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Where to spend your winter break: Five great destinations to visit during vacation

January 23, 2018

Madeline Inman

Our thanksgiving holiday weekend is over and finals are edging nearer and nearer. Let’s be honest, amidst all the test prep, essays and everything else that goes along with finishing off the semester you are asking yourself, “how can I get away from it all?”

You’re not alone! Finals season can be a stressful time but once it’s all over you’ll want to find a way to relax and… The Ohlone Monitor has your back! We’ve compiled a list of getaways within California, keeping in mind the budget constraints and thirst for adventure of the average college student. Here’s our guide to our top five ‘getaway’ destinations in California:

Yosemite

Fresh air, trees, Half-Dome, hiking, the works? When you’ve been looking at nothing but textbooks, there’s nothing like the great outdoors to help you relax and get your mind off of your GPA. We suggest a road trip up to Yosemite!

There’s nothing that brings friends together like hours spent on the highway. Enjoy the scenic views and save by splitting gas money with a group of friends.

Driving to Yosemite from Ohlone college should take just under three hours, if you don’t make any stops along the way. For an authentic Yosemite experience, we advise that you choose from one of the 13 campgrounds within the park itself.

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz hosts some of the best beaches in California.

However, that’s not all there is to do in this banana slug-and-surfer friendly town. For a fun getaway, visitors can enjoy quirky spots like Marianne’s ice cream and various surf shops within the town.

Airbnb is a great website that offers more affordable accomodations than your average hotel. Additionally, staying in the home of a local will give you a greater opportunity to absorb authentic Santa Cruz culture.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for just a day trip, Santa Cruz’s proximity to Fremont makes an attractive, driveable option.

San Francisco

There’s nothing like the hustle and bustle of the city. San Francisco is great for a day trip or a weekend for those who have limited time to be away from work or family responsibilities. Take BART. Get into the city without stressing about traffic or parking.

You can BART to any of the San Francisco stations for under $12. We suggest that you take a stroll along Chinatown and while you’re there, stop in for a croissant and some coffee at Cafe de la Presse where lattes are served in bowls and French television plays in the background. Or take a scenic stroll in the Presidio and be sure to get some pictures at the Palace of Fine Arts.

Anaheim

What’s a list of must-visit destinations in California, without Disneyland? It’s true, a trip to Disneyland isn’t cheap, but if you simply must get your picture with Mickey Mouse or see Princess Belle’s castle, we have some insider tips for keeping things affordable.

For transportation, we recommend Megabus. It is a private charter bus service, that sells bus tickets to various US cities for as low as a dollar. It’s more realistic that on an average day you will find tickets to Anaheim for anywhere from $8 to $40 each way.

Book now though. Typically with Megabus, the earlier you book, the more affordable your tickets will be.

Monterey

Another road trip worth taking is one to Monterey! Home to the world famous aquarium, which helped inspire the Pixar film, ‘Finding Dory’, gorgeous beaches and stunning natural wildlife. It is just over an hour and a half away.

With student ID, admission to Monterey Bay Aquarium is just under $40. For something a little more budget friendly, go to Del Monte Beach and take in the beautiful seaside views. Or, if you prefer shopping, enjoy walking along Cannery Row and enjoy quirky local businesses, such as Candy Land which has delicious saltwater taffy.

All of us at the Ohlone Monitor, hope the holidays, whether you spend it at one of the locations above or with family somewhere else in California, are filled with peace, joy and a little bit of adventure.

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