Ah, spring break! Time to forget the books and head to the Destin, Florida, area for a week of fun in the sun and on the beach. But if you are under 21 years of age, you would do well to think seriously before drinking alcohol in Okaloosa County. Law enforcement officials have made it a priority to stop underage drinking by college students on spring break.
Last year, Destin instituted a “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to underage drinking. Should law enforcement officers discover you drinking illegally, they will take you to jail. Lest you think you will somehow not get caught, you should know that the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office arrested 444 college students last year for underage drinking. In addition, the Tourist Development Council provides funding so that additional deputies can – and do – patrol the town and beaches.
In addition to the new zero tolerance underage drinking policy, the Destin City Council passed a new ordinance limiting the number of people who can occupy any motel room or other short-term rental property. The occupant cap now consists of the following:
- Two people per bedroom
- Maximum of four additional people
- Overall cap of 24 people per unit of whatever size
Public health and safety
Neither Destin nor Okaloosa County seeks to discourage college students from coming to this area on spring break. Rather, officials see the new rules as a quality of life issue. They note a decided decrease in the number of fights, sexual battery and property damage complaints since the new rules went into effect. In addition, considerably fewer swimmers became distressed and required medical help. Furthermore, trash, parking and noise complaints likewise have decreased significantly.
The message is clear. By all means, come to Destin and Okaloosa County on spring break. Have a great time! But remember to act as a responsible, law-abiding person while here.