Car with womans feet hanging out of the window.

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Spring break foreverrrrr! Nope, it’s not too late to plan an amazing vacation that you’ll remember for a lifetime—or at least until you graduate. As you definitely already know, spring break has a bit of a reputation for being the wildest and craziest party week of the year. But if that’s not exactly your speed—or you spent all your money in Cancun last year and then vowed to yourself, girl, never again—there are plenty of fun things to do on your week off that don’t involve tequila and a sunburn.

Whether you’re planning to hang around your hometown or college campus and need a handful of activities that won’t break the bank, or you’re down to spend some money as long as it means you can go on a bona fide adventure, I’ve found something for you. Between museum-hopping, Instagram shoots in botanical gardens, road trips, body piercings, at-home spa excursions, and on-theme movie marathons, there’s no way you’ll be bored this spring break.

So find a bathing suit you feel great in, read up on the best new sunscreens, or a new book or two, and pack your bags (or don’t)—it’s time to de-stress no matter what you do.

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1

Take a Road Trip

If you’re heading to the beach (like every other college kid in America), turn your route into part of the trip. Make an amazing playlist, pile into one car with all your BFFs, take the scenic route, and plan to stop along the way to see some sites and sample a few diner menus. Just puh-lease get your oil checked before you hit the road.

2

Explore Your Local Park

Seriously, when was the last time you spent a day at the park? Even at the start of the spring season, they can be pretty idyllic. Put together a picnic, grab your polaroid camera and a blanket, and head on over. The beauty of this option is that it’s free, especially if you rifle through your parents’ pantry for picnic supplies.

3

Swim with Dolphins

If you’re lucky enough to go somewhere close to the ocean, I highly recommend you splurge on a taking a dip with dolphins. Depending on where you are, it could put you out a couple hundred bucks, but guys, it is worth it. Dolphins are one of the most intelligent mammals on this planet, and it’s way safer/less scary than jet-skiing.

4

Host a Spring Break Movie Marathon

I’m here to defend Being! A! Total! Couch! Potato! If you wanna give your veg sesh a more ~intentional~ veneer, plan your lineup around a theme—and why not make it meta? There are a plethora of spring-break-themed movies that are actually quite decent. Spring Breakers, starring your faves Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, and Ashley Benson, is obviously a must.

5

Have an Old-Fashioned Slumber Party

Sure, college is kind of like one long non-stop sleepover, but when’s the last time you guys all stayed in, did face masks, made prank calls, and stayed up way too late? I can taste the popcorn already.

6

Plan a Day of Museum-Hopping

If you want to feel like a more cultured and sophisticated version of yourself, visit a museum. Often, the admission cost is a suggested donation so you have the option to pay whatever amount you can. To mix up what you’re seeing, add an art museum, a natural history museum, and a science museum to your itinerary. Side note: Museums make for excellent date spots, JSYK.

7

Walk Around a Botanical Garden

If there’s a botanical garden near you, plan a visit, like, right away. (Or if you need a suggestion, Miami Beach Botanical Garden is definitely a fave.) First of all, there’s something so soothing about being immersed in all that greenery; plus, those manicured plants make an excellent backdrop for a lil Insta photo shoot.

8

Host Your Own ‘Great British Bakeoff’

Do you like Paul Hollywood? How about baking? What about eating? Then you simply must organize a baking competition for you and your friends. Put the show on in the background, try not to totally eff up dessert, and when it’s all over, you guys get to feast on your creations!

9

Go Zip-Lining

If zip-lining is on the menu at whatever gorgeous jungle location you’re visiting, you need to do it. Full stop. The views are gorgeous, and the adrenaline rush is super fun. By the way, there are often zip-lining opportunities at camps and team-building sites across the country, so you might not even have to buy a plane ticket to tap into your daring side.

10

Get a Piercing

If you’ve been thinking long and hard about getting a new piercing, take the plunge over break. Why not? (Don’t get it twisted, I’m not encouraging you to hit up a, erm, questionable piercing spot or anything like that.) Cartilage? Septum? Belly button? The choice is yours.

11

Take a Hike

In the wise words of Elle Woods, exercise gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy. Spring break is the perfect time to take a meandering hike outdoors, either someplace close to home or in whatever exotic locale you’re touring. Your Insta feed will thank you. Just don’t forget to pack water.

12

DIY Your Own Spa Day

Spring break is allllll about treating yourself, but if you’re not working with a Canyon Ranch budget, that’s okay. Stop by CVS and load up on face masks, hair masks, face peels, and more goodies. By the way, if you’re really strapped for $$$, you can always make a bath bomb yourself.

13

Go on a Brewery or Winery Tour

Okay, maybe this is a “duh” idea, but I sure never drank alcohol in a civilized setting when I was in college! Just make sure to take an Uber there and wear sunscreen because you’re an adult now.

14

Memorize a Hair Tutorial

Learning a new beauty trick takes time, so a week-long vacay is the perfect occasion to fine-tune your skills. Need some inspiration? Glad you asked. Check out our Braid Up video series. Looks for days.

15

Volunteer! Be a Good Person!

Sure, it’s not as ~glam~ as some of the other ideas on this list, but it’ll make your heart feel good. There are a million organizations that could use your help, so find one that speaks to you (an animal shelter!!) and give back. Ask around and see if your school offers an “alternative spring break,” where you can spend the week off volunteering alongside your classmates.

16

Make Sure You’re Registered to Vote!

Listen, it won’t fill up your whole week, but it *will* fill you with a sense of civic duty. (Just make sure you, ya know, actually hit the ballot box when the time comes.) You can check your status on Rock the Vote, and read up on your local elections and issues while you’re at it.

17

Catch Up on All the Reads You Missed

Here’s the thing about reading: You can do it on your couch, you can do it on your friend’s couch, you can do it on a plane, you can do it on the beach. It’s such a flexible activity! Having time to read for pleasure is a gift, so don’t waste it.

18

Play Pen-Pals for a Hot Sec

Sure, texting and FaceTime are great, but there’s something extra special about writing a letter. If you aren’t lucky enough to reunite with your high school friends over break, jot them each a note on a postcard. The handheld memento will make the time you spend apart fly by much faster.

19

Learn How to Cook

Cooking is an Adult Activity™, and it takes to time to master. And what do you have over spring break? T-I-M-E. Look up a few simple recipes and give them a try. If your dish turns out to be inedible, order pizza. The stakes are low, but the reward (being able to feed yourself) is high.

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