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By SARAH SHURGE, Staff Writer

Spring break and summer vacation tend to be important times for college students to travel somewhere fun and refresh from a grueling semester. As the semester is inching towards the finish line, thoughts of summer destinations have probably begun to cross your mind through the dreads of essays, presentations and finals. What is a place worth spending money on when you are a broke college student? I have three destinations that if you have not yet been to, you should really consider for this upcoming summer.

The cheapest and closest of the three is Cedar Point. With tickets ranging anywhere from $34 online to $65 at the front gate, your day in Sandusky, Ohio — the Roller Coaster Capital of the World —  would not be a waste. Starting with your choice of attending its outdoor waterpark Soak City, indoor waterpark Castaway Bay or the amusement park, the 365-acre park is entirely created for a day of fun for all ages. The park features a world-record 72 rides, including 17 roller coasters and 2 water rides, and its newest roller coaster, Valravn, will open in May.

If you have never been to Cedar Point, there are a few attractions you must visit to get the full experience. First, purchase and enjoy some Dippin’ Dots from one of the many stands within the park. College students are no stranger to overpriced foods, but I promise it’s worth it. Second, as lame as it sounds you should ride the Sky Ride. The Sky Ride glides 92 feet in the air over the Main Midway for more than a half-mile. You get to travel in your own personal gondola while enjoying the view of Cedar Point rides, attractions, and landscaping. And finally, at least once in your life you should ride the Top Thrill Dragster. At times the line wait-time can be longer than pleasurable for such a short ride, but as you travel from zero to 120 MPH in four seconds and reach 420 feet in the air, you will experience such an adrenaline rush that the wait will be worth it. The 17 second ride is an experience that will stay with you forever.

Next comes Universal Orlando Resort in Orlando, Fla. Six words truly changed my life forever: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. For adrenaline junkies and Harry Potter fans like myself, this experience is something that will leave you feeling like a little kid who finally get to visit Hogwarts because you actually do!

Travelling through Diagon Alley (where you can drink butterbeer, witness the Gringott’s dragon breathe fire, purchase your very own wand and more) to leave the main theme park – Universal Studios Florida on the Hogwarts Express to Universal’s second theme park – Island of Adventure, you get to ride along with Harry, Hermione and Ron on the train while also experiencing some memorable events from the Harry Potter franchise. Once stepping off the Hogwarts Express into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter you can ride five rides, visit the castle or walk through the streets of the village. Regardless of what you decide to do, it is something you will remember the rest of your life.

However, even if you aren’t a Harry Potter fan, Universal Orlando is filled with hundreds of other attractions based on the film industry for you to enjoy. The park consists of eight themed areas – Hollywood, Production Central, New York, San Francisco, World Expo, Springfield, and Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone, and Diagon Alley/London. Popular rides within these areas are The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges, Revenge of the Mummy, The Simpsons Ride, and Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster. When it comes to Universal Orlando Resort, there really is no wrong choice.

And last, the biggest destination you could plan for the summer is Disney World. It is a place where dreams really do come true, but not just for children. I traveled to Disney World for the first time this past December as a junior in college and it was an experience I will never forget. The property covers 27,258 acres while housing four theme parks, two water parks, four golf courses, a downtown-like shopping district, and many other entertainment venues. You have your choice of visiting the iconic Cinderella’s Castle in Magic Kingdom, the Spaceship Earth in Epcot, the Great Movie Ride in Disney’s Hollywood Studios or the Tree of Life in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, along with many other attractions in each park.

For any newcomers, visiting Magic Kingdom is an absolute must because if you don’t get a picture of the all-too-famous castle, did you really even go to Disney World? However, any choice you make in Disney World is a memory you will cherish forever.

No matter if you travel around the state, the country, out of the country, or you just stay at home all summer, summer vacation is entirely what you make of it. So enjoy it. Do something you love. Spend time with the people you care about most. Sleep in. But most importantly, have fun because before you know it, fall will be upon us and a new semester will be in tow.