Opinion: Fun ideas for weekend trips with friends

Jessica Stewart, Columnist

Recently, the DEN published an Editorial saying that Charleston needs more fun things for students to do. While I do agree, there are still a lot of fun things to do somewhat close to here. However, most of them require a drive, so it’s handy to have a friend with a car. Here is a list of my favorite things to do with friends. Sadly, they all do require a car.

Go to The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur. Fall is quickly approaching, and everyone knows that’s the perfect time to go to the pumpkin patch. This one is huge, and there are so many hotspots to take cute pictures. Plus, taking home pumpkins and carving them with your friends (maybe with Hocus Pocus playing on TV) is probably the best way to spend a Saturday evening.

Holiday World is a holiday-themed amusement park in Santa Claus, Indiana. How cool is that? I had never been there before this year when my friends and I all took a trip over there. Parking and soft drinks are free and the tickets are not very expensive themselves. There are a lot of roller coasters, and they even have some carnival-type rides. I would totally recommend taking an adventure with your friends out there.

St. Louis has so many fun things to do. The zoo is free, so that is definitely appealing to college students. There’s a diner about five minutes from downtown called the Courtesy Diner (the one on Hampton Ave. is the best one), and it’s easily my favorite restaurant in St. Louis. They’re open 24 hours and they have delicious, inexpensive food (including all-day breakfast!) It’s also fun to just go walk around IKEA with friends; you could look up a scavenger hunt and separate into teams trying to get the best pictures. Maybe the losers have to buy dinner at the Courtesy Diner.

If you like hiking, you could go to Starved Rock State Park in northern Illinois. It’s full of beautiful canyons and waterfalls and it has several different hiking trails. I went there in the summer, and it was raining slightly. Even so, there was a fog over the canyons and it made it look eerily beautiful. Plus, the waterfalls were incredible. It’s the closest thing to a national park that I’ve found anywhere around here.

My final suggestion is to just drive around. My friend group loves cruising around, especially when there’s a beautiful central Illinois sunset visible. You can go explore different neighborhoods; I know we’ve found some with really cool houses. You can also explore the country; we’ve found really pretty, twisty roads that we can’t wait to go explore this fall when the leaves change colors.

Charleston may not have a lot to do, but if you have access to a car, adventure is out there.

Jessica Stewart is a junior English major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]