So, how did this shift happen? Why did a sleepy beach town turn into a raging yearly party? There are a few theories. Some say it happened when MTV began hosting concerts every year in the eighties. Others believe it was a case of bad marketing. The beach did in fact endure some very bad press in recent years.
Bad Press or Bad Eggs?
In 2000, Joe Francis videotaped under aged girls inappropriately for "Girls Gone Wild" in Panama City Beach. He was sued several times, and was convicted of prostitution but settled other claims out of court. This publicly displayed lawsuit was another step in the wrong direction for the city's reputation.
Sean Hannity devoted segments of his show on Fox News to uncovering the evils of Panama City's spring break scene in 2014 and 2015. The news crew filmed inebriated teenagers, illegal drugs, and sex scandals on one particular section of the beach behind Club Lavela and Spinnaker Beach Club. The news further tarnished Panama City's name.
Locals, like Bill and Theresa Husfelt, who have seen Panama City grow and develop, have their own theories about the downfall of the beach.
The most recent evaluation of the situation revealed that the most dangerous of the crowd during spring break were what are called the hundred-milers. These are not college-goers, but are older individuals who come to prey on the students. Some are drug dealers, some sexual predators, but all of them visit the beaches for the wrong reasons.
these Still REMAIN
Despite waning appearances, not everything about Panama City Beach has changed altogether. There are a select few locations that have remained mostly the same. The two most iconic of these are Goofy Golf, which began in 1959, and St. Andrews State Park which traces back to 1947.