10 places the recent graduate must visit


Class of 2016 — it’s time to celebrate after graduation. Hard work should be rewarded, and there is no better way to do that than to take in the sights and sounds of a new place. Congrats on graduation; now get out there and explore! Six Flags Amusement Parks/Cedar Point/Disneyland 

Amusement parks are an easy way to ensure lots of fun times. Take your pick of a park and enjoy the rides. Be sure to get there early, or go on a weekday if possible, to try to skip the long lines. And for our recent graduates on the East Coast who don’t want to travel across the country, consider going to Disney World in Florida or Coney Island in New York. $

Ouray, Colorado 

If you like the outdoors, look no further than this small town. About a 45-minute drive from Montrose Regional Airport and tucked between surrounding mountains, this town features beautiful views. The town is also known for its abundance of hot springs. Relax from the stress of finals by escaping to this outdoors lover’s paradise. $$

Seattle, Washington  

Escape the summer heat by visiting Seattle and discovering all this cloudy city has to offer. Create your own tour of the city by mapping where all of the best coffee shops in town are, and be sure to stop by Pike Place Market. $$$

Washington, D.C.

Though you may have just graduated, that doesn’t mean the history lessons have to end. Go sightseeing in our nation’s capital and take in all of the history there. A city so full of influential people will inspire your ambition as you head beyond graduation. $$$$

Huntington Beach, California

 This beach offers great surfing opportunities for those looking to catch some waves. There are also tons of shops and restaurants by the beach, making it a great place to spend the day. And if you time your trip right, you could end up visiting on Corgi Beach Day, a quarterly event each season where corgis and their owners invade the Huntington Dog Beach. $$$

Chicago, Illinois

Looking for great food and a long list of attractions to explore? Look no further. Chicago is brimming with museums and attractions like Navy Pier and Millennium Park. Be sure to finish a day of sightseeing with the city’s signature deep-dish pizza and a selfie with the Bean. $$$$

Key West, Florida

This destination is a great place to go snorkeling or scuba diving to see vivid marine wildlife. Common tourist activities include sea kayaking or wandering around the shops, restaurants and bars of the famous Duval Street. $$$$

Cancun, Mexico

Escape to the beach after graduation in this international destination. Soak in the sun and enjoy the ocean in this popular tourist destination. The area also features several nature reserves, and snorkeling is also popular in nearby Garrafon Natural Reef Park. $$$

Machu Picchu, Peru

This World Heritage Site is a stunning piece of history as well as a great way to enjoy the nature of Peru. Make it a multiple-day backpacking trip by following the Inca Trail, or take the train in to see the sights. Don’t forget to drink mate de coca to help with altitude sickness. While in Peru, you also must try the famous pisco sour — just make sure you’re not hungover when you begin your trek up Machu Picchu! $$$$$

Camino de Santiago, Spain

This isn’t so much of a destination but more of a journey itself. The Camino de Santiago, a trail that, depending on where one starts, is over a hundred miles long, winds through the Spanish countryside and ends at Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. While it’s a definitely a trip that requires advanced planning and saving, exploring the Spanish countryside and the communities throughout it is a great way to spend the summer after graduation. $$$$$

Ava Garcia is an avid runner and Oreo fanatic. She loves backpacking, going to museums and baking cookies. Nothing makes her day quite like a good book and an iced chai tea latte.

Photo by Meghan Fernandez