Weekend Getaways and Cheap Entertainment in College
Not all college towns are bursting with excitement on the weekends. These kinds of low-key schools are often referred to as “suitcase colleges” because students usually go home or head to other cities to find things to do. Of course these “suitcase colleges” host fun events for their students on certain weekends throughout the semester, but typically not every weekend. Some of these schools are gifted with the leisure of having a big city nearby to entertain their students, but most are located in rural areas or hidden away. Don’t ever underestimate the need to have fun and take a mental break from your studies. If you are at a school that doesn’t provide for this need because of location, t you will have to take the initiative to go out and find fun things to do elsewhere. Even if you are at a school located in the heart of your favorite city, you may find yourself needing a retreat to clear your head. It can be fun to plan fun weekend getaways that give you a break from school and allow your adventurous, fun-seeking side to have a chance to come out and play.
The first thing to do if you want to plan weekend getaways is to think in advance. You don’t want to find yourself bored on a Friday afternoon with nowhere to go. Brainstorm ideas or desired destinations at least a week in advance to make sure the trip is 1) feasible and 2) affordable. One good strategy for brainstorming is, before school even starts, research some fun nearby places you and your friends might want to check out over the course of the semester. Start planning these mini-trips early to make them the rejuvenating getaways you need.
If your school is somewhat secluded, you may run into trouble finding the conventional fun things to do such as going to the movies, major sports events or concerts, experiencing city night life, or even shopping at a mall. One thing you could do is research festivals taking place within a day’s drive from your college town. Many, if not all small towns love hosting annual festivals to bring the community together and prompt an increase in tourism. Many of these festivals involve food contests, art walks, auctions, local shopping, and more. You and your friends could take a break from your college town and try a few of these small town festivals. There are all types of festivals such as BBQ festivals, strawberry picking festivals, flower festivals, local artist festivals, and seasonal festivals to just name a few. Even if the festival doesn’t take up a whole day, you can explore the town, talk with locals, check out the local restaurants, and find some unique little shops. You may even find a treasure to take back to school.
However, if local festivals and small town life is not appealing to you, plan a weekend getaway or even small day trips to the closest beach, river, lake, or mountain in your area. Most schools have one of these things nearby and are always a wonderful excuse to explore the wilderness (or at least be close to nature) with friends. Try something like camping at the beach, tubing/rafting/kayaking down a river, or backpacking/day hiking along a state park trail. I can promise you memories will be made.
Another idea would be to look for cheap concerts in the area. College is a great time to branch out from your normal favorite bands and try new, less mainstream genres. If you discover that a band is playing a concert only an hour away, why not pack the car with all your close friends and roommates and hit the road. Who cares if you’ve never heard of the group? It’s a chance to do something different than the usual Netflix in bed nighttime routine. Often less well-known bands will play in (or at least near) college towns for low rates to attract college students. Again, researching this in advance will make sure you don’t miss out on any upcoming events or opportunities to do something fun.
If all of these options fall flat and you are still yearning for a getaway, another idea is to visit other schools and check out their entertainment options. There’s nothing wrong with calling up your old high school friends to see if you can crash on their couches and hang out with them for the weekend to see what all their colleges have to offer. Visiting other schools is a great opportunity to getaway from your school to have a fun experience without spending lots of money.
A different idea would be to find local sporting events. Many places have minor league teams within driving distance of college towns. It probably won’t be Major League Baseball or NFL football, but who cares. Find a local minor league team near your college or university to pull for during your college years. These games can be just as fun and cost a lot less. This is a particularly great idea if you are a big sports fan and your college doesn’t have much to offer in the athletics department.
Lastly, discover what your school has to offer. No, it’s not going away for the weekend or visiting somewhere new, but you can’t go away every weekend or you’ll go broke. Many universities’ recreational facilities offer things on the weekends for students such as kayaking, rock climbing, or other outdoors activities depending on the school’s location as well as fun exercise classes you could checkout. You could also have a pool party, grill out-doors, or picnic and play games with friends. Maybe your school has a bowling alley where you could start a tournament. Perhaps the student center has a movie theatre or is hosting a comedy show. Taking advantage of what your college has to offer will allow you to save money because it doesn’t involve travel, food, or lodging expenses. That way you can save up for a getaway on another weekend.
Whether you are going to a local festival, exploring nature, singing at a concert to a band you just discovered, visiting a friend’s college, cheering on a new sports team, or just hanging out at your own school, remember it is important to take those mental breaks for your studies. You will create memories and share lots of laughs with your friends along the way. Enjoy your college weekends because they fly by!