Back up plans for spring break

300 dpi 3 col x 7.75 in / 146x197 mm / 497x670 pixels Philip Brooker color illustration of a beachfront pool in Miami's South Beach. The Miami Herald 2003

Semesters are long and students are more than ready for a break. We’ve reached that time of the year again when we escape our grueling study schedules to indulge in a week of rest, relaxation and belligerent day drinking.

If you still haven’t booked your flight, or not so sure where to go here’s a list of vacation plans you could pull together.

Las Vegas, Nevada

If you’re looking for a spring break day that only exists as recovery time from the long nights, then head to Vegas. Glitzy and glam, the night life never gets old. Grab your singles for gambling or hit up the many clubs at almost any time of day.

The Linq with a reach of 550-feet above the Las Vegas strip is the high roller observation wheel that is a must for Vegas tourists. Now with LivingSocial check in, guests can get $30 for one daytime (noon to 4 p.m.) 30 minutes all-you-can-drink ride ticket or $35 for one nighttime (10 p.m. to 1 a.m.) ride.

Big Bear Lake

Big Bear Lake is not just a wintertime ski destination. It also offers a breath of mountain-fresh air throughout the year. Far from the concrete jungle of L.A, yet less than 100 miles from the City of Angels, this rustic outpost in the San Bernardino Mountains affords easy access to hundreds of miles of hiking trails. Don’t forget the centerpiece of the resort – the 6.5-square-mile Big Bear Lake. Here, hang in the water with paddles and fishing poles in hand to soak up the sun and commune with nature at a leisurely pace.

Big Bear Lake Front Lodge offers a $69 one-night stay for up to four people in a two-queen garden-view room or kitchen, Sundays through Thursdays. Or a two-night stay for $199, Fridays and Saturdays.

Desert Hot Springs

Known as America’s Spa City, Desert Hot Springs has been host to a wellspring of world-class resort ever since Hollywood hotshots started swarming here in the 1950s. The desert oasis was built atop two mineral-rich hot water aquifers that continues to offer a respite for the rich and famous, as well as overworked urbanites seeking sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle.

Miracle Springs Hot Mineral Resort offers a $95 one-night stay for two in a king bed or two-queen beds standard room, Mondays through Wednesdays. There’s also $125 one-night standard room with a Swedish massage for one person or dinner for two at Capri restaurant, Mondays through Wednesdays.

However, if you don’t want to go that far and plan to do something special near San Fernando Valley, these are for you.

Lake Balboa and Woodley Park (Van Nuys)

There are a lot of parks throughout the Valley, but these two in particular will up the ante on any picnic. Lake Balboa offers boat rentals, bike paths, cherry trees and a dense population of ducks, geese and swans. Woodley Park is host to similar features but it also contains a breathtaking Japanese garden.

Aroma Coffee & Tea Company (Studio City)

The Tujunga Village area in Studio City is charming with all its tchotchke shops and restaurants, including the infamous and recently relocated Henry’s Tacos and the new Vitello’s. The most popular spot on the strip is Aroma with its garden patios, reading rooms, and pastries as big as your head.

Republic of Pie (North Hollywood)

Deep in the heart of the NoHo Arts District are several hot spots worth checking out. Theaters (El Portal and Acme), bars (The Federal and Bow & Truss), bottomless brunches (Eclectic) and an indie movie theater (Laemmle NoHo 7) to name some. A simple pie shop may be the superstar though. Home to handmade artisan pies, teas, coffee and a charming community help-yourself library, you’ll simply have to come back again and again to Republic of Pie because you won’t be satisfied trying just one slice. For the cold brew coffee fans, it’s on tap. And here’s a hint for tea lovers: decaf blood orange.