Best Places to Visit in the United States in Spring

Cherry blossom trees in Washington D.C. Best places to visit in us in spring

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Let’s travel around the United States to find the best places to visit in spring!

Spring goes from the March equinox (March 19, 2024) to the June solstice (June 20, 2024). The spring season lasts 92.8 days in the Northern Hemisphere, and 89.8 days in the Southern Hemisphere. 

Since the US is so large, you can experience various climates and all kinds of destinations during springtime. Maybe you want to experience warmth after a cold winter. Or maybe you want to take a trip to the mountains for some last-chance snow skiing or rafting. 

There are so many wonderful destinations in the United States to enjoy spring weather, special events, festivals, and more. I’m sharing a range of destinations that showcase a variety of activities and also that are scattered all around the US. I also asked the Me and the Magic community to share their favorite springtime destinations, so I’ll share those with you as well.

Note that dates given here are based on 2024 schedules. Check local calendars for dates of events beyond 2024.

Washington, D.C.

Let’s start in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., where the National Cherry Blossom Festival is happening now through April 14th. This festival celebrates the gift of Japanese cherry trees from Tokyo to Washington D.C. in 1912. Peak blooms of the cherry trees are happening this week. The festival includes an opening ceremony, a Blossom kite festival, a Petalpalooza, a parade, and a pink tie party at the historic Union Station. Rent a paddleboat to enjoy the cherry blossoms from the Tidal Basin for a unique experience. 

Washington, D.C. is also home to the US Botanic Garden, especially vibrant in the spring. Also, visit Dumbarton Oaks in nearby Georgetown, a historic estate with landscaped gardens that are full of beautiful blooms in the spring. 

Virginia

About 70 miles west of Washington, D.C., in northern Virginia, the Shenandoah National Park has 850 species of wildflowers to enjoy in springtime. There’s even a wildflower weekend on May 6th-7th with guided hikes to some of the best flower-spotting sites in the park. Take a 3-hour drive along the 105-mile Skyline Drive, that runs north and south along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, for more beautiful spring views in the Shenandoah National Park. Then explore the town of Charlottesville, home to the University of Virginia with a lively food and drink scene.

Georgia

It may come as a surprise to you that Macon, Georgia is the cherry blossom capital of the world, with its 350,000 cherry blossom trees. March is the peak time to visit and to enjoy the International Cherry Blossom Festival, described as the Pinkest Party on Earth, with all kinds of activities for 10 days, including specialty foods and drinks. 

South Carolina

Have you been to the lovely Charleston, South Carolina? Maybe you already know that Charleston is one of the most popular destinations in all the US. In the spring, the dogwood trees and the azaleas bloom around the city. The weather is warm but not yet humid, so it’s a great time to walk around the city and explore. There are also several festivals in the spring. The Charleston Festival is ongoing through April 14th.This festival, formerly called the Festival of Houses and Gardens, features tours through private houses and gardens. There are also expert lectures, performance art, and more.

There’s also the YMCA Flowertown Festival in nearby Summerville. It’s one of the largest arts and crafts festivals in the Southeast, with artists displaying their work, food vendors, a farmer’s market, and more offered.

Michigan

Holland, Michigan, named after the country Holland in Europe, has its own Tulip Festival each spring in May. Holland also has a 250-year old Dutch windmill that is a must-see. Combine this with a trip to Grand Rapids, about a 30-minute drive from Holland. Enjoy the largest temporary butterfly exhibition in the US, March 1st through April 30th. And this event sounds very unique and fun – the Grand Rapids Lantern Festival runs April 10th through June 16th. This lantern festival is at the John Ball Zoo, and it features handcrafted Asian lantern displays that illuminate the Zoo and tell the intersection story of wildlife and Asian culture. 

