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The drug cartels ruined your plans to go to Mexico, the boss didn’t get your e-mail that you wouldn’t be in town for the week or you’re recession-ing a bit too much to get out of town for spring break.

Don’t worry, there’s plenty to do in the vicinity of San Luis Obispo.

The following guide outlines activities in or near San Luis Obispo County that are relatively inexpensive but can prove to be quite entertaining whether for an hour or two, or an entire day.

Quick hikes: The Central Coast is home to some of the most gorgeous weather on the planet during the spring. Grasses paint the hillsides and in some areas, wildflowers compete for a view of the brisk cobalt skies. Bishop’s Peak and Cerro San Luis (a.k.a. Madonna Mountain) make for great quick hikes.

A fit person can summit each peak in about an hour, providing outstanding opportunities for photography and spotting wildlife.

Another peak, a bit more challenging, is Valencia Peak in Montaña de Oro State Park. The Valencia hike may take up to two hours but its views of the Pacific, Morro Bay and the Los Osos Valley are well worth the trek.

Always bring water when you hike and if possible, travel in a group in case there are any unforeseen injuries.

Plan a day trip to a destination less than two hours away. For those who have a full day to get out of town, but don’t want to spend a ton of money, consider the many state parks and national forests that dot our region.

Going north, the Monterey coastline on California Highway 1 up to Big Sur has several day-use stops that are perfect for a day of lounging, picnicking and napping and all are no more than two hours from San Luis Obispo.

The crown jewel of these stops is Jade Cove, a world-sought destination for rockhounds, photographers and scuba divers. Hence its name, the cove is also known for its abundance of jadeite that washes to shore after high tides. Harvesting the jade is legal, but there are strict restrictions on where you can take it from so check with a park ranger before filling up your pockets.

If you’re looking for a something different from the coastal experience, head east on Highway 58 and check out the Carrizo Plain National Monument. The California Valley, home to the Carrizo Plain, is considered by some to be the Serengeti of California. During the spring, big game animals such as Tule elk and pronghorn antelope flood the plains for its adequate water supply and lush vegetation.

Play golf: Many golf courses in the area offer student discounts with valid student identification. There are several 9-hole courses in or around San Luis Obispo.

Laguna Lake Municipal Golf Course is a great course for starters or non-regular players. The facility offers club rentals for an additional price and a round will cost you less than $10 if you’re walking. Laguna Lake is a great place to play your irons, has a sweeping backdrop of the Irish hills and on the opposite side, great views of the Morros.

If you’re looking to get a little more driver into your 9-hole game, check out Sea Pines Golf Resort in Los Osos. The course, which features four par-4 holes, is nestled at the southern end of Morro Bay and offers visually aesthetic scenery of sand dunes, Morro Rock and Morro Bay.

For the more avid golfer, check out Dairy Creek, Chalk Mountain or Morro Bay golf courses.

All three are public courses run by San Luis Obispo County Parks and can be played for less than $30 if you can play during off-peak hours or twilight hours. Dairy Creek even offers a student rate of $10 for 18 holes Sunday through Thursday after 11 a.m.

Host a barbecue potluck: Hosting a barbecue potluck is a great way to share the spring sunshine with other non-traveling spring breakers. Using an e-vite service is a great way to ensure that no one doubles up on what they bring. The best part is the abundance of leftovers you’ll have in your refrigerator.

Lastly, catch up with personal pleasures – The week off is a good time to catch up on all those personal pleasures that students miss out on during the quarters. Cozy up to that novel you’ve been putting off reading or catch up on creating your photo albums. Dig into the right brain and create some art or photography. Catch a free show at a local coffee shop or visit local art galleries.

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