Spring Break is Here – Total List of Schools on Break

Every year the weather warms, the skies clear and the college kids go on break, flocking to the beach.  And after a few months of studies, who can blame them?  You know I’ve had a tattered relationship with spring break, and consistent with many in the community, I cringe at the thought of what some of them do while they are here.  However, being in the Panama City Beach vacation rental business (shameless SEO plug), I know first hand that spring breakers are just about the only business to be had during the month of March.

Technically, Spring Break started the last week in February.  But this week is the first real week of the season with the majority of the traveler influx starting next week.

Total list of schools on spring break this week (2-9).

Ball State University (In)
Boston College (Ma)
Bowling Green State University (Oh)
Central Michigan University
College Of Charleston (Sc)
College Of William & Mary (Va)
Columbus State University (Ga)
Duke University (Nc) Mar 3-17
Eastern Michigan University
Emerson College (Ma)
Florida Atlantic University
Geaorgetown University (Dc)
Grand Valley State University (Ma)
James Madison University (Va)
Loyola University Of Chicago
Michigan State University
Northeastern University (Ma)
Northern Michigan University
Pennsylvania State University
Santa Fe Community College (Fl)
Southern Illonois University – Edwardsville
Universite Laval (Qb, Ca)
University Of Central Florida
University Of Florida
University Of Michigan
University Of Mobile (Al)
University Of North Carolina – Charlotte
University Of Pennsylvania
University Of South Dakota
Valencia Community College (Fl)
Valparaiso University(In)
Vanderbilt University (Tn)
Villanova University (Pa)
Virginia Western Community College
West Virginia University
Western Michigan University

Total list of schools on spring break NEXT week (9-16).

Auburn University(Al)
Belhaven University (Ms)
Bentley University (Ma)
Boston University (Ma)
Bridgewater State University (Ma)
Colgate University
Duke University (Nc) Mar 3-17
East Tennessee State University
Eastern Illonois University
Eastern Kentucky University
Emory Uiversity (Ga)
Ferris State University (Ma)
Florida State University
Geaorge Wahington University (Dc)
Harding University (Ar)
Howard University (Dc)
Illonois State University
Indiana State University
Iona College (Ny)
Liberty University (Va)
Miami University – Oxford (Oh)
Middle Tennesee State University
Misouri State University
Mississippi State University
North Carolina State University
North Dakota State University
Northern Illonois University
Ohio State University
Old Dominion University (Va)
Purdue University (In)
Sam Houston State University (Tx)
Southern Illonois University – Carbondale
St. Cloud State University (Mn)
St. Louis University (Mo)
Syracuse University (Ny)
Temple University (Pa)
Tennessee State University
Texas A&M University
Texas State University
Texas Tech University
Troy State University(Al)
University Of Bridgeport (Ct)
University Of Idaho
University Of Kentucky
University Of Louisville (Ky)
University Of Memphis
University Of Miami (Fl)
University Of Mississippi
University Of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
University Of North Dakota
University Of Notre Dame (In)
University Of Pittsburg (Pa)
University Of Rochester (Ny)
University Of South Alabama
University Of South Carolina
University Of South Florida
University Of Southern Indiana
University Of Southern Mississippi
University Of Texas – Austin
University Of Utah
University Of Virginia
Utah State University
Virginia Tech University
Webster University (Mo)
Western Illonois University
Western Kentucky University
Winthrop University (Sc)

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

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

Panama City Beach Spring Break Week 1

It’s that time of year again.  The weather’s warming, the sand is beckoning and college students and families alike are getting spring-fever!  Our beaches are filling up this week and starting in two weeks we’ll have a full load of tourists bathing in our sun, spending their money in our businesses and reminding us all which industry really is king in Northwest Florida.

Panama City Beach Spring Break is upon us!

Before I even begin, I’d like to give a huge shout-out and special thanks to our friends over at Tripsmarter who have graciously given us permission to use some of the information they provide every year to their spring break audience.  All of the information I am publishing in this post can also be found over on their site, in their Panama City Beach Spring Break section.

