Finals are approaching and students are itching to move out of dorms to return home for the summer. If you live in an apartment off campus, you have the option to stay for the summer depending on your lease. Going home in between academic years allows you to visit family and hometown friends, but there are plenty of perks to staying in Binghamton for the summer. Whether you are enrolled in a summer course or not, read on to discover some fun!

Greek Festival Drive-Thru

The Greek Orthodox Church of Annunciation is holding a Greek Festival Drive-Thru where anyone can come to get authentic and delicious Greek food. At 4121 O’Hara Drive, you can drive up to the church from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, June 4 and Saturday, June 5 and then Sunday, June 6 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Food options include gyros, Greek salads, chicken souvlaki and more. Make sure to bring dollars because it is cash only!

Nathaniel Cole Park

While the cold winter months in Binghamton may be dreadful, the nature in our college town is beautiful once it is summertime. Nathaniel Cole Park is perfect for a nice picnic or a scenic walk around the pond. If the temperature is hot enough, you can tan on the sand or go for a swim. The park is located on 1674 Colesville Road, Harpursville, which comes to a short 20-minute drive from campus.

Animal Adventure Park

The ninth season of Animal Adventure Park began on April 28 and is now open for visitors. The park became famous from its viral video of the birth of a baby giraffe, but it has many other animals as well. There are Australian reptiles, birds, alligators and more. This park is unique because it has an Animal Encounters program, where visitors can interact with the animals and go behind the scenes with the keepers. Through this activity, you can learn more about the animals and have an amazing time. Additionally, Animal Adventure Park is a part of the American Species Survival Plan, which takes care of species whose only chance of survival is with captive breeding. Its mission is to keep the animals and populations healthy and diverse. Many of their animal ambassadors are from rescue situations as well. This park is about 25 minutes away and is located at 85 Martin Hill Road, Harpursville.

Ithaca Waterfalls

Ithaca is a bit of a drive from Binghamton, but if you want to cross seeing a waterfall off your bucket list, then one of the many hikes in Ithaca is the perfect destination for a hot summer day. The Ithaca Falls Trail in Ithaca Falls Natural Area or the Gorge Trail in Buttermilk Falls State Park has easy trails with beautiful views of waterfalls. If you want to go for a swim, Buttermilk Falls State Park has a designated swimming area at the base of one of the waterfalls.

Cutler Botanic Garden

Located on 840 Upper Front St., Cutler Botanic Garden is another nice location to go on a walk and enjoy nature. Entry is free, but tours cost only $2. Local students visit to learn about horticulture and environmental issues, but you can also visit to simply appreciate the flowers and beautiful gardens. Bring a camera and some friends and you can have a mini photoshoot in the gardens. Additionally, there’s the annual Master Gardener Plant Sale on Wednesday, June 2 from 4 to 7 p.m. and on Thursday, June 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., but you must preregister on the website for a time to shop.

Great New York State Fair with Melissa Etheridge

On Friday, Aug. 27, singer Melissa Etheridge will perform at the Great New York State Fair at 8 p.m. The event is associated with the Chevrolet Music Festival and the concerts are free with admission to the fair. The fair is located in Syracuse, NY and runs from Aug. 20 to Sep. 6, with other events as well. If you’re in the mood to listen to some live music, the drive up to Syracuse to hear Etheridge belt some rock songs will be well worth it.

Broome County Regional Farmers Market

Every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Broome County’s farmer’s market is open. Located at 840 Upper Front St., the Broome County Regional Farmers Market has fresh produce, prepared food and other miscellaneous products from local farmers and artisans. While this can be a year-round activity, the fruit and vegetables are even more delicious in the warmer months when is in season. If you want to make a nice summer salad or go shopping for some hand-crafted jewelry, be sure to check out the Broome County Regional Farmers Market.

While living in Binghamton may remind all of us of exams and stress from academics, the city and surrounding areas have a lot to offer, especially in the summer. Whether you’re stuck here for a summer class, working at a job or internship in the area or simply want to stay with some friends in an apartment, there is a lot to do this summer in Binghamton!