Bars that admit you at age eighteen and close at 4 a.m. will almost make you forget that the temperature sometimes gets to only seventy degrees in March at America's biggest spring-break destination, on Florida's west coast.
You might hear about Scoop - the ecstasylike and potentially lethal rave drink of choice, a liquid drug sold by the gallon that promises energy for clubgoers - but most of the 500,000 kids in town seem more interested in the local aphrodisiacs: beer and oysters.
Girl You'll Meet:
Junior education major from Auburn.
- What She'll Wear: Abercrombie & Fitch tank top; Oakleys.
- Where She'll Stay: Spring-break ground zero - the Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort.
- Career Hope: Trophy wife.
- What She'll Do: Blow off midterms to leave early with best friend in friend's '99 Accord; get rose tattoo on ankle and pregnancy test.
Guy You'll Meet:
- Senior engineering major from Michigan State.
- What He'll Wear: Nike swim trunks, Panama City Beach shirt with letters shaped like Calvin Klein logo.
- Where He'll Stay: Coconut Grove.
- Career Hope: Electrical engineer.
- What He'll Do: Drive in from Michigan with best friend; develop inferiority complex due to muscle-bound spring breakers; ogle the bare chests of the best-looking women he's ever seen; not get laid.
Local Police Firepower: An eight-ton tank capable of withstanding armor-piercing bullets, and the Black Dragon, vehicle of choice for Sgt. Rodney Tilley's Tactical Street Crime Unit (known inside the department as the Men in Black).
"We act like assholes," Tilley says. "It's our job." When cells are overcrowded, you'll be handcuffed to a metal rail. Last year's garbage haul: 206,000 pounds - much of it picked up by spring breakers in orange jumpsuits busted by Officer Vicki Patrick and sentenced at PCB's 8 a.m. spring-break court sessions.
You'll Need: A raincoat; extra coin for criminal cover charges.
Best Beach: Days Inn.
Local Cocktail: Hunch Punch. One and you're done.
Midnight Skinny-dip: Clothing optional day or night, but for privacy go to St. Andrews State Recreation Area or Laguna Beach.
Cheap Breakfast: All-American Diner's buffet ($4.99).
Cheap Lunch: Cajun Inn's specials start at $4.99.
Hangover Cure: Hash at Corams Steak and Eggs.
Naughtiest Contest: Last year, police were called in to Sharky's Sex on the Beach contest, where contestants formed as many sexual positions as possible within sixty seconds.
Ground Zero: Spinnaker, an 80,000-square-foot club containing a waterfall and four different kinds of music. Each March, about 150,000 students pass through the doors.
Best T-shirt Slogan: Confederate flag with the legend Like Hell I'll Forget!
Cheap and Hip Hotels: Majestic and Chateau.
Best Contact With the Local Mammals: PCB is one of the few places in the world where dolphins approach humans. Rent a pontoon or take a charter to Shell Island and just jump in the water.
Best Beach Characters: Bible thumpers, saving souls in sin city. Give them credit for trying.
Oreo Run: Wal-Mart Supercenter - a grocery store, McDonald's, lube garage and airbrush counter all in one.
* This article originally appeared in Rolling Stone.