Brandon Cooper > Junior > Journalism > University of Maryland, Photo by Gunnar Hildonen
Spring Break officially starts thawing out season for college students. The usual vacations to warm places like Miami or Cancun get students heated up and ready for spring and summer.
But for those people who feel more like Bear Grylls than grilling out, there are some other options on where to vacation on Spring Break.
Below are some places to find more outdoorsy, and sometimes cold-weather, trips.
Campus Recreation Services
Many universities host their own trips over the break to the outdoors. And, with the weather varying in different areas of the country, these trips can include a variety of activities from skiing and snowboarding to rock climbing and kayaking.
University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s ski and snowboarding club has planned a trip up to Killington, Vt., to hit the slopes for the week. The trip, which costs $450, includes lodging, transportation, and lift tickets for five days on the mountain.
Meanwhile, the University of Pennsylvania’s Outdoor Adventures program is hosting a rock climbing experience. Students will have the opportunity to climb the legendary Shawangunk Ridge, also known as “The Gunks”. Outdoor Adventures’ Assistant Director Yahya Abdul-Qaadir said the trip is meant to be an educational experience where students can learn how to anchor and belay properly.
But the highlight of the trip is simply being able to climb at such a historic spot.
“It’s great just to be [at The Gunks] and climb some of those classic climbs that were established in the [1930’s],” Abdul-Qaadir said.
As UPenn will be heading north, the University of Maryland’s Recreation Services is sending students to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Specifically, students will stay at Cape Lookout National Seashore, an area inhabited by wild horses. There, students will camp out on the beach and spend their time hiking and kayaking as they observe the nature around the area.
Dan Powell, a leader for the trip, said the best part of the trip is the isolation it provides from the world.
“Since it’s not the peak season, there’s not anyone there,” Powell said. We basically have the island to ourselves. There might be one caretaker, but other than that it is just us. It’s just a really cool experience.”
Georgetown University students have the opportunity to spend their week off sailing through the British Virgin Islands. For nine days, the university’s Outdoor Education program has created an experience where students can learn how to sail while exploring the beauty of the Caribbean. The trip is pricy ($1400) but includes tons of opportunities to snorkel, kayak and hike.
Aside from week-long trips like the one’s mentioned above, many of these recreation services also have some shorter day and overnight trips for those who are unable to get away the entire week.
George Washington University’s TRAiLS program is running a day trip to ski and snowboard on March 19, the last weekend of the school’s Spring Break.
If a university is not sponsoring any outdoor trips over the break, there are still some other avenues to find the perfect outdoor experience.
Although many travel companies cater to students looking for the typical Spring Break trip, there are some websites that plan expeditions where students can explore the outdoors.
Companies like Studentcity.com plan multiple outdoor trips that students can choose from. These trips can range from hiking the Grand Canyon to canoeing in Canada to kayaking in Alaska.
Create Your Own Trip
Usually, the one downside of relying on recreation services or travel companies to plan your vacation is the cost. For some college students, the hundreds or thousands of dollars these trips can run is simply too expensive.
Still though, it is simple to plan a hiking, backpacking, canoeing, or skiing trip by yourself. With numerous free state parks and wilderness everywhere in the country, anyone can find some nature nearby to play in.