This spring semester is the first in Binghamton University history that does not have a spring break. Although anticipated, this is a letdown for college students who need a break in the middle of the semester. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and burnt out, especially as finals week looms near. In exchange for a spring break, BU scheduled three nonconsecutive “Rejuvenation Days” — while it’s definitely not a typical spring break, it’s vital that students take advantage of any time off to recharge. Below are some suggestions on how to eagerly and safely spring into the new season, and make the most of this unconventional second semester.

Miniature golf at Chuckster’s Family Fun Park

Reopening on April 5, Chuckster’s Family Fun Park on 1915 Vestal Pkwy. W is a tee-rific place to channel your emerging miniature golf expertise. The park maintains a balance of entertainment and safety, allowing for a fun outdoor experience while also following necessary COVID-19 guidelines. The park is home to the longest miniature golf hole on the planet, making it a unique spring activity that’s easily accessible for BU students who are mourning the loss of their spring break.

Skate Estate

Want an excuse to show off some skills or dance with some friends? If so, Skate Estate on 3401 Vestal Road is calling your name. Weekly events include dollar night — which is perfect for broke college students — open skate and weekend skating. For those who want to take a break from babysitting and be the kid instead, Skate Estate hosts Adult Night (18 and over) every few weeks from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. It’s like dancing, but on wheels!

Trip to Ithaca — The Gorges, Farmers Market and more

While Binghamton offers a myriad of springtime activities, attending college in upstate New York makes it pretty easy to visit surrounding areas as well. A popular go-to is Ithaca, where you’re likely to hear someone say “Ithaca is gorges.” Despite that lack of originality, they have a point. The gorges were formed millions of years ago, worn with a scenic history of nature and wildlife. For those who aren’t too scared of heights, one of the taller gorges is Taughannock Falls. Another route is to visit the Ithaca Farmers Market, where you can break from the dining hall and instead indulge in locally grown food while supporting small businesses. Farmers markets are a great way to rekindle a sense of community, even among the pandemic.

Sugar Lips Ice Cream Shop

Have an insatiable sweet tooth? Ice cream is a great way to cool off from the spring heat or to recover from a stressful school day. Less than 10 minutes away from campus, Sugar Lips Ice Cream Shop on 103 Riverside Drive is a classic Binghamton hotspot for friends to gather — socially distanced of course — and catch up over some soft serve or homemade ice cream. For those who like a crunch with every bite, their signature tornado mixes soft serve ice cream with any choice of topping. The shop doesn’t take cards, so don’t forget to bring cash!

An abundance of food options — outdoor dining or a DIY picnic

With warmer weather approaching, BU students are in luck as most restaurants in Downtown Binghamton offer outdoor dining. The classics like Craft, Dos Rios Cantina, The Colonial and Lost Dog Cafe & Lounge all offer seating outside for a COVID-19-safe meal in tandem with a springtime ambiance. A cheaper option and a quintessential spring activity can be a wholesome picnic with friends or family. Otsiningo Park is a perfect place to have such a leisure pursuit, with tables and acres of greenery to lay out a blanket and snack on delicious prepared foods.

An atypical year calls for atypical plans, where it may be necessary to reinvent what a college spring break entails. Whether it’s taking a day trip to Ithaca or spontaneously driving down the road to Sugar Lips Ice Cream Shop, there are plenty of ways to find the good in a semester without a spring break.