Courtesy of Tribune News Service

Column: A guide to last-minute spring break

Winter break only ended a month ago, although it felt like it took a year to get through January. Luckily, spring break is less than a month away. For those who don’t consider themselves great planners, there is still time to organize a trip or two. 

With so many fun places only a road trip away, there’s a vacation for everyone. Simply rent a cheap Airbnb with some friends, pack up the car and go.  Below are some college budget-friendly ideas of where to go and what to do this upcoming break. 

A little under seven hours from Columbia, Nashville, Tennessee, is an easy drive split up among friends. This city has everything for a good vacation: fun night life, good food, great music and nature. 

Similar to Columbia, East Nashville also has a downtown area known as Five Points. Some travel websites have coined it the “hipster universe”, recognizing it for its quirky character.There are dozens of eccentric places to visit, including The Treehouse, a top-notch restaurant and bar.

Nashville is widely known for its music venues, but The Family Wash has a unique background. What was once, and still resembles, the town laundromat is now a free live music venue that is famous for its shepherds pie.

There are creative food trucks popping up everywhere in Nashville, like I Dream Of Weenie, a hot dog truck with interesting toppings such as mac and cheese and breakfast-inspired hot dogs. 

Between the amount of shopping areas and hiking trails available, it's easy to walk off all of the delicious food that Nashville has to offer. 

While being in the mountains is soothing for some, for others, spring break means beaches. Thankfully, Clearwater, Florida, is also only seven hours away. 

With plenty of oceanfront hotels, it's easy to find a spot to stay for vacation. The beach is on the Gulf of Mexico, so the water usually stays calm and warm. 

Pier 60 is a long fishing pier and recreational park located along the shoreline in Clearwater Beach that is ideal for fishing, and entertainment and crafts are offered every night between 6 and 9 p.m.

There are a handful of boat cruises that groups can rent to tour the island for a day. For example, Cruisin' Tikis is a real tiki hut-turned-boat that takes parties around to all the popular spots in Clearwater Beach, but it's bring-your-own food and drinks. 

For people who prefer to remain on land, there are plenty of restaurants with fresh seafood and a perfect view of the beach. Both Maggie Mae's Sunrise Cafe and Marina Cantina have outdoor patios overlooking the ocean and the city skyline. 

If getting off of work is a problem, there are always shorter day trips that can make spring break just as enjoyable.

Asheville, North Carolina's, reputation has grown as a hipster town with many shops and restaurants to spend a day's visit. For some R&R, there is a therapeutic pink Himalayan salt cave, where people can go to cleanse the toxins out of their bodies.

Wherever spring break leads you, just make sure to relax and enjoy the time off before powering through these last few months of school.

Correction Feb. 18 at 9:50 p.m.: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that St. Patrick's day occurs during spring break.


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