What to expect during your spring break beach trip


Submitted photo.

Ben Jordan

If you’re going to the Florida beaches on spring break, be ready for:

Beach games – with alcohol (usually) and otherwise.

Easy hook-ups if you want one.

Big-time concerts with wet T-shirt (and other) contests.

Travel and living on the cheap (like six to a room).

Let’s use Panama City, Fla. – a popular Kent State destination – as an example.

The beach and beer

You’ll smell salt and beer and tanning lotion. You’ll feel the sun and the ocean breeze. You’ll hear the bass line of the music pouring out of the two-story speakers by the beach stage.

You’ll see a white beach jammed with scantily clad students, socializing, playing, drinking. Some actually try to get a tan.

You’ll see flags – for schools, for states, for fraternities so people can find each other easily.

Nobody swims. They may walk in the ocean up to their waist to cool off.

Dozens of vendors set up tents and booths, marketing products by giving things out. Like bottle openers. Or koozies. Lanyards. And condoms.

You’ll see beer cans everywhere and people picking up beer cans and other trash. You shouldn’t see glass. It’s one of the rules police enforce the most.

“One of my buddies stepped on a piece of glass the first night we got down there and cut his foot open,” said Dave Layton, senior business management major. “He had to get 12 stitches”

Police scan the beach from boardwalk, but they seem to pay more attention to the danger of glass and fights and less to underage drinking, Layton said.

And there’s beer.

There’s sand pong … and dizzy bat … and corn hole … and KanJam.

Most are variation of games students play here, but warmer, sandier and much more alcoholic.

Sex and love

If you want them, you can find random hook-ups most anywhere – the beach, hotel parties, clubs and bars.

Layton said you’ll see men on the beach holding cardboard “shots for boobies” signs, or people making out on the beach before heading to their hotel rooms.

“You can’t fight nature,” Dave said. “And love is definitely in the air in Panama.”

And strange things happen.

Last year a girl came up to two buddies on the beach. One guy took her back to his hotel room. About an hour later, she came down and started talking to the other guy. They ended up back in her room (neither guy knew until the next day).

Sometimes a quick fling can lead to something more.

Dan Fisher, a senior broadcast journalism major, met an Alabama girl named Tabitha on the beach last year. They started hanging out and said they’d keep in touch. Unlike a lot of those promises, they did.

“I think I fell in love with the accent,” Fisher said.

They began a long distance until she eventually decided to move to Kent.

A few months later, “she dropped out of college and moved in with me. She was here for a couple of weeks, but things didn’t work out, and we broke up. We’re still friends today.”

But she’s back in Alabama.

Spring break games

How to play sand pong: Dig a pit in the sand, make a table out of sand, fill your pong cups with sea water. Then play. You don’t drink the sea water, just the beer in your hand (to stay sanitary – and not drink sand).

Dizzy bat: “Fill a whiffle ball bat with a beer and drink. How many seconds it takes you to drink the beer (and probably some sand) is how many times you have to spin around (and fall flat in the sand). “You get really dizzy,” says Stapleton, “and then someone pitches the empty can at you and you hit it.”

Corn hole: Like in Ohio but use sandbags, not beanbags. And if you don’t have a corn hole, dig one in the sand.

KanJam: Use a large trash bin. Cut a slit in it about twice as thick and twice as wide as a frisbee. Throw the frisbee on top or in the slit. When you do, take a drink. If you don’t, drink anyway.

Fun and games

Club La Vela, located next to the beach, is one of the largest nightclubs in the world and can hold thousands of people. It is notorious for foam parties, wet T-shirt contests and MTV coverage.

You can also find wet T-shirt (and other) contests at The Summit, a condominium resort. It provides a concert stage on the beach and hires DJs to play music all day long. The stage is home to music, giveaways and contests.

“They have wet T-shirt contests a couple times a week,” said Steve Stapleton, Kent State senior communications major. “Booty-shaking contests happen, too. Girls do it because they think, ‘Hey, you only live once’ and because they can win a few hundred dollars if you come in first.”

If the guys in the first row try to get too close to the girls, they can get sprayed in the face with a hose (or worse).

Guys have their contests, too – hard body contests, push-up contests (with a girl sitting on your back) and rap battles.

And then this year there’s Dayglow, whose tour is in Panama City on March 19.

“It’s basically the world’s largest paint party,” Layton said. “It’s crazy, awesome insane. They have paint cannons that shoot over 100 feet and you can buy paint and just pour it on people.”

There’s techno and house music. “They have a lot of great special effects — it’s definitely one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to,” Layton said.

Because St. Patrick’s Day will also be during spring break, expect to see shamrock bikinis on the beach and green beer in bars.

“You’ll probably see a lot of green beads,” Layton said. “And a lot of people flashing for them.”

Keep the cost down

If you share, it can be done fairly cheap.

If you have a group of people, it’s better and cheaper to split the room and the gas.

Usually students will purchase a single bedroom hotel room and cram in as many people as possible.

“I’ve heard of people going down and sleeping in vans,” Stapleton said. “But it’s just less convenient than a hotel room. And you’d have to poop in the ocean.”

Contact Ben Jordan at [email protected].