Affordable Spring Break Adventure Ideas

Do you want to avoid expensive spring break outings at amusement parks, tacky tourist traps, and overpriced rental shops that leave you unfulfilled and with empty pockets? If so, try planning your next trip around activity and sports. Then, with some research, you could leave your excursion feeling healthy and happy with a few dollars to spare. Here are some tips to keep your next sporty spring break low on costs and high on exercise and fun.

Buy and sell sports equipment on location.

One exciting way to explore a new landscape or city when traveling is by bicycle. Use bikes to check out local markets, town squares, cultural festivities, and open-air concerts. Instead of renting a bike for a week or two, you can purchase one upon arrival and sell it to a local pawn shop, bike shop, or on the market when you leave. While a bit more time-consuming, this method may be cheaper than paying rental fees and eliminates rental car prices. Search for local bike shops that sell on consignment or use Craigslist or Facebook marketplace to buy and sell equipment of all kinds. Check out these safety tips for the best results. Exploring the best bike-friendly cities worldwide can provide a memorable and cost-effective vacation.

Fly with your equipment.

When planning a spring break trip, nothing beats water sports adventures for exhilarating fun. You can easily transport foldable kayaks, surfboards, inflatable paddleboards, pack rafts, and snorkeling equipment to your spring break location. One of the perks of packing your gear is that you can dive into your activities immediately and avoid shops with high rental prices. Although renting on location is always an option, remember to weigh the pricing against baggage fees for bringing your equipment. Lonely Planet’s most recent spring break article suggests great travel spots near the water, and here’s a roundup by Surfline on the best beginner surf destinations.

Take a city hike.

Exploring walking routes or urban hiking paths is an adventurous and free spring break activity. Use maps and GPS to create daily itineraries for excursions to local hot spots such as the botanical and Japanese gardens, zoos, outdoor art installations, historic sites, public markets, and graveyards. Walking and hiking not only increases the release of endorphins, making you energized and happy but also eliminates the costs of public transportation and ride shares. In addition, city hikes can be incredibly entertaining in themed cities such as the Bavarian village of Leavenworth, Washington, or old west gold towns like Deadwood, South Dakota, and Tombstone, Arizona. Need more inspiration? Here’s a list of 20 wild west towns worth exploring on foot.

Find a local walking tour.

Another healthy and budget-friendly spring break outing option is a guided walking tour. Quaint local tours, like Bend Ghost Tours in Bend, Oregon, are inexpensive and highly entertaining. Likewise, historical tours, such as The National Mall Tour in Washington, DC, are tip-based, so you pay what you wish. Jam Travel Tips blog post offers information on free walking tours in cities from Boston to Los Angeles and all points in between. You can also check out signage in local town squares, sandwich boards, or bulletin boards for more information on these experiences.

Research mom-and-pop resorts.

For families that ski and snowboard, check out the mom-and-pop downhill resorts for budget-friendly ticket prices, parking, food, and accommodations. In Oregon, local resorts like Hoodoo Ski Area, Willamette Pass, and Mt. Ashland pack a considerable punch in family amenities and friendliness for a much smaller investment. While in Colorado, skiing at Sunlight Mountain Resort, Eldorado, or Purgatory outside of Durango are cost-effective ways to make the most of your spring break adventures. In many cases, the drive times to mom-and-pop resorts are less, the traffic is minimal, and the lift lines are almost non-existent. Layer on local charm instead of glitz and friendly locals instead of competitive crowds, and the idea of smaller, less expensive hills are very appealing.

Use these tips and tricks to help make the most of your next spring break adventures. You can create a memorable and energizing trip of a lifetime while staying active and budget conscious.

About the Author

KM Collins
Hailing from the Oregon Territory, K.M. Collins is a geologist-gone-writer. Five generations deep in PNW hydrology, her Grandmothers were daughters of the White Salmon, Clackamas, and Willamette Rivers. Though rowing is her favorite whitewater pastime, she doesn’t discriminate when it comes to paddle sports. Roller skating, snowboarding, and shuttling by bike rank among her favorite land-based activities.

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