Are these mostly straight party playgrounds to be avoided by GLBT students? Not necessarily - it really depends what your criteria is for a good time. None of these destinations are inherently unsafe for gay visitors, but obviously, if you're in Cancun or Panama City at a nightclub or party that's packed with straight collegiate types, many of whom have had a bit to drink, you might want to exercise more discretion and caution (avoid same-sex public displays of affection) than were you in Key West, Palm Springs, or any of the other more gay-welcoming destinations outlined elsewhere in this article.
That being said, there is gay nightlife in Cancun and Panama City, and the popular Texas spring break getaway South Padre Island has a gay circuit party each spring and fall, called Splash Padre Island - these are held in late April and mid-October, however, not during spring break. One of the more rapidly burgeoning spring break spots in the country, Lake Havasu City, has virtually no gay scene to speak of. This popular boating and hiking destination just across California from the Colorado River is somewhat conservative, but as students are coming here in greater numbers each year, the nascent gay presence is growing. And there is a gay bar - the Lariat Saloon - in Bullhead City, just across from the casinos of Laughlin, Nevada, about 60 miles north.
For the most part, these predominantly straight spring party meccas probably aren't the best bets for gay travelers seeking a vacation among like-minded souls. But if for some reason you're headed to any of these places, perhaps because you run with a mostly straight group of friends, you'll probably find Cancun offering the best gay scene (also see the notes above, in the Puerto Vallarta section, on safety in Mexico), with Panama City and South Padre Island both tied for second. Panama City Beach does have a very fun gay dance club, Splash Bar, and inland within the city of Panama Beach, you can party at the Fiesta Room Lounge.