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How to Enjoy Spring Break in the Pacific Northwest

Spring break is a highly romanticized part of college. According to Hollywood, college spring breaks should be spent on a tropical beach with tons of drunk people and very little clothing. But let’s face it, that’s not the reality for most of us. Whether you can’t afford to fly to Mexico, don’t have a desire to get wildly drunk, or you live in a place that does not see the sun in the spring (or all of the above), here are some ideas of alternative things to do with your spring break.

Living in the Pacific Northwest, it is very rare that my spring break is accompanied by fun in the sun. (In fact, this year it will be full of snow!) But the beauty of being in the PNW is that there are so many options for activities that don’t require sunny skies. There are plenty of things to keep you busy whether you’re in the city, in the mountains, or in your pajamas. 


Go to a Bookstore

Whether you have a favorite genre you like to read or you want to find something new, wandering around a book store on a rainy day is a great thing to do to pass the time. Almost every city, no matter how small, has a book store of some kind, so go explore new ones or return to your favorite! If you live in Portland, Powell’s has five floors of new and used books to get lost in. And if you don’t live in Portland, it might be time for a road trip! Or you could always check out your local bookstores. Take someone with you, or go by yourself so you can go at your own pace. 


Read the Books You Bought!

After taking a trip to the bookstore, I always want to curl up and read somewhere. If it’s gloomy outside, my favorite thing to do is snuggle up by the fire with a cup of tea or hot apple cider and read. And now that you have all those new books, what better to do than dive into them? If it’s nice outside, sit in the grass or on the deck (or inside by the window if it’s sunny but cold). 


Binge a New Show

If you’re burned out from reading so much during the semester, spring break is a great time to just kick back and binge a new TV show (or re-watch an old favorite). If you want something lighthearted and fun, Netflix’s show “One Day at a Time” is a great one. It’s laugh-out-loud hilarious and socially relevant and conscious at the same time. For something more dramatic and deeply emotional, “The Fosters” is a must-watch (it’s on Netflix), and the new spin-off series “Good Trouble” is airing new episodes on Freeform every Tuesday night. You can also keep up with it on Hulu. 


Snuggle a Pet

If you have snuggly pets, spring break is a great time to curl up with them. My spring break never lines up with my younger brother’s so I spend a decent amount of time home alone with my dog. We get in lots of snuggles and fetch and I can pet her while reading or watching a show, making it the perfect relaxing activity. 


Take a Road Trip

If you don’t want to be a homebody over spring break, take a road trip with some friends. If you’re looking for sun, maybe drive down to California. Or if you’re okay with cold and want to go somewhere you can party and go to clubs without all being 21, head up to Vancouver, B.C. like my roommate! There are endless places you can go, and belting out your favorite songs with your friends while on your way to a cool destination is an awesome way to spend your spring break. 


Go Skiing or Ice Skating

If you live in a place that gets a lot of snow, embrace the cold weather! You can cross country ski in the woods, or go to a ski resort and do downhill. If you don’t live near a mountain, make a road trip out of it! Mt. Bachelor outside of Bend, Oregon is a world-class ski resort. The prices can be pretty steep though and it can get crowded on a good powder day, so check out Hoodoo outside of Sisters, Oregon, or any of the other ski resorts in the PNW. Another fun cold-weather activity is ice skating. It’s much cheaper than skiing and can be a fun thing to do with friends, family, or significant others!



This one is probably obvious, but sleeping is one of the best things to do over spring break. By this point in the year it’s pretty easy to feel a little (or a lot) burned out, so take some time to rest your body and your brain. Let yourself sleep in and take naps! Even if you don’t feel like actually sleeping, doing relaxing activities is a great way to let yourself recharge. 


Whatever you decide to do this spring break, there are plenty of options for things to keep you occupied. Early spring in the PNW usually doesn’t have the best weather, but there are still lots of fun things you can do without warm, sunny beaches. Embrace the PNW spirit this spring break and bundle up!

Jo Geisen

Portland '21

I am a sophomore at the University of Portland, studying English with a minor in Spanish. I love to read, particularly fantasy, historical fiction, and romance. Writing is also one of my passions, and I am in the process of writing two novels. My plan after graduation is to become an editor for a publishing company so I can spend my time doing what I love: reading.
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