Spring break really did begin in Florida! Although what triggered it is much different than what you may have expected.
Back in 1926 a hurricane now named the Great Miami Hurricane devastated the Miami coastline and surrounding shores. In an effort to rebuild the area and attract visitors the city of Ft. Lauderdale built the state’s first Olympic sized swimming pool.
A college swim coach in New York heard of the swimming pool in Ft. Lauderdale and in 1935 took his swim team down to Florida for training during the students Easter break. Within a few short years the College Coaches Swim Forum was born. Three hundred swimmers attended the first forum with several spectators and classmates in tow.
Over two decades later the event continued to gain momentum. In the late 1950’s a college professor overheard students talking about going to “spring break” in Ft. Lauderdale and he decided to see what the excitement was about. For college students it was a coming of age experience and prompted the professor to write “Where the boys are”. The novel focused on the sun, sand, and romance taking place on the beaches in southern Florida.
“Where the boys are” was then adapted for the big screen and its popularity inspired college students to spring break in Ft. Lauderdale! By mid-1980 Ft. Lauderdale was overwhelmed by the crowds and wild parties that evolved. The Mayor of the city publicly announced that spring breakers were no longer welcomed in 1985.
In light of this event the spring break migrated North to Daytona Beach and once MTV got involved revelry ensued. MTV began to advertise that you could spring break anywhere under the sun, which prompted Cancun to rebuild its infrastructure to accommodate spring breakers after being hit by a hurricane.
Spring break lived on in Daytona Beach until bars and clubs started cracking down in the mid 1990’s. Once again spring break moved to a new location, Panama City where it is most popular today.
Who would have thought an Olympic sized swimming pool would have started it all!