Planning a spring break getaway is one thing, but planning a spring vacation is something else altogether. After months of being holed up inside, it's time for an adventure, and this varied collection of spring trips you need to plan (stat) is all about embracing the warm weather, floral uprisings, and of course, seasonal events that you just can't miss out on.
The beauty of spring is... well, there are a lot of wonderful things about spring — but one of the best aspects for the modern day traveler is the weather. Generally, you're beating the summer heat, while still being able to soak up that springtime sunshine in the wake of a chilly winter. (And let's face it guys, this winter lasted way too long). Another huge perk of traveling in the spring? You're beating the summer rush of tourists that tend to take over during the months of June through August. (It's not that you weren't once a screaming baby on an airplane, it's just that you're not anymore). Let the giant families with dozens of toddlers, crying infants, and spoiled children have the summer. The spring is yours. All. Yours.
So enough thinking about it already — just book some tickets. Plane and hotel prices tend to be lower during the months of April and May anyway (another springtime miracle!), and there are some wonderful destinations calling your name. Just take a look.
1. Asheville, North Carolina
If you're looking for a land filled with spring gardens and colorful, floral landscapes, look no further than Asheville, North Carolina. Home to the Biltmore Estate, The North Carolina Arboretum, and The Botanical Gardens at Asheville, this southern city has no shortage of spring scenery. If you're feeling adventurous, rent a "bellyak," one of Asheville's own inventions, where you can paddle on the water while laying on your stomach. Good times are sure to be had all around.
2. Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C. is a great place to visit anytime of the year, but spring takes the cake. Of course, the beloved National Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the best spring festivals in the country, making the capital city that much more photogenic. Flower lovers can also check out D.C.'s National Cathedral Flower Mart, while events lovers have their pick of happenings: the White House Easter Egg Roll, Passport DC, National Asian Heritage Festival, Vintage Virginia Wine Festival, and the DC Jazz Festival. Trust me, you'll stay busy.
3. Denver, Colorado
The Mile High City of Denver, Colorado might not be the first place you think of when booking spring vacations, but you should consider thinking again. During the springtime, Denver's pleasant temperatures make it great for exploring nearby wildlife and nature reserves, including Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. In the city itself, fun is to be had at the Snowball Music Festival, Soul Food Festival, and Five Points JazzFest. Also, since tourists tend to flock to the city during the summer, hotel reservations are a lot more affordable. Score!
4. Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas is one of the coolest cities around, and it gets even cooler during the spring (figuratively, of course). With the Barton Springs Pool opening up in mid-March and weather reaching average highs of 80 and up through April and May, there's no better place to be. The city's countryside fills with wildflowers, while the Old Settler's Music Festival, Austin Food & Wine Festival, and about a million other local events help keep this destination popping throughout the spring.
5. San Diego, California
San Diego, California... home to La Jolla (translates to "The Jewel"), Balboa Park, and an endless coast of beautiful beaches. Do you really even need more convincing? Well in case you do, allow me to mention the Carlsbad Flower Fields. Taking up over 50 acres of Southern California's temperate landscape, they are a sight unto themselves. Visitors can explore the ranunculus blooms up close, or take a tractor ride around the fields. Really, it's worth the trip.
6. New Orleans, Louisiana
If we're being honest, New Orleans makes about every travel/foodie/music/festival list ever, but that's not because of biased opinion, it's because of the city's intense sense of culture and celebratory heritage. Basically, there's always something going on. April and May are host to the French Quarter Festival, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and the Bayou Boogaloo. And really, is there any other time to experience the French Quarter than when its buildings are covered in hanging flowers and greens?
7. Hollywood, Florida
Want to visit a beach that won't be full of boozed-up spring breakers wreaking havoc? Such a place exists, and it's called Hollywood. No, not Hollywood, California... Hollywood, Florida. The protected North Beach is clean, warm, and best of all, has a sea-turtle hatchery on its grounds. The West Lake Park is also a destination worth checking out, where visitors can rent kayaks and canoes to get a better look at the marine wildlife.
8. Mount Rainier, Washington
Technically not a "city," but if you book a hotel in Seattle you should have no problem making your way to the breathtaking Mount Rainier (i.e. the mountain king of the Pacific Northwest), located about 20 miles away. Famous for its variety of wildflowers, you can enjoy a snow-capped peak as scenery while getting your fill of nature. Hike the trails, take dozens of photos, and most importantly, get some fresh air this spring (especially if you're a city dweller).