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Go to St. George for an affordable getaway

Looking for a quick weekend getaway? Every student needs a little vacation time, especially during spring semester. Why not save some cash while you’re at it? For a good weekend to simply relax and take your mind off of school while the weather is warming up, a camping trip at St. George Island would be perfect. With the added bonus of saving some money, who wouldn’t want to go?
St. George Island is roughly 167 miles away from Valdosta (which translates to about three hours on the road) on the Florida rim of the Gulf of Mexico. When looking for a good campground with beach access, the Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park is the logical choice. Miles of undeveloped beach await all campers who want to work on their tan, have some fun in the sun, or purely relax and let the peace of the campground overtake the mind.
Of course, one thing that can never be peaceful when planning a trip is money; the first and foremost concern is gas money. A full tank of gas for a round trip is roughly $48, give or take a few cents for inflation. The campsite itself is $24 per night, and for two nights, that’s another $48. And finally, all the equipment necessary can easily be rented from the VSU CORE office for nominal fees. For the weekend, a four-person tent is $8, an individual sleeping bag is $4, and a camp stove is $4. St. George Island is also a wonderful place to kayak, fish, and snorkel. At the CORE rental center, a kayak package (with car carrier, life jacket and paddle included), is $20, a snorkel pack is $5, and a fishing rod is $2. With all of the costs staring you in the face, you might be asking yourself “How is this cheap? How can I afford all this?”
Provided you take three people with you to share the tent (why would one person need a four-person tent?) and divide the bills, the basic cost of a weekend at the St. George Island State Park can range from $37 to $34 per person, excluding food costs.

Just a few quick tips:
1. Bring sunscreen, especially in the hotter months; if you try tanning or spend too much time in the sun without protecting yourself, there’s a high probability you will get burned and you might have a higher chance of developing skin cancer.
2. If you’re going to do any fishing, make sure you have a fishing license; a saltwater fishing license is required in the state of Florida. According to the Fish and Boat Commission website, the FBC will fine violators at a base fine of $50 for the first offense. That’s $50 out of your budget, which could end up cutting your trip short.
3. There is a nature trail at the park; if you’re an avid hiker or just enjoy losing yourself in nature, make sure to bring good shoes.  
4. If you’re going to do any swimming, make sure you can trust yourself or your friends when it comes to water; there are no lifeguards.

Keep in mind, if you’re going to take the trip, act fast because the park fills up fast with reservations. This is St. George Island we’re talking about; it’s a popular place. You can reserve a campsite at www.reserveamerica.com or by phone at (850) 927-2111. Enjoy your vacation, and I hope you come back feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

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