Spring break in Palm Springs

Palm Springs, Calif. - In the 1980's, Palm Springs was a top destination for college-aged spring breakers. 

"It was very fun," long-time Palm Springs resident, Tom Sanchez said. "It would be packed with thousands of people here. MTV was here."

But the party got a little too wild for the town, and then mayor Sonny Bono shut it down in 1991. 

Today you're just as likely to see an elementary school spring breaker as a college-aged one downtown. We ran into families visiting from the cooler climates of Montana, Washington, and a family of 10 from Oregon. 

"It's very welcoming," said Jerry Cain from Portland. "It's hot. Friendly."

There was an increase in college students in the desert during spring break in recent years, but this year, the Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism stopped marketing directly to colleges.

"In the past we've actually done street teams that go out to the college campuses," Palm Springs Visitor's Bureau Director of Tourism, Mary Jo Ginther said. "The street teams are young kids that wear 'Follow me to Palm Springs' shirts, and they literally go talk to college students."

Ginther says large events like Coachella, Stagecoach, and the final run of The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies are helping to fill up hotels in the spring, causing less of a need to market spring break to colleges. That marketing money will be spent promoting summer events in Palm Springs.

"April is what we call a peak month now," Ginther said. "So we can shift that and use it for summer."

Spring brings a different party to the desert than it once did, but Ginther says tourism has never been better than it has this season.

"The whole season has been fantastic," Ginther said. "We all look at a couple of different things. We look at something called transient occupancy tax. That's the hotel tax that brings revenue for the respective cities. We look at sales tax because the people are dining, they're spending money shopping, going to attractions, taking tours, attending events. All those things produce sales tax. Those things have been a record for the city of Palm Springs."

comments powered by Disqus

Photo Galleries