Every year millions of hard body hot co-eds flock to the beaches of Florida for one reason…..Spring Break. Spring Break is a time of fun in the sun and drunken debauchery.  When you discuss spring break most people think of one place, Daytona Beach, the holy grail of inebriated one night stands. When I was in college I never made a spring break trip to Daytona Beach.  I have lived in Florida my entire life and had never once been there, that was until this past summer.

I was so excited to have a weekend getaway with friends this past June. I was leaving my kids and husband for two days to go to a Cross fit competition, and have some kid-free fun. I had high hopes for Daytona Beach. Picture it, cool ocean breeze with a drink in my hand, my stress melting away, it would be epic.

The drive into Daytona quickly changed my view on what the weekend would become. To say that the area was shady was a galactic understatement.  We drove past “Frank’s Caskets, Caskets, and more.” Which prompted me to ask my friend where our hotel was located? I was hoping we would be staying closer to the beach and further from the cemetery. We must have passed five police cars while driving towards the strip. I was more than nervous about where we would end up. We did book our hotel on a bargain travel website for 50% off. I began to reconsider my policy on travel frugality.

We eventually ended up out front of our hotel.  It didn’t have a parking lot next to the building so we had to run across the highway with our luggage, playing “Frogger” with our lives.  We walked up to the check-in desk to obtain our keys. We were given coupon books for local retailers including “Diamond Dolls” where you could cash in a 2 for 1 lap dance voucher; you better believe I held onto that precious piece of paper.  We barely made it past the counter when my friend was what I could only call accosted by the gay concierge. He was more “handsy” then Pee-Wee Herman at an Adult film festival.

We made our way up to our rooms and found that the air conditioning was broken on our floor. No big deal, its only June. My friends were staying down the hall from me and my roommate had yet to arrive. I walked with them into their room to check it out. It was a pretty standard hotel room. Bit musty, plain white walls, cliché hotel art above the bed, and a mini fridge. They set down their luggage and walked me to my room. We opened the door to what became known as the “Red room” for the weekend.  The walls were painted red, the furniture was new, Ikea brad I could tell. Carpet was a bit wet and mushy, and the Crème de la Crème, a murder stain. Yes, what I believed to be a full-on blood pool in the carpet. The room had been redone minus the death stain. I am pretty sure it is common practice to pull up and remove the carpet from a crime scene. What the fuck happened in this room? I turned to my friends and asked, “Can I stay with you until my roommate gets here?”

We eventually headed out to grab a bite to eat. We walked down the beach for what seemed like miles. We ended up in a nicer area of the strip. People who could afford rooms without murder-stains I supposed. After dinner it was dark so we decided to walk back to the hotel on the street. It was as close to the Bronx’s as I could have imagined. Don’t get upset New Yorker’s, I am Florida born and have no frame of reference for a really rough neighborhood. I can only envision it is like what I see on TV, I watch a lot of “Law and Order.” Bars on every window, neon signs flashing like a disco, and security alarm signs and stickers pasted on every surface.

We passed a hotel with a sign that plainly stated “No Crime Here!” I wasn’t sure if the sign was advertising that crime wasn’t allowed or they hadn’t recently had any. It was alarming none the less. It was the longest, scariest walk I had ever made. I now completely understood why this place was so appealing to college kids, and not Disney movie watching mothers. I was scared to death.

We made it back to the hotel and found that my roommate had arrived, along with some of the other members of our party. I walked my roommate up to the room. She was less than impressed with our accommodations; her first question was “Do you think we will get bed bugs?” I hadn’t even thought of that. WTF, now I am going to go home with bed bugs and potentially an STD from our toilet bowl.

We decided to head out to a bar to have a drink. We weren’t two minutes down the road when we hit a section with yellow caution tape and six police cars lined up along the street. Suspects on the ground, sirens blaring and I am pretty sure the “Cops” camera crew filming while the “Bad Boys” theme song filling the air. This is not the Daytona Beach I had heard about. It was not swaying palms and endless margaritas.  At that point in the vacation, which was only about 6 hours in, I decided to name this awful place #stanktona.  I had never actually hash tagged anything in my life. To be honest I didn’t know what hash-tagging did. But I went around town like the Queen fucking bee of hashtags. It went something like this; #bumonthestreet, #stayclassydaytona, #prostituteoncorner, #WTFisonthisbench?

We ended up making it through the night, but left the next day after our competition. I quickly found out that I am not nearly as hardcore as I once thought I was. I took my bed bug filled laundry and new hash-tagging ability home with me. I had never been so happy to go home to my bed. Daytona, I shall not return unless I wish to get tetanus and Chlamydia. So I bid you farewell and I promise to always pay triple digit minimums for my hotel rooms from this point forward.