Texas

Moving west to Texas, let’s visit Texas Hill Country. If you, like me, have never been to Texas Hill Country and are wondering where it is, it extends west from Austin and north from San Antonio. Check out the Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area to see the bluebonnets in full bloom. Texas Hill Country is also known for its wineries. In fact, 2024 is the 25th anniversary of the Texas Hill Country Wineries association, with more than 60 winery members. I highly recommend exploring it for wineries and events no matter what time of year you visit Texas Hill Country. 

California

In San Francisco, Japantown is the largest and oldest surviving Japantown of its kind in the U.S. The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival runs April 13th – 21st this year. This festival celebrates Japanese and Japanese American culture. Enjoy several events, including martial arts, live music, bonsai classes, doll-making, and more.

Further south in California, the Coachella Valley’s Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the biggest park in California, celebrates its spring bloom of wildflowers. The Coachella Valley is also known for its dates. You can visit a farm to learn how dates are harvested. There’s also an artist colony called Slab City and the beautiful Salton Sea to explore nearby. This area is also home to Palm Springs, where you can take a mid-century modern architecture tour. Or take the world’s largest rotating tramcar, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, on a ten-minute ride up and along the cliffs of Chino Canyon for picturesque views of the desert until you arrive at your destination, Mt. San Jacinto State Park. At the top, there are places to grab food, observation decks, and over 50 miles of hiking trails. 

Heading north now, about 80 miles north of Los Angeles is the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. There are 8 miles of dirt trail where you can enjoy this explosion of orange poppies all around you, with the Tehachapi and snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains in the distance. The best time to observe these blooms is the end of March through the first half of May. But it’s advised to stay on the trails because among the poppies you’ll find critters like rattlesnakes! 

Hawaii

Let’s go further west to the 50th state, Hawaii. Spring in Hawaii, which includes March, April, and May, features some of the most comfortable weather of the year. The temperatures are warm but not excessively hot, averaging between 70°F to 80°F (21°C to 27°C), and the winter rains have typically lessened. This makes it an ideal time for outdoor activities like hiking, snorkeling, and beach-hopping without the intense heat or humidity of summer. February through May is the shoulder season when it won’t be as crowded, and you may find some deals on lodging. The skies at night are clear for stargazing, and you can see wildflowers blooming as you hike through the Hawaiian hillsides. You may see plumeria, hibiscus, and the rare ‘ōhi‘a lehua blooming. The landscapes are lush and green, waterfalls are at their most powerful after the winter rains, and the ocean clarity is ideal for underwater exploration. Are you a hula fan? Then you won’t want to miss the Merrie Monarch Festival in April, the world’s premier hula competition, which takes place on the Big Island.

Washington

Let’s head to the Pacific Northwest, to Seattle, Washington. March in Seattle features cherry blossoms, while April features the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. I talked in Episodes 128 and 129 about grey whale watching in Canada and Mexico. Spring in Seattle is the start of orca whale-watching season. You’ll find many whale-watching tours to choose from. Any talk of Seattle gets me even more excited for our cruise next July out of Seattle to Alaska! If you’d like to join us, go to MeAndTheMagic.com Events page to find out more about our 7-night sailing on the Celebrity Edge, July 11-18, 2025.

Oregon

Heading south into Oregon, let’s go to the Willamette Valley. The town of Woodburn is home to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, which hosts a tulip festival from March to May with tulip field rides and wooden shoe-making demonstrations. There are over a million tulips blooming, and the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm website’s photos are stunning. While in the Willamette Valley, purchase a Heart of Willamette Wine Passport includes free flights, gear and discounts at various wineries throughout Oregon wine country. In early May, enjoy the Mt. Hood Jazz Festival. Or head to Florence for a display of hundreds of rhododendrons along the Oregon Coast.

New Mexico

Santa Fe hosts the second largest art market in North America on weekends, mid-April through early October. I’ll link in the show notes to more information about that art fair. If you go at the end of May, you can enjoy the Northern New Mexico Fine Arts & Crafts Guild. If art isn’t your thing, enjoy El Rancho de las Golondrinas, known as the Southwest’s premier living history museum. It re-opens for private tours on April 1st, and then to the general public on June 5th. Santa Fe also has gorgeous wildflowers blooming in spring, starting with bright yellow forsythias and later in the spring, its famous lilacs.

