Spring Break ideas for the poor college student

It’s that time of year again, when you hear talk about Cancun, the Caribbean and other tropical vacation spots. Your head drops in disappointment, knowing that you will not be partaking because you have to pay the institution you need a break from. Here are some vacation ideas for Boulder students who can’t afford an extravagant getaway.

Sophomore finance and accounting major Chris Maddock lays out enjoying the sun.  Catching some rays is one of the simplest ways to spend your spring break. (Nate Bruzdzinski/CU Independent Photo Illustration)
Sophomore finance and accounting major Chris Maddock lays out enjoying the sun. Catching some rays is one of the simplest ways to spend your spring break. (Nate Bruzdzinski/CU Independent Photo Illustration)

Road Trip

If you don’t have enough money to fly, take a four-wheel excursion. Find one of your just-as-poor friends and a car and go anywhere without school work or responsibilities. Roll down the windows and stick your head out because that worry-free feeling won’t last forever. If you’re looking to get away from the chilly mountain air, check out Moab, Utah. It’s only a five-hour drive from Boulder and the weather is completely worth it. It rarely rains and is a prime tanning getaway. If you want something more adventurous, try the Great Sand Dunes located in Alamosa, Colo. Bring some friends and a couple of sleds and enjoy shredding on the sand.


The No. 1 goal for many college students over break is the ability to drink freely and without worry. That is why most people go to spots where the drinking age is lower than in the U.S. Alternatively, camping lets you live in your party. It’s your perfect and perfectly cheap alternative to a foreign country. Immerse yourself in new territory with a few of your close friends and go crazy. Little did you know, there are multiple areas to camp not too far away from the Boulder campus. Head to Georgetown, Colo., which is only an hour away where you’ll find shops, restaurants and train rides for the less-adventurous as well as multiple campsites for those who want to brave the wilderness.

Going Home: The Couch Potato

You may be dreading going home to your parent’s house this break, but consider this: While your friends who are on vacation are burning a hole in their wallets and wearing three-day-old socks, students who dwell with grateful parents are greeted with homemade dinners, clean laundry and a nice-smelling environment to come home to every night. That sounds terrible, you’re right.

Going Home: The Local Tourist

You may think you have explored every inch of your hometown, but there is always more to be discovered. Why not check out the local brewery or that amusement park nearby? You may be surprised with what you find by simply revisiting old favorite locations. Treat yourself to that spa your mom has been raving about or head to the local pool. If you’re feeling really adventurous, go to a place you’ve never been before and pretend to be a tourist.

The College Town

If you’re too broke to even fly back home for the break, why not have a vacation in your own backyard? You decided to study in Boulder for a reason. The school may boast quality academics, a 95-percent retention rate and amazing program for your major, but let’s face it, you wanted to go to this university for the social atmosphere, too. Take advantage of the recently arrived spring weather and camp right in your own backyard. Indulge and invest in a couple of beach chairs, a kiddy pool and a few margaritas and you’re good to go. Set up shop on top of the sunny locations of K’s or the Rio Grande.

Cabo San Lucas may be a great trip to look back on one day, but bragging rights will go to you when all the money that you saved up from over the years by not splurging on Spring Break can go to bigger and better things. Everything will work out in the end, no matter where you spend the break. Remember, you can have fun without $15 piña colada.

View Spring Break Getaways in a larger map

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Kelsey Samuels at Kelsey.samuels@colorado.edu.

Kelsey Samuels

Kelsey Samuels is a sophomore at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is majoring in psychology and journalism, but will probably switch her major 5 or 6 more times before she graduates. When she’s not watching movie trailers or Arrested Development, she enjoys cooking dinner for friends and playing epic games of ping-pong. Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Kelsey Samuels at Kelsey.samuels@colorado.edu.

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