Spring is a great time to travel, often bringing pleasant weather without thick tourist crowds or the high prices of summer. If celebrating the start of this season with a fun trip is what you have in mind, there are some ideal destinations to do just that. Whether you’re looking for sunshine and blooming flowers, want to take advantage of the last snow for skiing, or enjoy a festival or something else, these are some of our favorite picks.
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New Orleans, Louisiana
One of America’s most exciting cities, New Orleans is famous for its festive events, and March brings many good ones, starting with the New Orleans Bourbon Festival which will be hosted from March 11th to 14th in 2020, featuring lots of tastings, bourbon pairing dinners, a burlesque show and more, all speakeasy style. Then the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience kicks off on March 18th, providing five days of delicious food and wine complemented by music and entertainment. St. Patrick’s Day is big here too, with parades, block parties and more. Late March, March 25th-29th, the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival will honor the playwright with readings, panel discussions, theater events, writing competitions, walking tours, and more. On the 29th, it closes with the famous “Stella and Stanley Shouting Contest” – participants call out to Stella like Stanley does in the film based on Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
If you want to take advantage of spring snow, Manchester offers late-season skiing that typically continues through March at multiple mountains nearby, including Mount Snow and Stratton Mountain. You can also enjoy other activities in the snow like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. This is also the perfect time to watch and learn about the process of turning tree sap into that famously delicious Vermont maple syrup, with local makers gathering sap from the trees through early April.
Spring is one of the best times to be in the nation’s capital, especially to celebrate the season with the National Cherry Blossom Festival that runs from March 20th through April 12th in 2020. Not only will you see lots of gorgeous blossoms, but on March 28th, the Blossom Kite Festival brings thousands of colorful kites to the skies above the National Mall. Of course, you can visit all the other famous attractions in Washingon, D.C, including the many Smithsonian museums, the National Zoo and the galleries on the National Mall.
Puerto Rico has gone through multiple natural disasters in recent years, but most areas have fully recovered and it has a ton to offer all year round. To celebrate spring, you might want to attend AfroNation, which celebrates AfroBeats and Caribbean inspired music from March 18th through March 21st in 2020. There’s no need for a passport, and you’re likely to find plenty of budget-friendly rates at the hotels and resorts, not to mention the mouthwatering food, those gorgeous white sand beaches and clear turquoise waters.
The small town of Lisse, about 40 minutes southwest of Amsterdam, hosts the Springs Garden Keukenhof, the world’s largest flower garden and one of the most stunning on the planet. It features more than seven million blooms, including the country’s famous tulips along with daffodils and hyacinths that cover the 79-acre wooded park. Every year it’s open from mid-March to mid-May, with mid-April the peak time for colorful tulips. There are bike and boat tours along with restaurants and cafes to enjoy too.
Just before the start of spring, March 15th to 19th in 2020, Valencia celebrates the end of the Spanish feast of San José with five days of fireworks and firecracker-throwing in the streets, squares and other places throughout town. You can literally celebrate the season with a bang here. There will also be huge paper mâché sculptures filled with gunpowder that are set off on the last night of the event, alongside traditional foods and live bands.
Teotihuacán, Mexico City
Mexico City celebrates the spring equinox in a big way every year, with thousands coming to gather at Teotihuacán. This vast archaeological site is an ancient Mesoamerican city that sits within a sub-valley of the Valley of Mexico. Most visitors don white robes and red scarfs and climb to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun and reaching out their arms, following in ancestral traditions to ask the gods for health and receive positive energy. You’ll also see many performing dances as part of the colorful spectacle too.
Springtime in Breckenridge means sunshine, snow and fun festivities. Early spring brings a month-long celebration, running from mid-March through mid-April called Spring Fever, so this beautiful mountain town is a no-brainer for celebrating the season, particularly if you relish snow sports while wearing bikinis. It includes free concerts, a scavenger hunt and the crazy Imperial Challenge race where participants race bikes to the mountain before hopping on a lift, hiking up the hill and then skiing down. Afterward, enjoy the fantastic apres-ski scene at the many pubs, breweries and other venues.
Thailand’s biggest and most famous water festival, the Songkran Festival, marks the start of the traditional Thai New Year. In 2020, it will be held over April 13th through April 15th. Thai people traditionally celebrate by splashing water on their elders, family members, close friends and neighbors as it’s said to bring good fortune. They also visit temples and pay homage to the images of Buddha. These days, tourists join in, and there are all sorts of water toys used like water pistols and super soakers, along with full-on buckets of water. In Bangkok, things really get wild with crowds filling the streets.
Olympic National Park, Washington
Perfect timing for spring – Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort in Olympic National Park is reopening on March 20th in 2020. Visitors and guests can enjoy the three natural mineral hot springs soaking pools with temperatures ranging from 99 to 104 degrees Farenheight. And with this season bringing powerful cascades to the parks many waterfalls thanks to the snowmelt, it’s also a great time for hiking. Take a trek through this lush, remote wilderness with three ecosystems, rainforest, sub-alpine and coastal and then head to the springs for a soak. If your muscles are really sore, you can request a poolside massage too.
With March ushering in the dry season and the Balinese New Year, the start of spring is an ideal time to visit Bali for a celebration. Not only can you enjoy the beautiful beaches and exotic wildlife-filled jungles, but all sorts of festivities that start on March 12th and run for several weeks. On the day of Nyepi itself (the start of the New Year), March 25th, the most devout Balinese celebrate in near-absolute silence, but activities will pick up again the day after. From March 29th through April 5th, the Bali Spirit Festival is hosted in Ubud, focused on yoga, dance and music, with workshops, concerts, markets and other events.
Austin not only experiences ideal weather in the spring, but it’s the time to come for spring wildflowers, especially bluebonnets, with lots of blooms to be seen at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and throughout nearby Hill Country. And, there’s even more, Rodeo Austin takes place during the second half of March with rodeo competitions, a carnival, pig races, live music, Wild West show and lots more. Then there’s the famous SXSW, hosted from March 13th to 22nd which celebrates film, music, comedy, and creativity with notable keynote speakers, exhibitions, concerts and other events.
Santa Barbara, California
Santa Barbara offers a year-round mild climate, but March is often ideal with temperatures averaging in the upper 60s. Enjoy wine tasting with the city home to lots of wineries, play on the beach or take a tour on a bicycle. You might want to plan your trip around the 75th annual Santa Barbara International Orchid Show, hosted March 13th through March 15th, it was recently named one of the world’s top 5 “must-see” flower shows in the world by the Los Angeles Times.
Central Otago, South Island, New Zealand
March through May is fall in New Zealand, which is harvest time, the ideal season for a visit if you’re a wine connoisseur. The South Island’s celebrated Central Otago wine region is home to stunning landscapes and lots of world-class pinot noir. Or, for anyone who wants to enjoy spectacular scenery, simply relax amid the jaw-dropping surroundings or visit the places that provided the backdrop to Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy adaptation. Of course, this is one of the world’s top spots for outdoor adventures too, with everything from breathtaking hikes to extreme thrills like bungee jumping and skydiving.
Savannah offers lots of southern hospitality and frequent beautiful weather in the spring that fills its picturesque avenues with blooming azaleas. And, in March, there are lots of festivities to enjoy, from the Spring Celebration and Sheep Shearing on March 9th to the St. Patrick’s Day events, including the oldest St. Paddy’s Day parades in the U.S which is always hosted on March 17th. The weekend closest to the holiday features the city’s biggest party of the year, the St. Patrick’s Celebration on the River with non-stop live entertainment, games, food and beverages on Historic River Street.