How to have a bomb Spring Break on a budget

By Rylee Warner | March 6, 2017 11:44pm

dsc_0039
by Kristen Garcia / The Beacon

Each Spring Break, hundreds of college kids set out to sunny coasts to celebrate the return of warm weather and attend some insane parties.

Maybe this is what you’ll be doing this year, and if so, lucky you (and please, stay safe) this Spring Break! Many of us will be jealous.

Chances are, if you haven’t planned this Spring Break yet, you won’t be able to plan a jet-setting vacation in the next week. But if you’ll be staying in Portland, there are still plenty of things you can do to have a fun Spring Break.

Here are some of our best ideas, arranged by budget.

Plans for $100 or less

For this price, you can head down to the Columbia River Gorge, where there are plenty of different hiking trails, and all you would need to pay is the gas it would take to get there and possibly a $5-day parking pass.

The coast is also a great option if you want to have something to do for a day. You can go to the more popular and closest options, Cannon Beach or Seaside, and browse the tourist shops and walk along the cold, windy beach. You’d only have to pay for gas and parking if you pack yourself a lunch.

According to Nathan Hingley, who is the Outdoor Pursuits Program Manager, you can drop by Monday-Friday from 9-5 during Spring Break to check out bikes or other outdoor equipment. There will be a student worker there every day, so you can even ask them where you should go and what gear you would need. If you do check out gear, be aware that there is a cost for some of the items. You can find the list here.

Or maybe you’re really wanting to stay in town. You can go on a walking tour of Portland’s notorious Shanghai Tunnels for $23 per person. There’s one tour each day of Spring Break, and you can buy the tickets ahead of time here.

There’s also plenty of other things to do in Portland that keep costs low. Entry for the Portland Art Museum is $16.99 for students with ID, and there are always interesting temporary exhibitions. When walking to the museum from the bus stop, you can take scenic routes to see the Portlandia building and walk through Portland State University’s campus.

Last but certainly not least, you can visit the Saturday Market. The market season starts up again on March 4, and because many people may not realize that the market is back, it could be less crowded! Here you can get cute illustrations, lavender lemonade, delicious elephant ears and so many other items at vendors that have a distinctly Portland feel. Since the market is on the waterfront, all you have to pay is either parking or the $5 for a day pass on public transportation.

Plans for $200 or less

Whether you love climbing or are just interested in trying something new and getting outside, you might want to look into the Outdoor Pursuits Spring Break climbing trip. Participants will be going to Smith Rock State Park, where there are many options for climbing as well as hiking, if you get too tired out.

The price on this trip is $165 and it’s all-inclusive—you’ll get three meals a day, tents, sleeping bags, the whole lot. There are still a few spots, and Hingley urges students to hop on this opportunity by the middle of the week.

If camping isn’t your bag, it’s okay! You can stay at any number of hotels on the northern Oregon coast for a night.

Plans for $300 or less

With a little extra cash, you could spend a night or two somewhere new.

Ever want to sleep in a school bus? You totally can through Airbnb.

Esmerelda the Magic Schoolbus is an Airbnb located in Wolf Creek, OR, which is about four hours away. Esmerelda is in the woods, so this would be great if you wanted to unplug and reach your highest level of zen. The bus has been renovated to include a wood stove for warmth and a private, outdoor solar heated shower. If you think your Instagram needs more rustic charm, this is definitely worth looking into.

To stay in the bus, the cost is $70 per night plus a combined $47 in fees. For $300, you wouldn’t be able to go off the grid for the whole Spring Break, but you’d definitely be able to get a couple days in there.


Take time this Spring Break and plan something to do that you’ll enjoy, but also something that won’t break the bank.

B