Whale watching is just one of many ideas for a great summer vacation. Keyra Kristoffersen / UVU Review

With the end of the semester fast approaching, brains have all but melted to sloshy, greasy, useless messes and the thought of trying to plan a fun-filled summer is the furthest thing from them, right?


Summer is a time of liberation. It may bring about jobs, internships, marriage and all of the things that go along with “real life,” but for now, students should plan on making the best of their time away from daily higher learning.

Personally, I prefer high-energy travel. When I go somewhere, I want to make the most out of it, see everything and experience it all. I saw nearly the entire city of San Francisco in just a day and a half. I can lie around all day by the pool at home for free; why would I pay money to do it elsewhere when there’s so much to see? I also have the tendency to be an excessive planner, trying to pack in as much as possible into every single day because I’m also pretty frugal and I figure I spent the money to get there and who knows if I’ll ever be back.

If this is your way as well, I urge you to keep your scheduling flexible. You might run into something you’re more interested in than what is on your calendar. Also beware of burnout. By the last day of my week-long trip to Boston last year, I was cranky, tired and my feet hurt like crazy.

If you love flying off to bizarre locales, Priceline.com comes highly recommended. So far it’s been the most consistent site for offering cheap airfare but it only gives info going from the U.S. If you want to fly around within, say, Europe, it can’t help you. You have to go directly to local airlines.

If you prefer road trips, but none of your friends can go or you don’t have a car that can make it anywhere, make a trip to the Wilkinson Center at BYU. They have a huge map of the United States and Canada and you can find people heading just about anywhere. There, you can register your interest and contact info to head off into the great unknown. This can also be done via Craigslist.com but, well, there’s no delicate way to say that is probably not a good idea.

A great place for daytrips is Antelope Island in Syracuse, Utah. It’s a world away from school and work, plus you get to see wildlife, all in less than 70 miles.

There are some truly fantastic places to visit within just a few hours of Utah County. Moab is a personal favorite. Few things beat camping by the Colorado River, climbing Wall Street, hiking Fiery Furnace in Arches and eating at the Moab Brewery.

Wendover also gives a fun and loud way to spend a weekend. At a mere two hours from Salt Lake, you can drive or take the Fun Bus for only $15, which gives you back $5, free drinks and a buffet and will bring you back that night.

Wyoming can get you illegal fireworks for cheap anytime of year, Idaho offers Lava Hot Springs and river tubing. St. George, Las Vegas, Zion National Park and Arizona are all within a five hour drive, making it pretty easy to enjoy a fun filled summer vacation for a day, week or until August.