Louisiana

Next is a city I’ve only been to once, but I loved it and want to return, and that’s New Orleans, Louisiana. Of course, there’s Mardi Gras, which falls on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday – usually around mid-February. But after Mardi Gras has ended, there are several festivals to enjoy in New Orleans in the spring. Let’s explore each festival. 

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (Jazz Fest)

When: Typically held in late April to early May

What: Jazz Fest is one of the most famous music festivals in the world, celebrating the music, culture, and heritage of New Orleans. The festival showcases a diverse array of music genres, including jazz, blues, R&B, gospel, Cajun, zydeco, Afro-Caribbean, folk, Latin, rock, rap, country, bluegrass, and more. With multiple stages and food booths offering delicious local cuisine, it’s an event where solo travelers can easily mingle with fellow music enthusiasts.

French Quarter Festival

When: Usually takes place in April

What: This festival is a celebration of the music, food, and culture of the historic French Quarter. It’s the largest free music festival in the United States, featuring over 20 stages and 1,700+ local musicians. The French Quarter Festival is perfect for solo travelers who want to explore the heart of New Orleans through its live music, culinary delights, and vibrant street performances.

Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival

When: Typically occurs in March

What: Named after the famous playwright who made New Orleans his home, this festival is a must for literature buffs. It features literary panels, master classes, interviews, theater events, and a “Stella” shouting contest inspired by “A Streetcar Named Desire.” It’s an intimate festival that offers solo travelers a chance to engage with writers, scholars, and fellow literature enthusiasts.

New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (NOWFE)

When: Usually takes place in late March to early April

What: This festival is a celebration of New Orleans’ culinary scene, featuring wine tastings, food pairings, cooking competitions, and seminars. It’s a great opportunity for solo travelers to indulge in the flavors of the city and meet others with a shared passion for food and wine.

St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

When: March 17th, with events often occurring throughout the week

What: While not unique to New Orleans, the city puts its own twist on St. Patrick’s Day with parades, block parties, and the wearing of the green. The festive atmosphere and open celebrations make it easy for solo travelers to join in the fun and experience New Orleans’ community spirit.

Festival International de Louisiane (Lafayette)

When: Late April

What: Though technically not in New Orleans but in nearby Lafayette, this festival is worth the trip for solo travelers interested in experiencing a broader scope of Louisiana’s cultural heritage. It celebrates music, art, and the Francophone culture, featuring artists from around the world.

Colorado

If you’re not ready to say goodbye to winter just yet, head to Breckenridge, Colorado. In Episode 128, I shared how some Canadian snow ski getaways remain open through April and even into May, and how that usually means cheaper lodging and less crowded ski slopes. The same is true of Breckenridge. Lodging is cheapest in the spring. Plus, I was surprised to learn that March and April see the heaviest snowfalls in Breckenridge, even with higher temperatures. If you’d rather go rafting than skiing, snowboarding, or snowmobiling, the snowmelt into the rivers allows for great rafting. Also, explore the historic downtown area and listen to live music. The website gobeck.com is a great source for performance venues, music festivals, and restaurant and bar venues to see jazz, orchestra, bluegrass, folk, and rock performances. 

New York

Let’s go back to the East Coast, to the state of New York. Have you heard of the Finger Lakes? Per Wikipedia, The Finger Lakes are a group of eleven long, narrow, roughly north–south lakes located directly south of Lake Ontario in an area called the Finger Lakes region in New York. The Finger Lakes is one of the premier wine-producing areas in the U.S., particularly known for its Riesling. Spring is a great time to visit wineries for tastings and tours as the region comes to life. Many wineries also offer events and food pairings during this season.

Maybe you’re ready for an outdoor adventure. With the snow melting and nature waking up, trails in state parks like Watkins Glen State Park, Buttermilk Falls, and Letchworth State Park offer breathtaking views of cascading waterfalls and lush greenery.

