Fall Break On a Budget

Everybody wants to come back from fall break with a great story to tell and a renewed vigor for the semester. The latter rarely happens, but there is a way you can get out of town and have some fun. Utah is full of beautiful places to go, even if it is starting to get a little chilly, and almost all can be visited on a college budget. Here are some of my favorite places to get away for a little while.

Moab is a pretty obvious destination. It's well known even outside of Utah (thanks to our license plates) and is surrounded by Arches National Park. Arches is incredibly beautiful and is chock full of short, easy hikes that are perfect for all skill levels. Once peak tourist season has past, the little town of Moab gets pretty quiet and hotel prices drop dramatically. There are other accommodations to be found, such as camping if you can handle a little chill. You can also Air BnB a refurbished bus. Seriously, there is an adorable little old man who fixed up some school buses so that they are livable. If you get a couple of friends together to pitch in this is a pretty fun, cheap trip.

Goblin Valley is another amazing area in southern Utah and it's surrounded by BLM land. This makes it the perfect party-camping destination, you can just drive up anywhere and set yourself up far away from anyone else. It's always a good idea to go explore the Goblins, which are some amazing sandstone structures. The whole area is covered in sandstone pillars that really do resemble little goblins and, if you’re brave enough, flash-light tag is a wonderful source of entertainment. Since you don’t have to pay to camp on BLM land, visiting Goblin Valley might just be the cheapest option on this list. 

The San Rafael Swell is very close to Goblin Valley and is also covered in BLM land. The difference between Goblin and the Swell is that rather than sandstone ‘goblins’ there are sandstone canyons. There are tons of hikes in the area that allow you to explore these fantastic canyons, which sometimes get so close together you have to take off your backpack to squeeze through. This is definitely a more adventurous trip, be warned that people get seriously injured and even die due to inexperience in the canyons. If you choose to go on a more challenging hike, make sure you’ve got someone experienced with the area coming with you. If you’re an avid camper who loves southern Utah, this is the perfect place for you!

One of the hidden gems of Utah is Mystic Hot Springs in Monroe. You’ve probably seen pictures of the infamous tubs circulating on social media. Mystic has literal bath tubs that the spring water is piped into, which makes for a fun adventure. These red rock springs are not just beautiful, but they are a lot of fun. The owner of Mystic Hot Springs is an old man who used to be the dummer(?) for a heavy metal band that I forgot the name of and he’s a super sweet, friendly guy. The first time I came in he asked me what my favorite band was and after I told him he played Panic! At the Disco over the store’s bluetooth speakers. It was freaking awesome. Since it's now the off season, hotel prices in Monroe have dropped significantly and the cold makes visiting the hot springs a no-brainer. Plus, the town of Monroe is adorable and well-worth some exploration. 

Okay, okay, I’m cheating a little bit here since this next place is not in Utah, but it's still a great cheap trip! I’m talking about Lava Hot Springs. There are lots of accommodation options in Lava, personal cabins, camp sites, and hotels, so you can pick your preferred sleep spot. The sleeping arrangements are the least exciting thing about Lava Hot Springs though, bet you can’t guess the most exciting. If you guessed the various delicious restaurants in the town, you would wrong. I mean the restaurants are exciting, but the best part is definitely the hot springs. Just as you are driving into town, you’ll pass right by the resort housing the springs. These are natural springs that have been renovated by people so it could be more easily enjoyed. You’ve got temperatures anywhere from burn-your-freaking-skin-off to babies-can-safely-enter, so if you’re particularly attached to your skin you can pick the pool that fits you best. Plus, once again, it's the off season, so prices are as low as they will ever be.

Hopefully you’ve already got your fall break plans all set, but in case you don’t I hope these last minute, budget friendly options put your fun times in motion!

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