There are lots of places to go within Florida, Georgia and Tennessee, all within driving distance, to have an adventure off campus. Between camping in the Everglades and getting plastered in Miami or Atlanta, this is a rough guide to prices and distances to help jog some desire to go and try something new.
Camping is cheap, you get to sleep outdoors, see the stars away from the city and make fires without getting in trouble. In flat Florida, it’s an easy hike to get to your campsite, but it’s also hotter, filled with mosquitoes and there are alligators and crocodiles …. the modern dinosaurs that can eat you.
Tennessee is beautiful, mountainous and has hiking as it’s meant to be. If you’ve lived in Florida your whole life, Tennessee will be an incredible revelation as it has real Southern food and opportunities for rock climbing everywhere. Along with all of this, there are actual forests here, not grass that has “saw” in its name and giant spiders.
Georgia is where the movie “Deliverance” takes place, so if you’ve seen the movie, then take that as you will going into the woods. Ignoring hillbilly rapist murderers, Georgia has a distinct lack of light pollution with it being so rural, so you’ll see more stars on the way to Atlanta than you’ve probably ever seen anywhere in Florida.
If not having a sleeping bag and a tent is what’s stopping you, FAU’s Outdoor Adventures in the recreation center has camping gear for rent at a discount to students.
All of these suggested campgrounds I have either camped at myself or a close friend has. No generic bullshit. Each place is within 12 hours driving distance from Boca Raton, so you can go on an adventure without breaking the bank.
Southern tip of the Everglades (3 Hours)
About an hour from Key West (4 Hours)
Big Cypress National Preserve
West side of the Everglades (2 Hours)
TN (11 Hours) $12/night
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Hours southeast of Knoxville
TN (11 Hours) $14/night
I don’t drink. But, I have a lot of friends who do. So, if you’re stuck in South Florida, and need a way to forget you’re not far away from home, these little spots will help.
Beers are from local distilleries
Near Fort Lauderdale airport
A warehouse converted to bar and lounge
A hipster dive bar with retro video games
The Green Parrot
Local artists play live every week
Funky Buddha Lounge
Local musicians and open mic Monday nights
Andrew Fraieli is a contributing writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email him at [email protected]