Exploring inexpensive places to visit for spring break

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front of the dallas arts musuem

Spring break is around the corner and with most college students going to school full time, this break often serves as a time to decompress. Here are activities students can do to get away at a college friendly price and close to campus.

Go camping

S’mores, natural trails and scary tales all come with the experience of camping. Camping can provide some with an opportunity to connect with nature while escaping reality. Camping is also a budget friendly way to get away. A variety of state parks located around Tyler such as Tyler State Park and Purtis Creek State Park, offer functional camping grounds for individuals.

Tyler State Park

Tyler State Park offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. Boyd Sanders resource interpreter for Tyler State Park discusses what the park has to offer. 

“It’s a wooded 985 acre park with quite a few activities. Right in the middle of the park is a 64 acre spring fed lake that’s great for swimming and fishing. We rent kayaks, pedal boats, those sorts of things here also,” Sanders said. “Then we have hiking and mountain biking trails, and they’re some of the most popular in the state, real popular with mountain bikers.”

In addition to the campsites, if you do not have access to a tent, Tyler State Park offers screened shelters and lodging. 

Screened Shelters 

When booking a screen shelter, individuals have access to a picnic table, water and electricity. The shelter will also have an interior light. Outside there’s a lantern post and a fire ring with a grill. Restrooms with showers are located nearby. Screened shelters can be booked for $30 nightly plus the $6 entrance fee per person 13 years and older. 

Lodging 

Cabins at Tyler State Park include a variety of amenities. According to tpwd.texas.gov, “Rental fee is for two people; $4 per night extra for each person over two (four-person maximum occupancy). Bed sleeps two; space available for a small blow-up mattress or cot.” The cabin will also include an A/C unit and a heater. No tents are allowed on the site. The cabin has working water, electricity, an interior light, microwave, refrigerator, table and chairs, and one queen bed. No pets are allowed. Cabins can be rented for $55 nightly with an additional $75 cleaning and damage deposit that will be refunded when guests check-out if the cabin is in good condition. Guests will also pay the additional entrance fee per person.

• Purtis Creek State Park •

When visiting Purtis Creek State Park, visitors can enjoy activities such as boating, hiking, biking, camping, geocaching and picnicking. Purtis Creek offers three camping styles.

Park Superintendent Trey Goodman explains why Purtis Creek State Park is a good place to spend time. 

“It’s not very crowded like some of the other state parks. You can fish, swim, hike, all that kind of stuff with little, you know with little crowds,” Goodman said.

One must be at least 17 years old to reserve a camping spot, Goodman said.

According to tpwd.texas.gov, the available campsites and amenities include:

Campsites with Electricity 

The rate for campsites with electricity at Purtis Creek are $20 a night plus the $5 entrance fee for each individual 13 years and older. The campsites include a picnic table, water hookup, electric hookup, lantern post and there will be restrooms and showers located nearby.

Campsites with Water (Walk-in)

The rate for campsites with water are $14 nightly plus the entrance fee. The campsites with water also include a picnic table to eat on, a tent pad, a fire ring with a grill and a lantern post. Restrooms are located nearby.

Primitive Campsites (Hike-in)

The rate for primitive campsites are $10 nightly plus the entrance fee. The primitive campsite only includes a fire ring with a grill. 

Visit a museum 

Spending the weekend in Dallas gives individuals the chance to get away but stay close to home. Dallas provides a variety of vacation opportunities such as visiting museums or seeing the art districts. These are great vacation activities for individuals who aren’t interested in breaking the bank. 

Photo courtesy of Dallas Arts District

Dallas Museum of Art

Invigorate your brain by visiting the Dallas Museum of Art. The museum currently offers a diverse array of exhibits for visitors such as the painting exhibit by Naudline Pierre: What Could Be Has Not Yet Appeared. Not Visible to the Naked Eye: Inside a Senufo Helmet Mask which is an exhibit that depicts CT scans of Senufo helmet mask. The Guadalupe Rosales: Drifting on a Memory is an installation combining photography, ephemera, and sound. The Bosco Sodi: La fuerza del destino  is an exhibit showcasing paintings and sculptures. Slip Zone: A New Look at Postwar Abstraction in the Americas and East Asia depicts paintings and sculptures. Bamana Mud Cloth:​ From Mali to the World previews dye-decorated cloth​. The Keir Collection of Islamic Art Gallery displays manuscripts, paintings and textiles. Octavio Medellín: Spirit and Form displays sculptures. Jean-Michel Basquiat: “Sam F” and Rooted exhibit includes paintings, sculpture, photographs, decorative arts, prints and clothing.

General admission is free; however, visitors are recommended to reserve tickets online.  According to dma.org/visit, “Walk-ups are welcome and will be accommodated, but please note that you will be directed to the Guest Services Desk at either our Ross Avenue Entrance or Main Entrance if you do not have a ticket.”

The museum is open 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Friday; and 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. For more information, visit dma.org.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Photo courtesy of Flicker

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is an opportunity for individuals interested in nature and science. The general admission for the museum offers a variety of interactive exhibits for individuals to enjoy at $20 a day. According to perotmuseum.org, their permanent exhibit halls include, the Children’s Museum, Sports Hall, Being Human Hall, Engineering and Innovation Hall, Discovering Life Hall, Energy Hall, Gems and Minerals Hall, Dynamic Earth Hall, Life Then and Now Hall, Expanding Universe Hall, The Building as an Exhibit and the Hall of Birds exhibit 

The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday–Saturday; and11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Member-only access is open 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday and 10 to 11 a.m. Sunday.

For more information about Perot Museum of Nature and Science visit, perotmuseum.org. 

Stroll an Art District

Photo courtesy of unsplash and Heather Gill

With art, entertainment, music, food and shops, Deep Ellum is the perfect place to visit when looking for an adventure. From vintage shops to live music events there is always something to find. Deep Ellum has been serving the Dallas area since 1873.

Deepellumtexas.com states, “Deep Ellum is the live music capital of North Texas as well as a hub for the performing arts from theater to comedy. Every night of the week presents an opportunity to experience local music, performances, art shows and more!” 

For more information about the area, visit deepellumtexas.com.

Bishop Arts District •

If you are interested in exploring various shops and if window shopping is your thing, the Bishop Arts District is the place for you. This tight-knit community is home to many antiques shops, restaurants and galleries as well as beautiful art murals conveniently located for guests to see. “Located in the heart of North Oak Cliff, the Bishop Arts District is home to over 60 independent boutiques, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and art galleries, making it one of Dallas’ most unique neighborhoods,’’ according to bishopartsdistrict.com. Many of these shops are independently run so hours of operation vary. 

For more information about the district, visit bishopartsdistrict.com.