Your guide to the ultimate Columbia staycation

Make the most of your canceled trips and explore all that Columbia has to offer.

After a full year of living with the COVID-19 pandemic, college students are mourning the loss of their second spring break in a row. With restrictions still in place, many are changing their travel plans to remain safe and help stop the spread. This has resulted in some lackluster plans in many young adults’ eyes. However, many of Columbia’s hidden gems can help turn your lack of a vacation into a brag-worthy staycation.

The key to an amazing vacation is achieving peak relaxation, and what better way to chill out than venturing into nature? My favorite way to get active is going to Devil's Icebox at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. It is the perfect way to step away from the busyness of everyday life and hike out all of your stress. There you can explore beautiful hiking trails as well as natural caves.

After all of that hiking, you will definitely need to refuel with an incredible meal. One of my favorite spots is Cafe Poland downtown Columbia. The menu features delicious Polish foods from crepes to pierogies — they have something for everyone. You can pick up your food and enjoy it a few blocks away in Peace Park with a great view of the Columns.

Let’s face it — a large part of every vacation is getting some Insta-worthy pictures for all of your social media accounts. Les Bourgeois Vineyards is the perfect spot for this. About 20 minutes outside of Columbia and poised on a lake, the winery will provide a beautiful backdrop that will make all of your followers jealous. If you’re 21, you can kick back while sipping on their vast selection of wines. Or in my case, you can enjoy the non-alcoholic beverages and menu options such as hummus baskets and pretzel baskets that they offer for underage visitors.

Another great vacation activity is to get in touch with your creative side at The Mud Room. The Mud Room offers ceramic painting, take-home painting and tie-dye kits, as well as a gift shop featuring handmade items. The Mud Room will transport you back to elementary school art class and bring out your inner Picasso. Not only will you get to paint the ceramics, but you will also get to take it home and show it off to all of your friends.

Now that you have covered relaxing, eating, drinking and painting, we are missing one absolutely vital part of every vacation — shopping. One of the best parts about visiting somewhere new is having a cool souvenir you know no one at home will have. We can achieve this without even leaving Columbia by shopping at Maude Vintage Clothing & Costumes, where you can find one-of-a-kind vintage pieces. I absolutely love shopping here because I know that not only will I have a totally unique piece, but it is also a sustainable alternative to typical retail therapy.

Now that we’ve covered all of our bases when it comes to crafting the perfect Columbia staycation, you can officially say you have stellar spring break plans. Who needs a tropical destination when we have good ole’ mid-Missouri in our backyard?

Edited by Angelina Edwards | aedwards@themaneater.com

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