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Chronicling My Spring Break Trip to South Carolina (Featuring a 13-Hour Road Trip)

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

When you hear the words “spring break,” you may picture college students flocking to Florida, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and other islands to party and have fun with their friends for a week off in the midst of their spring semester. While all the sun, drinks, and fun is commonplace, two of my closest friends and I decided to take a different approach. My roommate’s twin goes to school at the University of South Carolina, and we have wanted to go visit her for a while, so we thought this would be the perfect time to do it. However, flights were expensive, hotels weren’t cheap, and we decided to do this with a month to spare. So, we decided to drive down thirteen hours to go see her, road trip style. Here is our chaotic, spontaneous journey from departure to return.

Monday, March 13

While we originally planned to take off on Tuesday, the New England weather had other plans. We left midday on Monday instead in order to avoid a large Nor’easter headed our way that would have kept us off the roads all day if we had left early Tuesday morning. We headed out from Sturbridge, MA and drove on and on until we finally stopped in New Jersey. Fueled by Taylor Swift and my grandma’s snacks, we drove through Connecticut and New York full of excitement. While our original plan was to drive all the way through, my mom helped us out by getting us a hotel in Fredericksburg, VA for the night. We hopped back on the road and continued on almost to our destination, but decided we had to stop in Washington D.C., and walk the National Mall. I hadn’t been to D.C. since eighth grade, so this was nostalgic-filled and a super nice way to stretch our legs. We had about another hour then crashed in Fredericksburg for the night, with six more hours to go until Columbia.

Tuesday, March 14

We got up early and decided to take a detour out of the way of our main route in order to see a little more on our trip. We ended up deciding on going about five hours southeast to Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington, North Carolina. It has been months since any of us had seen the beach, and while it wasn’t warm enough to swim, a taste of summer would be just as good. Driving straight through, we parked and took a long walk on the beach. The water was warm and it was a perfect way to anticipate summer. We then drove into downtown Wilmington for lunch, and the cute shops and dining were complimented by cobblestone streets and people milling about. After some yummy artisan sandwiches for lunch, we decided to drive again for the remaining three hours to Columbia. We arrived at about 9 p.m. and decided to get some much-needed rest in, as our biggest challenge of the trip was complete.

Wednesday, March 15

After an unusual but much-needed late start (we didn’t wake up until 11 a.m.!), we decided to do some exploring of the city of Columbia. There would be as little driving as possible today, so we walked almost 40 minutes from our hotel to the campus of U of SC. We strolled down the cute but quiet main street and then continued onto campus with our coffee in hand. We saw the beautiful quads and fountains as we tried to look like we knew where we were going and blend in with the student body. Mollie (my roommate’s twin) wouldn’t be out of class until 5 p.m. We continued walking into another area called Five Points, where a lot of bars and shops are for the students. We stopped for a quick lunch and then walked all the way back to the hotel to chill and change for dinner. Mollie wanted to take us to Cantina 76, her favorite spot for dinner. We got tons of chips and different flavorful tacos and met some of her friends. We called it an early night again as we were headed back on the road for a couple of hours the next day.

Thursday, March 16

Today was going to be a busy day, so we got an early breakfast and start and drove out to Greenville, SC. It was about an hour and a half west of Columbia, so our drive was nothing compared to before. It was bright and sunny but still cool, so it was almost perfect weather. We parked and walked around downtown, poking into shops and taking pictures in front of the waterfall and park, which was a beautiful addition to the urban landscape. We went to lunch at a small Italian place and had some great personal pizzas while we watched March Madness on the TV. There was a TopGolf just outside the city, and while none of us are golfers, we decided to go give it a try and have some fun with it. We got a cookie skillet and took some swings and overall had a really fun time. We headed back to Columbia with a few hours to spare before going out on the town. One of the fraternities at U of SC had rented out a bar, making it 18+ for the night. We also went to Cook Out for the first (and probably last) time for a late-night snack and crashed as soon as well got back to the room.

Friday, March 17

St. Patrick’s Day was another early start for us as we got dressed up and drove two hours to Charleston, SC for another day of exploration. The city was packed with people celebrating the holiday, and after struggling to find parking we were able to get some brunch at a cute spot with some traditional Southern dishes. It was definitely worth the wait and was a great way to start our day. The city was much less urbanized and more preserved and historical. The weather was cool but comfortable, and as we walked about started to warm up so we could even take our jackets off. After more strolling, we worked up some hunger again and decided to try some southern brisket and BBQ at a smokehouse for our last sit-down dinner. We indulged in cornbread, potato salad, and slow-cooked southern delicacies that kept our bellies full for the rest of the night. Driving home, we went to bed excited for the day ahead.

Saturday, March 18

Up and early again, we were preparing for the South Carolina version of Blarney. We packed up the hotel room and drove to my friend Ainsley’s apartment, who I hadn’t seen in almost a year. We laughed, took pictures, and finally left to go to their version of a ‘day party’: the fraternity lots. This was something we had never experienced before, but it was well worth the trip. Each of the frats had a tent with their own music and DJs as students entered and danced and partied. We were told this was the same thing for game day, as the lots were located right next to their huge football stadium. While it could have been overwhelming, Mollie and Ainsley made it enjoyable and we would definitely want to go back. We left around 2 p.m. to start driving back home but instead decided to make another detour and visit my friend Jackie in Virginia. We drove five hours and arrived just in time for a party at her school. She and her friends provided us with a place to crash for a couple of hours before we picked up and took off again.

Sunday, March 19

Our final day started with leaving Washington & Lee University bright and early at 6:30 a.m. in order to complete the nine hours home in a reasonable time. Seeing the sunrise over the plains of Virginia was contrasted with brushing our teeth in the Dunkin’ parking lot. We were tired and un-showered and just wanted to be home. We made it to New Jersey again and stopped for real food (Chipotle) and continued on until we once again reached Sturbridge. Exhausted and gross, we all headed home for a night’s rest before coming back to campus the next day.

While it was a new and exciting experience, I am not sure I would do it again. We had a blast and would most certainly go back to South Carolina sometime soon, probably after a more efficient (and faster) plane ride. This trip held some crazy and memorable moments I won’t forget any time soon.

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Olivia Vadnais

U Mass Amherst '25

Hi everyone, my name is Olivia and I am a freshman at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. I am very excited to join HerCampus this fall! I love reading, Taylor Swift, sports (especially basketball) and hanging out with friends and family. I am a management major and hope to end up double majoring in journalism as well.