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Winter Vacation on a Budget

CHATTANOOGA, TN (mocsnews.com)— With winter break right around the corner, UTC students say they are looking for affordable winter getaways that are college-friendly and full of fun.

One of the top-ranked college destinations in Tennessee is Pigeon Forge, according to Visit My Smokies. Located only 2 hr 38 min from Chattanooga, Pigeon Forge offers a range of attractions that include Dollywood, shopping centers, affordable cabins and even their famous light show, Winterfest.

 Specifically, if students are looking for an affordable ski resort with a variety of additional activities, then Ober Gatlinburg is an option to consider. Known as “the Smoky Mountains top attraction,” Ober Gatlinburg is a mountainside amusement park that features skiing, mini-golf, wildlife encounters and a mall.

Ober Gatlinburg’s admission price for the ski area depends on the time of day and amount of days purchased. The resort also offers a college pass for $199.00; however, for other activities, such as the Aerial Tramway and Ice Skating, check the site for specific activity rates.

Gatlinburg also offers a variety of cabin rentals from $99/night, according to Vrbo.  One popular cabin is located in Black Bear Falls and ranges from $225/night, depending on the week or days you book. With an overview of a mountain pound fed by cascading waters, the cabin is minutes from Downtown Gatlinburg and sleeps four.

One of Gatlinburg’s top cabins located in Black Bear Falls.

Although a further distance, Beech Mountain in North Carolina is among one of the top skiing spots. Beech Mountain Resort is known as the highest ski destination in eastern North America.

Also called the 5506’ Skybar, the opening day for the resort is November 26. According to Atlanta Magazine, Beech Mountain Resort features a “more-than-mile-high elevation” of the Blue Ridge Mountains, along with heated restrooms and a deck with Adirondack chairs. For more information about tickets and rentals, visit Beech Mountain Resort’s website.

The 5506’ Skybar is located at the top of Beech Mountain.

While vacation is a time to escape from school, some UTC students say taking a vacation with friends can help students’ mental health.

“I feel like taking a vacation with some of your closest friends is essential to develop deeper friendships and help with your mental health,” sophomore May Tran said. “Personally, everyone I know is extremely stressed out when final week approaches. Taking a winter vacation would drastically help with any stress and anxiety I have built up over the semester.”

In addition, junior Jasmine Osuna said taking a vacation with friends is essential for being “mentally and emotionally” healthy and helps you branch out from your comfort zone.

Aside from the mental health benefits college vacations can provide, some students believe it adds to the college experience.

“I plan on going on a trip to Gatlinburg with some of my sorority sisters this winter break,” freshman Payton Warren said. “As a freshman, I feel like this experience will add to the college experience for me, especially since I am still meeting new people every day.”

Sophomore Hailey Hallman also said she agrees that taking a vacation with friends will create memories that college students will keep forever.

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About Grace James

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