Spring Breakers Move West to Walton and Okaloosa Counties

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Spring break is a time for college students to let loose and blow off steam.

But the party seems to be spreading. Breakers are hitting the beaches of South Walton and Destin, not just Panama City Beach, and sheriff’s officials say, with the students, come problems.

"Last year in the state of Florida-statewide there were 5,300 arrests made. Twelve-Hundreds of those were made in Walton County,” said Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson.

Some of those Spring Break busts made headlines, like the case of 32 spring breakers arrested for underage drinking and destroying a home in South Walton.

That has resorts and rental agencies teaming up this year to make sure rental guests are over the age of 25.

"And we traditionally rent to families, so we generally do not book college or high school students,” said Jeanne Dailey, of Newman Dailey Properties. “We screen the calls very well to make sure they aren't college students."

The effort to keep breakers at bay goes beyond rental agencies.

The Destin Chamber of Commerce and the Walton County Tourist Development Council avoid advertising to college students.

"We rely heavily on our accommodations and resorts folks, they do a great job of enforcing the no one under 25 can rent from them and that helps us keep the family atmosphere we have,” said Shane Moody, CEO of the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce.

That family atmosphere is something residents want as well. The people who live along 30A are holding town hall meetings, in places like seaside, saying they don't want spring breakers here.

But no matter how much they may not want it, Spring Break is here.

And some college students will be taking to the beaches of South Walton and Destin.

Sheriff's officials say they'll be ready, if those parties get out of hand.

"We are trying to maximize both community corporation with the community down here,” said Sheriff Adkinson.

Sheriff Adkinson is instituting a new policy this year, requiring college student who get arrested to clean up trash in South Walton for the remainder of their vacations.