Feb 282012
Authors: Morgan Mayo

This year, ditch the video games and daytime TV and gear up for an unforgettable spring break. Whether it’s hiking a trail, eating Southern cuisine, exploring the wine country or jamming on the beach, these unique, last-minute spring break locations offer something for everybody.

Wild and Wonderful

Arches National Park, located in Moab, Utah, provides the perfect spring break for nature-lovers and outdoorsmen.

“The landscape is so unique,” said Arches NPS Program Supervisor Sharon Brussell. “It truly captures your imagination and spirit.”

At Arches National Park, visitors can expect miles of hiking, camping, guided trails and canyoneering around the fragile, naturally formed rock arches.

“I always recommend that people get up at sunrise and hike one of our most popular trails, Devil’s Garden,” Brussel said. “The soft morning light makes the arches appear to glow.”

Other popular trails include the Delicate Arch and Fiery Furnace.

Brussel recommends that visitors prepare for cooler temperatures and dress in layers. Campsites should be booked well in advance, since the park usually sees up to 62,000 visitors in March alone. Guests can also check out discovermoab.com for additional lodging and Moab information.

“Moab, Utah is a great place to spend spring break,” Brussel said. “There’s so many outdoorsy things to do in Arches National Park, and the scenery will just take your breath away.”

Southern St. Patrick’s Day

Thirty thousand people crowd the streets of Savannah, Ga. each year to enjoy a distinctly Southern twist on an Irish holiday.

“All of our fountains are dyed green, the bars on River Street are packed, and we have a huge parade,” said Visitor Bureau representative Calli Arnold. “St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah is a lot of fun.”

St Patrick’s Day is on Saturday, March 17, but in Savannah, festivities will start on Thursday, March 15.
“Everyone will be out enjoying downtown,” Arnold said. “Enjoying the bars and showing off their Irish.”

Arnold recommends students check out the nightlife on Rivers Street, Congress Street or City Market Street. The Congress Social Club and Jen’s and Friends are both popular bars with students and Georgia locals.

Popular tourist attractions such as ghost tours, boutique shopping and famous Southern restaurants, such as Paula Deen’s, “The Lady and Sons,” attract tourists year round. But it’s the St. Patrick’s Day celebration that draws in the biggest crowds.

“Temperatures are in the lower 80s, and the beach is only 20 minutes away,” Arnold said. “Spend one St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah, and you’ll definitely want to come back again next year.”

Uniquely Urban

For this quirky, urban destination, spring breakers will need a taste for the fine wine and flowers in their hair.

“San Francisco is a very unique cultural city,” said Frosche Travel Agency consultant Ann Griffith. “You’ve got Chinatown, museums, cable cars and amazing food. There’s just such a great variety of activities.”

And while San Francisco is known for its big tourist attractions, such as the Golden Gate Bridge or Alcatraz, its local, swanky music venues is what sets it apart from other Western cities.

Visitors should check out the Parlour Bar for rare drinks and a burlesque vibe. The Hemlock Tavern and The Red Devil Lounge are also popular, albeit somewhat pricey music venues, with local residents.

“People forget how close San Francisco is to the wine country,” Griffith said. “It’s a great gateway city if you want to explore California.”

Beaches and Beats

What do you get when you take a massive techno music festival on The Gulf and then pair it with 40,000 college-aged spring breakers on jet skis? South Padre Island, Texas.

“During March, our half-mile-wide resort town turns into spring break heaven for college kids,” said South Padre special event coordinator Mary K. Hancock. “Everybody takes their coolers out to the beach, and it becomes one big party.”

In addition to the beach parties and clubs, spring breakers will also be rocking to the beats of the 2nd annual Ultimate Music Experience. The festival, which runs from Thursday, March 15 to Saturday, March 17, will feature the biggest techno lineup in spring break history.

Kite boarding, para-sailing, stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking are also popular South Padre activities.

“The important things to remember are: stay hydrated, take advantage of the free transportation and don’t miss the midnight pancakes,” Hancock said. “Other than that, get excited and have fun.”

Collegian writer Morgan Mayo can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:43 pm

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