Spring break on a [college] budget

Since the beginning of the semester, I have dreamed of the day I’ll be on the beach, drinking an ice-cold lemonade ­…

… Except that was all in my head, and I have no money to head down south for the week. If you’re in the same boat and wondering what to do on a small budget, look no further.

Here is a list of nearby attractions and activities you could try this spring break. They’re grouped by geographical area and ranked from cheapest to most expensive.

Staying in Bowling Green?

1. Shanty Hollow: The 1.3-mile hike shows the beautiful landscape of our Bowling Green home. Taking a hike here is completely free.

2. Mammoth Cave: We have the only national park in Kentucky in our very own backyard. Mammoth Cave is only about 30 minutes away from campus. Why not take advantage of it? A generic cave tour costs $7, but it doesn’t cost a thing to hike the trails along the property.

3. Corvette Museum: The world-famous Corvette Museum only costs $10 to tour. That’s a bargain to see the place famous for its sinkhole!

4. Lost River Cave: This is another beautiful cave system in our neck of the woods. The price of a cave tour at Lost River Cave is $16.95, but it is free to explore on your own.

Want to see what the rest of Kentucky has to offer?

1. 21c Museum Hotels: If you want to branch out of Bowling Green but still stay relatively close (and cheap), this one is for you. These super cool hotels with locations in Louisville and Lexington double as museums. They are open 24/7 and are free to visit. However, you can only see video installations from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. at the Louisville museum, so plan accordingly.

2. Hiking: The Bluegrass State is filled with beautiful scenery perfect for any nature lover. Check out the Pinnacles in Berea and Cumberland Falls in Corbin.

3. My Old Kentucky Home: This is where composer Stephen Foster lived while he wrote our state’s song. The staff produces a musical every summer to tell the story of Foster. Though it’s not summer yet, you can still tour the home that the sun shone bright on, inspiring Foster’s lyrics.

4. Keeneland: It’s not racing season just yet, but the world-famous horse racetracks are open for $8 tours.

5. Louisville Zoo: Who wouldn’t want to de-stress by visiting some animals a during spring break? It costs $16.95 for adults to visit the zoo in Louisville.

6. Zip lining: If you are an adrenaline junkie and have never been zip lining, I highly recommend it. You don’t even have to go far because Kentucky has some awesome zip lining locations. It can range from $26 at Treetop Adventures in London to $49 at the underground Louisville Mega Cavern.

Let’s go to Nashville!

1. Downtown Nashville: This Southern city is known for its nightlife, and it is free to walk down the strip and people-watch. It will cost you to eat or drink at the restaurants, though.

2. Parthenon: Nashville isn’t called the Athens of the South for nothing. This replica of the actual Parthenon in Greece is close by and worth a visit. The cost of a tour for a group of 10 is $5.50 a person.

3. Johnny Cash museum: If you are a fan of this famous country crooner, this is a must-see! The cost of admission at this museum is $18.95.

4. Hermitage: Calling all history buffs! You can visit the home of Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States for $20.

5. Country Music Hall of Fame: This is a rite of passage for country music fans. Admission for students is $22.95.

6. Grand Ole Opry: The Grand Ole Opry is said to be what made country music famous. A tour of the Opry is priced at $25, but if you want to watch a show, tickets can be priced anywhere from $45-$95 each.

7. Ryman Auditorium: The Ryman is the original home of the Grand Ole Opry, and it is definitely worth checking out. If you want to tour the Ryman, it will set you back $26.