Stuck at home for February break? Consider these staycations!

Allie Z.

Staff Writer

“When we have breaks, most of the time I just stay home and sleep.” This statement from freshman Haley Holsten says it all. All too often students, as well as families, are controlled by a strict budget, so when breaks and long weekends roll around, students are talking about Netflix and their sleep schedule during the days off rather than something exciting like traveling to exotic locales. Fortunately, there is a little known thing called a “staycation,” which is gaining popularity. The idea is this: No matter how expensive gas is or how limited the budget is, anyone can have a vacation right in his or her own backyard. These are trips that can be made in just one day, exciting little mini-adventures that only require a short drive and no hotel stay. Residents of Georgia are fortunate enough to live in a state with options so numerous that, depending on where one lives, some trips may not even require a car.

Atlanta is one of the best places to try out the staycation idea simply because it is only thirty minutes away from Woodstock and offers a variety of choices in entertainment and activities. Holsten says, “Going to Atlanta is one of the best places you could go; there is so much culture and things to do all in one place.” For example, Centennial Olympic Park is free and is a peaceful place to enjoy a picnic or cool off in the fountains. Visitors could also try out the infamous aquarium or the international Coca-az staycations 1Cola museum. Beautiful buildings from the Atlanta skyline surround the park, and the ferris wheel is visible from most every location. The Atlanta Sky View Ferris Wheel is, itself, a breathtaking sight, and being able to see Atlanta from a bird’s eye view gives new perspective to just how exciting this city really is.

For those who prefer to see the trees rather than the city, High Falls State Park in Jackson, GA, one hour away from Woodstock, is just the place to visit. Ms. Noel Majors, 9th grade literature teacher, says, “When I’m stuck at home during break with my family, we like to visit parks. Being outside in nature is always a relaxing activity anyone can do.”  The park’s lake is known for being the top fishing spot for bass. For visitors feeling adventurous enough, they can pitch a tent for the day and have a camping adventure. When the temperature gets warmer, the park opens a swimming pool to accommodate the visitors who do not wish to swim in the lake with the fish. Hiking trails are also available, running along the river that flows from the lake and through the forest to the ruins of an old hydroelectric power plant. This daytrip could bring visitors closer to nature.

Another popular escape is Callaway Gardens. With almost 7,000 acres located in Pine Mountain, Georgia, there is no way a nature lover could get bored. The garden is located two hours from Woodstock, outside of Columbus, GA. The garden annually entertains over 800,000 visitors, and during February break admission will be free on the weekdays. There are a variety of attractions to visit, including a large enclosed butterfly habitat and various walking trails. The Azalea trail is just one of eleven trails in Callaway Gardens that visitors can walk along, with each trail holding beautiful flowers that were planted by the co-founder Virginia Hand Callaway herself.  There is also a large horticultural center, which is known for its variety of native plants and cultivars (farm equipment). Callaway Gardens is one of the best ways to relax and connect with nature.

Another staycation adventure involves getting out on the ice and experiencing a fun day of ice skating. Mrs. Majors would consider going ice skating; she said, “I feel like I definitely would go ice skating with my family; it’s always a great place to go and have a lot of fun.” There are many local ice skating rinks in the metro area, with one of the closest being the IceForum in Kennesaw. Going ice skating is exciting but does require a bit of athletic ability; achieving perfect balance is hard, and staying on the skates is even more difficult. There is the possibility of falling here and there, so going with friends and family is even better because they can laugh together.

There really are many activities to do in Georgia. Visitors of these places can still have fun while stuck home over February break and save a bit of money too. Know that there are so many places to visit in a short distance from home. Taking a chance and doing research helps those who want to experience fun activities around Georgia.

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