This week’s events – March 5-9

Spinaker Beach Club

  • Chasing Scarlett: March 2-7, 2012
  • Mega Beach Party (Beach Stage, MCs, DJs, Contests, 600’ Zip Line, Sponsored Activities, Games, and Free Stuff! 12pm-5pm): March 3-23, 2012
  • Shawn Rader: March 3-7, 2012
  • Bad Habits: March 4-6, 2012
  • Natalie Stovall: March 8-11, 2012
  • Tobacco Road Band: March 8-11, 2012

Club La Vela

  • J. Dash: March 5, 2012
  • Starkillers: March 6, 2012
  • Mr. Mayhem: March 5-11, 2012

Chateau Motel

  • DJ Elements & Beer Pong: March 5, 2012
  • Randy Waltz or Dame Vane: March 6, 2012
  • DJ Elements & Beer Pong: March 7, 2012
  • DJ Unk, Wet T-Shirt, & Beer Pong: March 8, 2012
  • Beer Pong Tournament & Local DJs: March 9, 2012

For a full listing of all the Spring Break activities all around Panama City Beach, visit Tripsmarter’s Spring Break section.

Full list of schools out for Spring Break this week
March 5-9, 2012 (Mon-Fri)
College / University Enrollment
Albion College 1,970
Algonquin College 16,000
Alverno College 2,654
Aurora University 6,000
Austin Peay State University 9,192
Baldwin-Wallace College 4,260
Ball State University 20,113
Barry University 9,324
Belmont University 4,765
Beloit College 1,300
Bennett College 572
Bishop’s University 1,817
Boston College 13,723
Bowling Green State University 22,882
Bridgewater State College 10,418
Bryn Mawr College 1,799
Campbell University 10,471
Carroll College 3,292
Central Michigan University 28,389
Clark University 2,883
College of Charleston 11,320
College of William & Mary 7,709
Columbus State University 7,593
Community College of Philadelphia 17,334
Covenant College 1,007
Creighton University 6,992
Dalton State College 4,532
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 A&M 12,792
Florida Atlantic University 26,245
Florida State University 40,838
George Washington University 24,531
Georgetown University 14,148
Grand Valley State University 30,332
Hampton University 27,134
Harding University 6,810
Hastings College of the Law 6,503
Hendrix College 1,095
Indiana State University 1,233
James Madison University 5,117
Kennesaw State University 20,603
Lebanon Valley College 1,906
Lehigh University 6,836
Loyola College, Maryland 6,131
Loyola University of Chicago 15,545
Mary Baldwin College 2,242
Miami University (OH) 20,126
Michigan State University 46,045
Minnesota State University 13,841
Morehouse College 2,933
Normandale Community College 10,223
North Carolina A&T 11,103
North Carolina State University 31,130
Northeastern University 20,605
Northern VA Community College 60,000
Notre Dame de Namur University 1,600
Oakland University 18,000
Old Dominion University 21,625
Pellissippi State Technical Community College 7,001
Pennsylvania State University 83,721
Radford University 9,552
Saint Joseph’s University 7,542
Simmons College 4,700
South Dakota State University 10,566
Southern Arkansas University 3,109
Southern IL University at Edwardsville 13,449
St Cloud State University 17,173
Stetson University 2,273
Temple University 34,218
Tennessee State University 8,748
Tennessee Tech University 10,871
Thomas More College 1,416
Universite De Sherbrooke 35,000
Universite Laval 28,902
University of Central Florida 48,497
University of Detroit Mercy 5,600
University of Evansville 2,350
University of Florida 49,693
University of Memphis 20,000
University of NC at Chapel Hill 28,136
University of NC at Charlotte 11,840
University of North Alabama 7,323
University of Pennsylvania 7,728
University of Pittsburgh 28,823
University of San Francisco 8,447
University of South Dakota 27,390
University of Southern Indiana 11,582
University of Tampa 16,050
University of Toledo 5,600
University of Virginia 19,706
University of Windsor 12,291
University of Wyoming 13,301
Valencia Community College 51,551
Valparaiso University 3,874
Vanderbilt University 11,847
Villanova University 9,335
Virginia Tech 29,898
Virginia Western Community College 9,000
West Chester University of PA 12,950
Western Kentucky University 19,215
Western Michigan University 24,433
Wilmington College 11,500
Wingate University 2,041
Xavier University 6,500
Yale College 11,398
TOTAL 1,627,713

5 Reasons Why 2012 Spring Break Is Breaking The Mold

Yes, folks, it’s that time of year again. In a few short weeks, Panama City Beach will be packed with bikini-clad college students barefooting the strip from end to end, hooting, hollering and partying the week away. We (we, meaning Panama City Beach residents and business owners), know what exactly what to expect from the two-month-long spectacle. We know the students will drink. We know the students will break things. And we know the entire city will be completely polarized. What we don’t know, at least not yet, is how different this year will be from the years past. If the numbers and projections prove to be true, this spring break could be the heralding of a new kind of break. Here are 5 reasons why.

