The spring season is just around the corner, meaning it’s finally time to welcome soft temperatures and budding blossoms. Emerge from your winter hibernation, and say hello to a fresh start, with a much-needed (and well-deserved) vacation. Here are some of the best places to shed your winter blues and experience the flourishing second quarter of 2018:
New York City, New York, U.S.A.
With thousands of diverse, top-quality restaurants, shops, and museums, NYC is definitely among the most energized cities in the world. The “Big Apple” is of course exciting in and of itself, but its iconic Central Park is extra special this time of year. The famous, 843-acre green space has never looked so good, with sights and scents of full and fragrant blooms at every turn. And while there are outdoor activities available year-round, spring multiplies opportunity. Whether you’re simply taking a stroll passed street performers or enjoying a rooftop cocktail, there’s something serene about the mild temps and iconic New York surroundings this time of year. Go kayaking along Central Park’s lake, by floating ducks and swans; go to the top of Rockefeller Center, witnessing the skyline from a new perspective; and take a road trip to the remarkable Adirondacks mountains.
Washington D.C., U.S.A.
Springtime ushers in tourists, but for good reason. Not only are the temperatures (finally) manageable and the weather docile, but the cherry trees are in full bloom, revealing an overwhelming form of seasonal beauty. Spring is undoubtedly the best time to visit the United States’ capital. Rent a paddle boat at the Tidal Basin, and witness a typical American ball game at the Washington Nationals park. Wherever you venture, there are sure to be plenty of artsy, cultural opportunities—not to mention the myriad of award-winning restaurants. Keep in mind that affordable lodging can be difficult to find this time of year, and monuments and museums will likely be packed. It’s best to book your trip in advance, to guarantee your place at all the area’s hot spots.
Cape-to-Cape, South Africa
South Africa’s N2 highway winds from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, revealing beauty of the country’s West and East, and everything in between. The 460-mile drive is basically one endless vista, with breathtaking views of the coast always in sight. The Garden Route segment is especially intriguing, as it passes by mountains, lakes, lagoons, forests, and bays. Be sure to get out of the car and take a hike in the area’s Garden Route National Park, put your surfing skills to the test at the famed Jeffrey’s Bay, wobble around with penguins at Boulder’s Beach, and check out the Bohemian Kalk Bay’s shops and lunch stops. This is not your typical road trip. Most hours will be spent outside of the car, with activities abound. From bungee jumping the Bloukrans Bridge, to sand-boarding the 557-foot Dragon Dune, your adrenaline is sure to be ignited.
Olympic National Park, Washington, U.S.A.
Washington forests are whole this time of year, with luscious and mossy green foliage, gushing waterfalls, and subalpine lakes comprised of snow-melt. Pink rhodedenrons pop their vibrant heads, in contrast to the deep green background of limitless botany. While exploring the fairyland-like landscapes of Washington’s iconic Olympic National Park, be sure to hike the 15-mile trek along North Fork Skokomish River and Flapjack Lakes. Along the coast, grab a pair of binoculars and keep an eye on Shi Shi beach for migrating gray whales.
Mexico City, Mexico
It’s no wonder so many college students and families choose Mexico City for their spring break destination! With temps in the upper 70s, little rain, ample sunlight, delicious beachside cocktails, and a verdant arts and culture, this city is a fun and quirky getaway. Be sure to check out the Aztec empire surrounding Lake Texcoco, embark on a boat ride through man-made floating islands of Xochimilco, visit one of the city’s 150 museums and galleries, and take a day trip to Puebla—an UNESCO World Heritage site and colonial city that sits at the foot of a snowcapped volcano. Keep in mind that it’s a busy, touristy time of year in these parts, so it’s important to secure a hotel early on and anticipate higher rates.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, U.S.A.
Skip the tourist boom of summer, and make a trip to the Grand Canyon this spring. One of the most astounding places on earth, the Grand Canyon is a geological utopia and is noted as one of the top natural wonders of the world. It is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and over a mile deep; and although metrics are imaginable, one cannot truly fathom the immensity and power of this place until it’s seen with their own eyes. Whether you hike the iconic Angel’s Trail or a lesser-known, easier trek, it’s worth popping on some sturdy boots and exploring as much of the canyon as possible, by foot. Be sure to catch sunset from the South Rim, and book a stay on the Grand Canyon Railway.
Glasgow (and beyond), Scotland
Glasgow’s cobblestone streets, impressive architecture, ever-expanding arts and music scene, and unbeatable nature trails are just a handful of reasons it’s such a special place. In spring, crocus flowers dot the already breathtaking landscapes; birds flutter ahead, creating migratory pathways; and athletes gear up for May’s Highland Games. Of course, Glasgow is just one of many stunning Scottish destinations. Be sure to take a road trip to its surroundings cities and villages. Head to Edinburgh to hike Arthur’s Seat, among yellow gorse blooms and taste the country’s fare at the farmers market. With castles, bagpipes, and lush green landscapes in every direction, Scotland will, without doubt, steal any traveler’s heart.
San Diego, California, U.S.A.
Mild weather and blossoming trees make for a great time of year to surf, see the country’s largest tented flower show, and visit the San Diego Zoo. During spring break, the city is much busier, but with crowds, come perks. This means that local theme parks and animal attractions follow summer hours and are open for longer. Beaches are relatively uncrowded during the workweek, and skies show off an incomparable shade of blue. Wander the cliffs of Torrey Pines State Reserve, take a surf lesson at Coronado, and take a peek of La Jolla Cove. And, without a second thought, be sure to check out 1,200-acre Balboa Park—the city’s culture center, filled with museums and theatres and gardens. Wherever you go, expect to be drenched in sunlight and in awe of this seaside getaway.
Once you’ve booked a spring vacation, the changing season becomes that much more exciting. Move on from the dark and dreary winter months, and spring (pun intended) into the fresh, new season. It’s time to flourish!