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Take A Look Back: Fort Lauderdale Spring Break Throughout The Decades

We live where you vacation.

It's a line many Fort Lauderdale locals often use to make family and friends jealous of South Florida's year-round warm weather and pristine beaches. But every spring, when masses of college students descend upon our sandy beaches and congregate in front of the restaurants and bars near Beach Place, those same locals know to keep their distance from the area for a little while. 

Still, as many longtime residents can attest, spring break in Fort Lauderdale is not what it used to be—and for many, that's a good thing. The city made an effort to rid itself of its party destination reputation fueled by the 1960 movie "Where the Boys Are" and has focused on bringing families and affluent tourists to the Venice of America. 

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"We said goodbye to spring break in 1986," a representative from the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau said. "Back then there were 400,000 college students converging on our shores. It was a conscious decision that has allowed us to grow and [prosper], attracting five-diamond hotels, luxury real estate development, a thriving arts and entertainment scene, eclectic dining, shopping and sightseeing, and 15 million visitors from all over the world."

Today, Fort Lauderdale still sees its fair share of spring breakers—about 10,000 to 12,000 per year—but the scene is decidedly calmer. 

"[The students] are likely to be staying at a good hotel and enjoying our chic nightlife, as well as quality beach time," the rep said. 

We dug into our archives and reached out to the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society and Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau to gather photos of spring break in Fort Lauderdale in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. While the fashion and hairstyles have changed throughout the decades, it's clear that the search for fun in the sun still remains. 

  • Spring Break: 1950s

fort lauderdale spring break

(Courtesy of the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society, Gene Hyde Collection)

Spring Break 1960s

(Courtesy of the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society, Gene Hyde Collection)

  • Spring Break: 1960s

Fort Lauderdale Spring Break

(Courtesy of the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society, Gene Hyde Collection)

Spring Break florida

(Courtesy of the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society, Gene Hyde Collection)

  • Spring Break: 1970s

Fort Lauderdale Spring Break

(Gold Coast magazine archives, Photo by Art Seitz)

Fort Lauderdale Spring Break

(Gold Coast magazine archives, Photo by Art Seitz)

florida beaches Spring Break

(Gold Coast magazine archives, Photo by Art Seitz)

Fort Lauderdale Spring Break

(Gold Coast magazine archives, Photo by Art Seitz)

Fort Lauderdale Spring Break

(Gold Coast magazine archives, Photo by Art Seitz)

Fort Lauderdale Spring Break

(Gold Coast magazine archives, Photo by Art Seitz)

Spring Break: 1980s​

Fort Lauderdale Spring Break

(Courtesy Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitor's Bureau)  

Fort Lauderdale Spring Break

(Courtesy Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitor's Bureau)  

  • Spring Break: Today

 
Spring Break 2016 Fort Lauderdale Beach

Yep, it's definitely spring break.

Posted by Gold Coast's Fort Lauderdale Daily on Tuesday, March 8, 2016