Lull in Competition

If you read that title and you think, “A lull in competition means we only get more riff-raff”, you may not be seeing the full picture. Because Panama City Beach’s biggest competition for Spring Break dollars, places like Cancun, South Padre Island and Daytona have yet to take the social media and search engine optimization, an area where Panama City Beach excels, we are beating them to the punch. The result means Panama City Beach can set rates that reflect that increased number of potential clients. Higher rates, in any season, make for a higher clientele. Now, it goes without saying that high Spring Break clientele is not particularly high, higher hotel rates should aid in reducing amount bad apples.

BP Effect

You can go to any hotel on the beach and ask how last years Spring Break numbers compared to the year before. Most were down, some way down. Much of the decrease can be attributed to the oil spill, which wasn’t officially sealed until September 19th and dominated the news with images of white shoreline covered in crud. This, along with stronger efforts from competitors, drove the market elsewhere. The tide has turned. If you look at pace numbers across the beach for 2012, they are up, and in lots of cases way up. That means more Spring Breakers, but what it also means is that Panama City Beach lost a year of the bad PR that comes along with Spring Break and stands at the edge of resetting the Spring Break trend, which the TDC and Co-op are primed to do. That year has also given Panama City Beach the time and (BP) money, to open a range of new attractions and restaurants that give these students more to do, rather than just cruising the strip and looking for trouble.

Fly Markets

You’ve heard this story before: the new airport will bring in a whole new market for Spring Break. You’ve also heard the argument that Spring Breakers do not fly, they all get in a car and drive. Well, in 2012, both may be true. Waves of marketing Panama City Beach’s new airport has put the destination of Panama City Beach in places that may have not considered it before. Students in our fly market cities can get cheap flights, but, even more important, they’ve heard about Panama City Beach, the ads have hit their mark. This can be evidenced by website analytics across the board. While last years highest state by state guests that stayed during Spring Break put Alabama, Georgia and Florida as the three highest, this year’s website traffic analytics show Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois and Texas ranking highest in inquiries. What this means is, whether they grab a flight or pack everyone up in a car a take a long road trip, the advertising seems to be working. Which could mean a saturation of a different Spring Break clientele.

TDC Efforts

Last year, the TDC was reluctant to spend any money on Spring Break due to the issues with previous years. This year what the TDC lacked in hard cash, they made up in very targeted efforts. Take for example, the Guinness Book of World Records Bikini Parade. While some have scoff at the event, the reality is it will be a clean, fun Spring Break event that will result in monumental PR for our city and potentially pay off for years. The beach-wide Scavenger Hunt is designed to get students out of their rooms, off the strip and expose them to all that Panama City Beach has to offer in a fun and exciting way. The TDC has also done a bang-up job of coordinating with local business and the Spring Break co-op to really get the ball rolling. The TDC has worked hard to increase the police force, security and help local hoteliers manage events and not cause the pileups we’ve seen in the past.

Solid Co-op

The Spring Break Co-op is now in its fourth year and it is proving to be a strong force for Spring Break in Panama City Beach. Seeing massive numbers in site traffic and boasting a facebook fan page of over 60,000 fans, is only a part of the job. Beyond the numbers, the Co-op site and it’s social presence has and continues to be an invaluable tool for information for Spring Breakers, essentially guiding them on entire vacation planning all in one place. An informed vacationer, is a good vacationer. The Co-op is setting the tone for the city before the students even get here, letting them know the rules of the beach, the policies of hotels and giving local businesess a better gauge on what to expect from the crowds.

While these may be optimistic, we’d love to hear your thoughts on your expectations for Spring Break 2012.

Weekend Weather- Good Lookin’

Looking for weekend weather updates? Bookmark our Weather category!

Head for the parks, the beaches or someone’s inflatable pool this weekend because the temps are heating up and the skies are begging you to get out of the house.

If you don’t have a legitimate reason to leave the house, make one up. Practice the fine art of Garden Gnome Liberation (preferably not your neighbors please), pretend to get lost en route to the Grocery store, or simply do what my Mom used to do to me as a kid. Offer up two options and let the family decide. My Mom’s tactic was “Play outside or Take out the trash” and with that, off to the great outdoors we went!


Weather For March 23-27

Continue reading “Weekend Weather- Good Lookin’”

Spring Break 2011 “The Mega Week”

According to Tripsmarter.com, over 2 million kids were turned loose for Spring Break during this past week, making these past 5 days the official juiced-up, mega-week of Spring Break.

In fact, it’s so big, it needs it’s own intro-music. *ques theme to Rocky*

(wakka wakka)

This last week brought hordes of college kids to town, who promptly set about shimmying and raising toasts with cold beers or those fruity, umbrella drinks.

