By Kailey Shanks |

“The sooner you learn it’s on you to make life interesting, the better off you’ll be.”  

-Bernadette Fox, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” by Marie Semple

Right now, the world’s creativity is on full display. I’ve seen videos of disco parties from balconies, birthday party car parades, shows streamed online and dance classes via Zoom. 

This week, I struggled with what to write about when our travel plans are limited. Earlier this semester, I started collecting a list of places that I’ve enjoyed around Waco- places that surprised me with their hidden charm. I was drawn back to this list because it may give you something to look forward to. Some of these travel destinations are even feasible from six feet apart!

1. Tonkawa Falls 

About 30 minutes away from Baylor’s campus hides Tonkawa Falls, a little known park in Crawford, Texas. There’s rock jumping for the brave hearted or picture opportunities for those unwilling or hesitant to plummet into the water. There are a lot of open spaces to lay out and enjoy the weather, go for a swim, play sand volleyball or hike around. Tonkawa Falls was a very relaxing experience for me- even during finals week! 

2. Franklin’s Drive Thru Safari

You’ve probably seen pictures of people posing with giraffes from this safari experience. At Franklin’s Drive Thru Safari in Franklin, TX, you will find monkeys, birds, reptiles, cows, peacocks, and many more 4-legged creatures. My Subaru was definitely tested on the jagged terrain, but it was well-worth it to feed zebras straight from my window. Side note: the longhorns scared me half to death. Maybe I would have enjoyed them more if I went to UT. 

3. Calvert

Calvert is a town about an hour south of Waco. My friend and I stopped by to grab coffee and lunch on the way back from the drive thru safari. Farmers-to-Market Calvert Coffee Co. had creatively crafted drinks and rustic decor. Across the street from them is Zoro’s Hideaway Food Train, which really hit the spot with their American-style plates. If you ever find yourself in Calvert, you can also check out an antique store or take a walk down Main Street. I quickly regretted always driving through Calvert without knowing anything about this friendly town.  

4. Brazos River Sunsets 

I was shocked the first time I witnessed the beautiful colors transpire in the sky by the Brazos. My friends and I took some beautiful self-timers as we skipped rocks, listened to music and watched the sunset behind the water. The Brazos is a great place to bring out a picnic blanket and pick a good spot as a tranquil way to wind down. Thanks to the Brazos River, Waco is home to many scenic spots showcasing the water. You can also check out the Lake Waco Marina, another close getaway. 

5. Just Drive

I took a mini road trip on a sunny day with a friend last year. We chose a road and just drove (after getting Sonic, of course). We rolled down the sun roof, played music and admired the wildlife- occasionally stopping to take a selfie with a cow. You know those stock pictures of people in convertibles sticking their hands out windows and smiling? Yes, you can do that too. I even made a quarantine playlist to vibe to if you want to check it out. 

Each of these adventures provided me with an escape. Instead of stressing about the next thing on my to-do list, I was engrossed in the scenery. You don’t have to stay home forever. Discover the world. And make sure to turn in your quiz by 11:59 p.m.!