Spending spring break on the beach is a decades-old tradition

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (KVEO) — In addition to the traffic, weather and safety issues associated with Spring Break, there is a long history of the tradition.

The parties, the drinking and the days at the beach: spring break for many at South Padre Island. The celebrations, however, were not always about partying. The spring break we know today comes from an indoor pool in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

According to historian Steve Hathcock, “other colleges started coming down, too. By the late 1930s, colleges from the East Coast were coming down to Florida…and of course, where the guys went, the girlfriends would follow.”

It wasn’t till the 1960s that South Padre Island became a destination.

“Students that came home from college that couldn’t afford to go to Fort Lauderdale would come down here. They would bring friends down here, and eventually, it grew from the Easter break [and] evolved into Spring Break,” Hathcock explains.

Spring Break in South Padre Island started out small. Now It’s one of the go-to destinations for many across the country.

And even though decades have passed since then, many things have not changed—especially when it comes to drinking beer on the beach.

“During the 1970s the major brewing companies, Miller and Budweiser, would compete to see who would bring the best bands or groups down here,” Hathcock says.

Today, venues compete to bring in big artists to entertain spring-breakers.

One thing that has changed for the better is the improvement traffic flow. It may take hours to get across down to the coast, but things used to be much worse.

“The traffic was so unimaginable. You might be trapped in traffic for 8 hours just trying to go across the bridge and back,” Hathcock said.

Regardless of the traffic, it looks like the beach will continue to be a major destination for Spring Break travelers for decades to come.