Immediately following up all that shimmying, toasting and the mandatory high-fiving, they torpedoed onto the beach. Which is where they remained, fully focused on turning various shades of cocoa brown and repeating aforementioned actions.

I’ve been holding off on posting this article due to some irrational fear that as soon as we stated “all is well” here, it would cause some cosmic shift and break the spell of decent behavior. Maybe I’m just paranoid, or more likely I’ve seen one to many cheesy horror flicks. You know the kind, somewhere some young cheerleader states “it’s OK guys, there’s nothing bad going to happen” and whoosh, crazed leprechauns shoot out of the woods.

In an effort to get over my superstitions (and to keep the bosses happy) we’ll finally just go for it but if it starts raining frogs afterward, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The reality is that during these last few weeks of Spring Breakers swarming in to town, the news has remained relatively positive. The revenue influx is encouraging and the positive turn-out for the first big run of the tourist season, is offering a ray of hope for business owners affected from last year’s oil-spill sucker punch.

Granted, there’s been a few nitwits who’ve managed to make the nightly news but thankfully, it was more from stupidity then anything else. In all, considering the increase in traffic and our beaches being held hostage by a ton of college kids, it’s been relatively smooth sailing. The Panama City Beach Police Department has reported an increase in citations, mostly issued for under-age drinking or public intoxication. Which should come as no surprise to anyone when you realize some of these folks were already planning on breaking the law before they left campus.

As this mega-week dies down, and we start to gear up for another round of visitors,  let’s take a moment to check out the live cams perched above Schooners.

Ahhh, look at that sand! The emerald water! Jealous yet?

Numbers Break Down from tripsmarter.com



March 14-18, 2011 (Mon-Fri) 

College / University Enrollment
Adams State College 2,308
Alabama A&M University 6,047
Albright College 1,650
Alcorn State University 3,668
Arizona State University 64,394
Army, West Point 4,000
Auburn University 24,137
Austin College 1,291
Bentley College 5,557
Birmingham-Southern College 1,500
Bucknell University 3,555
Butler University 8,367
California State University, Chico 14,500
Carthage College 2,930
Claflin University 1,800
Claremont Mckenna College 1,135
Cleveland State University 15,706
Colgate University 2,750
College of Wooster 1,827
Colorado State University 26,884
Concordia University, Austin 1,400
Concordia University, Wisconsin 5,600
Connecticut College 1,910
Delta State University 4,392
Des Moines Area Community College 27,000
Drake University 5,221
Earlham College 1,194
Eastern Illinois University 11,651
Edgewood College 2,500
Fairleigh Dickinson University 8,000
Florida College 600
Florida International University 38,614
Fordham University 16,009
George Mason University 30,332
George Washington University 24,531
Georgia Southern University 16,841
Harvard University 19,139
Harvey Mudd College 746
Humboldt State University 7,773
Indiana University, Purdue 29,854
Indiana University of Bloomington 38,990
Iowa State University 26,160
Jackson State University 8,351
Jacksonville State University 9,000
John Hopkins University 15,000
Keene State College 6,400
Lafayette College 2,403
Lakeland College 3,999
Lewis and Clark Community College 2,403
Liberty University 3,999
Lewis and Clark Community College 20,252
Liberty University 14,438
Lipscomb University 2,744
Longwood University 4,479
Madison Area Technical School 20,461
Manhattan College 3,000
Marquette University 11,548
Meharry Medical College 723
Montana State University 12,250
Mount Holyoke College 2,100
Naval Academy 4,400
New York University 40,870
Northern Illinois University 25,313
Northwest College 1,800
Ocean County College 9,351
Pitzer College 950
Pomona College 1,548
Princeton University 6,898
Purdue University 39,228
Quinnipiac University 7,400
Rider University 5,790
Rutgers University at New Jersey 34,392
Rutgers University at New Jersey, Camden 51,480
Rutgers University at New Jersey, Newark 10,246
Sam Houston State University 16,416
Samford University 4,400
Savannah State University 3,169
Scripps College 899
Southern Illinois University Carbondale 20,983
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville 13,449
Southern Methodist University 10,901
St. Louis University 11,823
Stephen F. Austin State University 10,822
Syracuse University 19,082
Texas A&M 46,540
Texas A&M, Corpus Christi 8,355
Texas State University 28,132
Texas Tech University 28,260
University of Alabama, Birmingham 16,246
University of Alabama, Huntsville 7,100
University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa 25,580
University of Central Oklahoma 15,753
University of Georgia 33,831
University of Hartford 6,225
University of Houston 35,344
University of Idaho 11,251
University of Iowa 30,409
University of Kentucky 27,209
University of Lethbridge 8,001
University of Massachusetts 60,000
University of Miami 15,449
University of Minnesota 50,402
University of Mississippi 17,323
University of Montevallo 3,000
University of Nevada 31,000
University of New Hampshire 13,547
University of New Haven 4,480
University of New Mexico 24,092
University of North Florida 15,619
University of North Texas 34,268
University of Northern Colorado 12,981
University of Northern Iowa 14,207
University of Notre Dame 11,603
University of Oklahoma 29,721
University of San Francisco 8,447
University of South Alabama 14,003
University of South Florida 34,036
University of Southern California 33,389
University of Tennessee 26,400
University of Texas, Austin 49,696
University of Texas, Dallas 14,480
University of Texas, Pan American 17,048
University of Texas, San Antonio 28,534
University of Texas, Tyler 6,150
University of Tulsa 4,165
University of West Florida 10,358
University of Wisconsin, La Crosse 10,052
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 28,356
University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh 12,409
University of Wisconsin, Parkside 4,999
University of Wisconsin, Platteville 6,431
University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point 8,552
University of Wisconsin, Stout 8,416
University of Wyoming 13,301
Valdosta State University 23,750
Virginia Commonwealth University 11,280
Washington State University 31,907
Weber State University 18,300
Western Illinois University 13,600
Wilson College 868
TOTAL 2,112,478

