Although spring break is the only recess students get from an intense spring semester, it also can add up to a weeklong combo of boozing, bad mistakes and handing over oodles of cash.
Luckily for Buffs, our fair Colorado has plenty of amazing spots to enjoy a vacation close to home. Not only will you save a ton of cash by not going to Cabo, but you can explore the state you begged your parents to send you to for college.
Colorado boasts its own amazing craft beer and local hard spirits — just throw in that undeniably good green leaf and unbeatable scenery and you'll rival any spring breaker's adventures.
Here are some local spots where you can create a memorable spring break all while saving that precious cash you'll need to make it through the rest of the semester.
Hit the slopes
Snowmass and Aspen
Pack the gear, put on a hat, clean those shades and head to the mountains for classic spring powder.
The resort is known for a massive ski and snowboard party thrown by Bud Light at the base of the lift in Snowmass Village for the Aspen Winternational, which typically continues all the way through March. The concerts are free, the cheap beer is plentiful and the vibe is killer.
For this year's dates and events, check back at stayaspensnowmass.com.
Soak life away
Hot Sulphur Springs Resort and Spa
Hot Sulphur Springs, just west of Granby
Sit back, watch your hands prune and sip some cold brews as natural, mineral-rich steam rises above you. Hot Sulphur Springs boasts seven natural springs channeling the heat of volcanic rock released through fissures in the Earth's crust. For being so close to Boulder, this steaming pool just about takes the cake with its 21 mineral pools and baths.
What's better? This is a "break," of course. The water comes out anywhere between 95-112 degrees, and guests can pick which pool to sit in. Or you can rent a private pool by the hour in case you need some alone time with fellow spring breakers. Visitors can also opt for a hot rock, deep-tissue massage or a whole range of treatments that utilize salt and mud — and all this cool stuff that makes you feel good.
South Platte River
As daunting as fly fishing may sound, it's a blast. It comes complete with water, nature, hanging out with friends, smoking good weed, drinking better beer, sipping flasks, and catching and releasing some of the prettiest fish on the planet. It's really one of the best experiences Colorado has to offer. Cheer your friends on when they're reeling in a monster and get in touch with your inner fisherman or woman.
In spring, the South Platte River is a great spot to slam some big boys. Stop at a Boulder fly shop and rent some gear — Front Range Anglers, 2344 Pearl St., or Rocky Mountain Anglers, 1904 Arapahoe Ave.
Cast, catch and have an amazing memory to add to your spring break bank.
Surf the dunes
Great Sand Dunes National Park
San Luis Valley
It's quite a stark contrast: Picture the Rocky Mountains set against giant sand dunes reminiscent of the Sahara Desert. The tallest North American sand dunes sit just a few hours' drive away from Boulder, with five dunes that peak over 700 feet. It's something to see, a place to explore — and if you're lucky, you can grab a lunch tray and surf the dunes.
This is also an amazing place to do some night hiking and enjoy the massive expanse of Colorado's starry sky. There isn't a better place to snap some great scenes of the wildest parts of Colorado. Get your Aladdin on and ride that magic carpet through some Colorado desert.
Party a Mile High
Denver is a fortress for some awesome events during spring break.
Since Denver is only about 30 minutes from Boulder, head to the Mile High City for festivals, art exhibits, concerts, winery tours, open mics and way more. Most events have cheap admission, and you can spend the remainder of the night partying your ass off downtown.
Indulge your inner geek before hitting the bars by checking out the Star Wars and the Power of Costume exhibit that will be at the Denver Art Museum through the end of March. The exhibit features the artistry of the world's most recognized cinematic costumes.
Amy Bounds: twitter.com/boundsa