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1. Washington, DC
Why our nation’s capital: It’s cherry blossom season. Peak bloom occurs around April 4, but can start as early as March 14 and as late as April 18. Scope the pretty pink flowers throughout their season via a 90-minute cruise with the Potomac Riverboat Company, a two- to three-hour bike tour with Pedego Electric Bikes, or a historic walking tour with Discover Alexandria.
Where to stay: Let the novice tourists have D.C. proper and stay minutes away in Alexandria. Old Town is easily walkable, with hundreds of restaurants and boutiques at your disposal. The Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa’s “Awesome Blossom” package is available March 20 to April 15, and The Alexandrian’s “Cherry on Top” package is available March 18 to April 28.
2. Newport, RI
Why New England: Visiting Newport between March and May means you’ll bypass the frigid New England winter. While you may have to deal with a spring rain shower or two, it’s still pleasant enough to stroll the famous Cliff Walk and roam between the city’s famous mansions. As a plus, you’ll avoid the crowds of camera-toting summer tourists.
Where to stay: Take advantage of springtime rates at properties like Hotel Viking—which, situated atop the Historic Hill neighborhood with views of Bellevue Avenue, dates back to 1926 and looks like a proper Newport mansion in its own right. Nightly costs drop as low as $163 per room in April.
Why Central America: Spring sees the warmest and driest months in Belize, which is just two hours flying from Miami, three from Dallas, and five from Los Angeles. There’s no better time to kayak, paddle board, and snorkel around the Belize Barrier Reef. And with fewer tourists around, you’ll avoid the crowds at ancient Mayan ruins, like Xunantunich.
Where to stay: Those craving the water can head to Victoria House Resort & Spa, located on Ambergris Caye, where you’ll be in a prime spot for diving the Great Blue Hole or snorkeling Shark Ray Alley. Adventure junkies should set up camp inland at The Lodge at Chaa Creek, a 400-acre eco lodge that hosts miles of well-maintained trails for horseback riding, mountain biking, and hiking.
4. San Francisco, CA
Why San Fran: With mild temperatures and a lack of rain, spring is when the city hosts a slew of events, from the 52nd Annual Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival and the United Airlines Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon to the San Francisco International Film Festival (the longest running film festival in the Americas) and, of course, Opening Day for the San Francisco Giants.
Where to stay: Hotel Kabuki is smack in the middle of San Francisco’s Japantown—one of only three in the U.S.—and steps from Pacific Heights’ Fillmore District. After a $30 million renovation last year, the hotel has a 24/7 gym, pet-friendly rooms, and a courtyard garden with a koi pond and fireside seating.
5. Quebec City, Canada
Why La Belle Province: Catch a few late-season runs at Mont Sainte-Anne, just northeast of Quebec City, which has one of the longest ski seasons in North America—this year, it’s expected to last until April 22. Then, refuel on maple syrup-drizzled dishes at one of the city’s maple sugar shacks, where you can experience the maple sugar- and syrup-making process.
Where to stay: Bunk in the heart of the Old City at the charming Auberge Saint-Antoine hotel; it was built in a trio of historic buildings and today displays hundreds of artifacts found in an excavation dig on site. In the spring, they’ll hook you up with a VIP experience at one of the aforementioned cabane à sucre.
6. Atlanta, GA
Why the Peach State: The city of Atlanta is big on festivals—the Atlanta Film Festival, Dogwood Festival, and Inman Park Festival take place in April, while May brings the Shaky Knees Music Festival, Shaky Beats Music Festival, and Atlanta Jazz Festival. In Atlanta’s backyard, you’ll find Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, which actually winds 48 miles through four counties and nine cities.
Where to stay: Getaway—a collection of strategically located tiny houses on wheels—is opening their first expansion into the South at the end of March, with a prime location at the border of the Chattahoochee National Forest, just under a two-hour drive from the Southern capital.
7. Scottsdale, AZ
Why “The West’s Most Western Town”: Every spring, some of the MLB’s teams (including the San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies, and Arizona Diamondbacks) descend on AZ for Cactus League spring training, and visitors can get in on the pre-season action with lawn seats at low prices. For more high-brow travelers, there’s the Scottsdale Wine Trail—a cooperative of four award-winning AZ wineries—and James Beard Award-nominated Chef Gio Osso’s Virtù Honest Craft restaurant.
