Spring Break is almost here and many are gearing up for beach trips to somewhere sunny for the long-standing college tradition of Spring Break.
It’s no secret that Panama City Beach and Johnson City are two different places, but that doesn’t mean those of us stuck here in East Tennessee can’t enjoy an equally as fun Spring Break Stay-cation. We don’t have white sandy beaches, but Johnson City and the surrounding areas are home to beautiful mountain and a growing scene of good food, beer and adventures.
Here are five ways to enjoy a “staycation” here in Appalachia.
For the adventurer: The weather’s been fickle to say the least lately, but with any luck next week could be a great week for hiking through the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. Despite massive fires last year in Gatlinburg, the city has been welcoming visitors in and hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is still open and free to the public. Alternatively, just a short drive from campus is Buffalo Mountain’s White Rock Trail. This easy hike wraps up and around Buffalo Mountain with views of the surrounding area.
For the active: The Weather Channel isn’t always exact, so if it rains, there are still options. Another popular place to go in town is Just Jump. The trampoline park doesn’t sound like much, but it may surprise you. Just Jump houses a huge floor of trampolines plus an obstacle course, and it’s is easy on the wallet. One hour of jumping is $11, an hour and a half is $16 and two hours of jumping is $19. Just Jump has a weekday discount, and on Thursday nights from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., college students with a valid student ID jump for $8 per hour.
For the foodie: If your prefer eating to calories to burning them, Johnson City has no shortage of restaurants to choose from. However, within the last month, two new restaurants have opened up with walking distance of campus. Formerly a strictly mobile business, Slammin’ Sammy’s Sandwiches has opened up a new permanent restaurant on West Walnut Street serving signature sandwiches. A little further away in the same direction is the new Southern Craft Barbecue. Formerly Portico, the restaurant boasts a variety of handcrafted barbecue sauces and plenty of craft beers on draft to try.
For the traveler: If you really want to travel but you’re low on cash or want to stay close to home, the vibrant arts scene and gorgeous views of Asheville, North Carolina isn’t very far. Merely an hour drive away, Asheville is one city where there’s always something to see or do. Downtown, there is architecture to marvel and unique shops to explore. Famous for its craft beer, visitors can hop from brewery to brewery. If the downtown scene isn’t your style, the city also has excellent shopping and food. Visitors can stop by the massive Biltmore Estate.
Correction: An original version of this article said that college nights at Just Jump occur on Tuesdays. They actually occur on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.