, as I see it if I am such a “fervent supporter” as you say…..cheerleader for PCB, it seems to me that you living in such a beautiful beach area for 35 years should certainly be as sportive as I am and me so many miles away. Sounds like you need to open your eyes, walk along the beach, breath, visit the park or stay on 30A to rejuvenate yourself to your surroundings. Jellen, I never mentioned I came to PCB for Spring Break, the cycles, the bars or the tatt parlors…….I come for the beauty & relaxation the Gulf gives my family & me each time we visit. Our funds and the funds of others are much needed for your city & its growth & development.
Getting back to the subject at hand…… more Beach Patrols, make the ones breaking “Litter” Laws pick up or get locked up. It’s horrible PCB authorities are letting anyone at anytime leave a beautiful beach looking like this!
And, this is my opinion……
Cathy

49 Brian April 12, 2012 at 10:18 am

“Spring break isn’t just some event that can be shut off or closed down”. They will come no matter what. But if we plan better, and prepare for it better it won’t be as bad. Bring back springbreak court and make them clean their mess. The reality is there is only maybe 1% of those that visit that cause problems it is not the majority or even close. Bottom line there are hundreds of JOBS that are created with spring break. Lets plan not eliminate.

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50 Cathy April 12, 2012 at 10:44 am

Brian…… well said, I back you 100%. If people want to trash an area this bad give them trash-bags and 6 hours of picking up! If that’s not enough 2 days….. I believe that would catch on really quick. News spreads fast with young people. They would then know that PCB means to keep their city and beaches clean.

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51 David Van Trump April 13, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Actually Spring Break could be cut off. Change the law so that open containers are not allowed in public, then see how many Spring Breakers come to PCB for the beach.

The statement “The reality is there is only maybe 1% of …”. One percent maybe in your reality, but based on my experiences the number is much higher. How did you come up 1%?

Thanks,
David

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52 Gregg April 13, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Brian said one percent because that’s what Jack Bishop says, the other 99% are momma’s little darlings.

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53 David Van Trump April 13, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Gregg, good point. Does anyone ask Jack Bishop were he gets his numbers? Any evidence to back them up?

Does Jack know how many alcohol related deaths there were during this years’ Spring Break?

Thanks,
David

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54 KLR April 12, 2012 at 1:50 pm

PS, I walk the beach every day when I am there and pick up trash – even without “breakers” or bikers , because I want the next person to have a lovely beach to visit too! Plus sometimes we find treasures…a forgotten bucket, shovel or sand toy that makes our vacation so much fun with castle building!

It would be nice if you would outlaw smoking on the beaches!

As for $$ spent by “breakers” the money isn’t worth it with all the damages. Face it, college kids in large numbers = alcohol, loud music, cheap food, and one big “frat-party” atmosphere. It isn’t fair to PCB to spend more dollars to clean up, keep the safety etc that this type of atmosphere creates.

I still love my time there and will come back each year that I am able!

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55 James D. April 19, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Let’s also start enforcing the “No Dogs” law as well!!
People still don’t seen to understand (especially locals) that one’s dog is only allowed to set paws on the sand at the designated “Doggie Beach” across from Pier Park.

Trash, cigarette butts, and even dog poop have no place on what used to be “The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches”!!

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56 Tom January 11, 2014 at 4:57 am

This post has helped me think things thogurh

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57 wendy April 16, 2012 at 5:06 pm

This is one of those “no win situations” because money is involved.If there is sufficient police presence and the rules are enforced however this can be a very beneficial time for all. But when you get down to the nitty gritty the residents should have the final say because it is their city and they pay the taxes.Don’t bite the hand that feeds you!!!

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58 Gregg April 16, 2012 at 7:58 pm

Just a minute Wendy, we are non-resident property owners and I dare say we pay more property taxes than most of the residents but we have no say. I would guess the majority of the property taxes in PCB are paid by folks like ourselves.

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59 Ron Crumpler April 23, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Somehow, I knew the dog issue would surface. I spend 3 -4 months a year in one of the great “nanny” states, Oregon. I roam the beaches from California to Washington including a goodly portion of the Washington beaches. Guess what, dogs everywhere. Chasing balls, sticks thrown in the surf, following runners up and down the beaches. I guess the Oregonians know that the Pacific Ocean flushes the beaches daily. You know the same reason gull poop doesn’t build up on the beaches. But then, I grew up in the country around cows, horses, dogs, chickens and all kinds of critters and learned at an early age that poop doesn’t kill, only Moms when you track it in the house. Now biting dogs, that’s another conversation…………..

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