Where to stay: Last year, the W Scottsdale launched a Be-Spoke cycling program to help travelers prioritize wellness (and sightseeing). You can customize your own itinerary, or join tours that include pre-mapped stops at downtown Scottsdale’s best dining venues or cycling routes to some of the area’s best hikes.
8. Palm Springs, CA
Why California: It’s Coachella’s 20th anniversary this year, but that’s not the only thing happening in the valley: Spring brings Fashion Week El Paseo, Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, the American Documentary Film Festival, Indian Wells Art Festival, the LPGA ANA Inspiration Championship, and the Stagecoach festival. Plus, the city is just two hours from LA and San Diego.
Where to stay: It’s hot out there in the desert, and La Quinta Resort & Club has 41 pools on property (plus roving mini-spa treatments during festival weekends) to cool you down. This year, the resort partnered with Veuve Clicquot to create an Après Swim experience at the adults-only Plunge Pool. Your move, Aspen.
9. Yosemite, CA
Why a national park: Yosemite National Park is beautiful year-round, but the spring is a special time as 1,450 species of plants go into bloom, from fields of poppies, showy milkweeds, and western azaleas to pine violets, evening primrose, and larkspur. Plus, all that melting snow makes the picturesque waterfalls and rapids even more majestic.
Where to stay: This May, AutoCamp—an outdoor Airstream hotel that makes roughing it a luxury experience—will open its newest property near Yosemite National Park. Accommodations include 15 luxury tents, three cabin suites, and 80 deluxe Airstream trailers.
10. Paso Robles, CA
Why California wine country: If you’ve done the whole Napa thing already, head to California’s Central Coast, just a few hours north of LA. Paso Robles is one of California’s lesser known wine regions, with 40,000 vineyard acres planted with zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon, and rhône-style grapes. But it’s not just for wine drinkers—craft beer and liquor fans can raise their glasses at Firestone Walker Brewery or along the Paso Robles Distillery Trail.
Where to stay: There are more than 17 tasting rooms in downtown Paso Robles; stay close by at The Paso Robles Inn, a property dating back more than a century. There are 98 rooms, but ask for one of the 18 winery-themed spa rooms, with a private hot springs mineral spa tub out on the balcony or patio.
11. Timberline, OR
Why Mount Hood: Timberline is located on the tallest mountain in Oregon (Mt. Hood) and has one of the longest ski seasons in North America—all the way through May 27. At just 60 miles east of Portland, it’s an easy day trip for snagging a few late-season runs, or hiking and snowshoeing through Mount Hood National Forest.
Where to stay: Timberline Lodge, situated right on the mountain, has been around since 1937, but it’s most famous for serving as the exterior of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. Grab an après-ski cocktail at Ram’s Head Bar or go for a high-altitude dip in the newly renovated, heated outdoor pool and hot tub.
12. Jackson Hole, WY
Why the Tetons: This ski destination gets a second life in the spring, when wildlife—including baby deer, elk, bison and moose—emerge from hibernation. The area is especially quiet until mid-May, when the highway into Yellowstone National Park reopens, so you can scope them out while hiking, biking, fly-fishing, horseback riding, and mountain climbing through the Grand Tetons.
Where to stay: Let Hotel Jackson, a family-owned luxury boutique hotel, serve as your basecamp for the area’s adventures. It’s centrally located in downtown Jackson, so you can explore all the local shops, art galleries, restaurants, urban parks, and Town Square.
13. Manchester, VT
Why the Green Mountain State: Vermont isn’t just for east-coast skiing. Just four hours driving from New York City, Manchester sits tucked between the Green and Taconic mountain ranges, where you can hike countless trails and off-road through muddy terrain at the Land Rover Experience Center. And spring is sugar season: Learn the sugaring process from start to finish at Dutton Farms.
Where to stay: The Kimpton Taconic offers sweeping panoramas of the mountain range, and has the kind of amenities any active outdoorsman would crave, like locally made in-room walking sticks, new portable fire pits, and backpack survival kits.
14. Holland, MI
Why Michigan: Don’t want to go all the way to Holland to see the spring tulips? Head to Michigan instead, where the American Holland’s Tulip Time festival (named the nation’s Best Flower Festival and America’s Best Small Town Festival) features more than five million tulips throughout the city and draws over 500,000 visitors each year.
