With Christmas Break swirling closer each day, there runs an electric air of excitement through college campuses across the nation. Finals will soon be over and the trek back home for the festivities will create a mass exodus of students off those campuses and back to the homes of their ecstatic families.
But what is there to do after Santa comes, the presents are all opened and the feast is consumed?
Students looking for something to entertain themselves from Dec. 25 until returning to school on Jan. 10 have not far to look as a wide variety of activities provide excitement all around the state.
Many activities actually surround Texas as a lack of mountains and strict gambling laws move some types of events outside our borders. But whether it is the slopes you crave or the thrill of losing money at a casino, there are plenty of opportunities to have fun this winter.
While it can be addicting, the experience of gambling in a casino is one many students try at least once during their college career. It may be a quick midnight excursion across the Red River or a week-long trip with the parentals. But either way, taking to the slots can be an interesting way to get rid of some of that Christmas money grandma gave this year. Louisiana offers a wide variety of lucrative businesses along the Texas border such as Harrah’s and Lucky Star Casinos. Lake Charles alone offers at least 14 casinos and lies directly across the Louisiana border on Interstate 10, three hours away from Huntsville.
The state of Oklahoma also caters to gambling-starved Texans with several options across the northern border. By taking Interstate 45 North, expectant gamblers can find at least eight casinos across the Red River from Ardmore to Idabel.
If spending money on chance does not sound appealing, spending wads of cash at a New Mexico ski resort may be a better option.
SkiNewMexico.com offers a complete listing of available resorts and even includes daily reports on snow conditions on slopes around the state. Most ski sites sit well within the state, which could mean a great opportunity for a fascinating road trip.
If distance is not an issue, the ever-popular Taos, New Mexico lies approximately 14 hours away from Huntsville, according to MapQuest.com, and provides several great options for the experienced or inexperienced skiers. Santa Fe lies a bit closer at just 12 hours and provides yet another opportunity to hit the slopes after the Christmas holidays.
Yet taking to the slopes may seem a bit extreme for some during what could be a relaxing break. For those seeking an outdoor experience without the toils of skiing through drifts of snow, a camping trip to Big Bend may be the perfect vacation.
A designated national park, Big Bend offers many camping options during the winter for the seasoned or green camper alike. Activities such as hiking, camping, mountain bicycling and river running along the Rio Grande are offered year-round. According to VisitBigBend.com, winters at the park are mild as February has become one of the most popular months to visit. The park also now offers flights to Lajitas twice weekly from Dallas and Austin, which drastically decreases the pain of driving across the state to leave the car heater for a cabin or tent.
No matter which activity provides the most excitement or the most fun, the opportunities to enjoy this Christmas break are endless as students attempt to make the most of the holidays before the season is over and the monotony of school returns.