Spring Breakers vs. Snow Birds

By: Alana Adams
By: Alana Adams

They all come here for the same reasons, the snowbirds flock south to avoid the harsh winters, while the spring breakers just want a warm break from the reality of school. Despite the cool wind, spring breakers were hitting the streets ready to start their vacation.

This year the “under construction” sign is clearly painted across Front Beach Road, but those who have made it here are just glad to be at the beach.

Sandy Cape from Canada says she came here last year for spring break, but things are a little different this year.

"It seems dirtier, but we didn't stay on the strip last year. We stayed on a different strip, so I didn't really come down to this area."
Many snowbirds are getting anxious to get home, especially with the younger crowd that's about to take over the beach, but the two crowds share many similarities.

Doug Petrie goes to school in Canada, but says the 60-degree weather here is nothing to compare to back home.

"We live in (Canada) and it's pretty cold there. This is like summertime for us, it's not too bad at all."

Margaret Vallance is a snowbird from the north, and she enjoys this area for the same reason.

"We've been coming for three years and it's to get away from the cold in Canada."

Local hotels will see some mix of the visitors in March as well.

Lee Ann Leonard with By The Sea Resorts on Panama City Beach says not all the snowbirds are ready to leave.

"We actually have spring breakers, families and winter visitors together. It sounds like sort of a strange mix, but they co-mingle quite well. We find that the families and winter visitors sort of calm our spring breakers down, so we get more of a tame lot, which is very nice."

The Tourist Development Council is expecting a high turnout this year for spring break even though there are less available hotel rooms.

Despite the changing image of the area, the board spent $400,000 to market specifically to college and high school spring breakers, the same as last year. Spring break runs through April 3 this year.


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