Many college students eagerly packed up and headed off to various spring break destinations during these past few weeks, a fair few of them heading to Gulf Shores, Alabama. Never having experienced a college spring break before, the reaction to Gulf Shores was a bit different from expected for most of us.
You're going to have a beautiful golden tan
If you do spring break right, you'll be too busy running in and out of condos up and down the beach to have time to lay out and bake in the sun. If you were sneaky enough to get a spray tan before embarking on the trip, congratulations! You looked great, and made everyone else look pasty. If you are blessed with skin that's easily bronzed by the sun let's hope you hung out in just your bikini. Otherwise you might be suffering from the ill fated high-waisted shorts, sandal, or fanny pack tan line.
You're going to look cute 24/7
During the day, most of us breakers donned the classic bathing suit, denim shorts, PFG, and fanny pack combination (Hawaiian shirts for the bros). You would be better off packing ten different swimsuits and embracing the fact that your hair will be wet from the ocean all day. Unless you made it out later that night for a party or dinner with the girls, your cute clothes stayed neatly folded (or in a heap) next to your suitcase. The rest of the time was spent lounging in big shirts and Nike shorts, letting the aloe vera lotion soak into our sunburns as we watched our Easy Mac boil in the microwave.
which brings me to another point…
You will definitely eat all the food you bought
My hat goes off to those who made their own meals not from a box, can or carton. You the real MVPs. Poptarts were my main food group; there's fruit in those, right? Being out of the house from about 11 am to 4 pm means you aren't eating, and most of your food sits waiting for you to drunkenly stumble back and eat a random bag of popcorn and fruit roll ups in the late afternoon before showering and heading out to one of Gulf Shores many popular dinner options, whether it be The Hangout or Waffle House.
You're going to hang out with your friend group
Most of us travelled with a sorority, fraternity or close group of friends, but just because you arrived with them doesn't guarantee you will see them a single moment after. You can plan to spend every waking moment together, but the odds are you're going to lose them within five minutes of your first day out. Someone wants to go home, someone runs off with a group of random strangers, and theres always that person who is in the ocean the... entire... day.
You'll be staying at the same place as all your friends
Highly unlikely. With so many students from so many schools flocking to the beach it would be impossible to fit them all in one square mile, let alone one single hotel. Houses, condos and hotels span over 10 miles down the beach; hopefully you won't be walking that far. But if you are, don't worry, it's much more fun with a group of friends making stops every few houses to meet new people or say hi to old friends. The biggest blessing was having one or two girls volunteer to shuttle everyone around for the day. Pile up in mom's borrowed minivan, kids!!
Police are out to get you
They may be all over the road 24/7, but that's just to keep drunk drivers off the road. Which is something we can all be grateful for since Gulf Shores has zero sidewalks for all of its drunk pedestrians. The few times they busted a party they weren't handing out MIPs like they were candy either; just making sure everyone got a safe ride and kept the noise down. Shoutout to you Gulf Shores PD.
You're going to party all day everyday
We may be young, but no ones body can withstand drinking in the sun all day then rallying to drink all night for an entire week. My hat goes off to those who made it out on more than three nights in a row. The sun drains you, the drinking drains you and so does all the walking, swimming, dancing, running, laughing and posing for Instagram pictures. I would recommend going out during the day and recuperating at night.
It's going to be just like every stereotypical college movie
I didn't see a single wet t-shirt contest the entire time. Thank goodness. While there are plenty of popular beaches for this type of crazy partying, Gulf Shores was a bit more laid back but still plenty of fun. There were parties day and night, but nothing that would worry your mother. It was the perfect destination for freshman spring break -- just enough to prepare us for sophomore spring break!
It may not be everything you anticipate, but hopefully it exceeds your good expectations. I couldn't have asked for a better place to spend my first college spring break.