College is back baby! Although many are excited about this, it is going to look a little different this year, what with the pandemic and all. You probably (hopefully) won't be seeing as many parties due to social distancing, sports games or activities.... so students may be asking what is there left to do? Explore the Cedar Valley of course!

Whether you are a new college student or a returning student to the area, there are always new places to explore and what better time than during a pandemic when you can't party? I have included a list of 5 places in the Cedar Valley that college students need to check out this year and you can still practice social distancing while doing these!

Note: I have left out most restaurants because there are just too many to count and have left out bars due to social distancing issues during the pandemic.

1. Hurling Hatchet: If you have not thrown an axe before, you are going to learn now! A great way to spend the afternoon with some friends and try something different! Just make sure the clumsy one in the group doesn't grab an axe, we don't need an accident..

2. Escapology: Escape rooms are my new favorite thing! If you love solving mysteries while competing on a time limit this is for you! Put your thinking cap on, grab your friends and head off to solve your next mystery!

3. Hurts Donuts: Okay, I know I said no restaurants on this list but hear me out on this one... Donuts. That's it. I mean who doesn't love donuts and luxury donuts at that! Check out all their unconventional flavors and treat yourself and friends to a donuts break from studying! Oh but if you get the "Cookie Monster" - warning it will turn your mouth blue and you will look like you ate a smurf... but it's so good!

4. Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens: If you want a major break from all the stress of college, what more serene place to go than an arboretum? Connect back to nature, check out the beautiful gardens and just relax.

5. Hartman Reserve Nature Center: This has become my new favorite place! I go on walks a couple of times per week or bike rides and this is my favorite place to go. Not too sunny and back in nature you can get lost in hours on all the trails (believe me I have). Biking, walking, running or just exploring, it is the best way to get exercise and enjoy some peace.

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