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Break Out of Spring Break

South Padre Island aerial
Photo courtesy South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Spring break is (thankfully) fast approaching. As college students, there is rarely money lying around to burn, so that means all trips have to be on the cheaper side. There are always the usual trips to Mexico, or the crazy party scene at Lake Havasu, but here are some alternative options that will still bring the fun and keep the budget relatively low.

Red Rock Camping Sedona is about a two-hour drive north. It offers many attractions from shop-lined streets to a flowing creek bed perfect for swimming and soaking up the sun. There are various resorts in Sedona, but rooms can be a little pricey. Luckily, there are beautiful campgrounds sprinkled along the winding creek that cut through the red rock cliffs.

Most of the campgrounds cost a nightly fee, but the cost is way lower than a stay at a hotel. The price ranges from $15 to $20 a night. If camping seems a little too primitive compared to a resort on the beach, most of the campsites have toilets, showers, fire pits or barbeques and clean drinking water. These are amenities that are taken for granted when camping, and while they might not be a resort, you will be thankful for them.

The frigid water in the creek feels refreshing after a hot hike in the Arizona sun. The hiking trails are immense and take you venturing over river rocks and weaving through oak trees. Not to mention, the beautiful red rocks are the backdrop to all of this. So hop in the car with some friends and prepare to much on s’mores by a campfire in the great outdoors.

Almost Mexico South Padre Island is on the southern tip of Texas and is the perfect alternative to Mexico. South Padre Island is a very popular beach spot in Texas, bordered by the Gulf of Mexico and the Laguna Madre Bay.

The beach vacation destination has all the offerings of a typical beach town: water sports, fishing and lounging on the beach take up sunny days while lively nightlife offer dancing and delicious dining.

This wonderful little oasis is about a 20-hour drive from Phoenix, but the airfare is a bit of an expense at about $480 a ticket. So if you have friends to take turns driving, plan on that. Hotels come as cheap as $50 a night.

Lighthouses Lead the Way I know North Carolina seems far away, but if you’re looking to go somewhere on spring break without a lot of tourists, Cape Hatteras is a laid back town for those who enjoy water sports and relaxation. The Cape offers many restaurants for the foodies as well.

This trip is a little pricier than the two priors because it’s too far to drive, with the airfare in the mid-$400 range. But the hotels aren’t as expensive as you might expect, starting as low as $50 a night. The Cape also has the option of homey bed and breakfasts.

The Cape is also well-known for a rather unique attraction: Historic lighthouses are a perfect way to spend lazy days. You’ll love the romantic southern atmosphere.

Adult Disneyland If you don’t have a lot of time this break and you’re looking for just a little escape from the usual, then a daytrip to an amusement park is perfect. While Disneyland is probably the most popular, being the “happiest place on Earth” and all, sometimes the rides don’t bring the thrill level for older kids, or kids at heart.

The Magic Mountain park is just a six and a half hour-drive from here, so it's possible to get up early, spend the day and then drive home. Make sure you have friends to split up the hours or to help keep you awake while driving, though.

Tickets cost $61.99 at the park gates, but if you buy earlier online, the savings is a $25 difference. The park has tons of roller coasters and other fun-filled rides.

There are hotels in the area if the turn-around trip isn’t appealing. This option allows for time to take a trip into Los Angeles to explore Hollywood and everything else the big city has to offer.

Give Back Trips to utopic places, partying and making new friends are all part of the fun we seek during spring break. Instead of trying to pick somewhere to go for the least amount of money, maybe it's time to zip up your wallets and give back.

There are many opportunities in the local community that don’t involve any travel. But if you don’t want to give up your vacation completely, there are programs that pair travel and volunteering together.

i-to-i is a program that gives people in all walks of life the opportunity to volunteer abroad. Services can be chosen based on the type of work you want to do or the country you wish to go to.

Have a safe and fun spring break wherever you may be.


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