Take a hike this spring break and enjoy the fresh air.

It’s that time of year again, for some of us it just means no classes, but for some it means a long-awaited vacation with friends to a warm and sunny beach. But some of us can’t afford the latter, especially not on a college budget. So instead of booking plane tickets to a beach, here are some ideas about how to spend your spring break on a budget. 

Go camping— if the weather is nice—which I know is a gamble here in Kentucky— consider going camping. Spring break is a time for you to avoid the hustle of school and just enjoy life. Getting out into nature and breathing in the fresh air, can be a reset button for your brain. Depending on your preference or your experience level, there are several options for you. 

If you prefer privacy and don’t mind a hike, consider backcountry camping. Or if you prefer camping in a less remote area with access to electricity and running water consider staying at a campsite. A few great options close by are Cumberland Falls State Park, Fort Boonesborough State Park and Red River Gorge. 

There are a lot to choose from, but make sure to do your research before you go, and if you’re backcountry camping be sure you get a permit and respect the leave no trace policy.

Visit Gatlinburg— Gatlinburg is a popular destination for spring break, and for good reason. Prepare yourself for large crowds if you go, but there are a lot of things to make your spring break trip worth it. It’s a fraction of the travel time that you’d experience going to the nearest beach. 

With Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge combined, you are sure to find a plethora of things to do. Everything from mini golf, go-karting, and aquarium visits to hiking the smokies. To cut down on cost, try renting a cabin with a group of people and split the price, and try to avoid the heavily tourism focused areas.

Stay in— Alright this may seem obvious, but I personally have felt the pressure to do something over spring break. But the truth is, as long as you allow yourself to relax some and take your mind off of schoolwork, that is a perfect spring break.

Which, speaking of schoolwork, something I will recommend is, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you will get projects done over spring break. If possible, complete all work before the break so that you can avoid the stress of overlapping spring break and school. It’s spring break, and some of us will be working for a large portion of it, so don’t waste your break away by putting off assignments that you could complete before the break even starts.

Explore Richmond—I’ve lived off campus in Richmond for two years now, and even though it’s a small city, there’s still a lot I’ve never seen. I always heard good things about Purdy’s Coffee, but I’ve never been. Same goes for shops like The Cotton Market, Apparitions, Adorabelles, and a lot of other places. 

If you’re like me, consider exploring parts of Richmond that you’ve never been before. Mainstreet and its surrounding areas are littered with shops and restaurants that you can feel good about spending your money on as you help a local business. If I could make a suggestion of a shop to check out, I love Wise Buys here in Richmond. If you are a thrifter, definitely consider popping in, I’ve found some amazing casual and professional attire there. 

Or if shopping isn’t your thing, consider going to Lake Reba and playing a few rounds of mini golf. Not to mention other areas surrounding Richmond like Battlefield Park where you can enjoy some fresh air while learning some local history.

Use the time to try new things—have you been wanting to try a new hobby but can’t seem to find the time? I have, and spring break is the perfect opportunity to try something new. Either on your own time, in a relaxed chamomile tea fueled environment, maybe trying something like jewelry making or fiction-writing. Or if you are more adventurous, consider taking a class around Richmond or Lexington. Try an intro to parkour or aerial silks class at Urban Ninja Project here in Richmond. Class prices are $10 or less! Who knows? You may discover a new passion.  

No matter what you decide to do this spring break, be sure to stay safe and use your time giving your brain a well deserved break.

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