Spring Break History

The Start of Spring Break

Elizabeth Christ, Contributor

How did Spring Break start? Though the tradition of the break is relatively new, it is a common feature that many American students have. Some consider the break to be one of the highlights of their educational experience. Many students use their week-long April or March vacation to relax and recharge, while others use the opportunity to travel to exotic location and engage in excited and risky activities. Although Spring Break traditions and sometimes vary from school to school and region to region; the experience itself has become a symbol of modern American schools.


The concept of Spring Break started in 1938 with a swim forum event in Florida. By around 1960, however, the students had begun to come to town in large numbers, and local businesses took advantage of this influx by offering many specials such as all-you-can-drink soda for $1.50. Soon, the town had gained many nicknames and became a primary destination for students and families who were interested in having fun during Spring Break.


As the crowds were becoming larger, year after year, they were becoming more and more difficult to control. By 1985 more than 370,000 families were traveling to Ft. Lauderdale to enjoy their free week. However, rowdy behavior led to at least 2,500 people being arrested that year. Also, the events that were surrounding and happening during Spring Break were finally shut down by the local officials. People were informed that they were no longer welcome to party over their break in the city. However, while Ft. Lauderale closed down there were a number of alternative locations that quickly rose to become primary Spring Break destinations thereafter.


The most common Spring Break destinations today are Panama City, Florida, South Padre Island, Texas, and Cancun, Mexico. Panama City usually hosts around 370,000  college students each year, while South Padre Island has around 150,000 students and in Cancun about 100,000 visit. In Texas and Florida alone, college students who are on Spring Break spend about $1 billion therefore giving a huge boost to some local economies. The average “Spring Breaker” spends around 1,100 dollars a week, which is more than what the average family of four spends on food in a whole month.