Before you know it, Spring Break 2009 will be upon us. These days, most college students do not have a lot of spending money, so here are some fun and exciting ideas for Spring Break that are inexpensive and fairly close to the Lancaster area.

Lancaster is known for the Fulton Theatre, the Central Farmers Market, and several different shopping centers, such as the Rockvale Outlets. The Farmers Market and Rockvale are good places to go if you really enjoy shopping, but if you are a fan of the cabaret, there are two shows happening during Spring Break that have a few seats left: John Hererra’s Broadway and More and Tropical Illusion are playing March 6 and 7, respectively. Tickets are only $15.

Lancaster County also has some enjoyable museums and places to visit. The National Watch and Clock Museum in Columbia offers self-guided tours through the history of timekeeping, with tickets costing $8. In Strasburg, take a ride on the Strasburg Railroad or ride a train at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Both locations offer weekend hours and specials.

On March 8, the last day of our break, visitors can go to the Railroad Museum free of charge to celebrate the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s 327th anniversary.

There are plenty of other places in downtown Lancaster and in the county that make for fun and pleasant experiences. The Lancaster Museum of Art on Queen Street offers free admission on a daily basis. There, you can view an assortment of contemporary art from local, national, and international artists. Just down the street is the Lancaster Newspapers Newseum, which provides a self-guided look at how newspapers evolved over the centuries.

Visitors can learn how the Lancaster New Era and Intelligencer Journal evolved into the papers they are today. These are just a handful of the many wonderful daytrips that you could take without going too far away (if you already live close to Lancaster, that is).
If you want something cheap to do, but you want to be away from Millersville and the Lancaster area, take a train down to 30 Street Station in Philadelphia.

There are a variety of attractions in the City of Brotherly Love, including the Franklin Institute, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the National Constitution Center, the Academy of Natural Sciences, and the Philadelphia Zoo. All of these places would make for great daytrips, or you and your friends could make an overnight trip out of it.

Philadelphia is only a 90-minute drive from Lancaster, but if you would prefer a different transportation method, train tickets from Lancaster to Philadelphia only cost $15 to $20 one-way. Tickets for these museums are also inexpensive: for example, students visiting the Franklin Institute can pay as little as $13.25 for a basic admission plan or as much as $20.75 for an IMAX combination plan.

Hopefully this article has provided some ideas for what to do during Spring Break that will not completely empty your wallet. Check out and for more information on the attractions and museums mentioned in this piece as well as many other fun ideas.