PANAMA CITY BEACH — Promoters are estimating more than half a million college students will descend on “the World’s Most Beautiful Beaches” in the six weeks of Spring Break — more individual party machines than at any other well-known Spring Break destination on the planet.
Here are some good reasons they’re planning to come here:
The best things in life are free, and several of the concert performances during the season will be among the best — because they won’t cost a thing. Spinnaker Beach Club is hosting a series of free concerts:
Rodney Atkins will “Take a Back Road” to perform live on the Waterfall Stage at Spinnaker March 8; Luke Bryan is coming back to Spinnaker for his fifth consecutive Spring Break concert with a pair of performances on March 12 and 13; the Randy Rogers Band will take the Waterfall Stage on March 10; and Lee Brice will perform March 17.
All of these concerts have an approximate start time of 4 p.m., and because they are free, all-ages general admission shows, fans are advised to arrive early to get a good spot.
Every year, thousands of college students descend on Panama City Beach during Spring Break, looking to have a good time, but many of them need a safe way back to their lodgings afterward — especially if they over-indulged.
At least two groups are offering free rides each night during Spring Break.
Beach Reach, a college evangelism organization that also helps prepare the free pancake breakfasts, will have vans available to carry kids safely back to their condos or hotels. The rides will be available from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. nightly. During these interactions, the Beach Reach crew has an opportunity to share their message of Christ with their peers.
In addition, Coors Light is bringing its Free Rides program to Panama City Beach March 2-21. Rides will be available nightly from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., with the shuttles traveling on a loop along Thomas Drive and Front Beach Road, stopping at popular bars, restaurants and hotels.
“We believe that with great beer comes great responsibility, and the greatest responsibility is planning ahead for a safe ride home for you and your friends,” said Pamela Perri of MillerCoors. “With the support of Goldring Gulf Distributing Company and our local retail partners, we’re encouraging Panama City Beach visitors to freeze their keys and take a free ride on us during their spring vacation.”
In 2012, more than 20,000 riders took advantage of the free program, according to press materials.
For a detailed route and schedule, call 800-FREE-RIDES or visit CoorsLightFreeRides.com.
Finally, it’s not a free ride, but it might be the next best thing: Rock & Roll Transit Pub Crawl will take customers to six bars in six hours with six free drinks, 2-8 p.m. and again 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., every day during Spring Break. For details, visit RockAndRollTransit.com.
Lifeway Christian Resources will supply student volunteers to serve FREE pancake breakfast meals as part of its “Beach Reach” program at Rock'It Lanes from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 4-7 and 11-14.
Spinnaker is offering FREE beer parties for anyone holding a VIP card. Parties will be 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays; and 7-9 p.m. Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Spinnaker VIP cards allow you to save time and money by skipping the lines as well as the cover charges.
Club La Vela also has specials with its Platinum Card, including free beer, free cover, free foam party and free drinks. With 11 theme rooms, 48 bar stations and a capacity for more than 6,000 customers, Club La Vela will be a serious place to party this spring.
Every Thursday beginning Feb. 28 and continuing through March 28, Hammerhead Fred’s will host its Legendary Foam Party from 7 p.m. to midnight.
Sharky’s will host the Beach Bash Music Fest featuring the duo Florida Georgia Line 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 13. Admission is $30. The duo’s hit “Cruise,” is described as “a hip hop hybrid of crunchy electric guitar riffs, rap lyrics and backwood boondock roots,” and shows how the band captured the excitement and energy of their live shows.
Club La Vela has the following concerts scheduled: LoCash Cowboys March 6 and 26, Naughty by Nature with Pauly D March 12, Lil Jon March 17, Sky Blu March 19, Kairo Kingdom March 24, Juicy J March 26. For details, visit ClubLaVela.com.
Spinnaker Beach Club’s daily Mega Beach Party will feature the beautiful beach, live music, free activities, cold drinks, good food and much more. Throughout the month of March, Spinnaker will host more than 50 live musical performances and more than 80 DJ showcases; live bands will be a mix of rock and country.
Harpoon Harry’s is offering lots of specials for card holders: During specific hours on Fridays, Saturdays and Tuesdays, get free beer and pay no cover; Sunday is an MTV Celebrity Party; Mondays and Wednesdays, have free beer and margaritas with paid cover; and every Thursday is a Spring Break Welcome Party.
The Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort becomes its own ground zero for Spring Break, with vendor tents and attractions set up to keep visitors from ever needing to leave the site. Corporate sponsors include Xbox, the U.S. Army, Victoria’s Secret, Maxim magazine, Hawaiian Tropic and others, which set up fun beachside activities, contests and giveaways. Entertainment starts at 10 a.m. every morning and goes to 2 a.m. every night, plus complimentary shuttle service and free cover at clubs and party spots all over the beach.
Likewise, Seahaven Beach Resorts has joined forces for its guests and “Panamaniac” VIP card holders to get free cover and other specials at clubs including Hammerhead Fred’s, Sharky’s, Harpoon Harry's, Spinnaker and Coyote Ugly, where they can enjoy foam parties, free draft, free concerts and more.
Each of these venues will host Spring Break Welcome Parties 7-11 p.m. Saturday.
Boardwalk Beach Resort has been hosting a “backyard beach party” on the sand for several years. Last year, the visitors included Maxim magazine cover girl (and “30 Rock” actor) Katrina Bowden. Plenty of great events will happen here, including a massive foam party scheduled for March 12, complete with DJs, lasers, black lights and fog.
Sandpiper Beacon and its Tiki Bar offer a more laid back vibe, despite the planned beachside contests and games (college vs. college, bikini contests, booty shakin’ contests, beach volleyball tournaments and more). Arrive before 10 p.m. to beat the lines and get free entry at the Tiki Bar.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE
The Panama City Beach Tourist Development Council has partnered withCollegiate Marketing Group, Gildan Activewear, and a host of beach businesses to offer the first-ever “Official” Spring Break souvenir T-shirt — look for about 30,000 shirts bearing a unique Spring Break design on the back and the TDC logo on the front. Available at locations all over the area, the shirts will be given away FREE to students as thanks for making PCB the “Spring Break Capital of the World.”
“Spring Break and free T-shirts have been synonymous with each other for decades,” said Carm Giardina, a representative of Collegiate Marketing Group, in a website statement. “It’s the one souvenir spring breakers expect to come home with — a badge of honor proving they attended the number one student party of the year.”
The full list of sponsors (and their websites) can be found at PCBeachSpringBreak.com.
Teen Nights return to The Darkroom at Club La Vela on March 15, just for teens 13-17. Come early between 7-8 p.m. and pay a discount cover varying from $15-$25. Call 235-1061 for details. Sodas, juice and Red Bull will be available for purchase, and extra security will be on hand. No smoking is allowed, everyone must sign in and out, and the rest of the club and pool deck are off limits for anyone under 18.
Spring Weekend, billed as “the nation’s largest collegiate music festival,” is coming to the beach on April 12-13, and will be hosted by the Sago Center (across from Paradise Palms hotel), 12907 Front Beach Road. No headliners have been announced yet. Check SpringWeekend.com for details.
Important ‘S’ Words:
- Stave off Sun Stroke: Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water.
- Stranger Danger: Don’t accept a drink from a stranger, or a ride from one. Travel and party only with people you know.
- Sunscreen: Slap it on and reapply every couple of hours.
- Swimming Safety: Don’t swim alone, and never when double red flags are posted.
- Safe Sex: If you need this explained, then you have no business going to Spring Break. Go home.
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