Cartoon of car packed up for road trip

Spring break is coming up for FRCC and many other schools. So if you’re excited for the downtime but on a budget—or not comfortable flying anywhere during a global pandemic—we’ve got some great news. You live in a beautiful place with lots to do!

If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that we’re all more creative than we give ourselves credit for. Even if you’re not planning to go far, there are many ways to enjoy your week off from school.

So grab your coat (and your most colorful mask)! Here are six ideas for a staycation spring break. (Or if you prefer to stay warm and cozy on your couch, make sure you read to the end for a relaxing, stay-at-home option.)

1.      Snow Day

World-class skiing is less than two hours from the Denver metro area—but if you want to spend less, you still have options. Check out one of the more affordable ski resorts such as Loveland, Echo Mountain or Ski Granby Ranch.

Or head to one of the indoor ice-skating rinks around town such as Big Bear Ice Arena in the Lowry neighborhood and Family Sports Ice Arena in Centennial. Or take a day trip to rent some snowshoes and hit St. Mary’s Glacier or Bear Lake Trail in Estes Park (or both on different days).

Of course you can always grab a friend, buy a cheap sled and head to your local sledding hill. Or visit one of the more famed options such as Ruby Hill Park near Evans and Broadway in Denver (which Colorado Public Radio called “a sledder’s gold mine”), City Park in Fort Collins, or Scott Carpenter Park in Boulder.

With the snow coming this weekend, you could even build a snow fort. (Here’s a great article on how to do so from Popular Mechanics). Not surprisingly, the internet also has a plethora of creative ideas for how to build a wacky snow person—a quick Pinterest search will get you started on ideas.

2.      Get a Little Culture

There are many wonderful museums across the Front Range—check out a couple while you have a little time off from school! Whether you love art, history or learning about an unfamiliar culture, you’ll have many options to choose from.

Explore the Denver Art Museum, the Museum of Art Fort Collins, or the Museum of Boulder for starters. And remember that there are lots of other fun choices such as the Denver Selfie Museum, the Colorado Music Hall of Fame at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre Trading Post and the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.

Bonus: Some even offer discounted tickets to students. (Just remember to take your student ID!)

3.      Go Hiking

The reality of a March spring break is that the week might start off snowy and end with golfing weather. Check the forecast, plan ahead and if the temperature cooperates, plan a couple of hikes.

There are many excellent trails all around the Front Range—and if you’re feeling more adventurous, you might consider heading south to check out some of the lesser-known options in Colorado Springs or Pueblo. (Check out 5280’s 16 Amazing Front Range Hikes and AllTrails for ideas).

4.      Give Back

If you’re looking for something a little different, there are plenty of organizations that would welcome your help as a volunteer over the break (or any time, really). With COVID-19 still out there, you may need to get creative, but places like the Denver Rescue Mission and Fort Collins Rescue Mission (considered essential service providers) are urgently in need of volunteers.

Food banks also need volunteers, such as the Food Bank of the Rockies or Food Bank for Larimer County. The Humane Society of Boulder Valley is also looking for help from community members. Check one of these out—or find another deserving organization near you.

5.      Get Back to That Hobby (or Start a New One)!

When we’re busy, the fun things take a backseat. With more time on your hands, why not dive into that book you’ve been meaning to read… or get out the camera and take pictures at your favorite park or lake… or dust off your drawing notebook again?

FRCC quartet of musicians

Some people have taken advantage of the slower pace of the last year by taking up baking or cooking, knitting, journaling, crafting—or even learning a new instrument. Think about what you love to do but don’t usually have time for. That’s a good place to start.

6.      Movie or TV Show Marathon

Got Netflix or Hulu? Plan a movie (or two) a day—a couple of recent Golden Globes winners or that list of flicks you’ve been meaning to watch in your (usually nonexistent) free time. Or binge that TV show everyone has been raving about, (Here’s TV Guide’s 100 Best Shows on TV Right Now for inspiration). You can even make it a dinner-and-a-movie affair and try out a new recipe each night if you want.

Enjoy Your Time Off

Spring break doesn’t have to break the bank or be spent on the beach to be enjoyable and restful. Get creative, have fun and recharge those batteries before returning to finish the school year strong. However you choose to spend the week, enjoy the time off, get some sleep—and stay safe and healthy!

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