A typical college student's budget does not allow for casual vacations to the canalled streets of Venice or the jungles of the Amazon, but that doesn't mean there's nothing to do in Oregon. The Beaver State has many opportunities to enjoy local trips that offer sprawling vistas and delicious cuisine, all on a budget.
The Oregon Coast has numerous wanderlust-quenching opportunities a day trip away. It's a short drive west on Highway 34 by car to Newport, Ore., the "Dungeness Crab Capital of the world," according to the town's website.
The iconic Yaquina Bay Bridge, built in 1936, takes travelers to Bay Boulevard, which shelters attractions such as the Wax Works museum. Across the street, visit Mo's Seafood Restaurant to grab a delicious $5 bowl of chowder with a view of the Yaquina Bay.
Fishing boats unload their catch within view of the street while sea lions bask in the sun on buoys and docks such as Port Dock One. During the summer, the sea lions migrate to Southern California to breed, according to the Oregon State University webcams page. The Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network keeps an eye on the webcam of the dock to help injured sea lions, and it's possible to check that the sea lions are back in the bay with the webcam.
See a brewery in action at Rogue Ale's Brewer's on the Bay on the south side of Newport. The Brewery is open daily and offers a full-service bar and restaurant with the opportunity to play a board game while sipping on a beer or sharing a plate of fries for $5. Dogs are also welcome and are treated with free water — and the option of ordering off a canine menu.
For a dose of history and a beautiful view, visit the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, originally built in 1872. Hike around Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area and take advantage of the nature photography opportunities.
Nye Beach on the other side of town offers a used bookstore and traditional English tea shoppe. Travelers 21 and older can grab a pint at Nana's Irish Pub before heading to the beach.
Pacific City is just an hour north by car. Its main allure is Cape Kiwanda, where restaurants and gift shops reside with a view of the largest haystack rock — known as Chief Kiwanda to locals — on the coast.
Visit the tide pools, also called the Intertidal Marine Gardens, near the dune and check out the marine life living there; however, do not pick up or take any of the marine life, including starfish, as they are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and removing them could result in a fine.
Get a panoramic view of the ocean vista from atop the giant dune on the cape and race down for a few seconds of cheap, sandy entertainment. The loser buys ice cream at the local ice cream shop on the cape.