Spring break is in full swing, as beaches and roadways were packed on Monday afternoon. Colorful beach towels dotted the sand, and groups playing beach games gave a festive feel to the years’ first wave of spring breakers. The scene at Destin’s beach revealed that families outnumbered college students, but both demographics were there en masse.
Trent Cox and Ashley Mesecke walk both lines as the two are graduate students of Ole Miss, but they are vacationing with family, as part of a lifelong Destin spring tradition. The chill of the water deterred them from swimming, but the Houston natives were enjoying a leisurely game of horseshoes beside their Texan flag beach tent. When asked what essentials they bring to the beach Cox said, “Paddleball and Football,” and Mesecke added, “A cooler and sunscreen.”
Further down the beach large groups of college students were getting the party started with beer pong and a booze bat. Virginia Military Institute student Carl Ellison told The Log that most of the group had just met for the first time earlier that day.
“A lot of us hitch-hiked from the airport,” he said. “Now we’re just enjoying the beach and meeting people we don’t know.”
One surprising common denominator between spring breakers is the comparison between Destin and Panama City. Florida State student, Jenelle Lemieux shared that in her opinion, Destin is the better place to be.
“Destin is so much better than Panama City,” she said. “It’s less wild.”
Michael Gibbs of Mississippi agreed, saying Panama City seemed "trashy."
“Destin is better,” he said.
Two spring breakers, however, were not having an ideal day, as they were given a citation by the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Department. Patrolling the beaches in a golf cart, Officer Brian Polson explained that they are not trying to ruin vacations, but keep spring breakers safe.
“It’s all about safety,” he said referring to an incident that left a lasting impression on him. “Last year an 18 year old consumed alcohol and dove into a sand bar, and was paralyzed from the waist down.”
Polson told The Log that the procedure in Okaloosa County for underage drinking is to cite a $250 fine with a notice to appear in judicial court, although he explained that out-of-state residents can get the court appearance waived.
“We want to ensure general safety especially when on spring break,” he said. “We usually don’t have too many problems.”
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