Congratulations, gents – winter is more than halfway over, which can only mean one thing. Well, besides shorts-weather only being a few months away. For those of a certain age, one of the best weeks of the year is approaching. We all yearn for it, yet it’s only available to some. Of course, we’re referring to one of America’s greatest traditions, Spring Break.
For those of us who are long past our high school or college years, we can only look back fondly at the memories, many of which probably involved copious amounts of shit beer and a few fun experiments with lighterfluid. Weren’t those the good old days.
Look, we all know the traditional week of partying your face off can be fun, but you’re a beardsman and let’s face it, if you’re in college, that isn’t much different than any other week, except for maybe the presence of a beach (and getting to wear and be around others wearing much less clothing than usual). Maybe instead of loading up your 2003 Toyota Camry and heading to Daytona or Panama City or whatever other bastion of sin you usually stick your flag into for Spring Break, maybe this is the year you do something different. Just hear us out, will ya? Here’s our guide to alternative spring.
For The Outdoorsmen
We get it, Spring Break is about being outside rather than stuck in the doom and gloom associated with your least favorite classroom on campus. However, what about taking a trip to a state or national park instead of the beach? Depending on what part of the country you’re in, there are options galore. The Smokey Mountains are always a good call, as are the Finger Lakes and Catskills. Red River Gorge and Mammoth Park in the midwest are great bets for getting back in touch with nature and for those out west, maybe a trip to Glacier National Park or Yosemite. Look, open up a map and try to find a large swath of green space away from the city. Grab some friends, hopefully one of whom has a van, pack up some coolers and find a grill. Ask someone you know with a tent to come along and boom, you have yourself an adventure you won’t soon forget.
For The Doers of Good Deeds
You know what’s so crazy sounding that it might actually be fun? Volunteering during Spring Break instead of spending your days trying to find the happy medium between drunk and hungover. Whether it’s doing a trip through Habitat For Humanity or just finding a one week program through your local Parks & Recreation department, there are always great organizations looking for volunteers to help out. You might think it sounds heinous, ditching a week of debauchery for a week of building houses or planting trees, but each of us needs a break from the college life sometimes. You’ll make your parents proud, do some good will, and give your liver a nice break, the likes of which will be immediately erased after you celebrate the end of your volunteering during your first night back at school. College is great.
For The Urbanite
Many of you probably go to school in more rural parts of the country. I don’t mean all of you are attending Hampshire College or the University of Santa Cruz or Knox College, but even for those of you at mega-sized state schools, even the best college towns in the country can sometimes feel limited and lacking. If you’re tired of the great outdoors, fresh air, nature and such, maybe set your sights on the nearest big city and hang out there for the week. Throughout the country, once forgotten cities are undergoing massive rebirths and might just surprise you if you spend a few days exploring their streets. Nashville, Cincinnati, Detroit, New Orleans, and Pittsburgh are a few that come to mind on the eastern side of the country, but if those don’t do it for you then go bigger! There are affordable hostel options in most big cities, New York, LA, and Chicago included. Or if you have a crew to join you, look on AirBNB and find a righteous apartment or house to rent for the week. We promise, you’ll have a blast trading sand for concrete.
For The Libations Expert
So you want to spend your Spring Break both drinking heavily AND learning about the said-alcohol you’re ingesting? Well, you’ve come around at the peak time for such things in this beautiful country of ours. Like whiskey? Take a five day trip down the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky and taste them all (responsibly, of course). Enjoy microbrews galore? How about a little venture to Asheville, North Carolina or Portland, Maine or one of a hundred other cities producing incredible beers throughout the US. Like gin? Tequila? Wine? There are affordable options if you really look for them. Hell, you might even be able to apprentice for a week at one of the makers of whatever alcoholic beverage toots your horn loudest. That’s what we call learning while drinking, aka a win.
For The Food Enthusiast
We know, most of you college-age gents can’t exactly afford to fly across the country for a 30-course tasting menu at The French Laundry or to overdose on all things pork at The Publican. We were all there at one point and many of us still are. However, as food trucks have slowly started taking over the world, many cities have embraced them with the fury of a thousand chiles and now you can nibble your way around a city without breaking your very minimal bank account. There are the stalwarts of food trucking, your Portlands and Austins and the like, but there’s a good chance that if you pay a visit to your state’s largest city, you might just find some delicious and high quality food at some pretty reasonable prices. We know you’ll miss pounding instant ramen and late-night Wendy’s, but you can revive those indulgences once you’re back on campus.
It’s giveaway time! Beach or no beach, you will need some new shades. 5 lucky readers will be selected to win a pair of Parkman Sunglasses ($165 value). There are multiple ways to enter. Good luck!