Spring Breakers Hit PCB sans Seventeen Magazine

According to our friends over at tripsmarter.com, there are roughly two million kids turned loose from colleges nationwide, all in the name of Spring Break and shaking off the past Winter Quarter.

I’m willing to bet that about 500,000 of those kids on break right now can be found in the beer aisle at Wal-Mart on Front Beach Rd.


Ok, well maybe I’ve inflated that number a bit (the Wal-Mart estimate, not the Tripsmarter.com one) but all it takes is one adventurous jaunt to Wal-Mart at 7:30am on a Saturday to understand where that estimate stemmed from.

Sure, we can look at hotel bookings, or in-bound flights, but personally, the real test of numbers comes from those of us who live here on a day-to-day basis. We’re the ones who have to add an additional 15 minutes to our morning commute due to the surge in traffic and more recently, the surge in accidents from crazed college drivers.

It’s a strange love-hate vibe our community harbors for Spring Breakers. In fact, it’s almost along the lines of a kid-brother, or sister. Sure, the younger sibling may drive you batty, but we’re the only ones who’ve earned the right to talk smack about them. After all, we loan them our town, our beaches, and our homes for a couple of months every year and we do love them, despite how much they annoy us.

Yet, when a national magazine like Seventeen Magazine decides to run a piece on the evils of our town and our young Collegiates, it’s only natural that we would take a few moments to address some of the things the magazine stated.

It’s shocking that a relatively credible magazine like Seventeen, would opt to run such a slanderous piece on Panama City. Especially considering the run of hard luck the Gulf had last year and the extensive campaigns we’ve launched to rectify the negative PR during the Oil Spill.

The article used some pretty bold words to describe our town, referring to Spring Break in Panama City Beach as “disgusting, degrading and dangerous, especially to Women.” Ironically, this is the same Magazine who runs articles offering  “Flirting Tips” or  “How to Attract Men” and a “Fertility Calender” to their demographic predominantly comprised of teenage girls and tweens.

Seventeen Magazine went on to state that Spring Break in Panama City Beach was a “grim reality” filled with trash, drunks and casual sex.  Descriptive words capable of summing up any Frat Party. Hell,  if you want to get really down to it, out-of-control antics like those, are present in every town across the nation.

A large concert in Atlanta suddenly erupts in gunfire, some party in New York lands the kids in the hospital for excessive drinking, and then of course, for some college-age kids, that might just be any random Friday night out in San Francisco.

My point is, that it’s the people that bring the excess, not the location. A more constructive article would have been one that offered tips on enjoying the school break while remaining safe and aware. As opposed to running a piece dismissing Spring Break in PCB.

There’s a level of responsibility that needs to be accepted by those visiting our town. If you want to enjoy Spring Break, don’t make dumb choices.  Don’t drink too much, drink some water, eat some food, use sunblock and don’t make out with weirdos or strangers.

Our Police Department works hard to maintain the safety of everyone who visits or lives in Panama City Beach but it’s up to those visiting to meet us in the middle.