Anne Costabile, Chattanooga, Tenn. – Spring Break, also known as the Promised Land for college students is a whole week filled with happy days and sunny rays, warm beaches and cold drinks, friends and fellow beach lovers alike.
Most college students aren’t the recipients of million-dollar inheritances, tropical destinations such as the Caribbean or Hawaii are off-limits so I’ve narrowed it down to a few closer, cheaper (but still warm and sunny) options.
Panama City, Fla.
Sure, Panama City can have its wild moments, but this waterfront town offers more than clubs and crazy college kids. From quaint breakfast spots to beach bars, there are endless options for oysters, burgers and seafood pizza. Coconuts Restaurants serves the ‘best breakfast in Panama City” along with a tropical vibe. Treble Hooks Bar and Grill, a grill overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, offers food with a view. So, it’s been a few days and you’re beached out. No fear, there are plenty on non-beach activities. One of my favorite things to do in Panama City is to go to Pier Park, a lifestyle center fully equipped with restaurants, boutiques, and entertainment. Walk off the seafood platter from The Back Porch by window shopping along the 900,000 square foot area and finish the day off right with a Ferris wheel ride. Panama City has it all — beautiful beaches, good food, and good times.
Gulf Shores, Ala.
Gulf Shores, Ala. is a small town oozing with small town charm. Sandy beaches are the main attraction, but that’s not all there is to this cozy beach town. If you’re look to simply hang out, The Hangout is perfect. Eating fried shrimp and drinking a Piña Colada while listening to live music sounds like a good combination to me. I couldn’t agree with you more, Hangout. Sure, you can step in the ocean and see all sorts of fish, but for encounters with different animals, try the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. Kangaroos, lemurs and tigers are just a few of the animals that you can interact and play with at this seaside zoo. If you don’t want to hang at The Hangout or mix and mingle with animals at the zoo, there are miles of white sandy beaches waiting for you.
One of the more popular cities on Florida’s Emerald Coast is Destin, known for its emerald green water and soft sand, perfect for building sand castles (But, let’s be honest, how many college kids are going to spend their Spring Break building sand castles). For a bird’s eye view of the emerald green water, parasailing is the perfect activity. Unless you’re scared of heights, of course. Destin is full of savory restaurants, but my favorite Destin restaurant is Fudpuckers, a beachside bar and grill with a gator beach, graffiti’d walls, and live music. Aside from being an ideal sand making beach, Destin is an ideal sunbathing, corn hole playing, and memory making beach.
Honestly, a country song could be written about the perfect spring break in any of these tropical destinations. So, go on and sit pretty in suntan city.