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Staying Sober on St. Paddy’s? Here’s How to Do It & Where to Go!

Written by Chris Osburn

This blog post was updated on August 26, 2021.

For some, St Patrick’s Day is synonymous with a night of heavy drinking. But should it be? The patron saint of Ireland is said to have started his life as a slave and ended it as a bishop — and legend has it he rid the island of snakes. There’s no talk of him enjoying even a drop of whiskey or heading to the pub at the end of the day for a pint. So, as fun as drinking green beer and donning a goofy, oversized hat might be, there could other ways to commemorate his deeds and legacy.

Let’s take a look at a few alcohol-free ideas for doing up St. Patrick’s Day that won’t leave you suffering from a hangover the next day or wondering where you parked your shillelagh.

Be a Saint


Patrick was a saint. So, why not do something saintly in his honor? Maybe you can give some free time to your church or local charity or sign up for a couple of weeks of volunteer work somewhere in need of helping hands. Or, perhaps, St. Patrick’s Day could be a good opportunity to visit some historical religious sites. A logical one to recommend here would be St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.

Include the Little Ones

Mother with child make preparations for Saint Patrick's Day

There’s no reason to exclude the little ones from enjoying St. Paddy’s festivities…and no, we don’t mean leprechauns! Spend the day doing something fun with your kids. Savannah, Georgia is famous for its largely family-friendly parade (and it’s really something to see how the city’s river is turned green for the day). Loads of other cities – particularly those with significant Irish communities – host all-ages events for the holiday as well.

Go Green

Majestic waterfall in the rainforest jungle of Costa Rica. Tropical hike.

March 17 comes just a few days before the official first day of spring and thus occurs during a lovely time of year to go outside and play. Whether you intend to hike deep into the Green Mountains of Vermont or explore the verdant rainforests of Costa Rica, there should be plenty of natural inspiration wherever you go to keep you from craving intoxication.

Call It a Night

A beautiful young woman relaxes on a SUP board in the sea near the island. Standup paddleboarding on Hawaii.

Even a notoriously raucous occasion such as St. Patrick’s Day is still mild-mannered in the morning and hardly much hairier in the afternoon. Make plans to celebrate early and leave the evening to the drunks. Also with so many revelers heading to town to party, St. Patrick’s Day might be a great time to book a rural retreat to somewhere removed and remote such as Sun Valley, Idaho or a quiet beach in Hawaii.

Do you prefer a booze-free break over traveling while trashed? We would love it if you shared some tips on how to make the most of your trips minus drinking.

About the author

Chris Osburn

Chris Osburn is a freelance writer, photographer, consultant, and curator and the driving force behind the long running and award winning blog, Originally from the American Deep South, Chris has lived and worked all over the world and has called London home since 2001.