Last-minute fall break destinations for broke students

Israel Ashby

Staff Writer

For students busy studying and working on class assignments, planning for the fall break may be left for the last minute. Luckily, some Trojans have offered suggestions for cheap and quick things to do over the break.

Gabriel Byrd, a sophomore marketing major from Birmingham, suggested taking advantage of the fall weather that encourages outdoor activities such as camping or going to the beach.

“Since our fall break goes over Thanksgiving, we have that full week, weekend to weekend,” Byrd said. “I can stay in the woods for a week, or I can stay at the beach for a week.”

One particular campsite, Horse Pens 40, caught the attention of James Graham, a sophomore graphic design major from St. Louis.

“It’s a campsite, but it’s on top of a mountain,” he said. “So you go up a mountain—drive up a mountain for 15 minutes, you get to the top, and there’s a campsite.

“It is really awesome. It’s kind of far, but it’s the same amount of time as going to Pensacola. It’s beautiful. You can see for miles while you are on top of the mountain. There’s rock climbing—the family who owns it is really nice; they know what they are doing—there’s music and art festivals there.”

Graham and Shellye German, a sophomore social work major from Dothan, both encouraged students to plan less and venture out into new places more.

“What me and my friends do is get in the car and just go somewhere and explore new places,” German said. “So if you’ve never been to Panama City, I would obviously try to figure out how to get to Panama City, but spend that first day just kind of like going around the city and checking out new places.

“Go out to the beach and Pier Park and all of these cool places about Panama City. Don’t plan everything to a tee; have fun. Try new restaurants that aren’t in Troy or Dothan. Try new things.”

German also said Pier Park is worth visiting for its shopping center, which has several attractions and a movie theater.

“It’s so much fun,” she said. “That’s my favorite part of Panama City. I would go there for sure.”

For those looking for farther destinations, Manning Russell, a senior history major from Montgomery, suggested going to Tennessee. To cut the cost of traveling, Russell said, he uses Airbnb.

“Airbnb is a really good way to save money, especially if you’re going to a bigger city,” he said. “It’s a service that lets you stay at somebody’s house, essentially; it’s a lot cheaper than a hotel.

“Me and some friends did that in Nashville at the end of the summer. We were able to stay, all four of us, for basically 10 bucks (per person) a night; we split the charge of four.”

Breaks are also a good time to explore the music scene nearby.

“The music scene in Birmingham is good—you can catch a good concert there,” Graham said. “I’ve seen Andy Mineo there, the ‘Oh Hello’s’ (a show) there, I’ve seen Bassnector there, I’ve seen James Taylor there. It’s definitely good.”

Graham also suggested visiting the downtown area of Birmingham, the Railroad Park, coffee shops and more.

“It’s a really good day trip,” he said. “Just go there and see where it takes you.”

Finally, while many students visit their families over the break to celebrate Thanksgiving, for those who cannot do so, Byrd suggested visiting the families of one’s friends.

“Getting to experience how somebody else lives, or where they live, or how they do Thanksgiving and stuff like that… it would be really cool,” he said.

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