Spring Break – 1960 to 2015


Although celebrations of spring date back to the ancient Romans and Greeks, it’s generally agreed that the movie “Where the Boys Are,” released in 1960, promoted Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as THE place for the college crowd to “break out” of their winter doldrums and enjoy  sun, surf, and…well, you know…

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Connie Francis, who starred with Delores Hart, Yvette Mimieux, Paula Prentiss, George Hamilton, and other heart-throbs of that era, sang the title song which continues to be pulled out of mothballs as the weather warms and hordes of young people head for fun destinations all over the globe.

In 1985, as more than 300,000 partiers descended on Fort Lauderdale, the mayor went on television and announced that students were no longer welcome. Residents and city managers alike had decided the financial windfall left by the college crowds was not worth the additional costs incurred in trying to keep them controlled.

And so enterprising youngsters moved further south to the Caribbean and Mexico where drinking ages were lower and the sun was even warmer.

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Others who weren’t so flush gravitated to Panama City or Daytona Beach, FL; South Padre Island, TX; Myrtle Beach, SC; and Biloxi, MS among other cities. These destinations are still among the most popular with college breakers.

While enjoying the huge influx of cash, some locations continue to try to reign in the revelers. Colleges have also begun promoting safer activities and even mission-type trips where breakers perform public services like tutoring migrant workers, registering voters, or even repairing homes for those less fortunate.

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Many cities still courting college students post break dates on their websites, so you can check to see which colleges are out which week. Dates start as early as mid-February and continue until late April.

Other cities have discovered that the family market can be just a lucrative as the college crowd, and they’re generally a lot easier to patrol.

Elementary and high school breaks generally fall around the Easter holiday, either the week before or after. So there might be some overlap with the college kids, but it’s generally a little calmer and more G or PG rated.

Cruises continue to be popular with both college groups and families. And of course, any destination is a great place to be in the spring!

Spring break trips with our own kids usually included a beach location with a friend or two included to make the family trip more palatable. And we might take in Walt Disney World for a few days too, in spite of the huge crowds in attendance there.

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While we discussed group trips with them, the only ones we (and they) actually took were to sporting tournaments. And when they became adults, they planned their own trips – and paid for them!

If you haven’t already made your reservations for Spring Break 2015, it may be a challenge to find availability. But especially in the “family” resort areas, you can usually find something. So enjoy! Spring is just around the corner! And after the winter we’ve all endured, we definitely deserve a break!

Next: Spring Training Vacation Trips

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