Of course, the lakes themselves are a haven for water activities. As the weather warms up, consider renting a kayak or taking a boat tour to appreciate the serene waters and scenic landscapes.

Who doesn’t love Farm-to-Table Dining? The Finger Lakes region is known for its farm-to-table cuisine, with many restaurants focusing on locally sourced ingredients. Spring menus are especially fresh and vibrant. Also, visit local farmers markets to taste and purchase fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, baked goods, and crafts. It’s a lovely way to interact with the community and enjoy the season’s bounty.

Let’s end with some destination picks from members of the Me and the Magic community.

New York City

Jen loves New York City in the spring. The city is full of life and color in springtime with people on the move, outdoor shops and cafes, flowers and trees blooming in the parks, and baseball returning. I agree, I love NYC in the springtime. The weather is often very pleasant. There are often new Broadway shows opening. If you want to see beautiful flowers, check out the Macy’s Flower Show, the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens’ Sakura Matsuri Festival with cherry blossoms, the High Line, Central Park, and the New York Botanic Garden’s Orchid Show and spring blooms. For film fans, I highly recommend the TriBeCa Film Festival. It used to be held in April, but it will be in June this year. I had such a blast attending this festival when I lived in NYC. You can go to star-studded movie premieres, panels with filmmakers and actors, and screenings of all kinds of films. If you go, I highly recommend going to see some of the shorts because they combine several shorts into one screening, and there is often a Q&A afterwards. So you get to participate in a Q&A with the creators of multiple shorts. Those are some of my favorite memories of that festival, seeing local everyday New Yorkers in those shorts, next to actors like Rosie Perez. I love the TriBeCa Film Festival. 

Baseball

There was a lot of love for baseball in the community. Chandler enjoys going to the Louisville stadium for the local AAA baseball team, the Louisville Bats, though he said it’s mostly to hang out with friends. 

Others mentioned going to baseball spring training in different warm-weather locations. Something I learned about spring training… did you know there is a Grapefruit League and a Cactus League? Can you guess which state hosts each league?

Grapefruit League in Florida
  • Tampa: Home to the New York Yankees’ spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. 
  • Clearwater: This is where the Philadelphia Phillies train at BayCare Ballpark.
  • Jupiter: The City hosts two teams, the Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals, at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.
  • Fort Myers: With the Boston Red Sox at JetBlue Park and the Minnesota Twins at Hammond Stadium, Fort Myers is a hotspot for fans who love to get a glimpse of their teams up close.
  • Port St. Lucie: Home to the New York Mets’ spring training at Clover Park, it offers fans a great environment to watch baseball while being close to Florida’s beautiful Atlantic Coast.
Cactus League in Arizona
  • Scottsdale: A prime location for fans of the San Francisco Giants, who train at Scottsdale Stadium. 
  • Phoenix: Hosting several teams, with the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Fields of Phoenix being one notable example. 
  • Mesa: Home to the Chicago Cubs at Sloan Park and the Oakland Athletics at Hohokam Stadium. 
  • Surprise: Hosting the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium. It’s a bit more laid back and offers a great family-friendly atmosphere.
  • Glendale: Home to the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch. Glendale offers a fantastic blend of sports and leisure for fans.

Each of these locations offers not just baseball but also a range of other attractions, making them great destinations for a spring vacation. Whether you’re leaning more towards the lush landscapes and beaches of Florida or the stunning desert vistas of Arizona, you’re in for a treat. 

As you can see, there’s no shortage of places to visit in the spring around the United States. All of these places are great for solo travel, or for traveling with family or friends. 

Resources

See when the cherry blossom trees will be in full bloom in Washington, D.C., and learn more about the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Learn more about the Santa Fe Society of Artists and the second largest art market in North America.

Learn about Breckenridge, Colorado’s live music scene and performance schedules.

Explore more than 60 wineries in the Texas Hill Country.

Visit the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival in April. 

Check out the gorgeous tulips at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn, Oregon.

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