5 Great Alternatives to Senior Beach Week

By Ryan Hartley, Photography Editor

Senior beach week: a time of fun, memories, and sometimes tragedy for teens and young adults across the United States at the end of their high school careers.

This is Ocean City at sunset.
Photograph by Amy & Tony Hoffer via Twitter

The week often consists of beach goers partying, meeting up with friends and more partying.

Among Southern York County seniors, Ocean City, Virginia Beach, Rehoboth Beach and others tend to be hotspots for seniors to gather and live their lives free of worry for a week under the sun and the umbrellas that cover the sandy coastlines.

Senior Anna Kirby explains what beach week means to her and why she plans of spending time at the Ocean City, Maryland coastline.

“Senior week means the last chance I have to spend time with my high school friends before we separate when we move onto our next chapter: college,” said Kirby.

Many seniors, however, are not attending the week in June due to prior responsibilities or simple disagreements on safety concerns.

Senior Alex Fabie recognizes the safety issues of senior beach week.

“Unfortunately, I am not going to senior week. I think it is safe if seniors make good decisions, but if not, then I would say it is not safe,” said Fabie.

Shaun Borsh of the Baltimore Sun cites the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) in describing some statistics regarding the possible dangers of senior beach week.

Roughly 5,000 people under age 21 die each year from alcohol-related car crashes, homicides, suicides, alcohol poisoning and other injuries such as falls, burns and drowning,” wrote Borsh.

The NIAAA logo used across all platforms.
Design by  National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

English teacher Katherine Wilt describes her opinions on the activities of senior beach week and the possibility of seniors picking alternatives.

“I love that you all want to enjoy life together. Senior beach week and elsewhere is a fine time to do so; however, we need to make sure we hold on to our moral compass when we go out with peers,” said Wilt.

Some seniors are not into the idea of the possible, sometimes inevitable, activities of senior beach week; so, here are five alternatives to the east-coast tradition of senior beach week.

  1. Backpacking, camping, or hiking in state parks like the Adirondacks in Upstate New York can be a fun way to experience the outdoors without the large crowds and distractions of coastal towns and cities.
  2. Another great alternative can be a road trip to a destination of your choice, or even a few areas. A great example is traveling the coast of the Chesapeake Bay Area or New England, stopping for great food, small vintage stores, and other fun activities that keep a sense of responsibility with driving and time management. Plus, tons of singing in the car!
  3. Amusement parks are an amazing way to stay in a safe, controlled environment while letting loose for a while with great friends. Staying at local places like Hershey Park or traveling to Universal Studios in Florida can be amazing destinations.
  4. If money is tight for seniors, having back to back movie nights under the stars or in someone’s comfy basement can be a great way to spend time with friends for, what will sometimes be, the last time before making the transition to college life.
  5. For those that still want to be immersed in a bustling, populated environment, try booking an AirBnB in a city of your choosing with friends in order to explore the city and its many stores, restaurants, parks, and attractions. This can still offer a busy environment for adventurous young adults who are not fond of beach towns but still have a sense of responsibility while in a big city.
This fall foliage in the Johns Brook Valley in the Adirondack Mountains is in upstate New York.
Photograph by Brendan Wiltse

No matter what creative ideas that seniors come up with to celebrate their graduation, it is important to stay safe and make conscious decisions while letting go of worry and enjoying life before the responsibilities, yet adventurous, years of college begin.