Some cheap and fun adventures for students in the local area not travelling over break

It can be challenging to go out on an adventure these days without spending a large amount of money on the way. From gas prices to plane tickets, seeking new adventures can seem challenging and nearly impossible sometimes. But do not fret; finding adventure can be closer than you think! Whether you are going outdoors on a hike or exploring the open ocean in a kayak, you can find a budget friendly adventure to go on.

There is nothing like getting out in the woods and filling your lungs with crisp mountain air. Taking a hike in the Santa Cruz Mountains is a wonderful way to de-stress and get good exercise for little to no cost. Some good, local hiking options are Pogonip, Fall Creek, Castle Rock, Big Basin or Henry Cowell, and they all have many hiking trails that range in difficulty. A particularly adventurous hike to do is the 12 mile hike at Big Basin State Park. On this trail you can walk from Big Basin State Park to Waddell Beach and experience waterfalls, wildlife and multiple old growth groves of trees.

Along with taking a hike, you can always pay a visit to the ocean and go paddle boarding or kayaking. You can easily rent both kayaks and paddleboards, and get lessons from both Venture Quest Kayaks and The Kayak Connection; both are located in the Santa Cruz County. Kayaking and paddleboarding under the beautiful blue sky is an amazing way to get outdoors and enjoy the warm weather. On top of all of that; it is cheap and easy to rent the equipment!

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Photo: theodysseyonline.com

If you enjoy adventuring in caves, consider checking out the caves at UCSC. The Porter Caves consist of three underground caves that are located off of Empire Grade Road located near the UCSC campus. The caves all differ in difficulty, and they can be an excellent adventure for anyone interested. It is best to experience the Porter Caves in dryer months due to slippery conditions. Across the street there is a tighter and more technical cave called “Hell Hole”, which is rumored to run all the way to the Santa Cruz shoreline and is not suggested if you are claustrophobic in any way.

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Photo: santacruz.hilltromper.com

If you are looking for a more tame and relaxing adventure, consider visiting the Garden of Eden, which is located in Henry Cowell State Park. When driving from Santa Cruz, drive three miles down Highway 9 and turn right at the North Entrance to Henry Cowell State Park. There you will see a green gate and a metal sign. From there, you will walk about a half mile to a lovely swimming hole. When visiting the Garden of Eden, you should definitely bring a towel, sunscreen and be ready to enjoy a peaceful experience on the sandy shore.

If you like visiting peculiar and mysterious places, pay a visit to the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz. This attraction defies the laws of gravity and logic, and it is interesting and fun to visit for  a few hours. The Mystery Spot is a gravitational anomaly located in the redwoods that was discovered and opened to the public in 1940. Although there are many theories, The Mystery Spot itself still remains a mystery, with some people believe that there is a spaceship buried under the ground! Ticket prices are 6 dollars along with a 5 dollar parking fee.

If you enjoy invigorating hikes, peaceful swimming holes, adventurous caves or mysterious pieces of land, you should definitely do some explorring in the Santa Cruz County for spring break. Pay a visit to the Porter Caves, the Garden of Eden or have some fun in the sun this spring and summer season.  If you are looking to save some money, or are simply looking for a fun way to spend your day, get outside and enjoy the beautiful place we live in.

By Alissa Saylor

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