By Sarah Pinkerton | Staff Writer
Spring break offers much opportunity for college students to road trip within the United States. While many students want to get away to the beach for the week, they often go to places in the south due to the much shorter drive.
However, California offers a wide variety of beaches, restaurants and events that can be overlooked when planning for a spring break trip.
While the drive from Waco to Los Angeles is around 20 to 23 hours, road-tripping to the city allows a great opportunity to make various stops along the way including the Grand Canyon to enjoy a day of hiking and adventuring before reaching California.
For a road trip, it is best for students to leave directly after their last class on Friday. Lubbock is only 5 hours away from Waco and it is a good place to begin the journey. Getting to Lubbock on Friday night and staying in a hotel or Airbnb will make the drive to Arizona much shorter the next day.
After spending a night in Lubbock, leaving bright and early Saturday morning will get students to Arizona around 4 p.m. The road trip will take them through New Mexico, where students can stop at White Sands National Monument to sled down the sand dunes. They can then continue into Arizona. While it is best to visit the Grand Canyon for the full day on Sunday, students can enjoy Arizona on Saturday evening.
Williams, Arizona is a local town that many people choose to spend the night in before visiting the Grand Canyon. Within Williams, students can spend the evening shopping, eating and hanging out in the small-town atmosphere.
Then, they are able to spend the day on Sunday exploring the canyon and all that it has to offer. Entrance to the park is $35 and can be split among the passengers in the car. Visiting the South Rim of the canyon will provide scenic overlooks as well as opportunities for short hikes within the canyon.
Winston Salem, NC., sophomore Haley Chadwick visited the Grand Canyon when she was in 6th grade and said that she is currently planning on visiting it again during this year’s spring break.
“The beach is fun and all but the Grand Canyon is just something that everybody that lives in America needs to see because it’s like a national treasure,” Chadwick said. “I think that everybody needs to see and experience it.”
There are also many restaurants and Native American shops within the National Park area to enjoy throughout the day.
It is probably then best to leave the Grand Canyon, and head for Los Angeles around 5 p.m. This will get you to your hotel or Airbnb in the city by midnight on Sunday.
Once in Los Angeles, Houston sophomores Grace Kosley and Olivia Turcotte recommend that you eat at Mr. Chow or Dan Tana’s for not only great food but potential celebrity sightings. They recommend a visit to Huntington Beach, star hunting in Beverly Hills, window shop on Rodeo Drive or visit Santa Monica Pier.
“I liked Huntington Beach,” Kosley said. “There’s a lot of good restaurants. There’s good young life. It’s a good atmosphere for the vibe that the current generation is looking for.”
If students get bored of Los Angeles, they can even take side trips throughout the week to Carmel and San Simeon.
Valley Springs, Calif. freshman Andrew Wydner said he wants to remind travelers that California is varied in its terrain and venturing from Southern California to Northern California can provide visitors with two completely different experiences.
“I come from a part of California that a lot people don’t [think] exists, which is farmland,” Wydner said. “It’s very diverse and a great place to really just explore because every hour you drive you’re seeing something completely different.”
Within the town of Carmel, there is a smaller beach setting along with the small–town feel around the area with shops and restaurants abounding. La Bicyclette is a great restaurant for students to try out a European menu.
In San Simeon, students can visit Hearst Castle. A national park in the area, Hearst Castle is a beautiful estate within the hills of California. There are many tours available of various rooms within the house and it gives visitors a glance into what life in the castle would’ve looked like.
While these towns are a bit of a drive from Los Angeles, they offer a new perspective of the state and new opportunities for things to see.
However, all good things must come to an end. If headed from Los Angeles, it is best to begin the journey back to Waco early Friday or Saturday morning and make a quick stop in Lubbock for the night along the way.
This will then allow a much shorter trip from Lubbock to Waco the next day and plenty of time for students to prepare for their first class on Monday.
“If you want to get away and do something that’s not like the stereotypical party on spring break, but see something new, see some mountains, see a beautiful part of the country, then California is a great place to go.” Wydner said.