SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Right now, people may be changing their spring break plans after an announcement that Gulf Shores, AL, is banning alcohol on its beaches. The ban lasts through April 17, and with an alcohol ban also in place in Panama City Beach, FL, there's a possibility that spring breakers could be headed our way.
The white sandy beaches of the Mississippi Gulf Coast may not get the same number of tourists that other beaches get during spring break, but several people think that could change.
"Everybody's fixing to come here," said Shawn Miller, a spring breaker from Arkansas.
Beaches to our east are enforcing alcohol bans through the spring break season.
"I think anytime you take away something from the people, they're going to be upset about it. I think their loss is our gain," said Alston Evans, manager of Biloxi Beach Jet Ski Rentals.
Evans would love to see more people head our way. For him, more people means more business. He hopes spring breakers will realize that drinking is still allowed on most of our beaches.
"You can come to Biloxi, ride some jet skis, barbecue, crack a few beers, have a good time and we'll take them as they come," said Evans.
Other college students have already made the choice to come to our beaches. Marquette Johnson said he and his friends from Arkansas don't drink, but they love the festive atmosphere that comes with the crowds on spring break.
"Just don't get too wild that they'll shut it down here," said Johnson.
The desire to continue allowing alcohol on our beaches doesn't just stop with college students. Greg Augsburger is a father of two from Illinois enjoying spring break in Biloxi.
"I'm tired of all the bans anyway. That's all we seem to do in the United States anymore is just ban everything," said Augsburger.
He believes it only hurts an area to enforce a drinking ban.
"Let them have some fun. Let them blow off some steam. If they're age eligible, let them go and drink some alcohol on the beach," said Augsburger.
Skylar Watson is visiting with his friends from Arkansas. He hopes the Mississippi coast doesn't end up in the same situation that Gulf Shores and Panama City Beach are now dealing with.
He does believe more spring breakers will end up on our beaches.
"These places are going to start getting a little bit more traffic, and I don't know if they're going to start having to ban it if it gets to crazy here now, so I don't know. It might be just like a vicious cycle," said Watson.
Alcohol is allowed on the beaches in Harrison County, Hancock County and Ocean Springs, as long as you don't bring glass containers. Alcohol is not permitted on Pascagoula beaches, unless you obtain an alcohol permit for special events.