Before going home to my family in Saint Louis, I spent a few days in Destin to kickoff my Spring Break. I’ll give a breakdown of the social experience that Destin offers its Spring Breakers.
It’s important to note that in Destin, Florida, Spring Break has been institutionalized. I had this conversation with one of my cab drivers about how Spring break is a time when businesses capitalize on the tourists. Stores are overflowing with gear that proclaims ‘Spring Break 2013.’ But to cater to their youthful audience, these shops carry shirts that emphasize the party culture as well. “Party with Sluts” or “Got Wasted in Destin” were some of the more popular tanks I saw floating around. Beer funnels, hats that can carry drinks, personalized shot classes, and other paraphernalia can easily be acquired at the local shops.
Furthermore, big local parties are held for the Spring Breakers each night. Clubs make a killing by hosting raves or foam parties that have steep cover charges for the ‘under 21’ demographic. These parties are advertised well. An airplane would fly along the shore, and inform all the college kids “Paint Party at NightTown– TONIGHT.”
With Destin businesses actively working to perpetuate this culture, the Spring Break party experience thrives for college students to enjoy.
No parents? No wonder a lot of the hotels and condominiums are reluctant to rent out to those under 21. Our group had a hard time finding a place that would take us. Noise violations don’t just happen in the SMU dorms. Many groups got in trouble from their landlords for being noisy or rowdy. So, not wanting to get evicted, the solution is to bring the parties to the beach.
Midweek we met up with a group who had spent a good hour carving out a beer pong table in the sand. People could jump down into the trench and play a game or two while chatting with friends. Kegs buried in the sand were a big drawing point for strangers. We met some TCU football players and UGA & Auburn guys who had come over to grab a beer and hang out.
This particular group found it amusing to ‘ice’ strangers. They’d have smirnoff ice hidden strategically under towels so that those who uncovered them, were forced to chug (according to unbreakable social rules).
Individual groups also played pick-up volleyball or maybe just laid out to tan. But enough stalling, it’s finally time to talk about the WHALES TAIL: hub of Destin’s Spring Break Darty (*Day-Party).
You can see people walking along the surf heading towards the Whale’s Tail starting around noon. From around 2-6pm everyone is at Whales Tail. It’s essentially an outdoor bar and in front of the bar, hundred of kids congregate to party. Fraternities hoist massive flags with their school flag under their fraternity flag. Doing this, all the Lambdas or SAEs (or etc.) can find their brothers from different schools. Under the flags, there’s music, drinks, or perhaps a tent.
Mind you, this is all packed in very tight. And people are standing- there’s not a lot of people ‘laying out.’ Tightly compact, people are not spread out until you get to the fringes of the group. Because MIPS (Minor in Possession) are given out very liberally, the exterior (or fringe, as I called it) looks fairly innocent. Older college kids and those using closed unmarked containers are deliberately closest to the sheriff. But by venturing into the center, students are blatant with their drinks. Beer pong tables are set up (or dug out of the sand), tables of liquor and open coolers sit out in the sun. Game after game of binge drinking.
Beach side, I saw some kids with a hallowed out baseball bat that they’d fill with a drink. They’d make someone chug it, then however many seconds it took them to chug it, they had to spin around (forehead to the bat) that many times. After that, people would pitch to them and they’d have to hit it.
There’s basically a lot of drinking with a very fratty group. Girls walk around everywhere wearing matching shirts from their sorority, repping their letters or they wore classic fisherman’s shirts over their swimming suit. Walmart (when we went the first night) had college students lining every isle. Basic products like Sprite or other sodas were completely sold out as these students walked around in little packs with carts piled high.
I knew of almost a dozen SMU groups that headed to Destin and saw SMU kids almost everywhere we went. We bumped into our friends on the beach, the stores, the parties. And luckily, because there are so many groups- there was never a lack of ‘things to do.’ Vising friends or hanging out with different groups each day made the experience both fast paced and interesting.