Locals and visitors react to 30A curfew

Published: Apr. 7, 2017 at 7:03 PM CDT
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Parts of 30A seem like they've been taken over by hundreds of teenagers and some say they're wreaking havoc on several communities.

Now, residents and business owners are trying to find ways to keep them under control.

30A has traditionally been a family spring break destination, bringing kids of all ages. But one age group seems to be causing some issues in some of the smaller communities.

"It really started last year, we saw big groups of teenagers," Seacrest Homeowner Stuart White said.

"The mobs of kids are just gathering. It's just a little unruly for the business owners and unfortunately the police have to get involved," Peddlers Bikes & Beach Rentals Manager Ryan Kirk said.

"We hear through social media saying we're all going to gather up at one location and there would be hundreds of them. Last year saw about a thousand just wandering from one place to another and that's continued onto this year," White explained.

This week, Seacrest Beach, Rosemary Beach and the Villages of South Walton have enacted an emergency curfew hoping to disperse the large groups of young people.

Although it's only for a couple more days, resident and business owners said that this emergency curfew is necessary.

"I think the emergency curfew is a great thing. It's bad for business but it's only here another day and it's just to keep everyone safe," Kirk said.

"When you have so many people down at one time it just helps you feel like perhaps there is some control in the community," Visitor Tom Harrison said.

"We have seen or heard of some vandalism and stolen bikes happening at night and that kind of thing but I'd say those are the biggest problems," said White.

"We just can't have four, five, six hundred kids walking the streets and the police are working overtime," Kirk said.

But many of the visiting teens are not thrilled about the new rule.

"Well I thinks it's really dumb because we all paid to be here and they are making us leave and we are all here to go on the beach and they're making us leave the beach and it's just really annoying," said 15-year-old Natalie Demaria.

"I think it's too early and they are ruining everyone's spring break," voiced 15-year-old Taro Rubessa.

"I've already heard there are some kids, a lot of kids down here from our school. And I know some of the have already gotten in trouble with police actually because they have been out late on the beach," said 13-year-old Isabella Crain.

"I hope everyone comes back, just be kind, be courteous, enjoy yourselves. We live at the best place in the world down here on 30A.," said Kirk.

"It would be terrific if they could continue it every spring break," White added.

Seaside put a similar curfew in place at the beginning of spring break and said they are pleased with the outcome.

We reached out to the Walton County Sheriff's Office who said while they are aware of the curfew, they are not there to enforce it but assist the private communities however they need it.