Where to stay: Grab a room right in town at the eco-friendly CityFlats Hotel, which puts you right near Dutch heritage spots, like Windmill Island Gardens, Neil’s Dutch Village, and Veldheer Tulip Gardens. Or, you can stay at the in Grand Rapids and make the drive over.
15. Daufuskie Island, SC
Why “Little Bermuda”: If you want to experience South Carolina’s lush, natural beauty, the time to go is between March and May. Just off the coast of South Carolina, the car-free Daufuskie Island is only accessible by boat. Explore the mostly untouched oasis—and more than three miles of waterfront—by bike, electric golf cart, or on foot.
Where to stay: Haig Point, the island’s luxury community has two historic accommodations: the 1873 Lighthouse, with a 40-foot tower, and the Stratchan Mansion, originally built in 1910 on nearby St. Simons Island as a summer retreat and later moved via barge to Haig Point in 1986.
16. Joshua Tree, CA
Why San Bernardino County: Spring is the best time to see the wildflowers bloom in the deserts of Death Valley, including Joshua Tree and Mojave, as well as Lake Elsinore and Anza-Borrego National Park (thanks to heavy rains throughout the state, 2019 is actually predicted to be a “super bloom” season). This is also ground zero for awesome rock climbing opportunities, especially given the dry weather conditions this time of year.
Where to stay: In February, the Two Bunch Hotel & Spa—situated next to a 600-year-old natural spring—completed a $2 million renovation, adding a wine bar, new restaurant menus, and updated suites and decor across 72 acres of desert landscape.
17. Tacoma, WA
Why Washington: Just 34 miles from Seattle (and 30 minutes from SeaTac International Airport), Tacoma has a year-round draw thanks to its location on the Puget Sound and proximity to Mt. Rainier. But outside of peak travel time (July through October), April and May offer the best sightseeing weather. If you’re lucky, you might spy the first gray whales in the area during March and April.
Where to stay: Tacoma has a reputation as a destination for fine glasswork, and the Hotel Murano is home to a museum-worthy collection of more than 45 pieces from artists around the world. The hotel functions like a gallery, and shares the individual story of each artist and design.
18. Bowling Green, KY
Why Kentucky: Bowling Green offers a slew of outdoor adventures perfect for pleasant spring temps: underground river cruises and zip-lining at Lost River Cave; trekking through the world’s longest underground cave system, Mammoth Cave National Park, which recently revealed new cave trails for the spring; and racing Corvettes at Motorsports Park, next door to the National Corvette Museum.
Where to stay: The boutique Kentucky Grand Hotel & Spa, in the heart of downtown Bowling Green, recently debuted a new restaurant, The Bluegrass, and will reopen its spa this spring. Make sure to grab drinks at the Derby Piano & Dessert Bar, which can be accessed through an authentic speakeasy door from New York’s prohibition era and features a live pianist nightly.
19. Jemez Springs, NM
Why New Mexico: Located just outside of Albuquerque, the small village of Jemez Springs is home to the Jemez Hot Springs (formerly the “Giggling Springs”), a series of natural mineral pools in the middle of the Virgin Mesa, complete with panoramas of the surrounding red mountains. In town, Jemez Springs Bath House, dating back more than a century, specializes in hot spring mineral baths, blanket or herbal wraps, and massages.
Where to stay: Most accommodations in Jemez Springs are dedicated to helping you unplug, and Cañon del Rio is no exception. The hotel features six adobe-style rooms, an on-site art gallery, spa services, and a jacuzzi and outdoor pool set against Virgin Mesa, along the Jemez River.
20. Memphis, TN
Why the South: This Southern city—where the blues music scene got its start and BBQ still reigns supreme—turns 200 this year, and there’s a ton going on to celebrate, like the Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival, Harbor Town Crawfish Festival, and Bacon & Bourbon Festival; as well as the Beale Street Music Festival and the annual Memphis in May celebration.
Where to stay: Along the banks of the Mississippi River sits Big Cypress Lodge, a hotel tucked inside a 32-story pyramid (yes, seriously). The 103 rooms and suites resemble vintage duck cabins, treehouses, and even fly-fishing lodges, and overlook the vast Cypress Swamp. Take the the country’s tallest freestanding elevator to the top of the Pyramid for a view of the river and city skyline.
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