You ever think about how Spring Break came to be?
Turns out, it’s an interesting story that includes as much business, marketing, and politics as it does partying.
I watched a new Showtime documentary this weekend called Spring Broke that chronicles the history of Spring Break and how it’s evolved over the years and I highly recommend you check it out.
It’s packed with interesting stuff such as the fact that cigarette companies fueled the growth of the Daytona Beach Spring Break scene because it was a cheap (and semi-legal) way for them to market to college kids. And once it was made illegal for them to do so, alcohol brands stepped in and picked up the torch.
It was also interesting to see the impact MTV’s Spring Break coverage had and tons of behind-the-scenes stuff like how MTV always made it seem a lot more wild and warm than it actually was.
While I never went to Daytona Beach for Spring Break, watching the documentary made me think back to my own Spring Break adventures.
Most of my memories of them are appropriately foggy, but here’s a few things I remembered.
I remember my first real Spring Break experience happening when I was a senior in high school.
A bunch of my friends piled into a couple cars and drove down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. None of us had much money, but one of my friends who had a particularly low bankroll decided to spend almost all of it on fireworks at a weird/infamous truck stop called South of the Border on our drive down.
By day two of our trip, he was out of money, but fully stocked with an artillery of fireworks we had no real use for.
I also remember that on one of our first days there, we met a group of girls from Indiana of all places who we hung out with for the duration of the trip. We went on to meet back up with them multiple times in multiple other locations over the next few years.
It didn’t seem particularly odd at the time, but considering this all happened in a pre-Internet, pre-cell phone era, it actually seems like an amazing accomplishment in retrospect.
I have no idea how those friendships were maintained or how those reunion trips were coordinated, but I’m going to guess beepers were involved since that was pretty much the extent of our technology back then.
In college, I found myself in Miami for Spring Break, where I turned 21 and rented a car that I put on my first credit card and am probably still paying off.
Then, my senior year of college I spent my final Spring Break flying to Los Angeles with my Mom. It was the first time I saw the city that would become my home for the next (almost) 20 years and it was the week I decided to make the move.
I even interviewed with a company that week that wound up hiring me a few months later and was my first post-college job.
Based on that, I might have to say the highlight of my Spring Break experiences was a trip with my Mom. It certainly wasn’t my most fun Spring Break experience, but it definitely had the biggest long-term impact.
This is all a long-winded way of saying you should check out Spring Broke – here’s the trailer: