After a long, chilly winter spent largely indoors, who isn't ready to stretch their legs and make the most of spring by heading on vacation? Besides, because summer and winter are considered high seasons for tourism, spring is the perfect time to take advantage of fewer crowds and lower rates.
Not to mention, certain cities just have a certain je ne sais quoi in the spring — be it from weather and foliage to festivals and other fun annual affairs. So in planning your next spring excursion, put these American cities at the top of your travel list.
In full disclosure, I live in Charleston... so I may be a bit partial. But coming from a local, let me assure you the springtime is one of the best times to make a pilgrimage to the Holy City. You can tour our centuries-old architecture, cobblestone streets, historic cemeteries and thriving restaurant scene without struggling to adjust to the heat and extreme humidity that plagues the summer months. Plus, springtime in Charleston is jam-packed with festivals, fairs and outdoor markets. Just ask a local to point you in the right direction — we're nothing if not friendly.
Located less than 90 minutes to three national parks — including the Grand Canyon — Kane County offers something for everyone in the springtime, and especially for outdoor enthusiasts. You can venture through narrow canyons, indulge your inner explorer at paleontological sites, marvel at polychrome cliffs and so much more. Aim for May, when Kane County's unique natural and cultural wonders are celebrated during the weeklong Amazing Earthfest.
I'm a firm believer that everyone should travel to our nation's capital at some point in their lifetime, and what better time to do it than the spring? This time of year in D.C. is a true treat thanks to temperate weather and the glorious display of bright pink cherry blossoms dotting the scenery. Expect to spend a bit more if you travel to the area during the Cherry Blossom Festival, but don't let it deter you — you can easily recoup the cost by setting out on foot for the many free things to do.
My husband hails from San Diego, and to be honest, it's pretty lovely year-round. However, there are fewer school breaks between March and May, meaning a springtime trip will minimize crowds at family-friendly attractions like the beloved San Diego Zoo. Plus, if you wait until the weather warms up in the summer, you'll find yourself battling the influx of tourists wherever you go. I recommend hitting Torrey Pines State Reserve for a hike, soaking up the sun at Mission Beach, dining in the Gaslamp Quarter district and — oh! — don't miss Balboa Park.
In addition to the breathtaking backdrop of the majestic Rocky Mountains, Denver boasts plenty of sights to see, from the Denver Botanic Gardens to Red Rocks Park. Although the city is known for its unpredictable weather transitions, your best bet is the spring, when the temps are mild and the snow isn't so overwhelming. When you need a break from the great outdoors, head to Denver's bustling downtown, where you can take cover in the area's many restaurants, museums and art galleries.
Much like Charleston, New Orleans isn't just a top tourist destination in the South — it's a world-class travel destination, and rightly so. The city is a mesmerizing mix of culture, arts, food, entertainment and Southern hospitality. However, the humidity during the summer months can be stifling. Get to know New Orleans' inimitable French Quarter in the spring during the annual French Quarter Festival in April. Tip: No trip to New Orleans would be complete without a plate of beignets at Café Du Monde.
If you've never been to the Jersey Shore, don't let the stylized MTV version scare you off. Point Pleasant — which is located about 70 miles south of New York City — is a truly charming town. You can stroll down Jenkinson's Boardwalk and take in the beautiful beach vistas, or you can hop on one of the rides and partake of some classic boardwalk fare, like cotton candy. The summer months are a madhouse thanks to New Yorkers and Philadephians trying to escape the sweltering city temps, so plan your visit in the spring, when you can bogart the boardwalk.
Calling all music lovers! Austin is the destination for you. They don't call it the "Live Music Capital" for nothing, you know. But don't just visit to attend the world-famous South by Southwest (SXSW) in March — this eclectic city is full of life in the spring, from the annual Austin Fine Arts Festival to the Austin Food & Wine Festival, both in April. There's so much culture to enjoy that you'll want to carve out a few extra vacation days.
I can't say enough good things about Asheville in the spring, but I'm admittedly partial — this lovely city has been our family's spring getaway for more years than I can remember. Make the trip, and you won't be disappointed! Start things off with a bang with a trip to the 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate, and mosey from there to the North Carolina Arboretum and Botanical Gardens to take in the seemingly endless rows of colorful blooms and blossoms sprouting up everywhere. Downtown Asheville is ideal for walking around, but if you're feeling adventurous, a quick car ride with take you to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where you can immerse yourself in outdoor activities like hiking and fishing.
If you like to be in the middle of everything, a springtime trip to Boston might just be the ticket. The third Monday in April, which is known as Patriots' Day, kicks off a three-day weekend celebration including some of the most iconic events on the city's calendar — think the Boston Marathon, the return of Red Sox baseball and a reenactment of the opening battle of the American Revolutionary War held at Minute Man National Historical Park.
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