Most people associate the term “spring break” with tequila, beer, a beach...and more tequila. The week or two off school in the spring is a time when college kids are notorious for getting wasted in tropical locations and making all kinds of decisions they might regret later.
It might be hard to imagine a spring break without lots of booze, but it certainly doesn’t have to be marinated in alcohol to be fun. Far from it.
Maybe you’ve put down the bottle because you’re in recovery; maybe you’re abstaining for religious or health reasons; or maybe you simply don’t like to get wasted in a country where you don’t speak the language. Whatever the reason, a sober spring break doesn’t mean spending the whole week indoors watching a Netflix marathon...although that’s an enjoyable option if it rains!
Sober Spring Break Fun
There are plenty of ways to let loose and, yes, have fun on spring break without a single shot of tequila. Here are just a few suggestions to get you started:
- Road TripThere may be nothing more satisfying than driving on the freeway with the sunroof open and blasting your favorite music from the stereo system. A road trip is a flexible, and relatively affordable, way to travel. You can go pretty much anywhere accessible by car, for as little or as much time as you want. If you’re on a budget, you can opt for camping or AirBnB to cut back on lodging costs. And if you’re sober, you don’t need a designated driver!
“In my third year sober, I took a road trip from New York to LA with a sober friend,” says Alex, 27. “It was one of the most fun trips of my life. I got to see parts of the country I’d never seen before. And we hit [AA] meetings along the way and met a bunch of sober people from all over.”
- Amusement ParkIf you love adrenaline, you don’t need drugs or alcohol to get that rush. So, why not try a roller coaster? And if screaming while plummeting from extreme heights isn’t your thing, there’s always tamer rides that don’t involve as much terror, or an assortment of games and a smorgasbord of food .
“I used to get drunk and go to the amusement park,” says Jamie, 29. “But it’s actually more fun sober. And less vomiting.”
- Boat RideHere’s another activity that’s less likely to involve vomiting if you do it sober. If you have access to a body of water and a little disposable cash, why not rent a boat, go canoeing, kayaking or sailing, or go on a whale watch or a day cruise? For those on a budget, even a ferry ride can bring simple pleasure.
“Whenever I’m sad or bored, I take the ferry from Williamsburg [Brooklyn] to Manhattan,” says Sara, 24. “There’s nothing more soothing than being out on the water. It’s like my happy place.”
- Friend RetreatIf you need a spring break that actually “breaks” from your day-to-day life, why not gather some non-drinking buddies and go off the grid for a while? Stock up on games (like Cards Against Humanity, Taboo, Monopoly and an old-school deck of cards), snacks, crafts, alcohol-free beverages and leave your phones tucked away for as long as you can handle!
If you’ve got a specific activity in mind and crave structure - or just some alone time - you could consider signing up for a yoga retreat, a meditation retreat, a camping excursion or spend the week at a horseback riding ranch. But sometimes, just hanging out with your friends somewhere away from your school or homes is a simple way to let loose, and bond.
“The best spring break I ever had was with a few of my friends from my dorm,” recalls Maddy, 31. “We stayed at a friend’s family’s home in Maine and just played board games all weekend. No drinking, just chilling, and the occasional dance party.”
- TravelJust because you’re not drinking doesn’t mean you can’t go to Mexico or the Bahamas or Miami or on a ski trip in Colorado. If you have the resources, traveling while sober can be way more rewarding than getting wasted on a beach somewhere. You can wake up early and go hiking, meet locals, volunteer, attend 12-step recovery meetings (they’re held all over the globe), visit museums or landmarks or ancient ruins...the opportunities are limitless. Also the potential safety risks of traveling are diminished when you have your wits about you.
“After I got sober, I was scared to go anywhere, because I associated traveling with drinking,” says Ian, 35. “But my girlfriend and I went to Peru last year and it was awesome. We had more time and energy. [Before I got sober] I would’ve been drunk the whole time and missed out on a lot. I also didn’t spend a ton of money and end up in an unsafe situation. That’s a bonus.”
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