March 12th-16th marks the spring semester break for both Lubbock ISD schools and Texas Tech University. For budget-minded college students or families needing an escape, here are a few destinations near enough to the Hub City to not completely break the bank.

  • 1

    Amarillo, TX

    Travel time: 1 hr 48 min (123 miles)

    You Can Make it Before Morning.

    Ever wonder where cars come from? Did you know they grow out of the ground like carrots?

    I’ve been informed that’s not completely true, but Cadillac Ranch would suggest otherwise. Created in 1974 as a public art instillation, it’s a surreal sight to see. Head over to see graffiti-covered Cadillacs protrude from the bare ground at the Cadillac Ranch, located on I-40 between exits 60-62.

    If you’re a thrill seeker, the kiddos (or kid in you) can make a pit stop at Wonderland Amusement Park, featuring some great rides and roller coasters. Group ticket pricing is available, and individual tickets are priced at just under $20.

    Amarillo is also so close to Palo Duro Canyon that it practically falls into it. This state park charges $5 a person and is open until 10 p.m. It’s the perfect destination for a day hike or a drive to take in the views of rich colors and 800-ft cliff drops.

  • 2

    Roswell, NM

    Travel time: 2 h 42 min (174 miles)

    For Those Who Want to Believe.

    Known for its visitors from all over the world (and other worlds), you’ll time travel and gain an hour of fun with this trip, as New Mexico is an hour behind Texas.

    Renowned as the site of an alleged 1947 UFO crash (or was it a weather balloon? *cue X-Files music*), Roswell still stands as a tourist destination today, servicing those who come to seek answers and find out about the UFO.

    The main feature of this destination is The International UFO Museum and Research Center. The museum is open every day from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Spring River Park and Zoo is home to New Mexico-native animals and features an antique carousel, which would be an amazing backdrop for your latest Instagram selfie.

    End your day in Roswell with a visit to the Bottomless Lakes State Park. Just 14 miles south of Roswell, clear blue saltwater awaits casual swimmers. For a mere $5 per car, visitors can rent peddle boats or paddleboards and find the tan they’re looking for during the break.

  • 3

    Carlsbad, NM

    Travel time: 2 h 54 min (179 miles)

    Escape the Sun.

    This is an underground adventure destination that’s family-friendly! The Carlsbad Caverns National Park features over 100 caves. You’ll be able to observe stalactites and journey your way into the depths of the Earth in this dark destination. The park is open from 8-3:15 every day. Entry for children under 15 is free and for adults is $10.

    For the water lovers, be sure to pack a picnic and get ready to lay out at Lake Carlsbad Beach Park. The perfect place for fishing, boating and water sports, it’s a nice collection of water sure to give you a break from the plains of Lubbock.

    Carlsbad Caverns National Park via Facebook
  • 4

    Marfa, TX

    Travel time: 4 h 46 min (308 miles)

    For the Artists Who Love the Open Road.

    I like to call this unique little town the (condensed) Austin of West Texas. An art hub home to numerous galleries and art foundations alike, Marfa stands as a quirky destination sure to satisfy an artist’s heart. The Chinati Foundation featuring the Donald Judd art instillations should be the first thing on your list. The experience offers a look into the creative culture that has thrived in the small town of 3,000 people. Main Street is saturated with art galleries, shops, art instillations sure to soak up your interest and time.

    Places to stay are just as unique. El Cosmico describes itself as a Bohemian West Texas Nomadic Hotel and offers teepees and RV’s that will make you feel as if you’ve entered another world. Guests are also encouraged to test their stage fright and try their talent with Karaoke night, March 17.

    Hotel Paisano is a historical destination where guests and visitors can shop inside the hotel, read about its history and watch the now infamous movie Giant, starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean.

    The main attraction of this far West Texas desert land is the mystical Marfa Lights. Sights of mysterious lights that seem to have no source have been reported enough times to inspire a Marfa Lights Viewing Park. There is no entry fee and the area is open 24 hours. The website recommends visitors come with an open mind. Even if you don’t see the lights for yourself, the skies are as black as can be and stand and an ideal spot for stargazing. I recommend picking up a late night grilled cheese before making your way to this area of the desert. The Museum of Electronic Wonders & Late Night Grilled Cheese opens at 9:30 p.m. and is sure to give you the creeps before you start your search for the lights.

    Another attraction to set your radar on is Prada Marfa. Completely free (because no one is going to regulate a small exhibit in the middle of the desert), it is worth the 30 min drive northwest of Marfa to see the exhibit. I would recommend making this a pit stop on your way to Ft. Davis.

  • 5

    Ft. Davis, TX

    Travel time: 4 h 26 min (287.8 mi)

    Recommended as an Add-On to Marfa.

    Ft. Davis, Texas is 21 miles from Marfa and stands as the perfect destination for any explorer.

    The Davis Mountains State Park offers beautiful and relaxing views of mountains and valleys that can be reached by car or by hikers up for a little challenge. Admission to this park is $6 per person.

    The McDonald Observatory is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and they host a number of guided tours and star parties throughout March. Visiting prices vary from $7-12 depending on what events you’d like to attend.